Hiking Broga Hill, Sunrise and Sunset with my boy

Hiking Broga Hill is on my wishlist (browse our Gunung hiking adventures here or Instagram #skbHiking), and to climb it with Boon Yee is a bonus. What Fun we had over 2D2N ! (photos link at end of this blog post).

Hiking Broga Hill
Hiking Broga Hill

The night before, I took no3 on a Father Son trip up North. Following tradition, one on one trip allowed me to bond and understand an individual “child” better, compared to a whole family outing.

The child cannot avoid me :p

(Read about Wei’s Taman Negara and Kang’s Koref Farm trip)

Our 爬山玩水 itinerary contains “Broga Hill, Blue Tears and Sky Mirror“, the last two items sound so Exotic!

0530 – Hiking Broga Hill (GPS 2.939444, 101.903333). We took about 2 hours to scale the 400m Gunung, there are total of four summits.

I was panting, but Boon Yee kept dashing to the front haha. Broga Hill is only 400m but steep at certain sections. I would say the first “summit” is the toughest!

Caught the rays of Sunlight creeping over the ridges and illuminating the clouds. Amazing feeling to celebrate the Start of another day with my boy. Super proud of Yee’s adventurous spirit 🙂

The lalangs are taller than me, and we sometimes wonder whether we are on the right path. Take note the terrain is uneven and headlamp (not torchlight) is a must when hiking in the dark.

The last summit will have some HUGE boulders!

Nevertheless, Gunung Broga Hill is suitable for first timers and families, and you need not climb all the way to the 4th submit to enjoy Sunrise view 🙂

Celebrating another milestone with Yee.

 

Yee’s Bruce Lee” attire, Keep Calm and Climb On :p
He told me turn every corner also can see hills and town, Broga Hill does offer spectacular landscape views.

 

Quenched our thirst with coconut juice, the Auntie quite enterprising and business is good.

Refer to GPS above, there is a makeshift carpark (in the middle of palm tree plantation) and toilet at the trail head.

Quoting our Village Head Simon Chan: “We transit from Hikers to Tourists”. It roughly means time to EAT all the WAY!

Lunch at Garden Seafood (GPS 3.698333, 101.513333). Food is decent and we love the bun. This restaurant must be famous as I saw a photo of Malaysia PM’s wife.

We are all super hungry, so everything would be tasty :p

Finally, reach our chalet at Bagan Datoh (also known as Bagan Datuk). This area is a Chinese Fishing village, quaint old neighbourhood and coconut trees sway along the coastal road.

Relieved to stretch our legs, after the hike and long bus ride.

 

9 Island Agency (环岛)’s chalet GPS (3.976111, 100.707292). Their Facebook group highlighted below.

Family-run travel agency, the whole village chipped in to support the tourism industry. Our stay, meals and boat rides are all managed by them.

Simple accommodation with hot shower and aircon. Yes WIFI available!

 

10 minutes walk to the “restaurant” at the end of the walkway. As this is a fishing village, expect strong fishy smell 🙂

After a sumptuous steamboat dinner, we headed to the “jetty” to see a beautiful Sunset and take more wefies.

Tourists can do Karaoke at the dinner venue, spot a few fireflies (concentrated on one or two trees only), or simply enjoy the star-lit sky.

Ok, tram ride is also a hit with the kids 🙂

Image credit Adventures Village

 

We ended the evening with a boat tour to catch the Blue Tears (蓝眼泪). Magical experience to “sail” towards the Sunset and blue hour.

The usual island to spot blue Tears is Pulau Sembilan. But Perak Tourism has banned tourist from visiting the island, in the name of conservation.

Although we could only scoop out the blue tears (actual micro organisms, “bioluminescent phytoplankton”) from our boat, it was still a spectacular activity.

If we can go on the shore, and watch the waves turn blue, this is what you can expect! WOW!

Google Images for 蓝眼泪

From Broga Hill’s Sunrise to Bagan Datoh’s Sunset, I was Happy to spend a day of Fun with my boy. Together, we explored the rustic side of Malaysia.

