Labrador Nature Reserve, Singapore
21st of October 2013
Poor research, flotilla, fibreglass rocks, WWII history, jungle, peace and quiet. A walk around Labrador Nature Reserve.
- Location: Labrador Nature Reserve, Singapore
- Start or End: Loop walk starting and ending at Labrador Park Train Station.
- Length: 5.0km (3.1mi)
- Grade: Easy. A little hilly in sections and fully paved.
Let this be a lesson to all you metrotrekkers out there ... research. It is best to do a bit of research before you take your first step. If you don't you might just miss out on a brilliant path and only realise it when you are back home. Let me explain. In a rush to reach Labrador Nature Reserve I went down a crappy, no excitement path next to a road and missed out on the Berlayer Creek Boardwalk, which makes its way from the Labrador train station to Labrador Nature Reserve via a mangrove filled with flora and fauna. Anyway, my loss is your gain. Don't take the path I took along Labrador Villa Road, instead look for the Berlayer Creek Boardwalk, which is located on the eastern side of Labrador train station.
Despite missing the best way to get to Labrador Nature Reserve I did have an enjoyable walk around the reserve itself. I didn't really walk around the reserve in any particular direction, just ambled around checking out the sites. Think this is a good way to explore this peaceful part of Singapore. Not sure if the reserve is so quite on the weekend as it seems like the perfect place to escape from the city and have a weekend picnic. As I am here on a weekday the reserve is deserted with only a few of Singapore's more elderly residents getting in some exercise and a few other people fishing.
My first visit to Labrador Nature reserve is also my first visit to coastal Singapore, or more specifically the Singapore Strait. Along with the Malacca Strait to the east, the Singapore Strait connects the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, making the Singapore Strait a very busy shipping lane. If you are looking for views of cargo ships, Labrador Nature Reserve is the place to be.
Apart from cargo ships, Labrador Nature Reserve also provides views of Sentosa Island, the cable car connecting the main island to Sentosa Island, Keppel Island, and the skyscrapers of the Reflections at Keppel Bay development, which I viewed earlier in the day from the Southern Ridges Walk.
The foreshore section of Labrador Nature Reserve is a flat grassed area with scattered trees, which in a bygone era used to be part of a popular seaside resort. However, the area was believed to be a weak point for invasion, so before WWII the resort was demolished and replaced by a machine gun bunker and other fortifications.
One of the more quirky items of interest on the foreshore is a commemorative fibreglass replica of a rock called the Dragon's Teeth Gate, which was unfortunately blown to smithereens more than 150 years ago. The original rock stood just offshore and was used as a navigational point for boats arriving into Keppel Harbour. When the channel was widened in 1848 the original rock had to be blown up and in 2005 this fibreglass replica was built. At first I thought it was a real rock. It was only on closer inspections that I realised it was a fake. I'm no geologist, but I think the people that made the replica did an impressive job.
Inland from the foreshore the reserve becomes much hillier and dense with vegetation. Apart from the flora and fauna, this area of the reserve is also full military history. At the beginning of the trail into the jungle is the Old Fort Pasir Panjang Entrance, which was built in 1886.
Further into the hills are a number of WWII relics, including an authentic 6-inch cannon. It was really enjoyable wandering through the dense jungle and stumbling across concrete bunkers and gun batteries, some of which are being taken over by massive forest trees.
These WWII concrete bunkers were serviced by underground tunnels, which are littered under the dense forest of the reserve. Unfortunately, the tunnels are all locked up so I couldn't explore them. It's a real shame you can't explore the tunnels, it would definitely make the experience much more interesting. Despite this, the walk through the jungle was quite fun anyway.
Anyway, that's enough venturing around the jungle today. Think it is time to head back to basecamp, but before I do I think it is worthwhile having a nice sit in the peaceful surrounds of the Labrador Nature Reserve.
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Have you taken this walk? Any suggestions or errors? Please comment below.