Escape the city bustle and walk along the green Southern Ridges. This Southern Ridges loop hike takes you up Mount Faber, via Henderson Waves and Telok Blangah Hill to Kent Ridge Park and finishes with a visit to Labrador park at the coast.
The hike starts and finishes at the HarbourFront Centre. Get there via the MRT or one of the many buses. The Marang trail, which is the first part of the hike, starts at the MRT Exit D. We started this hike on a Monday morning in October 2021 at 7:45 am.
Tips on Southern Ridges Hike
- Mount Faber, Telok Blangah Hill and Kent Ridge park are open 24hrs and lit between 7 pm to 7 am daily.
- HortPark is open from 6 am to 11 pm.
- Labrador Nature Reserve is only open from 7 am to 7 pm so make sure to finish your hike by then.
- Start early to avoid some heat.
- Bring a sun hat, sunscreen and water along.
- There are various places to fill up water along the trail.
- Almost all of the trails are paved so wear appropriate shoes.
- Bring snacks and lunch as there are not many food places along the route.
- Navigation offline maps app Maps.me works quite well but not all trails on the map are open in reality.
The hike starts with a large uphill, the Marang Trail, which was good as it was still relatively cool. A paved path with steps winds its way up through the jungle. There are a few nice looking colonial villas visible from the path.
Mount Faber Park
Eventually, the Marang Trail reaches the road that traverses the ridge in Mount Faber Park. The views from here are quite good and there are a lot of pretty flowers along the way. We turned left and took a smaller path on the left-hand side of the road towards the cable station. If you want to visit Sentosa Island, you can take the cable car from here, with reduced-price tickets from Klook*.
A bit further along the road, there is a good viewpoint on the right of the city skyline. The views get even better when you head to Faber Point, the highest point on the Southern Ridges hike. You can spot Sentosa Island on the left hand side.
Below the viewpoint are copper murals depicting the story of Singapore from its past till now. It is definitely worth a look and as an added bonus it is nice and shady. There is also a baby Merlion at Faber Point, although still reaching 3 meters in height. Head to the top for 360 degree views of Singapore.
From Faber Point, we headed over to Henderson Waves. This section of the park has quite a jungle vibe and we spotted some interesting fungi along the way.
Henderson Waves is a very convenient pedestrian bridge to Telok Blangah Hill Park, saving you to cross the busy Henderson road and a bit of descent and climb. It is apparently the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, but most striking is it unique wavy design made from wood and steel.
Telok Blangah Hill Park
Across the Henderson Waves Bridge you reach Telok Blangah Hill Park. A path takes you down to the road inside the park. If you are already looking for a break at a fancy café*, head over to the Alkaff Mansion on the right. We only had a quick look but it looked like a rather nice place for a cup of tea.
Where the road splits, make sure to take the steps up to the Beautiful Terrace Garden. Various steps and semi-circular terraces take you up to the highest point in this park.
The main attraction of Telok Blangah Hill Park is the Forest Walk, an elevated walkway taking you through the canopy of the forest with some interesting interpretive boards. The alternative Earth Trail below did not seem to be very popular. The Forest Walk ends at Alexandria Arch, another nicely designed pedestrian bridge.
HortPark is not like your usual park. It is a gardening resource hub and a knowledge centre on plants and gardening, where you can get active and do some gardening yourself. The different types of gardens are also interesting to wander through.
We walked through HortPark as it is a convenient connector between Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park. There is an alternative route avoiding HortPark via Hyderabad road which we took on the way back.
Kent Ridge Park
From HortPark there is a convenient connecting path taking you up to Kent Ridge. If you have time to spare, you could visit Reflections at Bukit Chandu. This war museum in a restored colonial bungalow commemorates the Battle of Opium Hill (Bukit Chandu in Malay) in the Second World War. Unfortunately, we were there on a Monday when the museum is closed.
From the top of the ridge another raised walkway starts, called the Canopy Walk. We took the canopy walk. There are a couple of interpretive boards and viewpoints along the way. A bit further we had a snack break in one of the shelters.
The final destination in Kent Ridge Park was the pond. To get there, you follow the path along the main road over the ridge and go straight when the road turns left. This path and some steps will take you down to the Kent Ridge Pond. Despite the nearby building works, the pond is quite a tranquil place.
We made our way back through Kent Ridge Park and took Hyderabad road instead of going through HortPark. On this tree-lined road, you will see some old colonial bungalows in the black and white style. The road ends at the Alexandria Arch, which we took again to cross the road.
Shoes for Paved Paths
The majority of hikes in Singapore are on paved paths, so your hiking shoes need good damping. For hikes that are entirely on pavement like this one, you may prefer to wear trainers with a reasonable grip. We really like the fit and feel of Salomon shoes. Their running shoes give you plenty of damping on paved paths:
Salomon Men‘s Sonic 4 Balance Running Shoes on Amazon*.
Salomon Women‘s Sonic 4 Balance W Running Shoes on Amazon*.
Check out the complete list of hiking gear needed for Singapore:
Labrador Nature Reserve
On the other side of the road, you can pick up the Alexandra Garden Trail that heads towards Labrador Nature Reserve. It is a combined bicycle and pedestrian walkway along a busy road but with some nice greenery.
It was late morning and getting hot. Fortunately, there is some shade along the way, but not all the way. We were glad once we made it to Labrador Nature Reserve since there is a nice tree cover giving you plenty of shade. However, there is also a bit of uphill. We visited the old defensive structures and guns on the ridge before heading down towards the seaside.
In 1935, Labrador was chosen by the British Army to build a battery because of its strategic location, covering the western entrance to Keppel Harbour. It should work together with the guns at Fort Siloso on the other side of the harbour on nowadays Sentosa Island.
There are several remains of the battery, including guns, tunnels and defensive structures in the jungle. Though in the past they cleared the forest to provide good a view of the potential targets, now the jungle has once again taken over. It’s worthwhile walking the little trails to discover the various remnants and information boards.
The seaside part of the Labrador Nature Reserve is rather different from the ridge. It is quite open with some trees for shade and lots of benches. A broad walkway lines the coast, and at the very western end, there is a jetty overlooking the container port.
We filled up water and ate our lunch in the park, then took the coastal path towards the east. Even here you will find some war remains like a bunker in the middle of a playground, quite eerie.
At some point we passed a replica of the Dragon’s Teeth Gate, a stone pillar that once formed one side of the entrance to the harbour. A bit further, the Bukit Chermin Boardwalk starts, taking you to the luxury waterfront complex Reflections by the Bay. You can spot some very expensive looking yachts here, as well as a very nice looking colonial villa (30 Bukit Chermin).
From here we walked back to Harbour Front MRT and finished a great hike along the Southern Ridges.
FAQs on the Southern Ridges hike
Mount Faber Park is open 24 hours a day and lit between 7 pm to 7 am.
Telok Blangah Hill Park is open 24 hours a day and lit between 7 pm to 7 am.
Kent Ridge Park is open 24 hours a day and lit between 7 pm to 7 am.
Hortpark is open from 6 am to 11 pm.
The nature reserve is open from 7 am to 7 pm.
Yes, it is free to walk through HortPark.
Faber Point in Mount Faber Park is the highest point at 106 meters above sea level.
The Henderson Waves pedestrian bridge is 36 meters above Henderson Road.
Hyderabad road is a good place to see old colonial bungalows in black and white style.