Sunset at Bagan Datoh

That’s it for Day 1 of our Fun itinerary. Stay tune for Day 2’s highlight, LALA harvesting and 天空之镜 ! More tips listed:

*(Must See!) Do visit SengkangBabies Instagram Day 1 Video (link) and Adventure Village’s SUPER nice drone footage! (video link)

(Instagram Video Day 1)

-Broga is at Semenyih, Selangor, and no permit required for Hiking Broga hill

**Check out Broga hill and Bagan Datoh Day One and Two photos on our Facebook album. FUN is guaranteed!

-Our “2D2N Malaysia Unlimited” trip was booked with Meetup Group “Adventures Unlimited”, itinerary here . Join the Village (Facebook group) to link up with like-minded kakis

-Our Boat, chalet on Bagan Datoh is under 9 Islands Agency (9 Island Agency Sdn Bhd 环岛旅游有限公司)

-Why Pulau Sembilan is closed to visitor (The Star article)? We heard the islands will be transformed into a Marine Park

-Due to the sudden closure of Pulau Sembilan, travel agency is left with a lot of almost-new camping tents. All 50% sale, 2-men tent (or is it 4-men) only 80Rm

-Boat trip to Blue Tears is about 20 minutes, there are life jackets for kids

-Read our Hiking adventures on our blog (Gunungs, Panti, Belumut, and Instagram hashtag #skbHiking), not all are family friendly :p

-Check out some other bonding activities with my kids.
Boon Kang 3D2N (Farm at Koref), Taman Negara with Boon Wee, 2D2N Broga Hill and Sky Mirror with Boon Yee

ps.. We would like to recommend Sekinchan 适耕庄 too, Malaysia’s rice bowl. From Google Map, it is only 1.5 hour south of Bagan Datoh 🙂

Sekinchan Photos Day One and Two on Facebook.

 

Unusual Taman Negara activities

Taman Negara activities will keep hikers occupied, but this blog post aim to focus on two aspects :

1)  Me as a proud Father
2) Teamwork and brotherhood of rescue party

My kids never failed to surprise me during our hiking trips. From Gunung Panti to Belumut , the latest Taman Negara hike with Wei (no 1) was no exception.

Kids’ resilience, stamina, and appetite for adventures always exceed my expectations. And we parents can only validate these traits in an outdoor setting.

Family bonding Taman Negara
Family bonding Taman Negara

The Taman Negara activities (itinerary) from Meetup group SANL (Singapore Adventurous Nature Lovers) highlighted “1 Cave and 1 Tent”, package include hiking in a primary Rainforest, rapid shooting etc, I was sold.

 

..we are not going to forget Taman Negara anytime soon.

… an incident happened on the first night, and my boy suddenly realised he was on his own. Well, not exactly, as he can still seek help from fellow hikers (mostly Aunties and Sisters).

#Skillset –  We just need to open our mouth and ask for HELP.

Without my constant nagging ( Yup, I am guilty), Wei not only hiked to end-point with a heavier load, he even managed to make new friends. Way to go Young Man!

Photo credit SANL

The experience and memories which we brought home from the “130 Million years old” Rainforest was priceless! I have no doubts the skills which Wei picked up (independence, teamwork, networking) during this trip will mold his character into a better person.

My original intention was just to bond with him, Father and Son.

.. but ideal was dashed on the first night. Someone in our group had been injured and 7 guys were mobilised for stretcher party.

.. Part (1) – The rescue party

0700 Day 2 – As I transferred some of my baggage over to him. I remembered telling Wei “I will see you at camp site tonight“.

In actual fact, I was worried about him but I still needed to instill confidence.

 

Alas, it was a promise which I could not fulfill 🙁
For the next 24 hours, my group struggled to lift someone to safety.

It was tiring for us to lift and drag the stretcher and “R” to our rendezvous point, Gua Luas (Gua in Bahasa means Cave)

3 km – Distance was a mere 3km away, but it was tough to navigate the forest floor with a stretcher.

Taman Negara Map
The two caves (Gua) Luas and Kepayang are 4km apart.

We were at the mercy of the Rainforest. Muddy grounds and thorns, thick roots and trunks, leeches and insects. FORTUNATELY, the Rain left us alone!

AROO! (haha) We kept joking about that Spartan slogan to keep our spirits high and kept fatigue away.

Lost count of the number of times we slipped and lose our footing or got stuck in mud. We were bogged down by narrow paths at some sections.

