Thursday, May 31, 2012

The MacRitchie Reservoir

Singapore has various water catchment areas around the island. These water catchment areas are areas whereby rainwater will be collected and made into fresh and clean water for Singaporeans. It's also one of the National Taps of Singapore. In today's article, I am going to give you a walkthrough of one of Singapore's famous water catchment area/reservoir known as MacRitchie Reservoir formerly known as The Impounding Reservoir and Thomson Road Reservoir. Previously, I have written about Bedok Reservoir Park which is another water catchment area/reservoir in Singapore. The previous article was one of the most popular articles for Frenzeelo so I thank you for your support. Anyway, let's continue with my write up of the MacRitchie Reservoir.

When you first reach MacRitchie Reservoir, there's a visitor centre and a kid's play area. There's also a cafe called The Mushroom Cafe which serves local dishes and fried finger foods. If you don't decide to eat at the cafe, you can bring your own food and have a picnic right here. There's also a shelder which gives a nice view of the reservoir and the forests that surround it. It's indeed a beautiful sight. I wish that they have seats inside that shelter so that I can have a picnic while enjoying the view of the reservoir.

This is how the view looks like and you can see the forests surrounding the reservoir. The water shows a reflection of the trees and it's a beautiful sight to see. Those thinking that Singapore is a concrete jungle with very little nature are wrong. Singapore has plenty of nature. It's also good to bring cameras here as there's a lot to take photos of right here at the reservoir.

Above is the Submerged Boardwalk whereby part of the boardwalk is submerged inside some dirty water. I challenge you to walk from one end of the boardwalk to the other end without getting wet. I only made it halfway but it's good enough. Near the Submerged Boardwalk, there were also several 'huts' which are not accessible to the public and each of them have metal gates that were locked. Also, each of them also have potted plans that line along the edges of the 'huts'. I'm not so sure what they are for so if anyone knows, let me know please.

After walking along the huts, there was another shelter-like thing that's located off the park and connected by a small walkway similar to the one mentioned above. However, this one was accessible to the public so you can go in and sit on the floor and have a picnic. There were also some nice views of the reservoir as seen from above.

After going through the park that's along the reservoir, now it's time to check out the forests of MacRitchie. You can actually choose one of two paths to enter. One is the Lornie Trail which is the entrance to the forest whereas the other, is the Chemperai Trail. The Chemperai Trail is located on the outskirts of the forest and it's located at the side of the reservoir with a wooden boardwalk. If you're up to the challenge and you want to see nature like never before, enter the Lornie Trail. Just remember that whatever trail you enter, please for your safety, do not enter when it's going to rain and please wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

Me and my friends decided to walk along the Lornie Trail instead of the Chemperai Trail. Once I entered the forest, there was a fitness corner (out of all places) in the middle of the forest. There were quite a lot of stations. MacRitchie Reservoir is a popular place among joggers and runners and they can also come to the fitness corner to train themselves. Also, don't worry about getting lost in the forest. It's impossible to get lost in the forest unless you veer off to other places. You just have to follow the path which can be seen from the picture above and there are also plenty of map boards along the trail. Also do be careful when walking because you may fall into a big crack or a dirty puddle of flowing water.

While walking along the forests, if you are feeling tired from all that walking (who doesn't?), there are plenty of shelters with seats along the way. After the Lornie Trail ended, I decided to check out part of the end of the Chemperai Trail boardwalk since both trails will meet at the end. The Chemperai Trail has several stone seats along the boardwalk so you can rest more and enjoy the view at the same time. However, do take note of any bugs and insects that crawl around because you may squash it with your butt while sitting down. Just right behind one of the stone seats was this signboard telling the reader an interesting fact about reservoirs. Click on the picture to see it better if you can't see.

Although it's the end of the Chemperai Trail and the Lornie Trail, I decided to continue walking in the forests. After the two trails, it's the start of the Jering Trail. The Jering Trail is somewhat similar to the Lornie Trail but slightly longer. There is a shelter named after the name of the Trail so do get some rest at the shelter before continuing the trail. While walking along the Jering Trail, I spotted this tree branch with beautiful mushrooms growing. I love the colour of the mushrooms and the shape of the mushrooms were also unique. When you see mushrooms, do be careful not to touch them because they may contain poison and for obvious reasons, do not pluck the mushrooms and eat them. Just like the Lornie Trail, there's another fitness corner for those people who want to continue working out after working out at the other fitness corner. I didn't see anyone working out at this fitness corner compared to the one found at the Lornie Trail so work out here at your own risk.

