Saturday, September 6, 2008

Running Routes: To Mandai, and Le Grand Route

My previous running routes post was on Rifle Range Road.

In it, I mentioned an offroad trail that links up to the Belukar Trail on the eastern edge of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Today, I will mention a very popular offroad cycling route that is incidentally, also good for runners.

The aforementioned Belukar Trail is an offroad cycling trail and it links up north with the Chestnut Trail. The Chestnut Trail proceeds beneath the Zhenghua flyover and from Chestnut Avenue, into the deep woods. It eventually links up with the Gangsa Trail near the Gali Batu flyover and joins up with Track 15. Track 15 connects to Mandai Road, near the Singapore Zoo.

This trail is well-known to bikers in Singapore. You can read more here and here.


If running, always be aware that you are sharing the trail with cyclists. That means that for safety reasons, you should be mindful of your surroundings. Ipod runners need not apply.

Belukar Trail connects to Zhenghua Park near the Zhenghua flyover. To get onto the Chestnut Trail, you must turn onto Chestnut Avenue and proceed until you reach the trail head at Meeting Point 4. Ignore the asphalt track that leads into Zhenghua Park and continues on to the Bukit Panjang Park Connector.

The W(ood)cutter's Trail, a nature trail, starts near Meeting Point 4. [pardon the leet, as this is meant to forestall would-be animal/bird trappers].

The Gangsa Trail is remote. It's best not to run (or cycle) alone if you are single and a female.

The Gangsa Trail is also long, and not particularly easy to run. It's meant for *bikers* after all. Bear this in mind if you are a casual runner.

You may encounter wildlife during your runs. Act sensibly. I have seen both monkeys and jungle fowl on my runs [well, it could just have been a regular rooster, but I didn't see any farms nearby].

And now, for what I term rather grandiosely (or pretentiously) Le Grand Route.

Taken together with all of my previous posts on the running routes that I have documented, what we have now is a remarkable result.

It is now possible to traverse as much as one fifth of the island contiguously on foot, running mostly on off-road trails, park connectors, quiet roads and estates. Only a small portion of the running routes requires running on pavement alongside heavily trafficked major roads.

This area that amounts to a fifth of the island stretches as far west as Jurong Birdpark, northwest to Dairy Farm Road, north to Mandai, northeast to Thomson, and southwards to Harbourfront.

To recap from my previous posts:

Jurong Birdpark is linked to the Chinese Garden via the Jurong Park Connector, which in turn links to the Ulu Pandan Park Connector at the PIE near IMM (see Running Routes: Buona Vista to the Chinese Garden).

The Ulu Pandan Park Connector extends into the Bukit Batok area, connects to the Hillview Park Connector, Dairy Farm Road and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is linked via Rifle Range Road to the whole of Macritchie Reservoir Park, and east to Thomson (see Running Routes: Rifle Range Road).

As mentioned above, the Belukar Trail of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve can extend as far north as Mandai Road through extensions on the Chestnut and Gangsa Trails, and on Track 15.

At the other end of the Ulu Pandan Park Connector, the park connector wends behind the International Business Park, through the Clementi/Sunset Way area, then wraps back upon itself at Buona Vista MRT Station (see Running routes: Buona Vista Loop).

At Buona Vista MRT Station, runners can take the Dempsey Loop which encompasses the Holland V. and Tanglin V. areas, with possible extensions to the Botanic Gardens (see Running routes: Dempsey Loop).

Alternatively, from Buona Vista MRT Station, runners can easily reach nearby Biopolis, exit from its rear onto Portsdown Road, which takes runners directly into Wessex Estate (see Running routes: Wessex Estate).

Exiting Wessex Estate from its southern end, runners can then cross (via an overhead bridge) the AYE to reach Science Park I, Technology Crescent, and then enter Kent Ridge Park, gateway to the Southern Ridges (see Running Routes: Southern Ridges).


Grace said...

suggestion: make routes public on, and link to those? that would give us runners an idea of how long they are, what the terrain is like, how far from home we're going to end up...

mjuse said...

I had problems updating my routes on so I just gave up after a while.

You might want to trace out the route on a streetdirectory. anyway, mapmyrun doesn't allow for pictures, which i thought would be a big plus for people new to the routes.

if you have specific questions about a route, you can type them in the comments field of the relevant post and i will get back to you when i can.