I’ve had an enjoyable time hiking the Rail Corridor in Singapore and am eager to share my experience with you. Hope this can help you navigate the most interesting and photogenic part of the green corridor.
Before I begin my sharing, let me give you a brief intro of this relatively new attraction in Singapore.
What is the Rail Corridor (Singapore)?
The rail corridor – sometimes known as Green Corridor – is a 24km-long nature trail that was launched in stages since 2018. As a former railway line that links Singapore and Malaysia, this belt stretches all the way from north- to southern part of Singapore.
Specifically, its two end points are around Kranji MRT and Tanjong Pagar Railway Station (Former). This north-south stretch is broken down into three stretches, namely:
- Northern Trail (10km)
- Central Trail (4km)
- Southern Trail (10km)
As at time of writing, the central and south portion is mostly completed while the northern corridor is still in the work (although you can take diverted trails if you are really keen to navigate the north).
Where I hiked along the Rail Corridor
In this post, you’ll read about my hike along the entire Central portion of the Rail Corridor. I also covered a small segment of the southern trail.
I started my adventure at Hillview MRT Station and ended at Jelita Shopping Centre, covering about 6.2km of the green corridor. This took me about 2.5 hours, including time spent on photo-taking and toilet detour.
For tourists, it may be easier to end the hike at an MRT station, such as King Albert Park Station (Downtown line) or Buona Vista station (East-west line). As a local, I could go on till I felt like stopping – which happened to be at Jelita Shopping Centre. :)
This heartland mall was tiny, but good enough for me to enjoy a restful break at a Starbucks within.
When did I hike?
As a solo hiker, I’d intentionally chosen to hike on a public holiday because I wanted the safety of numbers. Unfamiliar with the track, I didn’t know how deserted it would be on a normal day.
For info, I felt very safe throughout the hike as the path was not a ghost-trail. However, I almost got knocked down by a fast cyclist. Will share more as I reach that part of the hike.
Time of Hike at Green Corridor
I started at around 3pm and concluded at around 5.30pm. Just nice, before nightfall. :)
Ok, now that you have some brief info of the Rail Corridor, let’s start our Singapore hiking tour!
Which main attractions did I cover? (Rail Corridor Singapore)
From central to south, these are the main sights I visited:
- The Rail Mall
- Upper Bukit Timah Truss Bridge
- Old KTM Railway Bridge Hindhede Crossing
- Bukit Timah Truss Bridge
- Old Bukit Timah Railway Station
- Bukit Timah Diversion Canal
- Jelita Shopping Centre
My Starting Point: Rail Corridor Singapore
There are many points of entry into the Rail Corridor (Central) – 8 exactly as per official website here.
I’ve chosen to start my hike at Hillview MRT as this allows me to get into the northern-most part of Rail Corridor (Central). Alternatively, you can also take bus and alight at this bus stop which is even closer to the trail entrance.
From Hillview MRT to Green Corridor Entrance
When you reach Hillview MRT, take Exit A after you get out of the control station. Once you see daylight, turn left again and walk towards the direction of Bukit Panjang Methodist Church.
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Soon, you’ll see the The Rail Mall on your left, running parallel with the road. For info, this mall, unlike most malls in Singapore, isn’t a multi-storey building. Instead, it is a strip of mostly-F&B outlets located on ground level.
From the pavement, take the steps up towards The Rail Mall if you like a sheltered path. You’ll see a Cold Storage Supermarket which you can load up on cold drinks and/or snacks if you like to.
Continue your path along the walkway or mall, which includes crossing a carpark, until you reach The Cat Cafe. Glance to the right and you’ll see a flight of stairs leading up to the Rail Corridor (see location).
Take Ground-Level Photo of Upper Bukit Timah Truss Bridge
If you like to take a photo of the Upper Bukit Timah Truss Bridge from ground level, you can skip the flight of stairs first and get yourself onto the pavement along the road.
