Singapore | The Southern Ridges

cnv00015  CNV00019 CNV00010

It is with good, indeed excellent, reason that Singaporeans call their home the ‘city within a garden’. Despite its public image as a manicured, sterile skyscraperdom, the city-state is also the greenest city in Asia thanks to its first Prime Minister, the fabled Lee Kuan Yew, and his vision of transforming the then-developing country into a Garden City.

CNV00018cnv00006  cnv00008

And it’s not just Singapore’s architecture that has embraced height. I took these 35mm film shots while we walked the Southern Ridges, a 5-mile treetop trail that criss-crosses through the parks at the southern tip of the island. The 2.5-mile section that connects Kent Ridge Park to Mt Faber offers elevated walkways through the tree canopy, skyline views and the chance to walk across Henderson Waves, a spectacular and vertigo-inducing pedestrian bridge (the highest in Singapore!) suspended 36m above the ground below.

cnv00014cnv00020

The route marked by knotted jacarandas, lush succulents and all manner of flora and fauna  seemed as wild, sprawling and exotic as the jungle.

cnv00016cnv00021cnv00012

My parents rent an apartment in this unworldly fin-shaped building complex (above), aptly named Reflections. Built by award-winning architect Daniel Liebeskind, and completed in 2011, it was amazing to see their home from this vantage point, suspended high above the treetops on the undulating Henderson Waves bridge.

cnv00023

I highly recommend walking the Southern Ridges should you find yourself in Singapore. You might see monkeys, luminous green snakes dangling from trees, all manner of exotic birds and barely another person! It felt exceptionally removed from the lively, ever-bustling mosaic of the Central Business District and Orchard Road; almost an impossibility to contain these two Singapores in one thought. Head out early to avoid the most scorching of the equatorial heat, carry plenty of water (there are no shops en route) and take your camera! Walk through the jungle without ever really leaving the city.

  • Magical photos, Lulu! It’s sort of dystopian and eerie in the way the tropical greenery seems to be trying to reclaim the city – almost a cross between J.G. Ballard’s High Rise and The Drowned World. Exactly the kind of walk I’d love to take on a visit to SG, although I have to say that whenever I go for a walk in Malaysia I feel almost like I’m underwater, the air is so heavy and wet! x