6 Hours -Progress was miserably aching and slow. We took 6 whole hours to carry “R” to Gua Luas!

What kept me going was the urge to finish my task and get back to my son quickly. I was still worried for him.

We were also concerned about the main group, who had to help carry our load and hike to the camp site.

The gals formed 75% of our hiking group, posing here infront of cave Hotel before they set off on their own journey.

Photo credit SANL

You go Girl! Hiking through water and mud, small thrills for the seasoned hikers. Do read till the end for Xia’s blogpost account from the main group 🙂

Photo credit SANL

As I am drafting this blog post, four of my toe nails are still bruised (black nails), and I injured my left knee again.

My fellow stretcher party did not have it easier. TS, Leon, George, Jason and wife, Keewan and Freddy. (Special mention to two guides Farook and Captain America! and the other guides)

The first 7. Leon stayed overnight with casualty.

Other gossips :
– Leon secret stash kept us high (this is a secret among the 8 of us haha)
– Behind us, we can always hear “Darling Darling are you ok?” so mushy
– Infront, we got a 50 year old TS putting us to shame.  He was the pillar  who always single-handedly pull the stretcher across obstacles (clap clap!)
– George must be wondering how his wife is coping with the main group
– Jia Hui was R’s companion throughout. She attended to R, slept the least and carry a heavy load herself. Salute!

All of us were tired, but none dare to give up

We kept each other motivated (sometimes with lame jokes) when we were exhausted. The intensity of this 3km stretch was equivalent to my recent Sundown Marathon!

During a run, I can estimate my own pace and aim for the next milestone. Deep in the Rainforest, where is the next milestone?

A “Kodak” moment, but you will also see our tired face behind the smiles.

Photo credit SANL

1,2,3 Lift ! We could only managed 50m or 20m at every stretch, before our wrist, back, and shoulder needed a rest again.

Too much doubts…

We did not know whether a rescue team (the Park Rangers) would reached us in time.
Our food and drink were running low, and we ourselves might be affected by hunger and cold in the night.

To make things worse, Jason and Freddy were injured and 7 men went down to 5. Fortunately, Captain America help us in the last 500m.  Otherwise, we would have taken longer to complete our task.

1600 Day 2 – Finally reach Gua Luas, the waiting game begins

A quick 1 hour nap to recharge.  All our arms, shoulders and back, every joint was aching. Guides had prepared hot tea and plain porridge.

2336 Day 2– Fortunately, 16 of the Park Rangers filed towards us in the middle of the night. We were tired but elated to see them.

…we saw Bright Lights and HOPE!

By this time, R has also recovered slightly, and able to articulate her needs. This was a vast improvement when she first collapsed from fits.

RELIEF! Relief! Relief! Smiles all around at the cave 🙂

Taman Negara Rangers rescue
Park Rangers saved our lives!

The Rangers brought us dinner, humble Nasi Ikan Bilis and 100 plus but this was The best meal I tasted throughout our 3D3N trip.

0030 Day 3 – With R secured in Rangers’ hands, the 8 of us made our way to the jetty. We trekked another 4 km in 4 hours through the night.

0400 to 0600 – Slept at broken house near Jetty. We were KO and I woke up thrice shivering uncontrollably due to cold and exhaustion.

0630 to 0700 – Rangers (R and Jia Hui) caught up with us, and we all ferried back to the main group.

Exhausted but super relief!
Photo credit SANL

Above is the timeline for our rescue actions. I hope my own actions to save another person would embed in my kids, the capacity to reach out to help others, and to emphatise.

.. Part (2) This was our original itinerary

2000 Day 0 – We took an overnight bus from Marsiling. We took 2.5 hours to cross both SG/MY custom due to long Labour Day weekend.

0700 Day 1 – Breakfast at Jerantut (Pahang). Click for train map of KTM (Singapore to Jerantut).

Breakfast at town of Jerantut , after 7 hours bus ride.

1000 – Kuala Tahan Jetty ( official name for this location is Jeti Taman Negara, GPS coordinates 4.383445, 102.401541 ).

Kuala Tahan Jetty

This is the start point for most visitors to Taman Negara. We need to take a boat across to Taman Negara National National Park HQ.

1 hour of admin work.  Registration and declaration (of your belongings) to ensure we do not leave rubbish behind. Get ready RM 5 for camera “tax”. Final briefing from our guides etc.

