Looking for new inspiration to start your 2021 fitness goals? Why not try out some of the best hiking trails in Singapore?
The Netherland’s Charity Association (NCA) offers a great collection of Singapore’s best hiking trails with their Book of Walks. Written by Sandra Delvers, Pleun Brevet and Patricia Boost, the book serves a detailed guide to 15 walking routes located in nearly every region of Singapore. With beautiful pictures, maps, fun-facts and snippets of history, it is the perfect guide to help you discover new areas of this little red dot. Not too bad right now given the travel restrictions, eh?
How it All Started
The inspiration behind this book? It all started with the group, Wandeldames Singapore, a Dutch-speaking walking group where individuals gather to do Thursday morning walks around the island. Authors Sandra and Pleun then decided to write a book of their favourite routes to commemorate the beauty of Singapore’s green landscape.
Now in its third edition, the Book of Walks is indeed a labour of love. The specificity of every instruction is down to each turn and road – and this did not come easy. “The first edition took about eight months from the first walk until the launch. The second edition took as long as it took to walk all the walks, which was about three weeks,” shared Pleun.
While re-walking routes and double-checking road names were a must, the ladies of the Wandeldames group helped out to make it a success. “We didn’t want people wandering or [getting] lost because of a poor description from our side. And for the pictures, we took a car and hopped on and off on different locations for every route,” shared co-author Sandra. “This book really was a team effort, our names are on the cover, but we did get a lot of help from a lot of people, without whom we never would have been able to make The Book of Walks.”
After the second edition, authors Sandra and Pleun had to move away from Singapore, so for the third version Patricia agreed to be the editor for the Book of Walks. “I walked all the walks and – as it was my first time – I talked all the changes through with Pleun in the early hours. Whenever a situation was not clear, I had to go back and check.” As the new editor, Patricia has added two of her own favourite routes to the book.
Making A Difference
As always, the proceeds of this edition will also be donated to charity. “We figured not everyone is as lucky as us,” said Pleun and Sandra, “and with the sales of the book we can help more people in need. We are super excited that the book became such a success!” All proceeds of the sale will go to charities supported by the NCA.
Check out this gallery for four highlights of some of the best hiking trails in Singapore!*
(*The write-ups here are meant to be an inspiration for each walk. Detailed instructions are found in the book.)
From Harbourfront to Telok Ayer MRT, 7km
What To Expect
A mix of an intense hike through leafy green hills with a relaxed walk along neighbourhoods. Expect lots of SG culture and street art.
About The Walk
This route begins at Harbourfront MRT station (exit D) and will take you through Mount Faber Park. Climb Mount Faber and enter the heartlands of Telok Blangah, where you will pass Telok Blangah Rise Market. The walk will lead you to Bukit Purmei Avenue and through the Bukit Purmei Bird Arena. (Tip: Look out for the birdcages and uncles relaxing around.)
As you walk along Bukit Teresa Road, you will be greeted by the Carmelite Monastery, Tang Gah Beo Temple and Church of Saint Teresa. Try to spot renowned street artist Yip Yew Chong’s first street mural, created in 2015, as you walk along Everton Park too!
This walk will also take you past Pinnacle@Duxton, the famous Maxwell Food Centre, and to Amoy Street, where you’ll find another of Yip’s street murals.
From Canberra to Sembawang MRT, 13km
What To Expect
This walk has it all – hot springs, parks, HDBs, religious sites and restaurants – it’s a little out of the way, but you will not be disappointed.
About The Walk
Starting off at Canberra MRT station (Exit C), you’ll go past sites like Kemuning Park, which leads to SG’s only natural hot water spring, Sembawang Hot Spring. Later, enjoy the sea breeze as you walk along the Simpang Kiri Park Connector and revel in the historic sites of Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang, an old Malay Kampong Mosque at Jalan Mempurong. The final attraction before you head back to Sembawang MRT? Beaulieu House, a seaside restaurant located in a beautiful black and white building.
