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June 02, 2008

Southern Ridges Singapore: Forest Walk At Telok Blangah Hill

Southern Ridges Singapore: Forest Walk At Telok Blangah Hill

The Forest Walk, a part of the 9-kilometre long Southern Ridges of Singapore, is accessible at its eastern entrance at Telok Blangah Hill at the end of Telok Blangah Green near the Telok Blangah Service Reservoir. The Forest Walk consists of raised walking platforms made of steel that stretches westward for 1.3 kilometres to Alexandra Road. Through the Alexandra Arch Bridge, the Southern Ridges continues to Hort Park all the way to West Coast Park.

Under a late afternoon drizzle, I arrived at the carpark of Telok Blangah Hill Park to find vacant lots for convenient parking. This was out of my expectation as the week before I had encountered long queues of vehicles waiting at fully filled carparks. A short walk to the end of Telok Blangah Green with the aid of umbrellas brought my family to the start point of the Forest Walk.

The best views of the entire Forest Walkway is at the highest point as you step off Telok Blangah Hill to commence your journey. The zigzag configuration of the walkway has a very dramatic impact. Coupled with the distant views from the hill and the depth of the secondary forest far below, there was a definite “wow” sensation for me. The hairs on my skin rose to new heights as I lingered to savour the ambience.

The Forest Walk of the Southern Ridges is also not a place to visit for those who fear heights. The steel platforms are made of strips of steel bars that form a triangle, mimicking the “Mile-A-Minute” plant. Conspicuous gaps in these steel platforms leave the faint hearted no room to hide from the “walking on air” feeling within the first ten steps that you take. I was able to peer through these gaps to see the bottom 18-metres below at its highest point. As I walked along the Forest Walk and looked at the floor of the secondary forest under my feet, irrational thoughts of the platform gaps widening to swallow my body flashed briefly to mind. The platform gaps seemed wider at the Forest Walk compared to the Canopy Walk that I visited earlier.

As I descended from Telok Blangah Hill Park towards Alexandra Arch, the steel platforms of the Forest Walk formed a smooth walkway without any steps. There were some stairways to the side of the walkway for shortcuts across the platforms. Some of these stairways led directly to the forest floor.

In the rain, the Forest Walk’s sloping steel walkway did not feel slippery and there was little need to utilize the railings for further support. However, there were only two shelters near both ends of the Forest Walk. No seats were sighted throughout the 1.3-kilometre long walkway.

Many plaques with details of the local flora were scattered along the Southern Ridges’ Forest Walk. These provided useful information on the various plants and trees in this part of the Southern Ridges. Names like Dillenia suffruticosa, Adenantina pavonina, Ficus benjamina and Morinda umbellate were unfamiliar names to a botanically-challenged Singaporean like me.

Near the middle of Singapore’s Forest Walk at Preston Road, I could see a banner displaying the National Parks Board Plant-A-Tree programme. At a large clearing, newly planted trees with short trunks and small foliages were spotted. For a $200 donation to the Garden City Fund, sponsors receive an opportunity to plant a tree in selected parks of Singapore, including this spot.

For visitors who wish to learn more about nature, you can take the path through Telok Blangah Hill via Earthwalk. This path is more down to earth as you get closer to nature by hiking through the vegetation on unpaved paths beneath the steel walkways.

I found the return hike from Alexandra Arch up the slopes of Telok Blangah Hill to be more physically challenging. If you stick to the steel walkways, even a small child can tackle it if you pace yourself. My advice is to bring plenty of water, raincoat (for wet weather), sunscreen (for hot weather) and good hiking shoes.

The Southern Ridges’ Forest Walk certainly provides the most dramatic views, the best walking-on-air experience and the longest walkway challenge for acrophobic visitors in Singapore.

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PanzerGrenadier said...

Great review!

I will try to go visit the new Southern ridges walk when my daughter is older!

Be well and prosper!


Milly said...

This walk sounds great. So is the new steel walkway that you can see at Alexandra Road and Gillman village the end of it? Would it be difficult for small children to walk from here to Telok Blangah?
Great review, you are giving me lots to do over the school holidays!

Seen This Scene That said...

Hi panzer, thanks for visiting my site. I have seen some visitors pushing a pram along the walkway, with baby safe in parent's arms.

Hi milly, thanks for visiting my site. Kids will will have no problem walking up the walkway as the slopes are gentle. Hope you enjoy your walk!

Take care.

Lam Chun See said...

Hi thanks for sharing the info about many places in Spore. Now I know where to go to find info about various interesting places in Spore.

Seen This Scene That said...

Hi lam chun see,
welcome to seen this scene that. thanks for visiting.

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