Battles, Trees and Demons
The Southern Ridges - sounds like a classic 70s Western with John Wayne shooting it up in Mexico.
Well, pardner, it' ain't that, but actually a very interesting walk along a series of hills starting at Mt. Faber and ending at Haw Par Villa, Singapore's own little version of a Chinese mythology park.
Doing this in one go is possible, but can be longish, especially in the heat. It is a nice place for a run, though, and you'll see a lot of those around.
A View, A Weird Bridge and a Tree Top Walk
View Southern Ridges Walk in a larger map
The whole thing starts at Mt Faber where the cable car to Sentosa Island takes off.
The cable car station is also a restaurant with a wonderful terrace and very nice views down to Sentosa, over to the harbor area and even the far distant Indonesian islands.
The building is called
The Jewel Box
and houses said station as well as a number of different restaurants and function rooms.
Going at night and catching the lights is a treat, with Friday and Saturday evenings featuring a live band.
When you go up the hill from the station, you arrive at a lookout point crawling with tourist buses - loads of mainland Chinese people for some reason.
The base of the lookout has a few murals showing the development of Singapore from that old fishing village to its form today.
On the platform itself, meet - another - Merlion and enjoy the views yet again. If you look inwards to the island, you see a cluster of typical HDB flats from the 70s.
Not so nice, but the real side of Singapore, actually.
Carry on your Southern Ridges tour and follow the pathways - can't really miss them - to the
Southern Ridges - Henderson Waves Bridge
that takes you over Henderson Road.
It is a very weird bridge: made to follow a mathematical sine curve, it spans the road in 7 over-under arches and is actually pretty high up from the traffic below, too.
They light it up at night, too, so you can visit it twice and make it worth your while.
After the bridge, you go down a hill, and up again, and reach a somewhat out-of-sorts English terraced garden going up a steep hill.
The garden is full of Bougainvilla and has a plateau at the top with a gazebo and views, what else at the top, right?
When you continue you come to a treetop walk - basically an elevated walkway - that goes down through treetops to another nightly-lit bridge.
The walkway is pretty high up and really does go through the treetops with signboards showing types of trees and how they are used in the region.
Horticultural Park and an Old Battleground
After you leave the treetop walk, cross the bridge and visit HortPark which is a symbiot between research garden and climate showcases.
The park is nice enough but has a hard time trying to define what it is supposed to be. You'll see what I mean when you get there.
The back end of Hort moves up to Kent Ridge Park.
This park is where about 160 valiant Malay defenders fought hand-to-hand against 13,000 Japanese troops obviously with little success in the end...
There are a few howitzers and a tank to see there, and of course, all the usual trappings of a Singapore park: walking trails, big trees, wild orchids and a fitness trail.
Chinese Mythology - Come to Life
Not really part of the Southern Ridges but a good place to finish up is HawPar Villa, a sculptured garden full of characters form Chinese mythology.
It was created by the brothers who invented Tiger Balm, originally as a villa with garden.
Today it shows hundreds of statues, some of them pretty gory, so mind the kids.
Be careful: the Ten Courts of Hell are particularly expressive, gruesome in fact...
There is a whole movement of paranormal investigators on the prowl in Singapore - looking for those Chinese ghosts that haunt the island.
You may or may not believe these things, but they have put together a very well-documented site
on the Haw Par Villa loaded with myths, pictures and stories.
So maybe the Southern Ridges walk does end like those John Wayne westerns - lots of dead sinners.
Let's go back to more Singapore attractions
Have An Experience on the Southern Ridges?
Do you have a story about this walk and its sights? Share it!