Tips for Nparks Coast to Coast Trail

Nparks Coast to Coast Trail is popular on the island. I have uploaded more photos on Facebook album.

Two things are common during Covid19 measures, folks cannot clear leave and families are exercising more!

So we (me and colleagues Daniel, Francis and son) did a 2-in-1 by walking the 36km Coast to Coast trail (C2C).

And we realised it was 42km instead of 36km :p
(Refer my Google Map GPX here)

Startpoint at Lakeside MRT (7.15am)

We started at Lakeside MRT, and I had to take the earliest train from Sengkang.

Rough estimation of distance between checkpoints.

This might help in planning for your rest points.
~Lakeside (Start) to Hindhede (CP3) – 8km
~Hindhede (CP3) to Adam (CP4) – 6km
~Adam(CP4) to Bishan(CP5) – 8km
~Bishan(CP5) to Sengkang Swim(CP7) – 8km
~Sengkang Swim (CP7) to Coney (CP9) -7km

Total= 37 to 38km (real walk will be longer)

Singapore coast to coast trail map (credit Nparks)

If add Rower’s Bay (CP10) from Sengkang Swim (CP7), add another 7km +

Coast to Coast trail Singapore
Coast to Coast trail Singapore

Back to our trail…

There are a lot of constructions and detour around Jurong Lake Garden, walk under MRT viaduct, along PCN markers next to Boon Lay Way.

Park Connector Network (PCN) and Coast to Coast Trail signboard.
Image below indicates Bukit Batok Park (CP2) is 6.5km away.

Checkpoint 1 Chinese Garden(7:38am)

As we begin our walk, no worries about toilets and water points. There are MRT stations, coffee shops and 7-11 for pit stops.

Checkpoint 1 Chinese Garden

If you are first time attempting c2c, I would recommend Npark app to pinpoint your checkpoints. But take note keeping this app running in the background will suck your mobile phone battery!

Another useful webpage would be NEA’s rain area. Although not real time, you can get a pretty good idea of whether it will be a passing drizzle or island-wide thunderstorm (NEA website recommended, as the app is not responsive).

Rain clouds and forecast

The viaduct and PCN provides much needed shade.

After CP1 (checkpoint), cross overhead bridge and walk towards Block 115. If you are cycling, head to the junction of Jurong Town Hall Road and Boon Lay Way.

You will be heading North East under MRT viaduct, between Jurong East and Bukit Batok stations.

This is part of Ulu Pandan PCN.

**Detour** Do take note of ongoing work down the “slope” (at GPS 1.34294, 103.74523). Keep left at this junction.

** Detour ended (2021 Nov)

Refer image below, you will have to walk along Bukit Batok Ave 1, pass by swimming complex (on your right), and turn right along Bukit Batok Ave 6.

Ulu Pandan Park Connector
Ulu Pandan Park Connector

Just follow “Bukit Batok” direction,  and not “Toh Guan”.

Image credit Google Map

Walk another kilometre from Swimming complex and you will reach the stone zodiacs at Block 280 (BB East Ave 4).

Checkpoint 2 Bukit Batok (8.55am)

I would say the first 3 checkpoints are relative near to each other, and offer a lot of shade.

Checkpoint 2 Bukit Batok

We love the awesome amount of greens as we skirt around Bukit Batok hill. Beyond the shades, the pathway beckons you to explore inland.

Continue along the shared path and you will pass behind Autobacs.

We passed by Liveband pub, which used to be a Firestation.

Bukit Timah fire station

Checkpoint 3 Hindhede Drive (9.28am)

This is very near to CP2. And if time permits, you can sprint up SG’s highest hill Bukit Timah. We noticed a crowd, even on a weekday.

On second thoughts, stick to the Coast to Coast trail, unless you do not mind completing in 15 hours :p

Coast to Coast Hindhede Drive
Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre might be a good pit stop for some snacks. Most folks will actually eat at Adam Food Centre (CP4), but price and queue might be higher.

15 min break, nice Bak chang.

5km more to reach Adam Road Food Centre.

Many sights and memories along Bukit Timah road. King Albert McDonald, Railway line, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

More slopes, kerbs and junctions along 4km stretch of Bukit Timah. The road-work around here makes driving tough, and biking harder.

If you are cycling, the narrow paths and pedestrians add to the congestion!

We are amused by all the atas MRT stations. Remember to have fun along the way, it makes the journey so much more relaxing.

Laughter does help to delay fatigue.

Rochor river runs along Bukit Timah road.

