A breezy beautiful morning, a walk in the park sounds like a perfect idea to start the weekend. Listening to the chirps of birds, enjoying the scent of nature and watching the lovely butterflies dancing from flower to flower under the cloudy sky.
Guess where I was last Saturday? I tagged along with my friend to HortPark. He was there to meet his friend and I was there to enjoy the beautiful weather and the gardens.
Alexandra Arch Bridge
After roaming around HortPark for a while, it was just 8.45 am. I left my friend at Hort Park to explore the Southern Ridges. Leaving HortPark via the Flora Walk, the Alexandra Arch, a beautiful curved deck, tilted arch bridge stood before me. Yes, there are many beautiful bridges in Singapore.
The Alexandra Arch measured 0.8 km spans the Alexandra Road like an opened leaf connecting Hyderabad Road and Gillman Village, a former British military camp and now an eclectic mix of restaurants, pubs and art galleries. I have been driving past this beautiful bridge many times and glad that I finally stepped foot on it.
After crossing the Alexandra Road to the Gillman Village, I reached the Forest Walk. It is a steps-free elevated walkway with heights ranging from 3 to 18 metres of 1.3 km long. I was surprised by the lush greenery we have in the heart of the city, it was a surreal experience. The forest below the walkway is the secondary forest of Telok Blangah Hill.
Besides viewing the forest from the top, there are earth trails that offer a more rugged experience, bringing us closer to the wildlife in the area. Along the elevated walkway, there are stairs for us to exit and step onto the earth trail. I have yet to take that trail and plan to do that next time. The elevated steps-free walkway zig-zags through steep slopes at parts of the 1.3 km walk.
Hilltop Walk – Telok Blangah Hill Park
After the Forest Walk, I reached an intersection point. Either I continue my walk to Henderson Waves or take a Hilltop Walk to the Telok Blangah Hill Park. It’s been four years since I visited Telok Blangah Hill Park. I walked up the steps to the Hilltop. Most people skipped the Hill Park, perhaps, they didn’t want to climb up the stairs. It is definitely worth a visit especially if you have not been.
From the top of the Telok Blangah Park, you will have a good view of the city. As the place is not crowded unlike other parks, it is a nice place for a family picnic, personal retreat, taichi or yoga session.
Telok Blangah Hill Park was originally part of Mount Faber Park, the ridge that the parks used to share were cut across by the extension of Henderson Road in the mid-1970s. Besides entering the Park from the front, there is another route at the back of the Hilltop that will lead us to the main road.
Next to the Telok Blangah Hill Park is the old Alkaff Mansion, a two-storey Tudor-styled bungalow built in 1918 by a member of the prominent Alkaff family – Arabs who arrived from Yemen in 1852. It was a well-known gathering place for notable members of society in the 1930s. Then it was converted into a restaurant and just last year, the establishment decided not to renew the lease. Alkaff Mansion is now managed as a State Land and is not open to public access.
The Telok Blangah Hill Park and Mount Faber Park are finally connected again by the Henderson Waves at 274 metres long, the longest pedestrian bridge in Singapore.
The bridge has a unique waveform made up of curved steel that looks like ribs. The “wave ribs” form alcoves functioning as shades with seats. With the morning sun casting a shadow on the “wave ribs”, the people walking under it looked encapsulated by this giant wave.
It was about 9:30 am when I reached the Henderson Waves, the place was getting crowded. There were people walking to the next destination, with many just resting, enjoying the morning breeze and the view of Telok Blangah and Keppel Bay.
The deck of the bridge is covered with yellow balau wood, an all-weather timber found in South East Asia. When you are at the Henderson Waves, you may like to check out the deck that indicates the height of the bridge where you are standing.
I reached the end of the Henderson Waves and I was just another kilometre away to Mount Faber Park. Another place that I have not visited since I cannot remember when. After walking for about 3 kilometres, what is another kilometre up the hill?
Less than 15 minutes, I was at Mount Faber Park. It looked so different from the last I visited. It looks great. It reminded me of Seoul’s Namsan Tower, a much smaller version, though.
Just when I was about to go up to Faber Point, my friend texts me, asking me to walk back to HortPark. 😦 I did not get to go up to the Faber Point to see the Merlion. I will be back.
Park Hopping at the Southern Ridges
Take a walk at the Southern Ridges, I am sure you will enjoy it. A quick getaway from the concrete jungle. Starting from HortPark to Mount Faber and back will take about two to three hours.
Alternatively, take the Cable Car from HarbourFront Tower 2 to Mount Faber, enjoy your morning at Faber Peak then take a walk to Henderson Waves, follow by Hilltop Walk and Forest Walk. And spend the rest of the day exploring and joining the activities at HortPark.
To complete the Southern Ridges Walk, do not miss visiting the Labrador Park, Kent Ridge Park and the Reflections at Bukit Chandu. I would recommend visiting the two parks on two separate mornings that you may have a better appreciation of the Parks.
Sharing the photos of my walk from HortPark to the Kent Ridge Canopy Walk and visited the Reflections at Bukit Chandu along the way.
Hope you enjoyed the walk with me. Another view of Singapore, a City in a Garden.
Getting to HortPark: 33 Hyderabad Road (off Alexandra Road), Singapore 119578. By bus service 51, 61, 93, 100, 120, 166, 963 and 408 (Note: Bus Service 408 operates during weekends and public holidays only)
Getting to HarbourFront Cable Car Station: Alight at HarbourFront MRT Station, take exit B towards HabourFront Centre. Cross the link bridge on level 2 and follow directions to Singapore Cable Car at HarbourFront Tower Two.
Photography: Photos on this post were taken using iPhone 6
For more information, do go to www.nparks.gov.sg.
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