Walk up the Kallang river and explore the meandering river in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and the source of the river at Lower Peirce Reservoir Park. This one-way hike finishes with a visit to Thomson Nature Park to see the ruins of a former village being taken over by the jungle.
Early on Saturday morning in January 2022, we took the purple MRT line to Potong Pasir. The hike starts just outside the MRT station exit A. This is a one-way hike and on the way back we took a bus back home.
Kallang River Hike Tips
- Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is open 24hrs and lit from 7pm and 7am.
- This hike also goes through Lower Peirce Reservoir Park and Thomson Nature Park which are open from 7am to 7pm daily.
- There is shade from the trees for a large part of the hike, but some sections are open and sunny.
- Take a sun hat, sunscreen and and plenty of water along.
- Navigation offline maps app Maps.me works quite well but not all trails on the map are open in reality.
Kallang Park Connector
The first part of this hike is on the Kallang Park Connector along the Kallang River. To get to the park connector from the Potong Pasir MRT station, it is a short walk in a residential area with somewhat triangular HDB flats and then across a bridge. At this stage, the Kallang river is like most Singaporean rivers i.e. with concrete banks, so not great. But the park connector alongside is free from traffic and crossings which is pleasant.
As usual for Singapore, we saw a crew of otters swimming downstream in the river. There is a section of the river where they tried to make it more natural by adding rocks and plants, which was a nice break from the straight concrete basin. After about 4 kilometres and crossing three major roads by pedestrian bridges, you reach Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
Bring a Sun Hat
Besides sunscreen, you can protect your face against the harsh sun with a sun hat. We always throw hats in our backpack, and use them regularly. They are not very useful in the jungle, but once you get to the open sections you are happy to carry one along. I’ve got this airy sun hat from a great American outdoor brand called Outdoor Research:
Outdoor Research Swift Sun Hat on Amazon*.
You may prefer something with a wider brim, like:
Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat on Amazon*.
Check out the complete list of hiking gear needed for Singapore:
Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
The nicest part of the Kallang river flows through Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. They have really tried to restore the river to its natural way of flowing, meandering through the park with lots of reeds. There are also some exciting stepping stones across the river, so you can check out the river life up close. There are plenty of fish, explaining the otters. Apparently there are also stingrays in the river according to the many warning signs.
It is quite a large park, stretching for about 4 km along the river all the way to Lower Peirce Reservoir Park. It is definitely one of the nicest city parks in Singapore. A major road crosses the park and for the moment you need to cross it with traffic lights, but work is on the way to create a tunnel.
Lower Peirce Reservoir Park
Crossing Upper Thomson Road at the far west of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park gets you to the entrance road to Lower Peirce Reservoir Park. After a short walk along the quiet road, you enter the park on the left and not much further is the Lower Peirce Reservoir. This reservoir is rather scenic, and you can enjoy the views while walking to the far end of the park where the Kallang river originates.
We had a snack break on one of the many benches along the way, and afterwards went to the boardwalk. The boardwalk takes you along the edge of the reservoir for a bit, before venturing into the forest. We headed to the Casuarina entrance. From there it is a short walk to one of the entrances to Thomson Nature Park.
Thomson Nature Park
This is a very interesting nature park. Initially, the only thing you meet is jungle. But after a while there are numerous ruins along the way. There used to be a Hainan Village here until 1975, but the jungle is quite rapidly taking back control. The park is meant as a buffer park to protect the Central Catchment area in the centre of Singapore.
There are quite a few trails to explore, leading to different ruins. Although these ruins aren’t ancient or even old, it is slightly weird that they are there and the jungle is taking over again. We ended up at the official entrance of the park, where there are some information signs and a toilet building.
We walked a final loop from the entrance to some more ruins and then we took a bus back home from Upper Thomson Road, which passes the entrance.
FAQs on The Kallang River Hike
The park is open 24hrs and lit between 7 pm and 7 am.
This river in Singapore starts at Lower Peirce Reservoir.
The former Hainan village in Thomson Nature Park was abandoned in 1975.
The park is open from 7 am to 7 pm.
The park is open from 7 am to 7 pm.