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May 27, 2008

Southern Ridges Singapore: Marang Trail From Mount Faber Park To Harbour Front

above: Marang Trail at top of Mount Faber

Southern Ridges Singapore: Marang Trail From Mount Faber Park To Harbour Front

The Southern Ridges of Singapore seems to be the flavour of the month for Seen This Scene That. Singaporeans who are genuinely interested in nature, parks and open spaces including the new Marang Trail will realize that the opening of the Southern Ridges is a huge step forward to allow more visitors to appreciate our natural heritage.

For today, I will present another part of my exploration of the Southern Ridges. I approached the start of the Marang Trail at the top of Mount Faber Park near the cable car station after crossing the Henderson Waves Bridge from Telok Blangah Hill Park. The Marang Trail commences at Mount Faber Park near the cable car station and stretches 800 metres to the foot of Mount Faber Park at Marang Road just behind Harbour Front MRT station. This 300-metre long Marang Trail path of the Southern Ridges of Singapore consists of a series of stairs and sloping footpaths that descend about 70 metres from the top of Mount Faber. The Marang Trail belongs to the eastern tip of the 9-kilometre long Southern Ridges of Singapore that ends at West Coast Park. For a look at the map of the Southern Ridges of Singapore, check this link. http://www.nparks.gov.sg/sr-map.pdf

I noted that the top end of the Southern Ridges’ Marang Trail where the steps began was not well signposted. My wife and I initially walked past the stairs before we realized our mistake. Although equivalent to descending a 24-storey building, the walk through pleasant secondary rainforest felt effortless and cooling. I could see close-up views of the greenery along the Marang Trail of the Southern Ridges but felt in need of a good guide to introduce the various plants, trees and their characteristic features. Perhaps some one could point me in the direction of a local group of volunteers in Singapore who plan to or is already organizing such guided walking tours on the natural habitat of the Marang Trail.

By the time I reached the foot of the Southern Ridge’s Marang Trail around noon since starting at Telok Blangah Hill Park, dehydration prompted a detour to Seah Imm Food Centre at Harbour Front for replenishment. We crossed the many carparking lots near the Harbour Front Bus Interchange under the scorching noon sun before a welcomed respite at the hawker center. I noted the coupon-parking regime at this carpark and was glad that I parked without charge over at Telok Blangah Heights next to Block 60 (free parking applies on weekends and public holidays).

above: Marang Trail at foot of Mount Faber

The hike back up the Marang Trail to Mount Faber Park was a totally different experience. The 24-storey climb up to Mt Faber did not look as appetising as it did earlier. Only then did it hit me that I had to climb and walk all the way back to my car near Telok Blangah Hill Park. My muscles and lungs were complaining of a definite strain on the way up, past other visitors with children who were stopping to catch their breaths and to appreciate the views of colonial bungalows on either side of the pathways.

There is only one wooden bench along the entire Southern Ridges’ Marang Trail for tired limbs to rest while more seats were available only at the top of Mount Faber Park. Fortunately, the secondary forest of Mt Faber provided ample canopy throughout the climb. I would recommend that you bring plenty of drinking water, wear good hiking shoes and to pace yourself with your children conservatively for this Marang Trail climb. Take the time to admire the greenery at this part of the Southern Ridges. Breathe the cool forest air as you listen to unseen cicadas cheering you on as you ascend Mount Faber via the Southern Ridges’ Marang Trail.

While it may not generate as much as thrill as climbing up to Base Camp on Mt Everest or even climbing Bukit Timah Hill, the Marang Trail climb is still a Singaporean natural heritage experience like no other.

See more places. Live more live.

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