Spotted many with Magnum ice creams, our last indulgence hee hee.

Taman Negara National Parks HQ
Where is Taman Negara
Taman Negara is HUGE (Pahang even bigger).

Map below, Pahang and Taman Negara surrounding. Cameron Highlands is 4 hours away in the West, and Kuantan 2 hrs to the East.

Taman Negara National Park is 4000 km2 , that is about 60 Singapore!

Point 2 is Cameron Highlands (4 hour away)

1145 – Our group of 40 convoy upriver in 4 long boats, we are going deep into the heart of Taman Negara. More land and River details here.

Boat ride up Taman Negara

Meandering up Taman Negara’s Tembeling river. 90 minutes later, we reach the trailhead for our hike (GPS 4.517222 102.475000 estimated)

Photo credit SANL

1310 – Disembark at broken house, this is our hiking start point.

Suspension bridge with a lot of holes! This mark the start of our Hike.

Hiking Fun and explorations

Orang Asli can use extracts from “ipoh” tree for their poison darts (and blow pipe).

Guide Farook knowledge sharing.

We keep seeing the majestic Malang tree, huge tree stump and white trunk reaching for the sky.

Photo credit SANL

What goes up must come down, and there are plenty of slopes for hikers to overcome. Our supposedly 8km hike was actually 12km. The first 3 km was relatively easy, minimum obstacles.  Path was flat and easy to walk.

Lovely NATURE!

The trails were ok for me, but my load was heavy. We needed to carry our dinner and lunch and enough water for 2 days. I had four 1.5l water bottle and 5 cans of food with me.

Streams come and go, offering refreshing respite. I am puzzled why everyone is so scared of mud and water, trying their best to keep their boots dry (haha). These diversions were creating unnecessary bottlenecks and delays.
Taman Negara activities

Rich ecosystem, fauna.in Primary forest.

We came across so much Elephant dungs and footprints (look at the size!), hope we do not cross path with a herd!

Taman Negara elephants
Endless Elephant dungs and footprints!

Besides the constant perspiration from the humid Rainforest, we had to watch out for leeches too.  Everyone was bitten at least 5 to 10 times eeeks!

leeches hiking
Before and after, buffet for leeches

We sprayed everything to get rid of the disgusting leeches, salt, vinegar, lighter or even 风油 (medicated oil)! Once the leech dislodge from our leg, we could flick it away. We were wondering why the leeches seem to latch onto the same wound, and they love to suck from the gals’ tummy area!

 

1630 Gua Luas – First checkpoint after 3 hours.

One of the checkpoint, Gua Luas.

The group might have taken too much time to reach this point. With a few hours left before sunset, we quicken our pace to reach the next Cave (4.5km away).

It would be tedious and dangerous to navigate with headlights in total darkness.

 

1845 Gua Kepayang Besar, our “hotel” for the night

Gua Kepayang for one night stay.

The cave stay was a surreal experience, I had never slept in a cave before and this one was big enough to swallow 100 campers easily.

Photo credit SANL

Self designated toilet for males and females and make do with basic necessities. The only comfort was our bedsheet and headlight.

We quickly change and power-bath (a first for Wei again) before settling down for dinner. By now, we could hear Thunder and Rain lashing outside the cave!

Take note temperature will drop around 2 or 3am in the Rainforest or cave, we had campfire to keep us warm and dry.

Light sleepers will have problem dozing as we can hear people chattering (and echo of laughter) across the wall. Scores of bats will stare back if you dare to shine the light towards the ceiling.

Warm dinner prepared by our guides. We did not need anything elaborate, we would prefer to rest for the night.

Dinner in cave.

 

2000 Day 1 – We knew something was wrong when one of the hikers (call her “R”) had not reached the cave yet. Discussions were ongoing between our guides and organisers on how to extricate R.

She had a seizure (fits) and was immobilised. A group of hikers had stayed on with her to help stabilised her condition.