Here are some photos I took on ground level when I thought the pedestrian walkway would lead me up the bridge. But the path was blocked as at time of writing. :)
Therefore, do make your way back to the flight of stairs opposite The Cat Cafe when you are ready to get into the Green Corridor trail (and onto the bridge).
First Attraction: Upper Bukit Timah Truss Bridge
Immediately after entering the green corridor, I was at a T-junction. The collage below shows my view of the left and right fork respectively. Let’s turn right first to get onto the Upper Bukit Timah Truss Bridge (see location).
It was Hari Raya on that day and there was a happy group of Malays taking family photos using the bridge as a backdrop.
I also had a lady companion who dressed so nicely she made great subject for my photo. You can also see from the photo that there was no through-path beyond the bridge.
Did you know? A tragic accident took the lives of two young students somewhere near this bridge in 2009. You can read more about the incident here.
Once I was done with the selfie, I reversed and embarked on the left route, which was a comfortable trail lined with trees that offered partial shelter against the tropical summer heat.
At this part of the trail, you could exit via a staircase to get to the Singapore Quarry. I didn’t as my focus that day was to cover as much of the rail corridor as I could.
Along the way, it was nice to see a monitor lizard sunbathing by the track, unfazed by curious human beings who were standing too close (me!). I also saw a chicken dashed crossed the trail, much to my amusement.
2. Old KTM Railway Bridge (Hindhede Crossing)
Shortly after, I reached the Old KTM Railway Bridge (see location). It looked like remnants of a railway track and I didn’t know then that I was actually standing on a bridge.
If you head down to the road level from a side staircase, you can see it being a bridge more clearly.
This is also the path you would take if you like to get to the underpass that can link you to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
Let’s head back up to the green corridor and continue our journey towards the southern part of Singapore. Soon, the trail was getting noisy as we walked under a few flyovers.
3. Toilet Detour No. 1 (Skip unless high-tide)
Bukit Timah Plaza
When I reached a part of the trail (at 10.7km mark) that provided an exit to a bus stop “Opp Bt Timah Plaza”, I thought that was a good spot for a short toilet break at Bukit Timah Plaza (see location). From Google Map, the distance looked really short.
However, the path was much more inconvenient than expected as it included walking across an overhead bridge and underneath a flyover viaduct.
I then bypassed the back of Bukit Timah Plaza through its warehouse/loading bay and dumping point. It didn’t feel safe walking alone as I saw some men resting underneath the viaduct (and a couple having a rendezvous?). :)
For info, I only reached Bukit Timah Plaza after 15 minutes. The back and forth trip to the toilet wasted about 25 minutes of my precious time and energy. But the consolation was that the toilet at Bukit Timah Plaza was clean.
In hindsight, I would recommend that you hang on a bit and go for your toilet break near King Albert Park MRT instead. Will share more in a bit.
Let’s reverse and resume our green corridor hike.
4. Bukit Timah Truss Bridge
After re-entering the green corridor from Bukit Timah Plaza, the trail was more urbanised with a lot of condo view in sight.
Soon, I reached Bukit Timah Truss Bridge (see location) and was busy with photo-taking again which almost caused me to get injured. :)
Travelling soon? Here’s the travel insurance I’ve booked for my next trip – it’s so far the cheapest I can find from a credible company. Only for Singapore residents though!
Beware of Cyclists approaching from your back
From this point onwards, I felt the real danger of getting knocked over by cyclists.
It was a close shave for me as a fast-travelling cyclist almost hit me from behind when I veered from left to right of the narrow trail that I thought I had the right of way. I hadn’t yet internalised the need to check my blind spot then.
He shouted “Shit”, and I got a shock of my life. Thank god, he missed me by a few cm probably.
This reminded me of the earlier controversy regarding having PMD (personal mobile devices) on pavement, I once again felt the need to check blind spot frequently along the trail.
This part of the trail was also when I first got bitten by mosquitoes even though I was lavishly covered with insect repellent.
So, do bring along a bottle to respray on the spot, which helped.
