Login – Hiking The Macritchie Trail In Singapore

Our initial search for things we wanted to see and do during our 5 days in Singapore didn’t bring up the MacRitchie Trail. When most people think Singapore, they think “Crazy Rich Asians”, high-end shopping, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and other amazing tourist destinations near downtown. All things we wanted to see but after spending a relaxing, peaceful week exploring Hoi An, Vietnam, we were looking for quieter, more nature-oriented activities.

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Of course we started with the basic searches like “Top Cheap/Free Things to do in Singapore” and came up with oodles of lists of items that could have had us busy in and around the downtown area for at least a week or more. But you know us. We kept digging. Looking for the local gems that most tourists miss out on.

My next Google search: “Hiking in Singapore”

Bam. MacRitchie Reservoir Hiking Trail

Now my search results were filled with lists that included the MacRitchie Trail and TreeTop Walk.

The MacRitchie Reservoir is the oldest one in Singapore. It’s located dead center of the country of Singapore and while we took the MRT and hoofed it to the park, there are also plenty of bus stops to save you a few more steps. It was completed in 1868 and is a popular spot for locals to come to get in their daily run or walk and say hello to the local monitor lizards and Macaque monkeys (more on that in a minute….)

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There are a couple different trails you can follow but we opted to take the time for the full 11km loop including the TreeTop Walk. I would label the trails as moderate for the most part. Well taken care of, mostly dirt/rock and plenty wide in most places.

Bikes and dogs are not allowed on the trails either so other than the occasional chatty group of humans, it’s a quiet, peaceful hike.

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We started from the Reservoir Car Park on the southeast side where you can also find the Mushroom Cafe. We didn’t stop for food but it seems to be the only place around the park so if you are hungry, stop here.

The weather in Singapore is hot and humid. Most days I was sweating before we even left our hotel. So be sure to bring along plenty of water and some snacks too. But beware the monkeys!

I don’t think we were even 1km into our hike before we met our first monitor lizard. Maybe 50ft later, our first Macaque monkeys!

There are plenty of signs warning you not to feed the monkeys or openly walk around eating food in crinkly bags. I guess they have been known to swipe food from visitors since they have become a little too friendly. We never had any issues with them and probably saw 25 or more of them during our hike. Mostly they kept to the trees, picking off berries as they swung over our heads but we did get to see a family of them come down onto the path and casually stroll along down the boardwalk like they were just out enjoying the weather.

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And if you love birding, definitely come in the earlier hours and you will see a number of different birds along the trail as well. I didn’t have the most perfect lens on the camera for getting good close up shots of the birds but below are a couple worth sharing.

I can tell you though from looking at a list of current sightings in that area on WaxwingEco.com, we saw Indian Cuckoo, Rock Pigeons, Asian Koel, Purple Heron, Collared Kingfisher, Red-crowned Barbet, Black-naped Oriole and the one that was our favorite, the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo.

The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo will look like any other blackbird at first glance but if you look closely, you will notice he has these long secondary feathers that trail behind his tail feathers. You will usually find one of them perched out in the open nearby where the Macaque monkeys are moving around. What we were told is that the monkeys stir up insects as they swing between the branches and the Drongos will catch and eat those insects.

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On the northern end of the 11km MacRitchie Trail is the TreeTop Walk and this is one you definitely don’t want to miss. It’s a free-standing suspension bridge that connects the two highest points (Bukit Peirce and Bukit Kalang) in MacRitchie.

The distance to the entrance of the TreeTop Walk is about 4.5 km (1.5 – 2 hr walk) from the main MacRitchie Reservoir Park. But you can also access it from the car park on Venus Drive. The distance from the car park is only about 2.5 km (45 mins – 1 hr walk). The bridge only allows for one-way traffic from near the Ranger Station so keep this in mind too.

The weather was hot but quite nice on the Monday we hiked the trail. But we had to come back again on Tuesday since we didn’t know the TreeTop Walk was closed on Mondays with the exception of public holidays. Gah!! What?!? Dang it… Totally worth the second trip though

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