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Singapore, MacRitchie Reservoir

Singapore, MacRitchie Reservoir


Postby neilmci » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:30 am

Date walked: 16/04/2011

Time taken: 3

Distance: 9 km

Ascent: 200m

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As I am now working in Singapore and it is a bit of a commute to get to any munros, I have had to change tactics (and walking gear) slightly.

As you kind of have to go out your way to find walking options in a city that essentially covers an entire country, i thought I would put in a few reports of the options open to you if you ever find yourself in this part of the world.

If you have a half day or so to spare then it is worth checking out the various routes and roadways that run around the MacRitchie Reservoir and the Lower and Upper Pierce Reservoirs.

Car parking (if you are lucky enough to have a car, given Singapore’s legendary anti car tax system – a VW Golf costs around £80,000!!) you can either park at the main car park at Lornie Road or for a shorter route, it is also possible to park at the car park next to Singapore Island Country Club (SICC (!) for short which you will see on some sign posts). Note that this is confusingly in two halves, so make sure it is the “Island” part rather than the “Bukit” part. These are the things you are just expected to know!

Alternatively, I would suggest that you get a taxi as they are relatively cheap compared to the UK.

There are maps and sign boards at most of the main junctions of the tracks so getting lost should not be easy. All of the tracks and routes are colour co-ordinated and give (in my opinion over) estimated time requirements. Even the map locations are shown on the map (eh?)

Due to a BBQ that afternoon, we started from the Venus Loop at the Country Club an headed out into the unknown rather than taking the longer routes from Lornie Road.

The tracks themselves wind through the rain forest – which despite being in the middle of the city is full of wildlife that can give you quite a fright when you are not used to it. Over the course of the morning we encountered 2-3 foot long monitor lizards run about on the path ways (Much freaking out of girlfriend!); monkey troops happily forage around you and will take more than an interest in any plastic bag you have brought (as they have learned to associate this with food), squirrels and various brightly coloured birds and if you look closely enough a few snakes (Although these are usually found by other people stopping to look at them as they are so well hidden) Every rustle of the undergrowth seems to bring new interest - and fear!

The highlight of the park has to be the high level walk way across the tree top canopy. It is around 250m long and limited access means only around 30 people are allowed on it at a time therefore you some times have to queue. The monkeys have also worked this out and will happily pose for pictures in an attempt to part you with your lunch! (Do not feed them though as the "Fine City" of Singapore will do just that and fine you $500!!) This section is one way only (enter from the ranger station side) so ensure you follow the guide maps and once you have committed to this route you should also note that there are a number of long flights of stairs to climb back up and then back down the hill. The stairs are well made, but they are wooden and I nearly had an *rse / plank interface as a result – much to the amusement of the guy behind me and a total loss of dignity on my behalf! It would have been less embarassing to have just fallen over than do the scooby doo style runnning thing whilst trying to grab a tree!

The tree top walk is sponsored by a bank and they have provided quite a few small signs specifically for this structure that should keep you right.

Note also that the walkway is not open on a Monday – unless it is a public holiday! It would be a nightmare to get all the way there to find it closed!

If planning to do this you need to be reasonably fit as the humidity is very high. We started at 0900 hours and were finished the orange route (with a few detours) by midday. Despite the sun being hot, not much sun actually get so the floor of the forest, but the humidity is the real problem. We were dressed in sports tops and shorts and were soaked. Ever the rucksack I carried had to be washed due to the sweat. Having said this some of the locals were out walking in mini skirts and high heals making us look ridiculous. They were not even sweating!

Regardless of how fit you actually are, you will be surprised by how many elderly Singaporeans will pass you either walking or running whilst they take their daily exercise. It really is quite scary, but I hope that when I am that old, I am half as fit as they are!

There is a ranger station near to the tree top walk which has drinking fountains and (outdoor) toilets however I would recommend you make sure you carry a litre of water for every 2 hours you plan to spend outside as a minimum.

Within the park there is also a large observation tower which you are free to climb up and there are also links to other parks such as Bukit Timah. As these are sign posted it is difficult to see how you could become lost, however please note that the car parks close at 1730hrs each day and darkness will fall in the tree coverage very quickly!

The web site for the maps is as follows to give you a better idea of the options:-

http://www.nparks.gov.sg/cms/docs/nature-reserves/MacRitchie-Trails.pdf

Do not forget your buff (Stops the sweat running into your eyes) and your mosi repellent. I did ask one of the locals I work with what the local Singaporean remedy is for mosi bites (as they cause me to itch like hell) and was told – “don’t get bitten!” – well I did ask.

In summary Well worth a visit!
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Snake!! Diff to see but he is there!
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neilmci
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Posts: 87
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Re: Singapore, MacRitchie Reservoir

Postby tango » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:40 pm

A good report there, Ive spent some time in the good old jungles, its an amzing place to be!!! :D , liked the photos too....
tango
 

Re: Singapore, MacRitchie Reservoir

Postby neilmci » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:44 pm

I am more aclimatised to the North West Highlands (although spent years out inthe UAE and KSA also) where you have miles of open space.

Changing that for some where where you cannot even tell where the sun is, never mind what the topography looks like, it is quite intimidating. Think I will "stick to the paths"
neilmci
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Re: Singapore, MacRitchie Reservoir

Postby ndhudson » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:14 pm

Nice report Neil! A very different kind of land, indeed. Jungle walking lends itself to a whole new set of "rules". Beautiful in it's own right, though. :D Would love to see more...thanks!
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ndhudson
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Re: Singapore, MacRitchie Reservoir

Postby ChrisW » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:08 pm

Great report Neil and some interesting pics, looks a bit too hot n humid for my liking (I thought it was bad in Louisiana) :lol:
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ChrisW
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