From Farrer Park to Raffles Place MRT, 8.7km
What To Expect
In the book, this walk is called “Singapore, Lah”, and it’s focused on the centre of the island. You’ll pass many religious sites and places of interest. Tip: Don’t do it on a Sunday when most places are closed.
About the Walk
Spanning from Farrer Park MRT station (Exit G) to Raffles Place, this walk will lead you through religious sites like the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple and Leong San See Chinese Buddhist Temple. There’s even a row of restored Peranakan shophouses along Petain Road!
At Kampong Glam, you’ll spy the former palace of the last sultan – Istana Kampong Glam (now known as the Malay Heritage Centre). Walk through its gates to Muscat Street, and be greeted by the majestic presence of the Masjid Sultan (Sultan Mosque).
The route will take you through Haji Lane – the “hip” spot buzzing with vintage shops, hipster cafes and street art. (Look out for the Hajjah Fatimah Mosque at Jalan Sultan.) Think that’s all to it? The F1 Pit Building, Singapore Flyer and The Float @ Marina Bay await you at the end.
Tip: Stop by the Jubilee Bridge along the way and snap that iconic “drink-the-water-squirting-from-the-Merlion” picture with one of six Merlion statues of SG. Walk along the Jubilee Bridge and follow the street signs to end the walk at Raffles Place MRT station.
From Pasir Ris MRT to Changi Village Bus Station, 10km
What To Expect
A perfect blend of land and sea, this combines two shorter walks with one bus trip, so don’t forget to bring your bus card!
About The Walk
This route begins at Pasir Ris MRT station, where a nearby park connector will take you to Pasir Ris Town Park. (Look out for spots like mangroves and the river!) Along the way, you’ll see a boardwalk that leads past a canal and towards the sea. While on this path, you will come across several barbecue pits and – check this out – one of the few camping grounds in Singapore.
This route is a little different from the others – it won’t all be on foot. A 10- to 15-minute bus ride will take you to Changi Point Boardwalk (aka the Changi Point Coastal Walk), where walking along the shoreline will take you past Changi Point Ferry Terminal. Cross a small white bridge, and you will arrive at Changi Beach Park.
Tummy rumbling? Stop by Changi Village Hawker Centre. Not too far away is a bus stop where you can catch a bus to Pasir Ris MRT station to end your walk.
About the Book of Walks
Now in its third edition, The Book of Walks ($15) – put out by the Netherlands Charity Association (NCA) – is a handy guide to 15 unique routes around the Red Dot. Its authors and photographers, Pleun Brevet, Sandra Delvers and Patricia Boost, are donating all proceeds to the NCA. Get a copy at nca.org.sg/shop/book-of-walks!
Pleun Brevet has lived in Singapore for five years and loves the diversity and accessibility of the Singapore parks. “No matter what you are into, it can be found in Singapore, from the wild jungle to the perfectly maintained Botanical Gardens and everything in between.” She now resides on the Canadian Prairie, in a quaint and pastoral bunkhouse on a farm. “It’s like living in a tiny petting zoo!”
Sandra Delvers is a horse lover and worked as a volunteer at the RDA (Riding for the Disabled) Singapore. She lived in Singapore for almost three years before returning home to The Netherlands four years ago. Since then, she has started her own business as an equine therapist. One thing she misses about Singapore? “The delicious food on every corner of the street!”
Patricia Boost has been living in Singapore since 2014 after her youngest son (of 4) went off to University. “[My husband and I] felt free to make the move to Singapore to start a new adventure.” She loves the mix of modernity and old traditions, the diversity of [Singapore’s] people and the “always Summer” feeling here. “I just love the fact that you never have to worry about the weather, just take an umbrella and a shawl (for the aircon), and you are fine.”
By Willaine G. Tan, Issue 305 / Some text adapted from The Book of Walks by Pleun Brevet and Sandra Delvers. Photos: The Book of Walks, NParks Singapore + 123RF.com.
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