The Coast-to-Coast Trail: Bukit Timah to Jurong

We tackled Singapore’s 36-kilometer Coast-to-Coast trail over the course of three weekends in three different sections: the northeast, middle, and finally the southwest.

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The southwest section for us started at the Tan Kah Kee MRT station (part of the Downtown Line) and took us through Bukit Timah, Beauty World, Bukit Batok, and then to Jurong. If I were to rename this section, I would call it the “streets and underpasses walk.” As I’ve noted in other posts, the Coast-to-Coast trail is inaptly named, because it’s neither coast-to-coast (it only hits one coast in Punggol) nor is it a trail (about 98% of it is on sidewalks or asphalt). And the bottom third of the Coast-to-Coast trail is the least trail-like of all. It begins with a walk up noisy, crowded Bukit Timah Road.

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After a long slog past a few landed houses and a lot of fences, we made our way to our first construction-and-underpass combo (you wouldn’t expect this to be in an area called Beauty World, but that name is a holdover from the area’s life as an amusement park).

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We enjoyed a quick breakfast at one of our favorite hawker stalls: Bukit Timah Food Centre:

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From here, the trail makes an entirely needless turn up to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. I say needless here because unless you want to make a long side trip and take a great hike, this just takes you up a side street and right back down — so it’s a needless detour. That said, if you do choose to take it, you get to see these amazing macaque warning signs:

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From here, the trail continues north to Butik Batok Nature Park.

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At this point, it’s worth swinging off of the sidewalk and taking the trail that parallels the road inside the park.

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This was my favorite part of the day’s journey, largely because we saw everything from flowers to birds to giant seed pods:

We also came across this great sign:

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Once you emerge from the park, you find yourself in a long stretch of HDBs (Housing and Development Board apartment buildings) …

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… in all sorts of different colors …

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… which eventually give way to an unexpected light industrial section (I didn’t think the Coast-to-Coast Trail would include light industry, but Singapore constantly surprises me):

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At this point, I took a one block detour to visit the wild lights and Taoist deities of Tong Tien Kung temple:

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Then the trail did a disappearing trick and we spent a while walking back and forth in front of this big orange building:

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Things got pretty frustrating here, because the trail was literally fenced off at this point and crafting our own detour turned out to be a challenge (we learned that property owners in light industrial areas have pretty solid security systems). But eventually we made our way through this field in the middle of a construction site …

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… and that got us on our way again. There’s only one right way here because you have to get yourself to the one pedestrian overpass that stretches across the Pan Island Expressway. The overpass itself takes you past some terrific plantings …

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… and then you’re deposited in the land of underpasses:

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Now you’re in Jurong, and you walk along a drainage canal for a while:

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There are some nice flowers on the other side of the walkway, but otherwise, this is a pretty uninspiring area.

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After a long, unshaded section, the trail takes you under the Jurong East Flyover — so your view becomes this for at least the next kilometer:

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We stopped for an excellent plate of mixed veg rice at this coffeeshop in the Toh Guan HDB cluster:

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From here, we walked beneath more underpasses …

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… strolled by unusually short HDBs …

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… crossed large intersections …

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… saw even more HDBs …

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… and continued the underpass adventure.

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Finally, we reached Checkpoint 1!

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This checkpoint sits at the eastern end of Jurong Lake Gardens, which comprise the Chinese Garden, the Japanese Garden, and Jurong Lake. Ordinarily, that would make this an incredibly pretty place to end our walk — but all of the gardens are closed for renovation works for at least the next year, so we could only peer in from a distance …

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… and most of our walk was done along an endless green fence:

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As for the end of the trail, well, we never found it. My best guess is that it’s hidden behind more fencing — but as the triumphant conclusion of a long walk goes, this one was anticlimactic.

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2 responses to “The Coast-to-Coast Trail: Bukit Timah to Jurong

  1. Hah! I felt the same, it was merely a long distance walk around the country. I think it’s should be rebranded as a walk in a park, Industrial/Nature park that is.

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