MacRitchie Reservoir: The Best Place to Go Hiking in Singapore
Singapore is not just an urban jungle. There are plenty of places you can be one with nature.
One of those places is MacRitchie Reservoir. A place well-known among the locals, yet not too well-known among tourists and expats. MacRitchie Reservoir has lush greeneries, and is a perfect spot to go walking, hiking jogging, bird watching, or just trying to escape the hectic urban jungle that is Singapore.
MacRitchie Reservoir is the largest of the 4 reservoirs of the Central Catchment Nature Reserves, spanning over 2000 hectares of forest cover, with a wide variety of flora and fauna. It is a critical source of freshwater in Singapore.
If you are worried about paved roads, well, the reservoir has walking trails, even in the surrounding forests. Follow the boardwalks and the footpath.
The reservoir was named after James MacRitchie. He was the Municipal Engineer that oversaw the development of the reservoir. A perfect form of form and function, wildlife in the area was preserved, with recreational land reserved for the inhabitants.
What to Bring and Wear
Wear comfortable hiking or running shoes, and long pants to protect yourself from insect bites. If you are hiking in the morning, remember to bring a hat and put on sunscreen.
In your backpack, be sure to pack enough water to last 5 hours’ worth of hike, a change of shirt, a towel, and sunscreen. Oh and make sure you have charged your phone if ever you need to use Google Maps. Better yet, bring a powerbank just to be on the safe side.
Remember though to take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but memories.
The TreeTop Walk
Note: TreeTop Walk is closed for maintenance works from Aug 2020 till Q3 2021.
The TreeTop Walk is a must-see at MacRitchie. It is a 250-metre long bridge which is suspended 25 metres above the forest floor, giving you a perfect view of the forest canopy. It will take some time to reach it though, around 2-3 hours to complete the trail and reach the TreeTop Walk.
NParks has a walking trail guide, which you may download here: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/-/media/nparks-real-content/gardens-parks-and-nature/diy-walk/diy-walk-pdf-files/treetop_walk_eguide_lres.pdf?la=en&hash=0E978E37B5F5F50983BA5159DF70200FC3BBD8BB
As a nature reserve, there is a wide diversity of wildlife in MacRitchie. So don’t be surprised if you spot a long-tailed macaque – or even a whole bunch of them. Here are some tips to avoid getting in trouble with these monkeys:
1. Do not feed them
2. Keep food, plastic bottles, food containers in your backpack and out of sight.
3. Do not go blinged out. For some reason, these monkeys are really attracted to gold (or anything shiny).
4. Do not use flash photography.
You may also see a lot of bird species such as the Blue-rumped Parrot and Orange-bellied Flowerpecker.
What else can you do at MacRitchie?
You can go kayaking on the waters. To rent kayaks, drop by the Singapore Canoe Federation kiosk. Rental is by the hour. If you are with children, even those as young as 4 years old can go. Of course, they must be supervised by adults.
You can also go fishing. But remember that in Singapore, catch-and-release practice is encouraged and only artificial bait is allowed.