For a long time, I've been planning to go and try the Sounthern Ridges trail. It was an estimated 9Km trail from West Coast Park to Harbourfront. The estimated time to finish it was 4hours. And finally, after putting it off for another day every week, I managed to finish the trail on the 28th of February.
I printed a route guidline from a blog I saw online. It was a great help to me. Using this print-out and my ever-so-helpful Ovi Maps (yes, I'm still using a Nokia phone despite living in Singapore on this day of Samsung and IPhone) I managed to figure my way from here to there.
It was a clear day outside, not very hot unlike the other days when I decided not to do my trailing. It was warm but not very hot, and windy too. I woke up at 11 o'clock in the morning which is unusual because I always wake up at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, especially during days off from work. I thought of this as a chance to finally proceed with my trailing. I'm very much excited. I also finished some house chores before leaving home at 1 o'clock. Leaving home at this hour is like leaving home at 11 o'clock in the Philippines. In Singapore, it only starts getting dark at 7 o'clock in the evening, so I have 6 hours of afternoon daylight to conquer the Southern Ridges.
I took the bus from the stop nearest to my place to the stop nearest to West Coast Park. I planned to begin the trail from West Coast park as stated in my print-out. The bus ride was interesting, and my excitement is very much obvious while I'm in the bus. I get to see different parts of Singapore since I'm taking an entirely different route from my everyday one. My final stop was Opposite Varsity Park in West Coast Road. The park was on the road parallel to where I am. Using my Ovi Maps, I figured out where in Sinagpore I currently am - somewhere between West Coast Park and Clementi Woods Park.
I've been to West Coast Park before, and remembering that the road was very desolate I decided not to go there anymore. So I decided to start my trail from Clementi Woods Park. When I'm there, I realized that I'm on the other end of the Park and just across the road was the National University of Singapore (NUS). So, basically, I started my trail from NUS to Harbourfront, cutting down two parks from the original trail route.
This university is very similar to the University of the Philippines (UP). It could have been almost alike if only the buildings in UP have been renovated. Well, UP and most of the buildings around there are somewhere around a hundred years.
There was a fair and I saw books among the goods causing me to stay there for a couple of minutes. I didn't find the authors I'm looking for but I saw two books that I've read before. I proceeded with my trail after that. I just went straight hoping that it would lead me to the same direction I'm heading to. I went up and down the stairs, and turned left and right the streets. I took a photo of the campus map and realized that I'm walking on the wrong road. Well, it's too hot and I dont really like back-tracking so I just go straight the road. It was an upward slope and the hot sun makes it more difficult.
Fortunately, the end of the road is where I'm really heading to - Sounth Buona Vista Road. I cleared the NUS stage. Yay!
After passing through an enormous university, I also went through a science park. Actually, it's more like a road where both sides were establishments of IT companies. It's amazing how people can go to this place and not be late for work. I mean, there is only one bus line going through this road and who knows what time that bus will come?!
I actually don't know how long this drive is but I managed to reach a dead end. It's a dead end and no sign of 'Kent Ridge Park' anywhere. But there is a signage with a red circle and a diagonal line across it; nothing inside the circle though. I saw a small path going inside a forest just beside a condominium area. I still went through the path thinking if I sould or should not take it. There was another sign showing the way to Kent Ridge Park and the other connecting parks. I'm relieved. I won't be sued for this.
Kent Ridge Park
Upon entering the park insects flocked over me. I kept on walking while thinking that I should use an insect repellant lotion the next time I want to go for trailing.
Kent Ridge Park is a quiet and beautiful park. It was big too. Going to the connecting parks requires an upward trail. The other option was to return to the beginning of the Science Park.
I kept on seeing signs like 'MONKEYS SPOTTED HERE' or 'BE CAREFUL OF FALLING BRANCHES' or 'AVOID GOING TO THE FOREST DURING A BAD WEATHER'. It was a clear and crisp weather so it's fine to proceed. I always see signs for being wary of monkeys in the area but I never saw one in all the places I went to so far. I experience seeing a branch fall before me so I know I should be wary of that.
I managed to go through the forest without getting lost and foudn myself somewhere in a viewing area. The view was astonishing. I never knew there was a coastal view like this in Singapore. Well, actually it was a different view since I am atop a hill, I guess. I proceeded with my trail.