While walking along the trail, the MacRitchie Reservoir is in close proximity with a country club and its golf course. Part of the fence was actually ripped off although access to the golf course through the fence was still impossible so its best not to trespass the area. When you trespass the area, not only will you get caught for trespassing, you'll also risk getting hit by flying golf balls since its obviously a golf course. Just like what I've mentioned earlier, there's map boards within few metres so navigating the forests isn't a problem.

Shortly after I've taken a photo of the NO TRESPASSING sign as seen above, a family of monkeys was heading towards my direction. Instead of running away and screaming, me and my friends calmly took a step back and turned around hoping that they will go away soon. After seeing passers by walking towards the direction of the monkeys, we followed them and thankfully, the monkeys were gone. Remember, if you spot a monkey, calmly turn around and walk away until they're gone. After they're gone, then you can turn back and continue your journey.

Part of the Jering Trail was located along the outskirts of the country club's golf course. Along the way, a nice view of the reservoir can be found after leaving the forest. After walking so much, I found a shelter above a slightly steep hill. Turns out, the shelter actually belongs to the country club after seeing the blue signs on the seats. Me and my friends didn't really care so we just sat on the shelter like nobody's business. Anyway, since we walked long distances, we deserved a rest no matter which shelter we rest on.


Here are some more sights you can find at the outskirts of the golf course. It's nice that both the golf course and the MacRitchie Reservoir look pretty much the same and very nature oriented until you can't even differentiate the two except for the signs.


After checking out the reservoir near the outskirts of the golf club, it's time to go back into the forest. Unlike earlier on, the forest after the golf course has a wooden boardwalk which makes it easier for people to walk instead of walking on sand and earth. After some time, the boardwalk path ended and it's time to walk back onto the ground. After walking so much, there was an observation tower called the Jelutong Tower which gives a nice aerial view of the forests of the MacRitchie Reservoir.

For obvious reasons, there is no lift if you want to climb up all the way to the highest level. Instead, there's a spiral staircase and the observation tower also has levels so you can still catch nice views of the forests although it's not as beautiful-looking as the one found on the highest level. Each level also has seats if you want to take a break. Above is a picture taken from the highest level of the observation and if you look closely, you can see the dirt path where people walk. That's how tall the observation tower is. If you walk in the forests, do stop by the Jelutong Tower and check out nature with a nice view.

After the Jering Trail, it was another forest trail called the Sime Trail and the Terentang Trail. Along the Terentang Trail, there was the entrance which will lead visitors to the HSBC Treetop Walk which unfortunately, closed when I reached there. Apart from that, there were shelters as usual and a ranger station. The ranger station was also a place where you can refill your water bottle if you run out of water and visit the toilet if you need to go. Also, the ranger station is also the place to find more information and direction around the forests and the MacRitchie Reservoir.

\After all that walking and exploration, it's time for us to head back home and finally get a good rest. Just right after the Ranger Station, there was a driveway that led to the Singapore Island Country Club which is the country club that operates the golf course that I mentioned above. Since there was a driveway, it must lead to the main road so after almost 20 mins of walking along the driveway, I found the main road. The main road was Upper Thomson Road and thankfully, a bus stop was located just right outside and there was one particular bus service that terminates at Hougang Central Interchange where me and my friends can easily head back home.

The MacRitchie Reservoir is a fantastic place to discover the nature side of Singapore, joggers who want to jog in the forests without risks and children who are interested in everything nature-related. Bring your friends whether local or foreign who thinks that Singapore is dull, boring or full of concrete to the MacRitchie Reservoir and they'll take back what they have said. Admission is free and the only thing you have to pay at the reservoir itself is the food that you can buy at the reservoir's cafe. With lots of public buses passing by the area and an MRT station located nearby, getting to MacRitchie won't be a problem. Plus, if you want to come here, do yourself a favour and click the website below. At the website, print out the maps because it's hard to find maps in the reservoir unless you can depend on just the map boards. Do bring comfortable shoes and clothing and stay out of the forests if it's going to rain. No need to be scared, just bring friends along and go on a Saturday where there's more people.

Getting Here 

Bus services available: 52, 74, 93, 130, 132, 156, 157, 162, 162M, 165, 166, 167, 852, 855, 980 (Bus stop along Thomson Road outside MacRitchie Reservoir)

Nearest MRT Station: CC17 Caldecott MRT Station (Circle Line)

Website: MacRitchie Reservoir Park Website

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