Last Updated 5 July 2020
There is no question that there is a lot to see and do in Singapore! We fell in love with this amazing city during our week long visit, and could easily have spent even longer.
While sights in central Singapore like Gardens By The Bay and Marina Bay might be more famous and popular, I’d highly recommend you take a day out of the hustle and bustle of the city and head out to the beautiful MacRitchie Reservoir Park and Nature Reserve.
It’s well worth a visit if you enjoy lush greenery and perhaps the chance of spotting a monkey or two!
MacRitchie Reservoir Park is a haven of green located in the heart of Singapore and perfect for nature lovers.
COVID-19 Update: Yes! MacRitchie Reservoir Park is open! You’re asked to keep your group to 5 people or less, and keep a safe distance from others at all times. Check out the official National Parks website for further details
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MacRitchie Reservoir Park Overview
MacRitchie Reservoir Park stretches for 12 hectares, and is free to enter.
Depending on which trail(s) you choose, you’ll skirt around the edge of MacRitchie Reservoir on well-maintained boardwalks, or go deep into the jungle like forest on dirt tracks.
The park offers various loops and trails, starting from an easy 3km (1 hour) loop, with the longest trail being 11km long. There are 6 official trails but you can easily mix and match between them in a way that suits you.
Doing the full loop should take you around 4 hours, depending on your level of fitness and how often you stop for breaks and photo opportunities. Shorter trails may take between 2-3 hours to complete.
The trails in MacRitchie are mostly listed as easy – moderate, although there are some steep slopes to climb at times.
MacRitchie Reservoir Park Trail Routes
You don’t need to worry about getting lost in MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Each trail is clearly marked with kilometer counters and coloured bands to show you which route(s) you’re on.
There are also regular maps of the park showing you where you are so you can always take a picture with your phone to make sure you know where you’re going next!
As always, I highly recommend downloading Maps.me onto your phone and having an offline map handy. Maps.me is great for walking trails and helps make sure you stay on the right path.
We started our hike at the MacRitchie Car Park entrance on Lornie Road, but another option is the Venus Drive car park.
The Venus Drive entrance may actually be a better option if you want to stop along the way for a bite to eat (more on this below).
Also, because of where we started, we needed to double back on a portion of the track in order to head to an area where we could get on WiFi so that we could order a Grab to take us back to our Air BnB apartment near East Coast Park. We didn’t get a SIM card in Singapore like we did in Malaysia, which, in hindsight, would have made our lives a lot easier!
MacRitchie Treetop Walk
One of the main reasons many people visit MacRitchie Reservoir park is to experience Singapore’s awesome treetop walk. It’s a wonderful way to get up high and close to nature!
The MacRitchie treetop walk is a 250 meter long, free standing suspension bridge, which is 25 meters above the ground at its highest point.
The walk actually spans the two highest points in MacRitchie and offers some pretty spectacular views over the forest canopy.
Like MacRitchie Park itself, the treetop walk has free admission.
Getting To The MacRitchie Treetop Walk
The entrance to the MacRitchie treetop suspension bridge is from the Ranger Station via Pierce track (Routes 5 and 6).
It’s about a 2 hour walk (4.5 km) from the MacRitchie Reservoir car park, and a 1 hour walk (2.5 km) from the Venus Drive car park.
If you’re not planning on doing the full 11km loop, your best bet is to start your hike from the Venus Drive car park, and follow Route 6, which is 8km long. When you hit the loop by the Ranger Station, you’ll want to go around the nature trail in an anti-clockwise direction to hit the treetop walk first.
If you are doing the full loop (Route 4), this doesn’t automatically take you to the treetop walk. If this is part of your plan, make sure you follow Route 3 around Pierce Track before rejoining Route 4 just after the Petaling Hut.
It’s important to note that the treetop walk is only one way! So make sure you’re comfortable with the height and the slight swing of the bridge as there’s no turning back once you get going!!
MacRitchie Treetop Walk Opening Hours
The MacRitchie treetop walk is open from 9am – 5pm (closed on Mondays except on Public Holidays).
Note: The gate to the treetop walk closes at 5pm sharp so make sure you get there in time to avoid disappointment.
As if your legs weren’t shaky enough after all the walking you’ve already done, the Jelutong lookout tower on Route 7 gives you another great view above the treetops and back out towards Singapore city.
Jelutong tower has six different levels with lookout/observation decks at each.
Really you’ll want to go to the very top to get a real sense of the size of MacRitchie Reservoir Park and possibly even spot some wildlife in the surrounding trees.
If nothing else, it’s a good place to sit down for a breather and enjoy a bit of a breeze!