Checkpoint 4 Adam road Food Centre (11.15am)

Took a well deserved 40 min lunch break. The longer you rest, the harder it is to resume your pace :p

Order any food, but do pamper yourself with some cold beverages.

Adam Road Food Centre good food

After cp4 Adam lunch, compose ourselves and march on, this time under the merciless sun. From CP4 onwards, it is easier to navigate but distances between checkpoints are longer too.

Head towards Kheam Hock Park and go through the underpass (GPS 1.33043, 103.81966).

You will pass some tombstones, this area was part of Bukit Brown cemetery. Do not be spooked, especially when you are walking in the night.

Cross the overhead bridge and land on the new Lornie Road PCN.

Lornie Park Connector
Lornie Park Connector

Head towards Macritchie Reservoir carpark direction. Toilet or water break, or take a small detour and enjoy the scenic water view.

Take the underpass (in the direction of St Theresa’s Home, GPS 1.346073, 103.838151) and exit to Marymount Road.

This stretch towards Bishan Park is exposed to elements, and dust from constructions.

Checkpoint 5 at Bishan (1.52pm)

You need to detour left and walk 500m in.

Checkpoint 5 Bishan Park
Checkpoint 5 Bishan Park

We took a small detour, crossing the overhead bridge to catch some merlions (infront Block 218).

Ang Mo Kio merlion

Decided to treat ourselves to some cool ice cream, celebrate 25km completion, about 2/3 of trail 🙂

Pass by AMK Town Garden West, this used to be my childhood playground. There were some hidden “forts” at the top.

Turn right towards Ang Mo Kio 5, Buangkok and Sengkang direction.
Looking at the sidewalk flora distracts us from the long trek.

If you follow this trek between 10am to 12pm, you might see some happy butterflies.

Checkpoint 6 Lexus Hills Park (3.25pm)

The rain clouds were threatening us from Punggol and Sengkang.

We decided to have a sweet pitstop at Esso Yio Chu Kang.

Checkpoint 6 Lexus Hills

Pocari and Eclair boosted our energy and spirits.
9km to Coney island end point, but only 2km from home!

Just follow PCN and river to Punggol.

Buangkok Kampong is just behind us.

3 more checkpoints to go, 7, 8 and 9.
We will not attempt Checkpoint 10 at Rower’s Bay, which is out of the way.

On another trip, I had cycled to Rower’s Bay to catch the beautiful sunset.

Sunset at Rower’s Bay Seletar

Checkpoint 7 Sengkang Floating Wetland (4.10pm)

The park connectors in Sengkang and Punggol has one of the most scenic routes, mixture of nature and man-made.

One loop (Sengkang Punggol Hougang Buangkok) is 25km, checkout my running route. Imagine exercising along the riverway.

 

Iconic Jewel Bridge (GPS 1.409512, 103.89587).

Punggol Robot wall
Punggol Robot wall

The robots mural, next to Block 308C (S822308).

Checkpoint 8 Punggol Waterway PArk (5:02pm)

Can smell the ending already! Quicken our pace. The whole C2C trail has taken us longer to complete (both distance and time).

Oasis Terraces, plenty of F&B options here. I thought it is less crowded than Waterway Point.

Oasis Terraces Punggol
Oasis Terraces Punggol

Checkpoint 9 coney Island (5.40pm)

One feeling: Relive!

One picture for memories.  Had estimated to cover route under 8 or 9 hours, but we took 10 hours (including breaks).

Nparks Coast to Coast Trail
Nparks Coast to Coast Trail

Relive Video. (Use Strava to clock your journey, then just run Relive app to get the animation)

After the trail, some will choose to have dinner at Punggol Settlement. We chose to Grab home 🙂

More Nparks Coast to Coast Trail photos are in my Facebook album.

Coast to Coast Trail photos
Coast to Coast Trail photos

I have friends asking whether we need to be super fit to attempt the Coast to Coast trail. Long distance walking should not be new to those who have done NS (National Service 24km).

But walking 42 km (sorry not 36km) still exerts a fair bit of energy. We know we can complete, but we often add undue pressures for ourselves. Go easy.

As a guide, if you wish to complete in 9 or 10 hours,  you should be comfortable walking 10km around 2 hours 10 minutes. Go practice first or even try Coast to Coast in installments.

Factor in rain and sun (humidity) elements. First timers might even miss a junction or two :p

You may navigate Coast to Coast trail with my Google Map GPX. Just follow my route and reach your destination.

Photo below, my Crius Master at Bukit Batok. I jogged and cycled the trail to identify the checkpoints beforehand.

