For some reason, Singaporeans are really interested in hiking. We would venture to say it’s due to man’s innate need to connect with nature versus our land scarce horizon, which leaves us with walking around the nearest tree-infested area to feel like we’re not corporate zombies. Also that running on the spot on the treadmill doesn’t quite cut it. But let’s face it. MacRitchie, Bukit Timah and the infamous Coney Island are overrated. It’s time to stop running away from the concrete and make the most of what we have. Let’s embrace our urban jungle.
Orchard to Tiong Bahru
Yes, you could go from point A to B within a 10 minute car ride, but this route is scenic when you slow down to enjoy it on your own two feet. Starting at Orchard Central, make your way to Clemenceau Ave. Walking along Haw Par Glass Tower and Fort Canning Park, you would cross Singapore River and continue to Chin Swee road until you hit Outram Road and make a right into hipster cafe haven.
Sights: Clarke Quay and Outram from a less crowd-infested distance
Rochor River to Marina Bay Sands
From Lavender MRT, trail Rochor river and take a left onto Rochor road towards Suntec City. Do take detours along the way to get the most of Bugis, or a short break at the Fountain of Wealth. As you cut into Temasek Avenue, look out for stairs to the bridge along Sheares Avenue 50m from the junction. This bridge brings you to the Helix bridge walk (minus the horde of tourists) and has a better view of the Flyer on the left.
Sights: Final glimpse of Rochor Centre, Bayfront views
Emerald Hill to Emily Hill
This route is a longer way around, but it’s the road less travelled. Cut through opposite 313 Somerset (feel free to take a pre-hike pitstop at the bars along Peranakan Place), and follow Emerald Hill Road until you hit the highway. Turn right and walk until you see a staircase that leads you down to a tunnel. Coming through on the other side and cutting through Winstedt Road, you have to endure a short noisy segment of Bukit Timah road towards Little India then take a shortcut via Mackenzie Road before entering the tranquil Mount Emily Park.
Sights: Old housing architecture of Emerald Hill and Winstedt
Kallang to Marina Barrage
From Kallang Wave Mall, soak up the sunset skyline of the buildings across the basin until you hit the Tanjong Rhu suspension bridge. Navigate past the residential area, walk the popular cycling route along Gardens By The Bay East and cross the bridge to Marina Barrage. From here, you have the option to take a bus back to civilisation, or extend your hike in the company of tourists from the Barrage to Marina Bay Sands.
Sights: Kallang Basin and Marina Barrage views
Civic District Tree Trail
This 3km trail recommended by NParks will bring you to see a variety of heritage greens that may or may not have been around before you were born. These include huge Bodhi trees, Leopard tree flowers, and East African Mahogany. You will start at the Istana main gate and end at Raffles Landing Site.
Sights: Trees. And more trees.