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Wrong Turns at the MacRitchie Reservoir TreeTop Walk, Singapore

MacRitchie Reservoir TreeTop Walk

For nature lovers travelling to Singapore, there is no better place to visit than MacRitchie Reservoir. As you wander the paths you will soon encounter bird watchers with book and binoculars in hand or photographers with tripods ready and the biggest lenses I’d seen in my life. Locals in sneakers were limbering up ready to run the rocky track but I chose to visit MacRitchie for another reason.

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Where the locals go

Speaking with my Singaporean friends I had been told that the TreeTop Walk was a must do on my trip to Singapore. A 250 metre free-standing bridge that crosses between the two highest points in MacRitchie (and sounding a lot like the Ulu Ulu’s Canopy Walk in Brunei), the TreeTop Walk sounded like the perfect escape from the city bustle for an afternoon.

I was dropped off at ‘the car park’ – which I later discovered was called Venus Drive – where the shorter 2.5km trail began. The driver told me twice and pointed at a map “we’ll meet back at this car park“. I simply nodded and said I’d be back soon. ‘Soon’ being nearly four hours later.

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Take a walk on the wild side

The cement path turned to pebbles, then dirt and then heavy rocks littered the path. As the temperature rose, and the humidity with it, I began to wish I’d bought my sneakers with me instead of wearing comfortable shoes that would be suitable for the nice cafe I went to for breakfast. Regardless of my shoe predicament, and easily being lapped by the many locals jogging the trail, I was enjoying the walk.

The paths twisted and turned through the forest. I heard a sound, turned my head and saw three monkeys climbing between trees. One paused as it reached the group, leapt onto the wooden pole that marked where the path ended and the forest began and watched me. The moment was shattered as feet crunched the leaves and two girls came chattering with selfie-sticks, squealing in delight when they spotted the monkey. I watched as it climbed onto a nearby branch and watch its adoring crowd gather beneath the branch, flashing phone lights and cameras in its direction.

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MacRitchie Reservoir TreeTop Walk

Being a weekend, the MacRitchie trail is the perfect place to see nature and escape the city, and despite this knowledge I didn’t consider this until I arrived at the entrance to the TreeTop Walk and the queue waiting patiently. Thankfully, the lines moved fast and the monkeys kept me occupied as they scared people.

If you do take the trail please don’t scream when the monkeys come near you. After spending half an hour watching the cheeky creatures scaring groups of Chinese and South Korean tourists – and having them yell, stamp and try to scary off the monkeys – I worked out that they wanted one of two things: to cross the path the people were blocking without getting too close to humans or making sure you didn’t have any food they could snatch.
Just move to the side and let them cross back and forth and if you have food, keep it away from them and take your trash with you. One monkey was pretty adamant at ripping open a juice box to enjoy the last sweet dregs left by a careless visitor.

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The line moved at a decent speed and soon I was taking my first steps onto the thick metal mesh bridge. The free-standing suspension bridge connects the two highest points in MacRitchie – Bukit Peirce and Bukit Kalang. Further, I walked until I was standing 25metres above the forest floor gazing at the thick forest surrounding.

On every side, Singapore’s last remaining forest rises up around you but there are a few spots where you can catch a glimpse of the lake and hints of city life in the distance.

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Lost!

The trails around MacRitchie are beautiful. Bound by the Singapore Island Country Club golf course on one side, the areas manicured walkways – when not on the trail – would make a great place to stop for a picnic lunch.
Locals run or jog the trails and, for the really determined, there’s an outdoor exercise park near the Jelutong Tower, a tower that offers views across the golf course and reservoir.

There’s only one small problem… the size of the park means that if you take a wrong turn it’s not easy to correct.

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I thought I knew which exit I was meant to head to but, after listening to the German tourists I had been on the treetop walk with, I made a wrong turn. Even armed with my Rentafi pocket MiFi device didn’t save me!

Let me admit this – I am not the best navigator. Even after living in Melbourne for the best part of five years, I still use Google Maps to guide me through the city. With this knowledge, what hope did I have navigating the MacRitchie Reservoir walk by myself?

Even lost, I appreciated the green space amongst the chaotic city and took time to sit, relax and watch some golfers play. If I had more time and, more importantly, more water I think I would have really enjoyed taking the long hike.

Upon reflection, I should have turned back instead of continuing to walk but, seeing a road, I assumed that’s where the car park was. It wasn’t. By the time I eventually made it to Vava Bistro near Reservoir Road – after walking three-quarters of the way around the lake – I was just glad to a cold lime juice and ice-cold water… and receiving an email from my driver asking where they should meet me.