2200 – The rest of us get ready to rest for the night.

~~~ ~~~

0100 Day 2 – I set off with a team to resupply those stuck outside. I would hate to be in their situation, floor is wet after the rain, and it would be hard to have a proper rest.

0400 – Reached back cave at 4am and slept 2 hours before being activated for stretcher party

0730 – The 8 of us set off for our evacuation mission. We knew it would be tough, but we all volunteered as it was something we needed to do. There was a risk that R’s condition might take a turn for the worse.

..  most of us underestimated the efforts needed

We play rescue workers for the next 6 hours. Transferred “R” 3km to our rendezvous point.

A life was in our hands. We could not afford to give up halfway. There were doubts whether we could make it, but we just got to grit our teeth and carry on.

 

1600  – Reach cave Gua Luas, finally.

 

 

Camp site, back to civilisation.

Meanwhile, the other group had already reach camp site (Danz Eco Resort, GPS 4.390373, 102.411227 ).

0800 Day 3 – Rescue party finally reach camp site.

There are two accommodations options, camp and capsule . Capsule looks nice and posh from outside, but we prefer tent for a more authentic experience. A pity I did not get to admire the stars of Taman Negara.

Do you prefer Aircon comfort or bashing in the humid Rainforest?
Tents around our camp site. We love the outdoor feel, compared to “aircon” capsules

Camp site come with its own “beachfront”.

1100 Day 3 (Last Day) – I had hope to scale the canopy walk with Wei but he was not interested. Sucks, denying my  last opportunity to bond with him at Taman Negara :p

Photo credit SANL

 

Proud of you, my Son !

Back at camp and happy to see Wei well taken care of. The Aunties only had positive feedback about him. Helpful, Independent, Rugged 🙂

You know I could not be by your side because I had a higher calling, but you stood up to the test and completed the hike with the aunties.

You have shown me your independence, maturity and most importantly confidence. Although we miss certain activities this trip, seeing you grown up makes everything worth it !

 

Me and Wei, the tent which I never got to sleep in.

 

We would like to explore Taman Negara activities again, sharing some tips for fellow hikers :

a) Taman Negara is relatively easy, but distance is longer. If I compare to Gunung Belumut (1000m 6 hours up/down, difficulty rating of 3/5) , Taman Negara is (2/5).

b) Use headlamp instead of torchlight. Always free your hands, so you can break a fall or grab a branch for support.

c) No matter how short is the trek, bring extra water and night light. I did not bring night light for the rescue as I had assumed I would reach camp site before Sunset. It is very slow and dangerous to navigate without lights at night (and eerie too)

d) Get a Travel insurance (coverage during trip, and medical expense post trip)

e) Whistle – We can only shout so long before our voice is hoarse, whistle will produce audible sound for Rescuers

f) Proper hiking shoes, (or ask about Kampong Adidas) from Malaysia towns provision shops. We need good grip.

g) Pack your bag , use ABC. A for “Accessibility”, B for “Balance”, and C for “Condense”. Google and YouTube for tips, use hip (not shoulder) for support. (sample video)

h) Anti-mosquitos, spray/patches. I brought saturated salt-water in those cheap Daiso spray-containers to counter the leeches.

g ) Raincoat is a must for trekking, protect yourself and your bags

h) Ziplock bags to keep items dry

i) First aid pouch

j) SG (Coach 8 hours) -> Kuala Tahan Jetty (Jerantut) > Taman Negar Park HQ -> 90min Boat up river – Hike start point

L to R. George, Farook me and son.

Thank you to all our Guides and Rangers! Things could have easily got out of hands, if you guys had not rendered assistance 🙂

‘Teaching is best caught not taught’.

Hoping my kids can pick up some positive traits too.
– Help others but take care of yourself first
– Always look out for each other
– In stressful situations, teamwork is everything
– Naysayers will be there to discourage you, focus on the positive side

Click to see more Taman Negara activities photos on our Facebook album . Follow SengkangBabies Hiking trails here or #skbHiking)

*Read Xia’s blog account from the main group’s perspectives, their boots and “adidas” were never dry hee hee 🙂

** Keewan’s One-More-Night Taman Negara video 🙂

ps..
Check out some other bonding activities with my kids.
– Boon Kang 3D2N (Farm at Koref), our hiking explorations
Taman Negara with Boon Wee, 2D2N Broga Hill and Sky Mirror with Boon Yee

Hiking in Singapore – Kampong, Durian and Chestnut

Hiking in Singapore, fellow trekkers walking along Belukar Track this morning. Our total trail covers a few parks, lasted 4 hours, around 10km, 20k steps.
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The interesting invite from Meetup SANL group 🙂
The Kampong, Durian, Chestnut trails were all new to me, and I never knew hiking in Singapore could be so much FUN!
singapore-adventures-nature-lovers-invite-to-chestnut