5. Recommended Toilet Break @ King Albert MRT
After you are done with the Truss Bridge, you could exit the trail for your toilet break somewhere around King Albert MRT. In fact, there’s a Sime Darby Centre Shopping Mall opposite the MRT station, that offers F&B options.
If you like to end the hike here, I recommend that you finish exploring the next attraction – Old Bukit Timah Railway Station before exiting the trail. But if you like to continue your trail all the way to the south, you can take your toilet break first before continuing.
6. Old Bukit Timah Railway Station
A short walk away was the Old Bukit Timah Railway Station (see location). Too bad it was closed for renovation at time of my visit and I understand that the railway station would be repurposed into a Heritage Gallery.
The good news is that the station is slated to be opened by mid-2022, which is very soon.
7. Jungle-like View (near Clementi Forest)
I continued on towards the start of Rail Corridor (South) and was mesmerized by the sight of lush and rustic greenery.
The deeper I walked, the more I felt like I was nearing an untouched jungle.
Look at those tall fern-covered trees in the distance. That is such a great place to jog or cycle…while soaking in the rustic view of nature.
This beautiful view was taken at around 5pm when the sun was on its way down. :)
If I recall correctly, the gravel path you see on the left leads to Clementi Forest (see location). I must conquer the Clementi Forest one day, but with the right gear (aqua sandal and waterproof bag).
Will leave this adventure to another day.
8. Bukit Timah Diversion Canal
There’s a part of the trail when I lingered for a while, near the Bukit Timah Diversion Canal (see location).
On my right was a vast green valley while, and on my left, a canal with a man-made rapid a distance away.
If I’m not wrong, this should spell the end of the most photogenic part of the rail corridor in Singapore. Nevertheless, let me continue the journey a little further.
9. Holland Road (Rail Corridor Singapore)
The trail was getting a lot of noise pollution from the traffic. I also passed by condos and landed properties – the rustic nature was behind us.
By the way, the earlier warning of fast cyclists continue through to this part of the trail. We should be more wary of cyclists we couldn’t see than those we can, i.e. coming from our back.
10. Jelita Shopping Centre
I was getting a little tired, and the night would fall soon. Therefore, when I saw an easy path out towards civilization, I took it and ended the green corridor hike at Jelita Shopping Centre (see location).
Unlike my long detour to Bukit Timah Plaza, Jelita mall was easily reachable from the trail exit.
Being a heartland mall, there weren’t much things there…just two cafes and a supermarket. I rested and chilled at Starbucks for an hour or two before heading home.
How to get from Jelita Shopping Centre to nearest MRT?
Cross the road and take bus 61 to Commonwealth MRT (7 bus stops away), reachable in 15 minutes. This is the bus stop.
11. Continue on towards Buona Vista MRT?
If you have more energy than me, you can consider continuing your green corridor hike towards Buona Vista MRT which would take another 20 minutes or so.
Food options there are aplenty, such as at The Star Vista mall.
8 Tips to know when hiking Rail Corridor in Singapore
Before I conclude this post, let me share some tips on hiking the green corridor.
- Bring hat/cap and sunglasses to shield yourself from the all-year-round summer heat
- Bring cold water (in thermal flask if you have one)
- Apply sunblock and insect repellent generously (bring them along for reapplication)
- Wear comfortable walking shoes, and thin/airy clothes
- Bring umbrella or raincoat
- Beware of cyclist (coming from back)
- You can consider reversing track (south to north) if you like to end your hike at The Rail Mall for a more rustic F&B option
- Don’t over-prepare (i.e no need to bring a gallon of water) as you’ll never be far from an exit point (there are numerous exits along the trail)
Attraction Info: Rail Corridor Central & South (partial)
- Starting Point: Hillview MRT
- Ending Point: I ended at Jelita Shopping Centre
- Difficulty: 1/5 (very easy)
- Hike Duration: 2.5 hours one-way
- Distance: About 6.2km
And that’s all I have for you today. Hope this provides an easy guide on how to navigate the most interesting part of the Rail Corridor in Singapore. If you want to read more of such posts, click the button below to subscribe. See ya!
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