Let's Go Jalan Jalan: Walking Trails For All + Makan Stops
STORY: Pearlyn Tham
16 November 2020
What we are not: those fit and fab people who are always (sweat-less) in UnderArmour, Lululemon and Nike, trekking across the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, making Little Guilin look like Yosemite National Park, and tsk-ing us for our slow-mo walks around the Botanic Gardens.
But, hey, that doesn’t mean we don’t like a bit of action too. Just that we prefer to take things nice, slow and easy with walking trails around this beautiful city-island we call home.
Here’s our list (with makan pitstops included, because our exercise routine isn’t, well, one-dimensional).
If you love crowds (and the option to dart into a clean mall toilet)
Try: The Orchard Road trail
Because: You may not have realised it all these years – and that’s because you always hang out at Far East Plaza or only loiter about the Paragon-Taka-Mandarin Gallery intersection – but our good ol’ Orchard Road is all of 2.2km long! That is, if you start your jaunt from Tanglin Mall and end it at The Cathay. And don’t cheat hor by hopping onto a bus or zipping into a MRT train.
Along the way: Time your walk so that you can visit Shake Shack at Liat Towers during off-peak hours and halfway through your journey.
If you are walking with your dog
Try: The Fort Canning-River Valley-Robertson Quay trail
Because: On a weekday, you will really feel that you are away from Singapore, thanks to the abundant greenery along this trail. Kick off your Me Time with your furry friend at The Substation (the area outside it has now become a pedestrian walkway), pass by the now-closed Peranakan Museum, head towards the Singapore Philatelic Museum and make your way into Fort Canning Park. From there, you can follow a road down to the River Valley enclave which leads you to Robertson Quay.
Along the way: Many cafes at Robertson Quay are dog-friendly and even provide drinking bowls for your pet. Some of our favourite hangouts include Super Loco, P.S Café and Lucca’s Trattoria for the always-dependable menu and warm service.
If you have a lot of time (and aren’t worried about the unpredictable Singapore weather)
Try: The Coast-to-Coast Trail
Because: It’s 36km long, taking you through Singapore, from Jurong Lake Gardens in the west to Coney Island Park in the northeast. Download the Coast-to-Coast trail app and use its Augmented Reality function to scan the animal characters at the 10 checkpoints on your route. These cute critters will then tell you more about the surrounding area and you can even find hidden fruit to earn rewards points.
Or opt for this walking trail on your first date if your true love lives in Boon Lay and you, Sengkang. It’s the best way to say “let me walk you home” and really mean it.
Along the way: At Checkpoint 4, you can make a detour at Adam Road Food Centre where you can fuel up before you continue along your way.
If you (or your folks at home) love a touch of nostalgia
Try: One of the National Heritage Board’s 20 heritage trails across the island which covers anything from Ang Mo Kio to Yishun. The latest, for instance, is its Hougang Heritage Trail which will take you to its landmarks like the former Simon Road Market, St Pauls Church and Ah Seah Teochew Porridge. But these are DIY walking trails so don’t expect to sign up for a guided tour anywhere. Instead, download the trail booklet and map, and explore on your own.
Because: Sometimes, you just want to get away from those over-Instagrammed hipster cafes and CBD billion-dollar skyscrapers.
Along the way: Tuck into what else but Teochew porridge at Ah Seah where you can get your braised duck, chai po omelette and salted vegetables fix. We are fans of Heng Long, though #justsayin
If you have young children with you
Try: Jurassic Mile
Because: Kids and kidults alike will love the more than 20 pre-historic dinosaur displays – life-sized, some more leh! – that are along this over-1km cycling and jogging route (though nobody will fault you for walking, really). The tallest display will tower over your fam and you at nearly 5m high. The trail is open 24 hours but go in the day because dinosaurs come alive at night.
Along the way: What’s not so pre-historic is the menu at the colonial-themed Hub & Spoke Café with its wide variety of local and Western dishes, alongside creative drinks like Honey Avocado and Yakult Green Tea. The bonus: they are all affordably priced. And yes lah, got Milo Dinosaur.