Singapore measures only a little more than 700 square kilometers but hosts a terrific variety of trails for the island’s runners.
While it’s impossible to escape the humidity, certain trails — MacRitchie and Southern Ridges — provide a respite from the heat, and on weekends are packed with avid runners putting in the miles.
Here’s a guide to 10 of the best routes — both long and short — catering to varying abilities.
1. MacRitchie Reservoir Loop
Singapore’s largest water catchment area is also one of its more popular exercise destinations.
The trail that circumvents the reservoir gradually brings you closer to Nature: you start on asphalt, near man-made facilities, before heading off along the reservoir via a wooden boardwalk. The trail eventually leads deep into the jungle, where the boardwalk gives way to a dirt track.
A word of advice: Bring water and eat your pre-run snack before you enter the jungle. The monkeys here are mostly harmless, albeit rather shameless food-snatchers.
Recommended for: Intermediate to advanced runners. The route leads deep into the jungle surrounding the Reservoir, far from amenities and civilization, so you have to be comfortable with the distance.
Amenities: Average. Shower and bathroom facilities, along with lockers and refreshment stalls, are available at the start and end points only. In between, the jungle will have to be your bathroom. There are bathroom and water facilities round the entrance point of the HSBC Treetop Walk.
Junction of Lornie Road and Thomson Road.
2. The Southern Ridges Trail
The Southern Ridges Trail spans three parks in Southern Singapore — Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park — before ending in West Coast Park.
This particularly challenging route is literally an uphill battle, but rewards the persevering with lush natural views and the 300-meter-long Henderson Waves, a wavy, rib-like wooden bridge that stands 36 meters above Henderson Road.
Recommended for: Kenyans, and advanced runners. The sloping terrain will make the run considerably challenging, especially over the full distance.
Amenities: Good. Bathroom facilities are well spaced out, even in the jungle trail. Car parks are available at all three parks, as well as shower facilities and beverage kiosks.
Mount Faber Park; Telok Blangah Hill Park; or Kent Ridge Park, tel 1800 471 7300.
3. Keppel Bay
Keppel Bay is one of Singapore’s bastions of luxury, so its appeal is more aesthetic than athletic.
This three-kilometer run, beginning outside the Harbourfront Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station, takes you across a marina to this offshore island that serves mainly as a yacht harbour.
The view alone, especially at sunset, makes this a run worth your time and effort.
Recommended for: All runners.
Amenities: Poor. There isn’t much in the way of shower or locker facilities, so this route is better suited to those who live or work in the vicinity. Post-run refuelling can be done in the lush confines of waterfront restaurant Privé. Be sure to change out of your running attire, though.
HarbourFront Centre, 1 Maritime Square.
4. Singapore River
Ah, the majestic Singapore River, a calm, tepid but glamorous dowager whose banks are lined with popular watering holes.
By night, she comes alive with strobe lights, large crowds, and the occasional splash of someone who’s had ten shots too many falling over.
By day, there is minimal human traffic, and the faded buzz of the nearby Central Business District area gives you the impression of being removed from the chaos of urban Singapore.
Either way, a run along the Singapore River is scenic and breezy, and culminates in a picturesque final leg that takes you past Parliament House, bits of Marina Bay and the iconic Merlion.
Recommended for: All runners. This route is straightforward, and is pretty much a sightseeing trip that burns calories.
Amenities: Rather poor. No locker or shower facilities nearby, unless you’re staying in one of the hotels situated by the river. There are plenty of car parks, and public toilets are available in, well, every public building you pass.
Martin Road along Robertson Quay.
5. Fort Canning Park
Singapore’s very own urban park is located just off Orchard Road, and majestically overlooks its many malls.
The track here meanders uphill, so it provides a certain degree of challenge in terms of terrain.
Fort Canning Park also features a lengthy staircase, suitable for those “Rocky” fans who wish to finish with a Singaporean take on that iconic scene outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Recommended for: All runners looking to immerse themselves in one of Singapore’s most historical sites.
Amenities: Lockers are available at Fort Canning Centre. Toilet facilities and water points are available at regular intervals
51 Fort Canning Rise.
6. The Beaches of Sentosa
This sun-kissed route begins at Sentosa Island’s westernmost beach, Siloso, and ends at its easternmost, Tanjong Beach.
For proponents of barefoot running, this route is one of the few in Singapore that allows for a shoeless jog.
For those who think that is an open invitation for injuries, a jogging track runs parallel to the beaches.
Frequently littered with beautiful bodies, this route is also the best for people-watching or showing off.
Recommended for: Matthew McConaughey. And just about everyone else.
Amenities: Good, with at least two toilet/shower facilities plus water points per beach. There are car parks at the nearby Beach monorail station, and at the end point at Tanjong Beach.
Siloso Beach, Sentosa Island.
7. Pasir Ris – Changi Beach
This is the epitome of that not oft-heard phrase “the storm before the calm.”
The route begins at the industrial estate on Loyang Avenue, but the manic drone of vehicular engines and heavy duty machinery fades away as you enter the lush, green Changi Golf Club before ending off at the tranquil Changi Beach for a picturesque warm down.
Route: Click here for a detailed route
Recommended for: All runners
Amenities: Average. Shower/toilet facilities, car parks and beverage kiosks are located at the start and end points only.
8. East Coast Park
Located along a stretch of beach in the south eastern coast of Singapore, East Coast Park is a very popular destination for runners.
Its 15-kilometer looping jogging track (kick off at Big Splash) is especially useful for those who wish to clock in serious mileage before a race.
Many of Singapore’s big races, such as the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon and the Sundown Marathon, include East Coast Park in their routes.
Recommended for: Intermediate and advanced runners.
Amenities: Excellent, with lockers, bathrooms, showers and water points placed at regular intervals. There are several car parks spread across East Coast Park, as well as countless food joints for a hearty post-run meal. The satay at the East Coast Food Centre are excellent.
902 East Coast Parkway.
9. Kallang – Tanjong Rhu
Most fitness enthusiasts in Singapore will know Kallang Riverside Park, where this route begins, though more for its watersports than its appeal as a running route.
However, it also represents the first leg of a very picturesque waterside route that used to take you past the symbol of Singaporean sports, the National Stadium, which has since been demolished.
The run continues down to the riverfront condominium district Tanjong Rhu, a picture-perfect scene of tranquillity before ending at Mountbatten Road.
Recommended for: All runners
Amenities: The start point has bathroom, shower, locker and carpark facilities, while the end point has none. The run will take you close to Leisure Park Kallang, which has toilet facilities as well as numerous food and beverage outlets.
10. Changi Beach Park
There is something timelessly romantic about Changi Beach that charms people to run here, especially military types and adventure racers.
This particular route takes you from Changi Beach Park and all along Changi Coast Road past the runways before looping back.
The aircraft taking off and landing help distract you from the ongoing pounding of the pavement.
Route: Click here for a detailed route
Recommended for: Intermediate to advanced runners, and travellers in transit.
Amenities: Good. The start and end points have everything you need, lockers, toilet and shower facilities, carparks, and an array of shops and restaurants for pre- and post-run fuel.
Along Nicoll Drive and Changi Coast Road.