Looking for new inspiration to stay fit? Why not explore the city with these self-guided hiking routes?
Singapore may seem like one big city, but there’s lots of secret hiking trails perfect for self-guided walks or bicycle rides. 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 is a detailed guide to 15 walking routes 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.
How it all started
The inspiration behind this book started with Wandeldames Singapore, a Dutch-speaking walking group. After the authors Sandra and Pleun joined the group they decided to write a book of their favourite routes to help more people discover the beauty of Singapore’s green landscape.
Now in its third edition, the Book of Walks includes clear instructions, down to each turn in the road you need to take. This detail did not come easy. “The first edition took about eight months, from the first walk until the launch. The second edition took us another three weeks to walk all the walks. For the pictures, we took a car and hopped on and off on different locations for every route,” shares Pleun.
While the authors personally re-walked routes and double-checked road names, they also got help from the ladies of the Wandeldames group. “We didn’t want people getting lost because of a poor description from our side,” shares co-author Sandra. “So this book really is a team effort. Our names are on the cover, but we got a lot of help from other people.”
After the second edition, authors Sandra and Pleun had to move away from Singapore. So Patrica edited the third version of the Book of Walks. “I walked all the walks myself. And because it was my first time – I talked all the changes through with Pleun by calling her. When a situation was not clear, I had to personally check,” shares Patricia. She’s added two of her own favourite Singapore walking routes to the book.
Proceeds given to charity
As with previous editions, all proceeds of the sale of the third edition of the Singapore Book of Walks go to Singapore charities supported by the NCA. As Pleun says, “We are super-excited the book is a success! Not everyone is as lucky as us. With the sales of the book we can help more people in need.”
Here are four of the best hiking trails in Singapore!
1. Southern Ridges hiking trail
Trek from Harbour Front MRT to Telok Ayer MRT, a total distance of 7km.
What To Expect
A mix of intense hiking through leafy green hills with a relaxed walk in quiet neighbourhoods. Expect lots of Singapore culture and street art.
About The Walk
This route begins at Harbourfront MRT station (exit D) and takes you through Mount Faber Park. You climb historic Mount Faber and enter the heartlands of Telok Blangah, where you will pass Telok Blangah Rise Market. The walk leads you to Bukit Purmei Avenue and through the Bukit Purmei Bird Arena. Tip: Look out for the uncles taking their pet singing birds for a walk, in decorated birdcages.
As you walk along Bukit Teresa Road, you’ll 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.
This walk will also take you past Pinnacle@Duxton, an enormous HDB block that’s won many international architecture prizes. Grab a drink at the famous red Maxwell Food Centre, and walk on to Amoy Street, where you can pose for selfies in front of photogenic heritage houses and another of Yip’s street murals, which shows the evolution of the city.
2. Singapore’s northern hiking trail, with hot springs
Hike from Canberra to Sembawang MRT, for 13km.
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 hiking routes around the Red Dot. Its authors and photographers, Pleun Brevet, Sandra Delvers and Patricia Boost, are donating all proceeds to charity. You can get your copy at nca.org.sg/shop/book-of-walks
Pleun Brevet lived in Singapore for five years, where she learned to love the diversity and accessibility of Singapore parks. She says, “No matter what you are into, you can find it in Singapore parks, from wild jungle walks to strolls around the perfectly maintained Botanical Gardens.” Pleun now lives in on a farm on the Canadian Prairies. “It’s like living in a petting zoo!”
Sandra Delvers is a horse lover who lived in Singapore for three years, volunteering at the charity RDA (Riding for the Disabled) Singapore. Since her return to The Netherlands four years ago, she’s 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. She and her husband made the move after their four children left home to go to university. “My husband and I then felt free to start a new adventure,” explains Patricia. She loves “The mix of modern and old traditions in Singapore and the diversity of Singapore’s people. And I love that you never have to worry about cold weather – just take an umbrella and a shawl, for the aircon, and you are fine!”
By Willaine G. Tan, Issue 305 / Last Updated Arshi Iqbal / Some text adapted from The Book of Walks by Pleun Brevet and Sandra Delvers. Photos: The Book of Walks, NParks Singapore + 123RF.com.