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The Walk Unwalkable

by Connie Ong, BAcc (Hons) 1987

Even though Singapore has over 300km of Park Connector Networks (PCNs) and developing more, some trekkers are still looking for new thrills off the beaten track.  My friend ‘jio’ me to join them to walk Clementi Forest a few months ago, and I obliged, not realizing this trail is really really off the beaten track!

Clementi Forest is indeed a dense forest

I definitely would not recommend this for new or non-seasoned trekkers.  In recent weeks, three women got lost, and one suffered a leg injury in two separate incidences and had to be rescued by the police,  civil defence force, firefighters and even the ambulance.  It can be said that this is only a short 2km trail from Green Corridor to Sunset Way. Still, it is a trail through a very dense forest with no clear visible path to follow. The terrains are sloppy, slippery, and very uneven.

So why is there so much interest in Clementi Forest?  I can only venture a guess, and it’s probably the adventurous streak in us making us want to explore the less explored.  Would I repeat my walk there? I would prefer to wait for the National Parks Board’s (NParks) progressive opening of two new recreational trails from 2023 - one to run along the Old Jurong Line decommissioned in the early 1990s and the second to run along the stream to a new nature park.

Part of the Old Jurong Line decommissioned in early 1990s

If you are one of those that must still walk it, then make sure you are well prepared and bring along an experienced trekker.  Wear good hiking shoes as the trail can be very muddy. Better still, wear hiking shoes with high ankles to protect your legs from cuts and abrasions from the many fallen branches. And avoid accidental sprains when negotiating the sloppy and challenging terrains.  These hiking shoes are typically made from a hybrid of leather and rubber to make them more sturdy, water-resistant, and reasonably flexible for easier walking.

Wear good high ankle hiking shoes 

Suppose you are still curious after all this, let me share some photos taken during our walk with my fellow trekker and BSA's Vice President Steven Yeo. We used walking poles to help us navigate up and down the challenging slopes. These poles also helped us cross over large fallen branches and negotiate slippery paths by the streams. This 2km trail was so challenging it took us almost an hour to walk it, and we were totally sapped after the walk! 

The paths beside the streams are muddy and slippery too

Use walking poles to help you up the tough slopes

Fallen branches are everywhere

Did you like the photos? Isn't the trail strenuous? Luckily all things, good or bad, come to an end.  And when you get to the tunnel under Clementi Road, you can literally see the light at the end of it and what a relief it was then.

Some trekkers climb up the tunnel and end here. Others, like my group, crossed the tunnel and walked another 15 minutes or so to reach the end of Clementi Forest at Sunset Way. Phew! We are so relieved we made it safely!   

Tunnel under Clementi Road


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