When the fast pace of city life, towering skyscrapers and air-conditioned shopping malls all becomes too much, escape the concrete jungle and head to the real jungle, within the MacRitchie Reservoir Park. The MacRitchie Reservoir Park is one of the most popular of Singapore’s nature parks, and is the ideal getaway for those looking to escape the bustle of the city for a few hours.
Before Singapore became a British Colony in the early 19th century, the island was almost completely covered by lowland tropical rainforest. This area was cleared for logging and cultivation purposes throughout the 19th century, and by 1882 less than 10% of the original rainforest had survived.
The MacRitchie Reservoir was Singapore's first reservoir, built in 1867-68. The development of the reservoir brought the forest devastation around the area to a halt, as the forest was protected as a water catchment reserve. Today about 3,000 hectares of forest remain within the Central Catchment and Bukit Timah Nature Reserves.
The MacRitchie Reservoir Park offers several boardwalk treks around the reservoir — Photo courtesy of Marianne Rogerson
The nature reserve offers several boardwalk treks around the reservoir and more rugged forest trails which vary in length from 3km to 11km. All are well signposted, and signboards along the routes offer information and encourage you to look at nature’s wonders.
The rainforest here is home to more than 840 flowering plant and 500 animal species, so keep your eyes peeled for Long Tailed Macaques, Monitor Lizards, White-bellied Fish-eagles and an abundance of butterflies and birds which are often spotted along the trails.
The highlight of the MacRitchie Reservoir Park is the HSBC TreeTop Walk, a free-standing 250m long suspension bridge that gives you a bird’s eye view of the plants and animals in the rainforest canopy from its 25m high position. The Blue trail to the HSBC TreeTop Walk is a 10.5km round trip from the MacRitchie Reservoir Park. For a slightly shorter walk, an alternative 7km (orange) trail can be taken from the Venus Drive car park. The TreeTop Walk can also be reached by taking a diversion from the Pink and Yellow trails.
The HSBC TreeTop Walk gives you a birds eye view of the rainforest canopy — Photo courtesy of Marianne Rogerson
Make sure you wear a good pair of walking shoes, and take plenty of drinking water as there are no refreshments available on the trails, although there are vending machines, a café and restrooms at MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Also remember that the weather can change quickly in the rainforest and there is very little shelter, so ensure you have some sort of waterproof covering for cameras/mobile phones etc.