Located in northwestern Singapore, just on the fringe of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, is Chestnut Nature Park, the country’s largest nature park to date. With an area bigger than 110 soccer fields, Chestnut Nature Park occupies a total land area of 81 hectares. The nature park is the only park in Singapore with dedicated mountain biking & hiking trails, which means bikers & hikers can enjoy the rustic nature at ease.
Chestnut Nature Park southern section, measuring 17 hectares in area, was opened in April 2016 while its northern section, the bigger cousin, at 64 hectares, was only officially opened in February 2017. But it took me over 6 months before I finally decided to visit Singapore’s largest nature park, because of its relatively ulu (Malay word for “remote”) location. 😛
How We Got There
At Choa Chu Kang station (red North-South line), we transferred to the Bukit Panjang LRT line. Alight at A7 Petir LRT station. Alternatively, if the blue Downtown line suits you better, then transfer to the Bukit Panjang LRT line at Bukit Panjang station.
After alighting, walk towards Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre (you can see it as the train heads into Pending LRT). Instead of climbing up the staircase to the hawker centre, continue straight on the pedestrian path along Bukit Panjang Road & walk past Kim San Leng Coffee Shop towards Blk 276 Bangkit Road.
Note that Blk 276 is a long L-shaped block so walk towards the expressway (BKE) where the tarmac track of Zhenghua Park is. After a short walk on this track, we passed through the Zhenghua underpass (more like a little walkway under the BKE flyover) & reached the start of Chestnut Park northern section, the separate trails seen in photo above. It took us slightly under 10 min at a leisurely pace to walk from Pending station to the start of the hiking trail.
Sidenote: Being my first time on the LRT system (I think so 😜), we were a bit confused on which service to take. Apparently, it is faster to board service B, the counter-clockwise loop as it will save you time looping to 5 additional stops before Pending station.
What We Saw In The Park
Zhenghua Park leads to the northern part of Chestnut Nature Park, where there are 2 hiking trails, the Northern Trail (2 km) and the Nature Trail (1.5 km). We took a hike through the Northern Trail mainly, which is of relatively flat terrain lined with lush greenery along paved roads & dirt tracks.
It was easy hiking through the mostly-shady trail, & we reached the Meeting Point where the main entrance to Chestnut Nature Park is, within a leisurely half an hour. There were more people we saw at the Meeting Point than at any other parts throughout our hike, I wonder where had all these people gone to after appearing at the main entrance? 😅
Thereafter, we continued the morning walk through the 2.1 km Southern Trail. Unlike the northern section that is of relatively flat / gentle terrain through lots of tall green trees, expect some parts of the trail with rocky terrain as well as a long stretch of lalang field (with hardly any shade). Although the entire trail is shorter than its northern part, we seemed to take longer time to complete this trail. Bet it must be because we had to climb more steps (sometimes steep) & hike under the hot sun. 😛
Forgot to mention earlier that the trails in Chestnut Nature Park are marked for every 100 m walked, just like what you see in above photo on the left. I think this is a very good way to track how far you have hiked. 👍 🙂
The exit of the Southern Hiking Trail brought us back to somewhere near the main entrance where the carpark is. It is also the only place where bikers & hikers can find the bike rental shop, water cooler & washrooms. Be prepared to queue to refill your water bottles here especially on weekends or public holidays as there are only 2 water points here. Note that to get to the nearest bus stop from the meeting point, it will take a good 20 to 30 min leisurely walk through rows of shady towering trees (with monkeys aplenty) & private condos, about 1.1 km away.
If you have “conquered” the Central Catchment Nature Reserves, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve one too many times, you can visit Chestnut Nature Park for a change. In case you didn’t know, it is also connected to Dairy Farm Park along Bukit Timah, so you can bike/hike all the way there if you wish. Happy hiking/ biking! 😀
This article was first published on 22 September 2017 after visiting the park on 1 September 2017.