This is the rough direction, Springdale (along Upper Bukit Timah Road)-> Kampong Trail (near to BukitTimah Hill’s slope) along Serapong Link -> Rifle Range Road -> Murnane Reservoir -> Belukar Track (mountain bikes and huge water pipes) -> Dairy Farm for toilet break -> ZhengHua via Hillview Park Connector -> Chestnut Avenue (walk under Bukit Timah expressway) -> Chestnut Nature Park (South) -> Bukit Panjang lunch
hiking-singapore

Kampong Trail map (GPS 1.346183, 103.775870) entrance is very near to Bukit Timah Hill (slope).
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Map below, follow the Red Line for the first Kampong trail ->, Pandan, Rifle Range, Nangka, finally Durian loop.
kampong-trail-map

Old kampong, we can see remnants of the old inhabitants. Steps, wall, ceramic floors etc. It sort of remind me of Bukit Brown trail.
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Enjoying the greens, we are still walking on tarmac. Hard to find one nature spot in Singapore which is unexplored yet.
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I still prefer tramping on mud paths and trails over hard tarmac any day 🙂
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We encountered some fallen trees, walking inside rainforest carpeted by dead leaves. You will also come across a lot of trail runners, some with dogs.
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Hard to lose yourself, as there are always signs and direction clues.
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Proceed parallel along Rifle Range road, which is very popular with trail runners and cyclists. Atas Temasek club spotted.
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In case you are wondering, Durians trees are real but you have to wait for the season. We heard regulars would have already “chope” book their favourite harvesting spots.
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We exit Durian Loop next to Murnane Service Reservoir (I have never heard of this reservoir before).

We were informed about Rambutan season, might not be a bad idea to pluck some to enjoy along the hike.
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The water pipes and mountain bike trails are along Belukar Track (Nparks Mountain Biking map, refer point 17 and 18).
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Have seen the pipes in Instagram, could not resist a selfie. Mountain bikers were happily chasing the contours and trenches.
water-pipes-bukit-timah-nature-reserve
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.. but PUB and Nparks (signage) always emphasized safety-first hee hee.
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Along the trail, we walked under expressways, short bridges and along narrow slopes. It was a wonderful feeling to feel LOST in Singapore 🙂
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We pop by Dairy Farm Nature Park for toilet and water break. This park is ideal for family and it is less congested than Bukit Timah Hill.
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For once, it was pure bliss to enjoy the serene surroundings. I did not have to worry about navigating for family or finding the next water point.

Just enjoy the Greens, fresh air and scenery.
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Hey, hiking in Singapore can be happening too!
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We are never far from the main roads and motor sounds, that is how small Singapore is :p
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We linked up with Zhenghua Park.
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Part of the hiking or treking fun is to explore our surroundings, observe the flora and fauna. We do not get to see this plants or flowers everyday. I am not sure whether they are edible, just follow the birds, monkeys and squirrels.
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Follow Chestnut Avenue (slopes warning) to reach Chestnut Nature Park (South). Many Mountain Bikes use Chestnut Nature Park as a pitstop.
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Chestnut Nature Park (North) is still under construction, we can look forward to more hiking and cycling trails.
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Chestnut Nature Park sights. I only know roasted chestnuts (Gao3 Luc4) are delicious, have not seen the real chestnut yet.
chestnut-nature-park-photos

Interesting is an understatement for our trail this morning. Have you counted how many parks and trails we walk across 🙂

There is a sense of satisfaction, perhaps to pander to my craving for hikes. Although the adrenaline is not as high as Gunungs, but you still feel good.
My boys (girl maybe) would definitely be keen to follow me down this trail again.

More tips :
– Follow Singapore Adventure Nature Lover (SANL) group (and Facebook) to book your next Fun adventure (some activities are free)
– Follow Nparks for more hiking and trails recommendations
– Be careful bike and hiking trail differences, children should not wander onto bike paths
– Leave the pokemons catching to the urban areas, pay attention to the path ahead

More photos have been uploaded on our Fanpage album.
hiking-singapore-photos

Pop by our hiking adventures here –> http://sengkangbabies.com/tag/hiking

*note, photos above might not be in order