A visit from my in laws a few weeks ago gave us the opportunity to knock some more things off our bucket list and show them a side of Singapore they were yet to see. The HSBC Treetop Trail at the MacRitchie Reservoir Park has been on my to do list for a long time and we were looking for a nice walk to take them on so it seemed like a perfect option!
I quickly googled to find the nearest car park and we headed to Venus Drive, just to the west of Bishan Park. What I didn’t read was that this car park was 2.5km from the start of the treetop trail but luckily we had comfy shoes and plenty of water to keep us going!
As you start along the path located at the far end of the car park, there is plenty of flora and fauna to be seen. We followed along the side of a stream for a short time before reaching a spot where we spotted a young family of long tailed macaques which inhabit much of Singapore’s rainforest areas. When we glanced into the distance, we noticed there were many more running around the forest floor and in the trees. I managed to get a shot of the family together but I was being careful not to disturb them in their natural habitat. Taking care to avoid any snakes as per the signs(!) we continued on our way up a short road which lead us to the Bukit Kalang Service Reservoir, spotting a couple of lizards sunning themselves on the tarmac, before joining the track again.
Upon reaching the Ranger Station, we found public toilets and ice cold fountain water to top up our bottles with. It wasn’t much further before we started the treetop trail.
The trail is one way traffic so make sure you access it from this side! When you look over to the right, you get a fantastic view of the MacRitchie Reservoir. It’s not as long as I thought and we were soon back on solid ground. The next stage is a little challenging although easy under foot with a boardwalk style path and stairs taking you up and down the hilly section of rainforest. We spotted a little frog under the path and kept our eyes peeled for more of those Macaques swinging in the trees up above us.
We eventually reached the end of the boardwalk and took a left which lead us around and back up to the ranger station, by now, we were in much need of liquid refreshment! The walk back always seems quicker once you know where you are heading and once we reached the car, a blast of air con was much appreciated!
After our long and sweaty walk, we thought we had earned a treat and headed over to Peperoni in Greenwood where we enjoyed one of their 21 inch pizzas with an ice cold beer! 😉
Note that if you are planning to walk in Bukit tima Nature Reserve, the path is closed from September 2014 until March 2015 with limited access from then until the end of 2016 so if you want to head over there, now is the time!
Since we received our Australian Visa’s and my husbands start date for his new position down under last month, the wheels are in motion and we’re almost going into auto pilot. Most evenings will now be spent catching up on any news each of us have had on the move, doing research into items on our ever evolving to do list. I have dusted off my ‘Move to Singapore’ notebook and am running through the generic moving country items to add ready for when we need them. Mainly the general list of who to advise of our new address, or, in our case, who to advise that we will be of no fixed address for 8 weeks.
One of the things that truly surprised me was when my husband and I were having a catch up the other night and he informed me that he won’t be getting paid at the end of August. Of course I assumed I had misheard him, although we won’t need to pay rent out of that pay packet and our lease car will have been returned earlier in the month, so only the minor bills like TV, internet etc will need to be paid. It turns out that when you are leaving the country, you must give the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore one months notice of your leave. In that period, they assess our tax situation and whether we owe them any money, until this is complete we can’t leave the country. Having never had this when leaving a country before, it really surprised me. We either get whats left after the tax bill has been deducted, or a bill for any additional monies owed. It seems a very skeptical way to do things but slightly more organised than the Swiss who are yet to pay our overpaid tax from 2012! I guess thats the difference when you are being taxed at source!
Having been raised in the beautiful Forest of Dean, spending time in the great outdoors was something I was raised to appreciate. I find it frustrating here in Singapore that each outdoor adventure is a sweaty affair. Living in Geneva, a walk along the lake with Bryan, my pug, was a daily event. Occasionally we would head up into the surrounding hills together or, of a summer weekend, the three of us would head to see some of the almost deserted ski resorts for a hike around the mountains.
Click the images for a closer look
We learned a little of the Bukit Timah Railways history during our orientation weekend back in March 2013 when we were sent to Singapore for 5 days to decide whether we would like to live here. We were told how the railway used to be owned by Malaysia making the entire line, which runs through the centre of Singapore, Malaysian land until 2011 when it was completely shut down. The only thing stopping us from exploring the Bukit Timah Railway before now is the Singapore heat but with a newfound sense of purpose, we finally got around to it a couple of weeks ago.
After a bit of a google, I found the best guide for the walk on the Green Corridor website. With taxi’s being fairly cheap here in Singapore we decided to hail one down and ask to be dropped off at King Albert Park so we could join the railway by the steel truss bridge over Bukit Timah Road. Joining the old tracks after a short incline, we were soon at the old train station. It looks like this place closed down much more than 3 years ago, it’s so over grown and if we were the only people there then I think it would have quite a eerie feel to it. I had read since our walk that it has been closed to passengers since 1940 so that explains a lot!
It took us much less than the suggested one hour to reach the Holland Road exit point so we decided to stick to the railway for the next section from Holland Road to Buona Vista thankful for smart phones and the 1.5 litre bottle of Evian I had thrown in a ruck sack. It was again, much less than the recommended 90 minutes before we reached the exit near the Buona Vista MRT station but the ease of getting home from there was our cue to head back. I think had we been more prepared, we could have easily started at the section before or continued on the next section to Queensway. With Only 7 weekends left until we move and only 4 of those weekends being in Singapore, I’m not sure we will get the chance to visit the other railway sections but I am thankful that we at finally made the time to explore this peaceful green area of Singapore.
The railway is a popular place for cyclists and dog walkers alike. Possibly one of the friendliest places we have visited in Singapore, almost everyone we passed gave a friendly greeting.
If you are planning on walking the Bukit Timah Railway, I would advise that you head out early with plenty of water and a smart phone or one of the handy maps from the green corridors website to guide you and don’t forget your camera to snap some of the old buildings and the beautiful green flora!
In 2011 we moved to Geneva from London as expats. We were never the type of people with feet itching to live overseas. We didn’t have a hankering to travel the world and we had no idea what the next few years would have to offer. After two years in Switzerland, we had visited many places but there were always those ones that we kept saying we will get around to visiting. Between signing the new contract for Singapore and actually leaving Switzerland we had just 6 weeks and with half of that time spent travelling back to Blighty for wedding dress shopping and other family commitments, we just had to leave behind those unexplored sights.
Moving to Singapore we didn’t want this to happen again and made extra effort to see as much as possible but having spent just 13 months here and with only 7 weeks between our up coming move to Brisbane being confirmed and my Husbands start date there, it’s inevitable that some places will go unvisited. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting about the places we get the chance to knock off our list. I hope you enjoy reading about our adventures!