December 30, 2021

Bukit Batok Hillside Park, Bukit Batok Town Park, Bukit Gombak Park

Bukit Batok Parks

Our plan was to visit Bukit Batok Hillside Park, Bukit Batok Town Park, the newly opened Bukit Gombak Park and Bukit Batok Nature Park. We wanted to start from West Mall and end at Beauty World. But it was not to be. We succeeded in visiting the first 3 but gave up the last one because of heavy rain just before 3pm.

Stone Steps

The hikers met and had lunch at Koufu food court in West Mall. After lunch we started our walk to Bukit Batok Hillside Park along Bukit Batok West Ave 2. We entered the park trail beside the famous traffic sign opposite Block 315.

Wishing Well

Bukit Batok Hillside Park
The trail was initially earth but after a few meters it turned into stone steps that would take us all the way to the wishing well. After a short photo session we moved past it following a trail that led us to the hilltop facing HDB flats under construction. After admiring the scenery we entered the bamboo forest to explore it. We then took a different trail to go downhill directly in the direction of the stone steps as we knew that the beginning of the so called "torii gates" was near it. Just before the stone steps we made u-turn to another trail to locate the boardwalk cum pergola loosely call the "torii gates" by U-tubers. Although some planks were rotten there were some in fairly ok condition for our 70kg hikers to gingerly walk across. After exploring this we made our way downhill by two routes, one leading to the stone steps and another to a steep downward slope.

Torii Gates

Bukit Gombak Park

To get to Bukit Gombak Park we turned left and moved along Ave 2 then turned right to Ave 4 to Ave 7 where we turned right again to Ave 5 where we turned left to Bukit Gombak Park. At the entrance was a cafe called
Whisk & Paddle with a long queue of young diners. In the park we walked past the community garden and the dog run to the highest slope then followed a path to the slope between the HDB flats and the fence at Bukit Gombak. We then walked along the slope. There was some landslide about midway towards Seng Chew Quarry. For safety this area was roped off. Just before the drain from the quarry we turned and walked downhill back to Ave 5.

Bamboo Forest

Just past the stadium it started raining. By the time we reached Little Guilin at Bukit Batok Town Park it was pouring. We kept going and were hoping to visit the Bukit Batok Nature Park but by the time we reach the entrance we had to abandon our walk and took a bus to Bukit Timah Food Centre for R & R. We managed to walk about 8km.

Our route

Map data ©2021 Google Imagery

February 18, 2021

Clementi Forest and the Jurong Railway Track


Iconic Trees of Clementi Forest

Since Brice Li shared his drone video of the Clementi Forest several months ago, hordes of hikers both local and foreign have descended on its trails during weekends. Because of the monsoon rain we waited until January to explore the trail. So far we walked the trails twice. The first time we did it, we started from Clementi Road opposite Ngee Ann Polytechnic where there is a stream going eastward towards the Rail Corridor. We just followed the path created by past hikers which generally follows the stream. When we reached the Rail Corridor we took another path that led to the railway track and followed the trail all the way to Sunset Way. The second time we reversed the direction of the walk starting from Sunset Way back to the Rail Corridor and then the trail along the stream to Clementi Road.

Fallen trees in Clementi Forest

Maju Forest 

This post describes the second walk. We started the walk from Clementi Mall and walked along Clementi Ave 4 and crossed over the Ulu Pandan River to Sunset Way where we turned left to explore the neighbourhood. Just before Sunset Vale we were stopped by a consultant who advised us to turn back because of resurfacing of road. So back along Sunset Way we walked. After walking under the railway track we turned left toward the railway track. We located the trail that would lead us back to the railway track and walked along it. Some people referred to this part of the forest as the Maju Forest as Maju Camp is located nearby and some have served their National Service there. 

There were red tags at intervals to guide us on the right path. Eventually we reached the top of a slope where we had to climb down. Here someone had graciously tied a rope to help us climb down. We reached back to the railway track and walked along it. The going wasn't too difficult occasionally having to step over tree trunks or go off track. As the weather was dry for several days it was not muddy as before. 

Jurong Railway Track

Clementi Forest 

Eventually we reached the tunnel under Clementi Road. Here we came across a film crew resting during lunch period. They were probably students doing a project as they were a large number and about that age. They were resting during their lunch break. Here we seniors were actively scrambling up the slope to check out a track seen on a YouTube video. At the road level we walked northward. After about 80 meters we located a track and followed it as it turned inward into Clementi Forest. The track widened eventually and we saw marks of a tracked vehicle. There were some yellow painted pipes stuck in the ground presumably left in the ground after a soil investigation. A mango tree was just fruiting leaving a large number of ripe fruits on the ground. The track did not lead anywhere so we retraced our steps back to the tunnel where we planned to continue with our walk. 

So back to the film crew and down to the tunnel. There was some water by the rail tracks but it was no obstacle. Near the middle of the route the tracks were water logged and hikers had to climb onto the higher level to bypass them. This stretch provided some excitement and required concentration. Finally we exited the trail back to the earth track. It was then a short distance to the Rail Corridor.

Stream Opposite Ngee Ann

We had a water break and then returned to the forest again this time to walk along the stream with the surrounding providing the backdrop for many videos featuring drone shots. After a short distance in we came to the side stream that blocked our way temporarily. This time it was easier to climb the slope. The rest of the trail was easy except we had to be careful to avoid twisting our ankle or miss our footing and drop down the banks of the stream. Finally we arrived at the Clementi Road entrance. A man on a bike was curious about the route difficulty as he planned to do the trek also. We ended our walk at Beauty World for a distance of 8 km.

 Related Posts

Walking the Green Corridor Former KTM Railway Track

Railway Track from Mandai to Bukit Timah Station

Railway Track from Bukit Timah Station to Tanjong Pagar Station 

The Route

Map data ©2021 Google Imagery, Maxar Technnologies