After four hours in the forest, it was nice to sit back with an icy lime juice and watch the people go by.

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Details

MacRitchie Reservoir TreeTop Walk

Hours of operation: 9 – 5 daily, closed Monday except public holidays

Website: www.yoursingapore.com/see-do-singapore/nature-wildlife/reserves/macritchie-nature-reserve.html

Getting there: To get to the TreeTop Walk you will need to take a 2.5km (45 minute to 1 hour walk) trail from the car park at Venus Drive or a 4.5km (1.5-2 hour) trail from the MacRitchie Reservoir Park. These numbers are for one-way, so remember to double it for returning (9km return will take 3-4 hours).

Notes:

  • You MUST bring water. The trail and waiting time at the TreeTop Bridge can be quite a while and coupled with Singapore’s humidity the weather will leave you dehydrated pretty quickly.
  • Leave your food in your backpack around the TreeTop Walk as monkeys call the forest home and will pester you (if you do have food DON’T feed them!)
  • Wear sturdy shoes/hiking boots/sneakers as the paths are rocky and littered with stones of varying shapes and sizes in places!

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I visited Singapore as a guest of the Singapore Tourism Board.
All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Sofia
    April 22, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Monkeys are cute, but they can be also be the meanest.. they mean to be cute. But that squirrel is doing a great job being cute by just hanging upside down. I’ll go try that treetop walk in Singapore when I visit.. which is soon.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 27, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Hope you have a great trip to Singapore, Sofia! Do you have any plans yet?

      The squirrels were REALLY cute (and really hard to photograph because they were so weary of people!)

  • Reply
    Rahman
    April 24, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    I also have similar attitude whenever I go deep into some natural reserves, etc. I feel so good when I’m in it. I feel so great when I get out of it and back to the ordinary life of mine. The photos you’ve taken are so real.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Rahman 🙂

      I love escaping into a park or nature reserve. There’s something about it that’s so good for the soul… just don’t get lost like I did!

  • Reply
    Olga
    April 25, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Oh, those monkeys are so super cute!! It must have been so cool to see them OUTSIDE of a zoo cage!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 27, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Very cool to see them outside of a cage, even if they were cheeky things trying to scout for food!

      Have you seen monkeys in the wild, Olga?

  • Reply
    Zascha
    April 25, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    I love the pictures, Nicole.
    And as cute as I think monkeys are, I’d probably be terrified if they came too close to me! I hate to admit it, but I’m a scaredy cat sometimes! 😀

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 27, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks Zascha!
      I totally understand being a scardey cat (I jumped the first time one hoped on the railing about 10cm away from my arm!) but just give them some space and they’ll give you yours…. and hopefully post for a picture of two first!

  • Reply
    Hannah
    May 1, 2015 at 6:40 am

    I’ve always wanted to visit this place! I’m going to Singapore soon for a stop over so will have to try go up and have a look. Looks so cool!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      June 10, 2015 at 4:12 am

      Hannah, it’s a great way to escape the city for a few hours. And the walking makes you feel good after being stuck on a long flight 😉

      Safe travels and enjoy Singapore!

  • Reply
    rebecca
    May 5, 2015 at 11:43 am

    looks like an awesome little gem in Singapore. I was only there at night but otherwise this looks pretty cool. cute little, scary monkeys

    • Reply
      Nicole
      June 10, 2015 at 4:22 am

      Very cute little monkeys. Just give them space and you’ll be fine.

      Hope you visit Singapore again and can take a trip out to MacRitchie Reservoir. 🙂

  • Reply
    #YourSingapore - Strange & Wonderful Singapore - Adventure, culture, and luxury travel - are you Bitten by the Travel Bug?
    May 14, 2015 at 10:24 am

    […] Wrong Turns At MacRitchie Reservoir TreeTop Walk, Singapore […]

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    City Guide: Singapore
    July 15, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    […] Take a walk along the Treetop walk at MacRitchie Reservoir Park – A favourite among nature and fitness enthusiasts, MacRitchie Reservoir offers a peaceful oasis just a short drive from downtown. The real highlight for visitors is a 250-metre free-standing bridge that crosses the two highest points in MacRitchie and offers you a panoramic view of the rainforest and Upper Reservoir. If you do want to take the TreeTop Walk come early to avoid queue Read more about the MacRitchie Reservoir Treetop Walk. […]

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