May 2019 (Last updated in September 2019)
Did you know that in just 15 minutes by car from the bustling shops on Orchard Road, you can be surrounded by wild jungle?
On our vacation in Singapore, we were really enjoying wandering around the lively streets full of people chatting, haggling, and snapping photos. However, we also craved some close contact with the local nature, a way to get away from the bustle of the city for a while. This turned out to be much easier to do than we had thought — a midday hike through MacRitchie Reservoir Park and Windsor Nature Park gave us the feeling of being in an alternate world where the architecture is made of lush greenery and the inhabitants are monkeys, lizards, turtles, squirrels and birds.
Within just a few minutes of walking from the main entrance of the reservoir, we were submerged in the jungle. The traffic noise quickly faded away and suddenly the only sounds around us were the chirping of birds. Well, that and the voices of a few fellow hikers.
Admittedly we were not the only ones going for a walk around lunchtime. Still, we were amazed by the strong jungle feeling we got in the park. To us Norwegians, strolling around a forest dense with bamboo trees and green vegetation was very exotic.
In the first part of our walk, we followed the MacRitchie Nature Trail and didn’t see too much wildlife, but the relaxing ambiance made up for that. Turning into the Windsor Nature Park after around an hour made for a totally different experience. The Squirrel Trail fully lived up to its name with squirrels just abouteverywhere.
The highlight of our hike was encountering a troop of monkeys. These cheeky creatures were so fun to watch, and we couldn’t help but laugh when we saw two of them playing tug-of-war with the tail of another monkey.
Following the stream, we also saw turtles and quite a lot of small fish. At this part of the route, we occasionally heard the sound of cars. This felt quite strange given we were still surrounded by thick jungle.
Going for a hike in the MacRitchie Reservoir and Windsor Nature Park may not be the same as exploring the Amazon rainforest, but we still found it a great way to spend a few hours away from the busy Singapore city center. We certainly didn’t expect it to be that “jungley” considering the close proximity to the skyscrapers of Singapore.
We took a taxi from the city center to the main entrance of MacRitchie Reservoir Park on Lornie Road. The cab ride took about 15 minutes from Orchard Road, and we paid a little less than 20 SGD (all taxis are metered in Singapore).
First, we walked the MacRitchie Nature Trail until turning right onto the Drongo Trail in Windsor Nature Park. From there we followed the Drongo Trail and Squirrel Trail before exiting the park at Venus Drive.
The total length of our route was about 5 kilometers. We spent around 2 hours walking at a leisurely pace, including plenty of photo stops.
Once at Venus Drive, we ordered a taxi back to the city using an app called Grab. This trip cost 14 SDG. There are no taxi stands outside Windsor Nature Park, so make sure to download the Grab app beforehand.
(Map of the parks with the black dotted line showing the route we hiked.)
Practical information and tips:
- The route we hiked was flat but somewhat more challenging than expected due to the heat and humidity.
- We recommend you to bring plenty of water.
- The parks are open from 7 am to 7 pm every day and there is no entrance fee.
- There are restrooms and a cafe at the main entrance to MacRitchie Reservoir Park.
- There are also restrooms at the Windsor Nature Park car park in Venus Drive.
- Both parks have bus stops with lines linking to the city center.
- The parks have plenty of different hiking trails of varying length and difficulty (the most famous one is the TreeTop Walk in the MacRitchie Reservoir Park).
The Singapore National Parks Board states: “Do resist the temptation to follow or approach any wildlife. Appreciate the wildlife from afar and maintain a safe distance from them. Kindly refrain from feeding them as this can affect their health and alter their natural behaviour.”