Cycling Coast to Coast Trail
Cycling Coast to Coast Trail

Additional tips for Nparks Coast to Coast Trail

1.Nparks link and detours
Brochure  (and side visits)
*Latest updates (detours and Mobileapp)

2.There are plenty of walking groups in Meetup groups! Long queues too.
Do search for “Trailblazers coast to coast” or “Deep breathing coast to coast“. You can identify your own pace and join a group, someone more experience will help you hunt for the checkpoints.

3. Packing. Besides hydration, powerbank and waterproofing would be most important. You might wish to use Strava to track your journey too.

-I brought along a 500m bottle, but we can always find 7-11, provision shops and coffeeshops nearby.
-Umbrella or rain coat, slippers for heavy downpour
*Suntan lotion, muscle rub
-Sunglass, towel, cap
-(optional) Spare tshirt/short to change after walk
-Cash for taxi and food

4. Start/end at Coney Drive or Lakeside?
Lakeside has MRT, but one-hour journey from Sengkang.

Coney Island entrance has no public transport. Nearest LRT is Punggol Point, followed by 1km walk. (Punggol Coast MRT is still under construction). You can grab bus 84 to Punggol end, but service is only available weekends.

Nearest carpark should be at Punggol Settlement.

Punggol Point LRT to Coney Island

5. I will recommend weekday walk as many folks will be tramping this route over the weekends. For first timers, choose daytime over night time especially if you need to “pose” at the milestones.

Once you have completed Nparks Coast to Coast trail, there are other Round-Island trails (up to 150km) waiting for you!

6. Wear a pair of shoes instead of sandals or slippers. Your sole and calves will be sore after the walk.

*Follow our families’ hiking adventures here. We hope to climb Malaysia Gunungs soon. Happy Walking!

 

ps Updated 2021 Jan 22, we walk Coney Island(CP9) to Adam Food Centre (CP4), Relive video

 

Gunung Panti hike 2016, and one proud Daddy

We did it! We hiked up Gunung Panti with the boys recently. Rated “simple to moderate”, this hill near to Kota Tinngi waterfall is 513m and will take 5 hours round trip. In contrast, Singapore’s tallest hill is Bukit Timah, read our 163m review here.

This milestone will lead us to many more summits!

More than the climb, more than the view, this hike made me super PROUD to be their Dad! It is not an easy climb but their resilience and attitude impressed me. We parents always underestimate the kids’ resolve and determination.

Gunung Panti family

(Photo below) The trail starts on the right, there is a small path and we have added “estimated” GPS below.

Three minutes into our hike, we need to cross a stream and our socks and shoes turn soggy yucks! But once kids are conditioned that hiking is sweaty and dirty, it is so much easier to march forward and upwards :p

Take note we had started on the wrong path, otherwise we would have crossed the “Monkey bridge”.
20160612 hike Gunung Panti2

We were supposed to link up with our volunteer guides from “Freewill Hikers’ Club“, but we park at the wrong corner. After asking around, we decided to follow the trail up the hill.

In the spirit of adventure (actually, we did not want to return empty-handed haha), we decided to do some DIY venturing. We followed a guide and his guests some of the way, and the local police who were practicing near the hills helped too. They must be wondering why this Dad is bringing three boys up the hills alone haha.

HIKING is a bit of Unknown, a bit of Adventure right :p

We try to spot the next ribbon and marking as we hike deeper. We would not recommend diy hiking, as it is easy to get lost as there are a few junctions along the way. When we are tired, anxious (or even dehydrated), we can easily lose our sense of direction.
20160612 hike Gunung Panti3

Use our hands to feel, grab the branches to balance, give each other a helping hand. It is important to let kids understand that hiking is not walk-in-the-park 🙂

Uneven slopes, muddy floors, thick under-growths, mosquitos for companions. More than the physical climb, our mind is always scanning the path infront to avoid tripping or slipping. The roots and fallen leaves are especially slippery.

I need to constantly remind the kids to go easy on the jumping (Take care of your knees!)
20160612 hike Gunung Panti5

HELLO Hiking, kids are in good spirits!
20160612 hike Gunung Panti6

Rainforest Exploration

Huge tree trunks, some are so thick we need to skirt around.
Gunung Panti photos

Flora, some plants are interesting, moss or the star shaped flower.
20160612 hike Gunung Panti1

Rich Fauna too. The millipede is 15cm (long!) and the Upsized ants look menacing! But the most eerie creature must be the blood-sucking leech (our video shows it trying desperately trying to latch onto us!)
20160612 hike Gunung Panti

Savour the moment, the nature and strive forward. The crickets and symphony greeted us along the corridors.
I purposely rotate the “leader” so everyone had a chance to navigate and lead our team, perhaps this will give them a sense of mission?
Gunung Panti

One hour into our hike, we found our guide Richard and his grandson Rain. I was really relieved that we were on the correct path all along.