To reach the next park, which is Hort Park, I have to go through the Canopy Walk. I can either take the dull downward stairs, or walk through the forest which is the Canopy Walk. Of course, I wanted an experienc of passing through the Canopy Walk hence choosing it. Halfway through the foot-bridge-amongst-the-trees like thing, I saw a monkey. Another one came and a third one too. I'm afriad because I brought Vanilla cupcakes with me. The monkeys started coming my way and so I back-tracked and decided to continue with the dull downward stairs.
While going through the steps, I saw a woman jogging carefree in the Canopy Walk. I watched her as I go down the stairs until I can't see her anymore. I thought where are the monkeys?! Heck, if I knew they would disappear after a few minutes I could have waited. Such a waste. I don't want to go up the stairs again just to take the Canopy Walk.
I got a bit confused here and so I did my second back-tracked. I thought I can't go beyond the open gates so I followed the sign pointing to the next park. When i saw the next sign, I got confused again since I don't really know where the sign is pointing to. Luckily, there was someone there who bothered to ask me where I'm going. I answered 'I want to go to Alexandra Arch'. Then he man said that I can go straight the road ahead of me. I asked hime if I can go there through that park and I pointed to the Hort Park. He said, 'Also can.'
I went back and walked through the park. This was the first time I saw a greenhouse made of glass. I touched the glass if it's warm, and it really is. I wondered wht the temperature is inside and I even tried to enter but can't find the doors.
Hort Park is like the Botanical Garden but smaller. It is acutally like a huge garden divided into different types of gardens. I'm here to finish the trail but I decided to go back here again. It as interesting. It's like a one ticket tour around the world since the garden ideas are that of different places too.
I have two basic reasons for deciding to go to this trail. One is I wanted an achievement of finishing this 4hours/9km trail (although I cut down a few kilometers). Another is that I want to take photos of Alexandra Arch and Henderson Waves. Experience and memory, that is.
A little after the Hort Park is Alenxadra Arch. It was beautiful with the clear blue sky in the background. I love it. It was a short walk, and it's only a foot bridge with art, but I love it.
This is a trail like Canopy Walk which is also going through the forest, amongst the trees. The difference is that this is scarier.
It's like a very long footbridge made of metal like the one infront of SM North EDSA (in Philippines). I actually thought of my friend who is scared to go through this kind of bridge. I'm also afraid this time. It's metal. There were several small spaces between lines of metal; it's actually a patterned one. Imagine a tile with a pattern of diagonal lines. Imagined it as a metal and the lines are one space apart. Scary!
The walkway is stable but there are some creaking sound in some parts. And it's meant to be passed-by by health conscious people who are on their jogging route. What's more? Some part are high up from the ground. Once I looked down I get even more scared! I managed to pass through the entire walk without taking any shortcuts. At the end was a Hilltop Walk and I did not even realized it.
I walked and did a bit of jogging in the ground, on a hill probably, before reaching the thing I'm most excited about - Henderson Waves. It was quite an attraction. I'm really amazed how Singapore can think of ideas such as adding an artistic touch to a footbridge.
Henderson Waves is supposed to be a footbridge standing more than 70 meters above sea level. I don't know how high I am from the ground below, which is a high way. And the walkway for the Henderson Waves is made of wood, but it was, of course, supported by metal. But still, it's wood high up from the ground! I actually saw a part where the wood is chipped but I never tried peeking on it.
Compared to Alexandra Arch, Henderson Waves is much longer and the infrastracture design is a bit more complicated. It's really amazing!
After Henderson Waves, I reached Mount Faber by following an upward slope. The view while walking is great. I mean you can see the west part of Singapore in a completely different perspective. It's amazing that you can see such a view by going high up in the mountain area.
I reached the top. I saw The Jewel Box, which is a famous attraction as well because the cable car going to Sentosa is stationed there as well. I can actually see Sentosa Island from where I am standing.
I didn't stayed There for a long time. I also did not go through the Mount Faber Loop hence I was not able to see other photo sites in Mount Faber.
MARANG TRAIL AND HARBOURFRONT
After Mount Faber Park is the Marang Trail which is downward. By taking this trail, I was back to the city area - Harbourfront. It was a short trail and not special along the trail. Mostly are steps instead of a walkway with a downward slope.