I’d been to Singapore three times before but always, it seemed, in the company of first-time visitors. For that reason my previous routes were almost always a combination of the usual stops: Orchard Road, the Merlion, Singapore Zoo, Chinatown, Sentosa. On this, my fourth visit, I was determined to go somewhere I hadn’t been to before.
The Southern Ridges is a 10-km trail in the southwest section of Singapore that winds through parks, forest, and pedestrian footpaths. My sister and I began our walk outside HarbourFront MRT station where a sign clearly indicated the start of the Marang Trail.
We followed the well-marked path up to Faber Park and lingered for a while, watching an elderly man feed the koi. Pink blossoms were scattered all over the fish pond and the wooden deck, from which we could see the sea, the Singapore skyline, and the cable cars carefully making their way to and from Sentosa.
It started to rain so we got back to the trail and walked faster, aware that we were nowhere near halfway and had not brought rain gear. We did stop at the Jewel Box to climb a colorful staircase that led to the Bell of Happiness. If two or more people — the sign said — came up and rang the bell together, they would be blessed with happiness and peace and harmony. Unfortunately, for some reason, my sister and I never got around to ringing it. We were probably too busy examining the smaller bells that were tied around the supporting arch. Some bells were marked with names and dates, many contained wishes, and one bell simply said: “I love my mami.” I’ve got high hopes for that last one!
The rain grew stronger as we crossed the Henderson Waves, a beautifully-designed pedestrian bridge said to be the tallest in Singapore. We had to hurry through the Forest of Giants and the Forest Walk — a pity, as the trees and the views were quite interesting. Finally, at the Alexandra Arch, we decided to cut our hike short and take the train back to our rented apartment.
Moral lesson: Bring rain gear. Ring the bell — it can’t hurt. And once in a while veer off course.
Learn more about the Southern Ridges Trail HERE.*
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The Southern Ridges: Off The Tourist Track in Singapore
© Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved. Contents verified as of 23 January 2015.