Living in the hubbub of excitement in Singapore, there are times when you want to step back and simply unwind. Going out on the hills and hiking the nature trails is not only an inexpensive and great way to stay fit but it also gives you a piece of mind.
The adrenaline rush fuels your body, and the smell, sounds and sights of nature do a lot for your body and soul. Here are the 10 best hills to explore if you are a nature lover and runner in Singapore.
One of the best hills to explore in Singapore is Bukit Kalang. It has an elevation of 30 metres above sea level and is surrounded by natural flora. There is a 250 metre freestanding suspension bridge called the The TreeTop Walk that connects it with another of the island’s highest points, Bukit Pierce. This enables hikers to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the community of animals and plants that live in the forest canopy. The distance to the entrance of the TreeTop Walk is approximately 4.5 kilometres from the MacRitchie Reservoir Park and 2.5 kilometres from the carpark at Venus Drive. The TreeTop Walk gate is closed on Mondays except public holidays and opens Tuesdays to Fridays, 9am-5pm; Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays, 8.30am-5pm.
Telok Blangah Hill
Telok Blangah Hill is another place to enjoy nature. It has walkways that provide a great way to view nature as people admire the landscape. Aside from that, it provides the rare experience of being at treetop level. It has a height of 106 metres. Telok Blangah Hill can be link to Mount Faber and Kent Ridge Park and is part of the Southern Ridge which is a 9 kilometre trail.
The paths on this hill form a web-like network that runs through the dense forest. As people walk through these trails, they have the opportunity to marvel at the uninterrupted panoramic views of the metropolis. At night, color-changing LEDs illuminate some of the trails.
Location: Telok Blangah Green
Mount Serapong is the place for people who are both nature and history lovers. Known as Cement Hill, it is home to a huge network of tunnels, lookout posts and batteries. Located in Sentosa, it has a height of 85 metres.
You can get a great overview of Connaught Battery from the top of the hill. This battery is now located in Sentosa’s Tanjong Golf Course. Aside from that, you will be greeted with a beautiful view of the Singapore skyline. When exploring Mount Seraprong, you should be very careful as dangerous animals, such as green tea snakes, cobras and pythons, are in the area.
Bukit Batok Hill
The serene ambiance of 3rd highest hill with a height of 120 metres provides an ideal place to experience a peaceful nature walk. A picturesque pond is located near the foot of a high cliff wall. The pond runs deep and is a relic of the mining days in the region.
The terrain includes footpaths that meander through the lush secondary forest that leads to lookout points. During the Second World War, the Japanese chose the hill for a memorial for soldiers who died in Singapore. All that remains are 120 concrete steps and two pillars that lead up to the transmission tower. A memorial plaque also lies on the foot of the hill to inform visitors of significance of the location.
Bukit Batok Hill is also near to Bukit Gombak Hill which is the 2nd highest hill in Singapore at 133 metres. The ridge runs from north to south for about 4 kilometres. Most of the hill has been designated as a protected place by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) however public still can access the Little Guilin Park and other trails around the area.
Location: Lorong Sesuai
Bukit Timah Hill
Bukit Timah Hill is as close as it gets to climbing a mountain in Singapore. It is the highest point in Singapore at 163.63 metres. This hill has a high-intensity steep pathway that goes straight to the top. Aside from that, you’ll see a long-winding road that is great for discovering wildlife. You can smell fragrances emitted from different trees and plants along different stretches of the path. There is also a small pavilion at the summit of the hill where you can take a break.
The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is undergoing repair and restoration works to the slopes, trails and forests, as well as the 20-year-old visitor centre at the foot of the reserve by NParks. Public access will be limited for about two years, from 15 September 2014.
Location: Diary Farm Road / Upper Bukit Timah Road
Fort Canning Hill
Fort Canning Hill lies in a small area in Singapore’s bustling downtown. It is one of Singapore’s most historic landmarks. This 60 metre high hill has witnessed how the island was transformed into a vibrant trading post during the 19th century and the age when Malay kings ruled from the peak.
The hill was also instrumental in the country’s war efforts during World War II with the numerous military buildings located there. One of these buildings was the Battle Box or Fort Canning Bunker where the decision to surrender the country was made.
It also boasts the ASEAN Sculpture Garden and the Spice Garden. The hill which hosts the Fort Canning Park has heritage trails such as the 19th and 14th century trails where you can spend hours walking around. Its distinctive charms remain today. The old artifacts are a must-see for any history buff. The expansive lawns and lush greenery offer a variety of nature and heritage experiences.
Location: Hill Street / Canning Rise / Clemenceau Avenue, and River Valley Road
Mount Faber is a popular tourist destination. It is a small hill that is about 105 metres tall with walking trails through the wooded areas. From this hill, you can enjoy the panoramic view of Singapore’s southern districts and islands. A mural wall that depicts scenes of local history can also be seen at Upper Faber Point.
A secondary rain forest also covers the hill. The vegetation on the slope assists in stabilizing the terrain in addition to beautifying the area. Rhododenrons and Arenga Palms can be seen planted alongside Red Flame and Boungainvilles, Alstonia and Cassia Fistula trees.
Location: Telok Blangah Road
Mount Vernon is a small hill located in central Singapore. When walking in this area, people will see many woodland birds such as Druno Cuckoos, the Asian Koel and the five-laced woodpecker. It is located north of MacPherson State.
The hill is the home of Mount Vernon Camp, the Gurkha Contingent of the Singapore Police Force training and residential facilities which is inaccessible to the public. Runners can run around the major roads circumscribed to Mount Vernon and at Vernon park which boasts a beautiful nature trail of about 2 kilometres. Mount Vernon Crematorium and Bidadari Cemetery was previous being located on it, however, both has since shut down.
Location: Bartley Road / Upper Aljunied Road / Upper Serangoon Road, and Upper Paya Lebar Road
Jurong Hill is home to the highly acclaimed Jurong Bird Park that resides at its foot. It is enveloped by 15 hectares of lush greenery that stands 60 metres tall. It has a tower you can climb for a vantage point of surrounding industrial towns such as Jurong Island and Jurong Port in the near distance.
It is also the location of the Garden of Fame that features 27 trees that visiting dignitaries planted in the 1970s. There is a restaurant on the hill where you can taste delicious Indonesian and Japanese cuisine at very affordable prices after exploring the area. The park on Jurong Hill is also a popular spot for people to shoot their wedding photos.
Location: Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim
Imbiah Hill is the biggest cluster of attractions in Sentosa. It is currently home to 11 attractions. One of these is the Tiger Sky Tower. At a height of 110 metres above ground, it offers visitors a panoramic view of the Southern Islands, Singapore and Sentosa.
The view extends to parts of Indonesia and Malaysia on clear days. Imbiah Hill is also home to the Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom. It is a landscape garden that has over 15,000 live butterflies representing more than 40 species.
When visiting this hill, you should also stop at Megazip Adventure Park. This is the country’s first adventure park that has one of the steepest and longest zip wires on the continent along with a free-fall parachute, a rope course and a challenging climbing wall.
The Bottom Line
The hills of Singapore offer a wide range of natural diversity and history that nature lovers will surely enjoy and explore. However, it takes a lot of walking or running to take in the scenery and the sites. Are you fit enough to take the challenge?