Clementi Forest


Clementi Forest in Singapore is a hidden gem that needs our help to remain the wildlife paradise that it once was.

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Discover Clementi Forest in Singapore

As one of the greenest cities that we’ve ever explored, it's no surprise that Singapore, often celebrated for its futuristic, urban flare, is also home to several natural hidden gems. Among these more natural treasures scattered throughout the city-state, Clementi Forest is a wonderland of greenery situated on the Western side of Singapore that rose to fame after drone footage went viral in 2022.

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Although not always as popular as the nearby Bukit Timah Nature Reserve or MacRitchie Reservoir, Clementi Forest is just as significant. According to the Nature Society Singapore (NSS), it is the most important and largest unprotected patch of woodland in the Green Corridor. Furthermore, it is home to around 98 species of plants, including two rare orchids, the Dienia Ophrydis and the Zeuxine clandestina, and a host of wildlife.

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The 210-acre forest can be easily accessed by traversing the Rail Corridor, or Green Corridor/Greenway, around Holland Road, and has a range of trails for visitors to follow. But be warned, this network of hiking trails, which have no clear directions, is about as wild as it gets in Singapore. You will no doubt emerge feeling both triumphant and exhausted, in an unrecognisable pair of muddy sneakers!

Preserving Clementi Forest

When drone footage went viral in October 2022, Clementi, a formerly underrated forest, surged to fame and many enthusiastic hikers sought to explore it for themselves. However, this led to a drastic decline in the number of rare orchids and other plantlife, after they were being trampled by hikers.

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After feeling somewhat guilty for the increased footfall in the forest after his footage was released, the videographer Mr Brice sent a proposal to authorities. Brice suggested that the creation of a boardwalk and nature trail would allow visitors to navigate the space in a responsible way that was not harmful to the environment.

“It was a pleasant surprise. The Rail Corridor can get very crowded on weekends, so hopefully these new trails will help to reduce crowding there.”

Mr. Brice, who captured the popular footage.

These trails were recently approved and so hopefully there will be less harm to the forest going forward. But if we actively try to move through the natural world, wherever we encounter it, in a conscious and respectful manner, then we can do our part to help protect our planet's natural spaces.

Creating the Two New Trails at Clementi Forest

“There are safety concerns now, as the terrain is rough, so hopefully the new trail will make the space accessible to more, but not overly managed, so it remains as natural as possible.”

Mr. Brice.

In light of the need to make the forest more accessible, whilst protecting the wildlife, there are two trails at Clementi. (One already built and one underway). Part of the new 2km Clementi Nature Trail runs along an existing stream within the Clementi Forest. The trail now connects the existing Rail Corridor to an upcoming nature park in Dover Forest.

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A second, 4km path, is also under development, stretching along parts of the old Jurong Railway Line, which was operational from 1965 to 1992. Upon its completion, which will occur in stages throughout 2024 according to NParks, it will be known as The Old Jurong Line Nature Trail.

“Both nature and a slice of our heritage at the same time.”

Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development, discussing the two new trails.

The two new nature trails will also connect with Jurong Lake Gardens via a new 3km park connector. In total, these new trails, along with 9 km of existing trails and park connectors, will provide visitors with a network of 18 km of trails.

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Along the Clementi Forest Trail

Despite construction work, the Clementi Forest Trail remains unperturbed and exists as a raw example of the Singaporean wilderness. The trail starting point, at Ngee Ann Polytechnic – a well established educational institute – is also an ideal place to relax and take in the surrounding greenery.

As you push towards Sunset Way, you will come across an abandoned tunnel, old KTM railway tracks, streams, waterfalls, and lots of birdsong and wildlife. In the morning a beautiful mist bathes the valley before giving way to a deep, honey-coloured sunrise and with little to no other hikers on the path, due to its relatively hidden gem status, it's likely you’ll have all this beauty to yourselves.

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Muddy Trails at Clementi Forest

While so far Clementi sounds wonderful, there has to be a catch… right? Well, if wading up to your ankles in mud and carefully avoiding low-hanging branches and encroaching vegetation counts then yes, there are a few catches.

One of the main things hikers will warn you about in Clementi Forest is the endless mud. And their one tip for avoiding it – to check the weather the day before! That’s right, due to Singapore’s tropical climate, when it rains the trails become awash with mud, which equals you slipping and sliding your way through the forest, instead of walking it.

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A Disused Railway Line

So you’ve picked a nice dry day for your hike and you’re wondering what treasures you will encounter along the way. Well let's start with the Old Bukit Timah Railway Station and other train-related sightings.

Firstly, the Old Bukit Timah Railway Station has tens of metres of disused train tracks with concrete sleepers that lead along the Jurong Railway Line to Jurong Port. It is currently being renovated as part of a process to transform it into a conservation and heritage site.

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From here the trail extends Northwards, into the Rail Corridor Central, where visitors can glimpse the iconic red metal beams, an abandoned tunnel, old bridges, and other railway infrastructure. The Jurong Railway Line, disused since the early 1990s, can be glimpsed throughout the hike as you push towards the exit onto Sunset Way.

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What you need to know

Clementi Forest
Block 83, Level 4-00, 535 Clementi Road Singapore 599489
1.330870, 103.774879
Tips before you visit

Make sure to stay hydrated throughout your hike, if you bring a reusable water bottle there are refill stations along the way. Insect repellent is also essential, the forest is alive with all kinds of bugs, especially the deadly mosquitos.

A small first aid kit, filled with basic supplies such as antiseptic wipes, cream, and plasters, is also never a bad idea and a map or navigation app on your phone is vital.