MacRitchie Reservoir is Singapore’s oldest reservoir, completed in 1868 as part of the government’s plan to turn the island into a City In A Garden. The park is a popular weekend destination for the breathtaking views from the Treetop Walk and the miles of monkey-inhabited boardwalks.
To get to MacRitchie Reservoir by public transit, take any bus to the ‘MacRitchie Reservoir’ stop on Lornie Road, or take the Circle Line to Caldecott MRT and from there it’s a ten-minute walk. There are many other ways to get into the park, but this is the main entrance and closest entry to the park’s points of interest.
The main attraction at MacRitchie Reservoir is the Treetop Walk, a freestanding suspension bridge spanning 250-meters from Bukit Peirce to Bukit Kalan, the two highest points in MacRitchie Park. At its highest point, the bridge is 25 meters – or seven stories above the forest floor! From this vantage point, visitors can enjoy views of the forest canopy and even see the waters of the reservoir in the distance. The Treetop Walk is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9AM to 5PM and closed on Mondays. Admission is free.
A lesser-known attraction that also offers great views is the Jelutong Tower. This tower is the same height as the Treetop Walk and gives similarly stunning views. Perhaps less popular because people hope to avoid stairs, it is absolutely ideal if you are hoping to take some pictures, without having people bump into you or get annoyed that you’re stalling on the bridge.
Besides the Treetop Walk and the Jelutong Tower, the park has six different hiking trails that vary in length and difficulty. The Orange Route 1 from the Saint Theresa bus stop entrance (the bus that goes to MacRitchie Park) is just three kilometers and rated as easy, whereas Pink Route 5, starting from the same location, is 9.5 kilometers and ranked as difficult. It’s very important to use the maps while you’re hiking and be sure to carry a lot of water, along with wearing proper footwear, especially if you’re doing the more difficult trails. Even though MacRitchie Park is in the heart of Singapore, once you are on the trails, there is nowhere to buy more water, and the only filling station is at the entrance to the Treetop Walk. You can download a copy of the map with information about all the hiking trails here.
Another fun activity to try at MacRitchie Park, and a great way to experience the reservoir, is to rent a kayak and explore the shoreline from another perspective. Head to Paddle Lodge, which is about a five-minute walk from the MacRitchie Reservoir bus stop, where you can rent kayaks. Kayaks are available daily from 9AM-12PM, and 2-6PM and cost $15 per hour for sit-on-top kayaks, and $20 for two hours for closed-deck kayaks. Note that there are no washrooms at the Paddle Lodge, so be sure to use the ones near the parking lot. Additionally, the Paddle Lodge only accepts cash for rentals and exact change for locker fees ($1 for small or $2 for large).