Sunday, October 14, 2018

Running in Singapore: MacRitchie Reservoir Trail, and Tree Top!

Time flies, it has been 13 years since my last trip to Singapore! I had visited our ILOG subsidiary a handful of times between 1991 and 2005, but not since we got acquired by IBM in 2008. Back then, I wasn't running as much as today anyway so was glad to either escape the heat and humidity by staying on the treadmill, or just do a few miles in the Botanic Gardens.

This time, I landed at Changi airport at 6 am so had a few hours to kill before getting my hotel room to shower and change after a 16-hour flight. And I needed more space then. Looking at the overall map of the island, I spotted a large green area in the center, with 3 large lakes. Zooming in, Google Maps was showing a network of trails around the first reservoir, we were in business!

5 kilometers from my hotel in Little India to the trail head meant that I could run the 11 kilometers of that loop around the reservoir for a half marathon. Not too long, but taking into account not only the fatigue after such a long flight, but more importantly the grueling heat and humidity. Wow, it makes it so much harder than running in California, I feel so lucky to live on West Coast!

Here are a few maps to situate the run.

Or this cool 3D flyover from (click on the link or the image to see the animation):
On Monday, I was disappointed to find out that the Tree Top experience was closed.

Thankfully, I was able to run that same loop on Friday before an important client meeting. So cool to walk over the rain forest and get such an unusual perspective, looking at trees from above!
And even cooler to be welcomed by a monkey!

Oh, don't get them excited with food by the way, this is strictly forbidden!
And you don't want to ignore all the things which are forbidden in Singapore...

I had rained a lot on Wednesday and Thursday but it's amazing how Mother Nature and some good drainage can take care of the excess of water so quickly; there were a few puddles but the trail was still in great conditions on Friday.

Even the thousand (maybe) wooden stairs of the Tree Top section weren't too slippery.

Outside the Tree Top section, in case it is closed, there is the option to climb the 6-level Jelutong tower and that will give you some tree top experience, including views of the city far over the reservoir.

Always impressive to look at tall palm trees from above, isn't it?

Or to see such giant leaves!
You can get drinking water at the nearby Ranger Station and, with all the sweat in such weather conditions all year round, it's much needed!
The water sport center at the entrance of the park also has drinkable water outside of the building.
On my way back, I even saw a 4-foot long water monitor lizard (it was so close but unfortunately, I missed the video).
Additional views from the trail longing the reservoir and the golf links, on the South West side.

Note that the trails around the first/lower reservoir connect to a second reservoir, the Upper Peirce Reservoir, then a third, the Upper Seletar Reservoir, so the opportunities for trail running are endless, yet so close to downtown. Actually, if you go that far North, you are pretty much at the top end of the island, and country!

Highly recommend that trail then, to experience running in the rain forest, still with the comfort of a well maintained trail and water spots. After this virtual tour, I hope you can visit and enjoy some day!

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