Run and Fun by the Lakes
View MacRitchie's Walks, Runs and Monkeys in a larger map
The whole middle of Singapore is a big green area and includes MacRitchie, Peirce and Seletar Reservoirs.
This area's primary purpose is to act as a catchment for fresh water throughout the island, so most of it is kept green.
And indeed, this is the place to go for big trees, nice lakes and frolicking monkeys.
This reservoir area is the best 'developed' for activities and spending a few hours there helps that wounded city soul longing for other things than traffic, buildings and shopping malls.
This place is a prime spot for a touch of jungle running and takes the number one award in CNNGO's
10 best places to run in Singapore - MacRitchie.
I must agree - it is a very nice run with views of the lake, trees and the occasional monkey, snake and fish.
Start out at the parking lot at the dam and go from there - if you miss the trail you must be blind, drunk or both. Well marked, indeed, or just follow the many many many runners that converge there early on.
There is a connector from MacRitchie over to Bukit Timah nature Reserve for those mountain bikers and hardcore runners who just can't get enough.
Hike Away and Watch for Monkeys
The same paths, by the way, are great for simply strolling along, and especially the boardwalks are fun for kids.
Watch fishes in the shallows, see colorful dragonflies and I could almost guarantee you'll see monkeys very close up looking for food - either the natural stuff - or yours.
The National Parks people have put up a number of signs along the way and point out the local trees and how they are used. You'll even see some rubber trees left over from plantation times.
One thing you definitely need to try is the
Tree Top Walk
- this time it is a real tree top walk. This narrow footbridge goes over a small valley at about 25 meters above ground, and literally at the crowns of some very big trees.
It is completely safe - come on, this is Singapore, what did you think? - and in the middle of the bridge, if you stand just right, you see a sea of forest around you and no buildings anywhere.
Ahh, the illusions of the wild.
But then again - 5 million people around you on a few square kilometers. So who's complaining....
Beware! The Tree Top Walk is one way and that means a big set of stairs on the far side and a pretty long walk back to the car, so take enough water and snack for the kids or grandma.
The hikes around MacRitchie also have a few resting shelters and a tower to climb up and enjoy yet again another view.
I did the 10 km circuit with the boys twice now - it can get long and sweaty, but is worth the time. You'll even cross a small babbling brook with clear water and completely untouched banks - that must be the only water course in Singapore that has been left alone in 150 years.
Finally, back at the dam area, there is a fishing area and a water sports area, a smallish park with Gazebo and fitness stations, too.
No park in Singapore without a small map by NP, of course:
Hiking trails by National parks
Come early on Sunday and watch groups of Chinese doing exercises on the lawns and grassy areas around the dam - complete with Buddhist mantra chanting and uniforms.
Let's go back to more Singapore attractions