Wildlife in MacRitchie Reservoir Park
Not surprisingly perhaps, you’re quite likely to spot a few long-tailed macaque monkeys on your walk.
They are fairly abundant but do keep your eyes peeled as we almost walked past a group of macaques dozing in the trees just before the golf course towards the end of the 11km walk!
We also spotted quite a few lizards – mostly skinks as well as a couple of (smaller) monitor lizards!
Squirrels were abundant too! And of course plenty of birds as well as some brightly coloured butterflies.
You could even spot a flying lemur or owl, but we weren’t so lucky.
Monkey Do’s and Don’ts
I always get excited when I see monkeys in the wild, even if they are “just” macaques, which we ended up seeing very often on our travels around South East Asia!
But, while they look cute and playful, they are still wild animals and can get aggressive. Please do follow these simple rules for your own safety;
- Stay calm and quiet and keep about a 2-3m distance
- Don’t look the monkeys directly in the eye as this is considered a challenge and they may feel threatened and become agitated
- Keep food and water well out of sight and reach – they are likely to come looking!
- Also, please do not feed the monkeys as this disrupts their feeding patterns and adversely alters their behaviour
When we first arrived at MacRitchie Reservoir Park, we saw a group of people all bundled up in long sleeved tops and pants, spraying about a bottle and a half of mosquito repellant all over themselves…
We felt a little unprepared (!!!) in our shorts and singlets, and had forgotten the spray at the apartment… Whoops!
But, I’m happy to report that we got a grand total of zero bites between us.
Maybe it wasn’t the season for them or maybe we just got lucky. But, considering how hot and humid it gets and the amount of sweating we did…. We were pretty happy with our selected outfits!
Even so, I would suggest bringing some mosquito repellant along for your walk!
What To Wear and Bring To MacRitchie Reservoir Park
Make sure you bring a bottle of water with you!! I can’t reiterate enough how hot it gets out there and how important it is to re-hydrate!
There are a couple of areas where you can refill from a drinking fountain. But, we were actually a bit surprised by how few there were.
Make sure you do refill when you have the opportunity!
There are a number of small sheltered huts where you can stop to rest and enjoy the surrounding forest, but most of these don’t have water fountains.
Also make sure you wear proper shoes (either hiking boots or comfortable sneakers). The path, while well maintained, is rocky and uneven in places.
Most of the time you’ll be quite sheltered in the trees of the jungle. But, at the end of Route 7 you’ll actually skirt around a golf course and be out in the open. A sun hat and sunglasses will come in handy here.
MacRitchie Reservoir Park Facilities
Showers & Lockers
At the MacRitchie Car Park entrance (not sure about Venus Drive), there are showers and lockers that you can use.
If I’d known I might’ve brought a towel and washed off after our 11km hike!
I was literally soaking in sweat so if you’re planning on going anywhere after, it might pay to bring a towel and a change of clothes.
Storing them in a locker while you walk is great at only S$1-2, and the showers are free of charge!
Food & Refreshments
Mushroom Cafe at the MacRitchie Car Park entrance is a great place to grab a bite to eat. As I mentioned, if you start your walk at the Venus Drive Car Park, this is a perfect spot to take a breather and fuel up before continuing on.
The cafe is open from 8am – 8pm daily and serves a variety of both Western and Asian foods, as well as ice-cream and cool drinks.
Note: Payment is by cash only, but this place is very reasonably priced!
How to get to MacRitchie Reservoir Park
There isn’t really an MRT station close by a park entrance, so your best bet is to either take the bus or order a Grab.
(The closest MRT station is Caldecott on the Circle Line (yellow). From there to Mushroom cafe is about a 15min walk)
From where we were staying on the East Coast, we would’ve had to take two busses, which would’ve taken over an hour.
So, instead we opted to use Grab for the first time and found it to be super easy and convenient! It only took 20minutes and cost us S$12 each way.
Having said that, we took the bus plenty of times during our week in Singapore too and found that they are frequent, reliable, and best of all, cheap!
To get to the main entrance of MacRitchie Reservoir Car Park, get off the bus at the MacRitchie Reservoir stop (Stop ID: 51071).
- Buses: 52, 74, 93, 157, 165, 852, 855
To get to the entrance at Venus Drive, get off the bus at the “Opp Flame Tree Pk” stop (Stop ID: 53071)
- Buses: 132, 163, 165, 166, 167, 855, 980
Enjoy your time in Singapore! And, please leave me a comment below if you end up visiting MacRitchie Reservoir Park. I’d love to know what you think, and whether any additional information would be useful in this post!
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