Updated: Jan 8, 2020
Tips for exploring the newest nature park for wildlife experiences and historical trails
If nature, trails and photography are what tick your boxes for a good day out, then a visit to the newly opened Thomson Nature Park will be a delight for your senses and lenses. If you have the luxury of time to visit during a weekday morning, you will be rewarded with IG-worthy photos and priceless wildlife encounters, just like what I discovered on my 9.30am Thursday morning exploration. The almost non-existent crowd, easy parking access (small carpark with only about 30 lots) and higher chance of wildlife sightings are worth the one day annual leave application from work.
Thomson Nature Park was officially opened on 12 October 2019, and is the newest nature park unveiled by NParks. It is located adjacent to Central Catchment Nature Reserve and is accessible via Upper Thomson Road main entrance where the visitor centre and carpark are located, as well as via two walking access connections (Langur and Macaque trails) along Old Upper Thomson Road.
Thomson Nature Park can be explored on its own with a cumulative total of 3.8km of trail distance for those who are not keen to walk too much. If you are looking for a longer walk, you can can choose to add on with Lower Peirce Reservoir, Upper Peirce Reservoir Park, and/or Bishan Park, or make it ultra long and combine it with MacRitchie Reservoir trails in addition to the above mentioned.
The trails are paved, barricaded, and clearly marked, making it easy even for complete beginners. I recommend bringing a hiking pole if you are alone or just with another friend, as a preventive measure from possible harassment by the pesky macaques. I once spotted several families of macaque while walking along Old Upper Thomson Road and they can be quite aggressive if they think you carry food in your bags (even if you don't).
Optional creature comfort items include shades (not just to shield you from the sun but makes you look swag in photos too), hydration pack (to carry all your stuff and keep your hands free for photography), trail shoes (not necessary but you will appreciate a good pair of grippy soles), and leggings/long pants (for extra protection against mozzies).
There are only 2 trails that are actually a loop each and they intertwine on some parts. Ruins & Figs trail is marked red and it is named literally for the fact that you get to see the ruins that remain from the old Hainan Village that dates back to 1930, as well as fig trees that are dotted along the way. Streams & Ferns trail is marked yellow and you will see some plenty of ferns and tiny (and I mean super tiny) streams along the way.
The remnants from the old Hainan Village make good backdrops for photos because they create a Tomb Raider effect with the roots of the trees entrapping the concrete structures. For an added vintage touch, you can even make it monochrome like what I did.
The other 3 shorter trails are Rambutan (next to the carpark), Macaque and Langur (both linked to Old Upper Thomson Road). Ironically, I encountered a young wild boar and a lone macaque along the Langur trail, but no sight of the Raffles Banded Langur that I so wanted to see.
I truly enjoyed my first visit and will be bringing more friends here soon. I am hoping for more wildlife encounters and one that includes the elusive Raffles Banded Langur.
Outfit by Under Armour
Trail shoes and hydration pack by Salomon from The Running Lab