Singapore’s Park Connector Network (PCN) introduces a fun and different way of exploring our island. Long regarded as ‘a City in a Garden’, Singapore also stood out as the greenest city in the world in 2017. Around one-third of Singapore is covered in greenery, and invites you to discover all corners of her natural beauty via the six PCN loops, each offering its own distinct type of outdoor adventure and recreational activities.
Simply walk, jog, cycle or rollerblade along pretty rivers, scenic trails and serene waterways to indulge these picturesque park networks. The six PCN loops are listed below in ascending order of difficulty (from easy to challenging), including estimated walking and cycling durations.
1. Eastern Coastal Loop
Difficulty level: Easy
Distance: 17.5km; 3-4 hours walking or 2 hours cycling
A favourite amongst bike, running and rollerblading enthusiasts, this trail connects Pasir Ris Park to East Coast Park, traversing eastern Singapore. Nature lovers would rejoice venturing through the many diverse habitats, covering rainforest, wetland and coastal environments.
Finish up with a spot of fishing or a relaxing barbecue at Changi Beach Park. Or, if you’re up for more adventure, catch a bumboat to Pulau Ubin. This island is home to one of our last true kampongs (traditional village). Enjoy the quiet bliss of sandy trails running through overgrown rubber plantations, secluded beaches, majestic quarries and flourishing mangroves.
2. Northern Eastern Riverine Loop
Difficulty level: Easy
Distance: 16km; 3-4 hours walking or 2 hours cycling
Discover the rustic landscapes of Singapore’s Punggol district. You’ll feel an instant calm along its glistening reservoirs and waterways, as well as the open waters of Sungei Dekar and the Johor Straits.
The waters are home to many colourful species of birds. Spot the White-Collared Kingfisher, Grey Heron or the migratory Little Egret. Tropical fruit-fanatics will delight in the sixteen types of fruit trees featured along the perimeter of the Sengkang Floating Wetland, including the exotic species of Pond Apple, Island Lychee and Sweetsop.
3. Central Urban Loop
Difficulty level: Medium
Distance: 15km; 3-4 hours walking or 2 hours cycling
Experience Singapore’s heartlands, encompassing the iconic central Housing Development Board (HDB) housing estates of Bishan, Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh and Whampoa. Also known as the ‘Makan Trail’, this is the ideal route for working up an appetite, as you’ll pass through some tasty hawker centres. Take a pit stop (or two) and dig into local culinary delights. Unbeatable favourites include laksa (spicy coconut milk-based noodle soup); and braised duck rice, with its tender duck slices in sweet and savoury sauce, often accompanied with duck broth, marinated hard boiled eggs and tofu.
4. Northern Explorer Loop
Difficulty level: Moderate
Distance: 11km; 2-3 hours walking or 1 hour cycling
This loop accesses the island’s northernmost regions of Woodlands, Yishun and Sembawang, covering diverse terrains and rich biodiversity. Walk in the shoes of conservationists and biologists as you look out for the curious forest residents of the Central Catchment Reserve, such as the Long-tailed Macaque and the endangered Harlequin butterfly. Whilst you’re in the area, pop by the Singapore Zoo, which is home to over 2800 animals that comprise over 300 species.
5. Western Adventure Loop
Difficulty level: Moderate
Distance: 12km; 2-3 hours walking or 1 hour cycling
This adventure trail takes you through the island’s wild west, providing outdoor experiences unlike any other in Singapore. Thrill-seekers will relish the rugged terrains of Zhenghua Park and Dairy Farm Nature Park.
These nature reserves are home to the critically endangered Sunda Pangolin—the most trafficked mammal in the world. Few are rarely ever sighted, though one was once spotted along the Bukit Panjang Park Connector. Water-sport fans are in for a treat—the idyllic waters of Jurong Lake Park and Pandan Reservoir are perfect for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, sailing and rowing.
6. Southern Ridges Loop
Difficulty level: Moderate to Challenging
Distance: 10km; 3-5 hours walking (cycling not recommended)
Trekkers will relish this more challenging loop through southwest Singapore, covering Mount Faber, Telok Blangah Hill and Kent Ridge. Work up a sweat then reward yourself atop Mount Faber, where you’ll enjoy a bird’s eye view of Singapore’s waterfront and the Southern Islands. Not to be missed is the Sembcorp Forest of Giants. Marvel at awe-inspiring trees along this trail that grow up to 80-metres tall, including the Hopea sangal, also known as the “chengal pasir” or “chengal mata kuching”, which Changi might have been named after.
This article was first published on Singapore Tourism Board
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