Further up, we were fortunate to meet Gunung Panti’s guardian Angel too, 小黑 (Little Black).
20160612 hike Gunung Panti14

Never give up, Just do it!

The last 50m is a 90 degrees rock wall!

Step by step, we slowly find our grip (and grit) and inch upwards. A sense of liberty and freedom as we try to defy gravity. Richard guided us where to place our balance.
20160612 hike Gunung Panti7

Oh, it helps if you do not look down! As long as we hug the wall, we are safe.
20160612 hike Gunung Panti8

Although tired, we must always motivate each other 🙂
20160612 hike Gunung Panti9

Our hair was never dry once we started, 2.5 hours UP and 2 hours down.
IMG_3568

Summit view,Boon Kang counting the number of Gunungs across the horizon.
20160612 hike Gunung Panti11

Group photo at the top, friendly folks who help each other 🙂
13419263_10208355019466482_7408501926979793567_n
(Image credit Freewill Hikers)

Video (link) : Our virgin hiking experience

Please remember to bring your thrash down.
20160612 hike Gunung Panti10

After enjoying the fresh air, time to go down. We move gingerly down the steep wall, going down is harder than going up 🙂
Gunung Pantisummit

Boon Yee and Boon Wee managing a smile. Halfway down, they unanimously say “YES” when I ask them whether they wish to attempt another hill.

As their Dad, I was beaming with PRIDE.
Gunung Panti with kids

Fast forward to the end point, we can use Monkey bridge or sandbags to cross the stream. Adventures all the way 🙂
20160612 hike Gunung Panti13

We started and end our hike in wet conditions. When we started, we had missed the monkey bridge and waded in ankle-deep water. At the end point, the torrential downpour was refreshing and washed away our fatigue 🙂
20160612 hike Gunung Panti15

Introducing our hiking gear:
– Decathlon Quechua hiking shoes for the kids, from $17 onwards. Cheap and good!
– We had a 10L $3.90 bagpack (yes so cheap!!) for some snacks
– I got a 30L backback for the water
– Poncho
– I brought some salt-water for the leeches too (not sure whether effective)

Hiking shoes are a must, those wearing running shoes kept slipping.
deacthlon hiking shoes

This is my first hike in Johor too, glad the kids could accompany me. This climb would not be possible without the friendly “Freewill Hikers’ Club“. Subscribe to them and start charting more adventures ahead 🙂

The best way to train for Gunung Panti is combining Bukit Timah Hill (steepness) and MacRitchie Tree Top walk (distance and endurance)

We can start to look forward to more challenging hikes. From (L to R), hills in comparison. Bukit Timah, Panti, Ophir, Ijen, and Mount K :p
hill mountain peaks height

More tips about Gunung Panti and hiking with kids:

– Gunung is Malay for Mountain, and Gunung Panti’s Chinese name is 猪头山 (literally Pig Head!)
– Gunung Panti GPS “1.808107, 103.845048“, entrance to trail is next to Rainforest Resort.
– Hikers normally park along the main road, some will drive further into the small roads

– Climb to rock wall is 2 hours, add 30 mins to rope up last 50 metres
– My Fitbit signal was unstable, as a conservative estimate, we trek 15km and 150 steps (two way)

– Long pants or bermudas? Richard recommended that bermudas might be better as long pants might conceal the leeches!

– Have ample rest to catch your breath and let body accustomed to heights. Kids, especially tend to overestimate their own fitness and like to dash from point to point

* It is very humid under the canopy, drink plenty of water

– Touch wood if we are lost, kids should follow stream downwards until they reach village or settlement. That will be our meeting point. (Please provide guidance for me if my understanding is wrong)

* You may wish to cool down at Kota Tinggi Waterfall, a short 5 min drive away

hiking Gunung Panti

Read all our hiking stories HERE, Kawah Ijen is recommended.
More photos have been uploaded on our Fanpage album. We hope more families will pick up hiking too.

Hiking is like parenting, we all have our summits to conquer, I am always telling the kids that although the end destination is nice, we must always remember to savour the journey.

To all the DADs out there, Happy Father’s Day 🙂

*updated Jul2016 – we submitted Gunung Belumut too (1000m)

ps.. Follow our Instagram tag #SengkangBabiesJohor for more JB adventures