Take the road less travelled: Explore unchartered hiking trails in Singapore

Feel like stepping away from your computer and easing off your Zoom fatigue? It’s time perhaps to take out your hiking gear! We bring these five less trodden trails for you to have a peaceful commune with nature, away from the crowd. Check them out! 

Dairy Farm Nature Park

Nearby the popular Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the Dairy Farm Nature Park, a lesser-known park that promises serenity as you get away from the city. Tread the uneven terrain on the Wallace Trail, usually taken on by the mountain bikers — but don’t worry, the muddy trail is easily traversable by foot too. You can also discover the tranquil Singapore Quarry located at the end of the trail and admire the picturesque cliff walls and deep lakes. 

What to lookout for: Spot the freshwater flora and fauna, and if you are lucky, you may get to see the elusive turtles!

Getting there: Along Dairy Farm Road, enter Carpark B and make your way to the Wallace Trail. Alternatively, you can head to The Rail Mall and enter the reserve via Jalan Asas.

Open: 7am to 7pm daily | Suitable for beginners

Labrador Nature Reserve

With big names like Henderson Wave and Hort Park located in the South of Singapore, Labrador Nature Reserve can easily get overshadowed. With an amazing view of Singapore’s coastline, Labrador Nature Reserve deserves a visit with its offerings of forests and marshes as you hike along its boardwalk. Wildlife is aplenty with the reserve being abode to a variety of plants and animals. Don’t be surprised if you see squirrels scampering across your path! 

What to lookout for: Birdwatchers can keep a lookout for the Oriental Magpie-Robin and Black-Naped Oriole. Also, check out the remains of a British military battlement, with a machine gun post and artillery pieces.

Getting there: Alight at the Labrador Park MRT station and walk all the way along Labrador Villa Road. There is also a 24-hour public carpark near the reserve.

Open: 7am to 7pm daily | Suitable for beginners, pets not allowed

Chestnut Nature Park

Did you know that Chestnut Nature Park was the first park in Singapore to have mountain biking and hiking trails? It features two main trails: the Southern Hiking Trail — a 2.1km looped trail with lots of up and downs and the Northern Hiking Trail — which offers a choice of a shorter looped trail or one that covers half the park. The trails have been planned and kept separate to avoid any bike collision with the hikers. 

Be prepared: To wear proper hiking shoes as the park has a jungle terrain and the ground is often muddy with puddles of water strewn across the trails.

Getting there: Walk from Petir Road to Chestnut Ave into Chestnut Nature Park, or walk in from Bangkit Road and follow the tarmac track leading to Zhenghua Underpass to get to Chestnut Nature Park.

Open: 7am to 7pm daily | Suitable for beginners, pets not allowed

Pulau Ubin Puaka Hill

Pulau Ubin is an island near Singapore with a wide variety of activities to see and do, and its small size allows you to explore it on foot. Experience being close to the natural surroundings and you can even spot animals such as otters, boars and birds. Near the Jelutong Campsite, lepidopterists (who love to study or collect butterflies/moths) will be thrilled to know that there are 140 butterfly species at Butterfly Hill, where specific flora attracts these butterflies, making it a site to behold.

To catch a great view of the Pekan Quarry, head to the lesser known Puaka Hill located on the west side of the island. Climb up the steeper rocky trail and you’ll reach the highest point of the island, which offers a stellar view of the quarry and the surrounding canopy. 

Other activities to explore:  Check out the wildlife at Chek Jawa Wetlands, or take a climb up Jejawi Tower for a bird’s-eye view of the island.

Getting there: Head to Changi Point Ferry Terminal and take a 15-min bumboat ride to Pulau Ubin Jetty. The entrance to Puaka Hill is located along Jalan Jelutong, past the Jelutong Bridge.

Open: Boats run from 7am to 7pm daily | Suitable for beginners

Tampines Eco Green

Witness amazing landscapes all the way in the East at Tampines Eco Green. The park benches and shelters are made from dead trees giving it a unique look and feel. With three trails to choose from, you can spend the whole day hiking there. The Diversity Trail is a 1.2km hike with tall, thin trees towering over you. Make your way towards the lake which is home to many species of dragonflies and birds. Keep an eye out for the Sultan dragonfly, one of the largest in Singapore. 

The Marsh Trail is the shortest walk providing a view of the marshes and natural canals. At the meeting end of these two trails is a Bird Hide, which is an entanglement of twigs and branches allowing you to spy on the 75 recorded bird species. The last is the Forest Trail for those who prefer a cooler walk with lots of leafy trees. You can even admire the beautiful butterflies!

What’s special? A unique feature of the footpaths at Tampines Eco Green is that they are carpeted with Manila Grass instead of the usual concrete or gravel. It also has the first-of-its kind eco toilet. 

Getting there: From Tampines MRT station, walk 20 mins to the park via Sun Plaza Park.

Open: 7.30am to 7.30pm daily | Suitable for beginners, pets, cycling and fishing not allowed

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