Above It All

Anyone living in a concrete jungle will tell you that, when urge to get away hits you, it hits hard. Strangely enough, I have managed to get away by going nowhere. Each time I visit MacRitchie Reservoir, I’m awestruck by the fact that it is right in the middle of Singapore, almost exactly centered on this bustling little wasteland island. It is, in every sense of the word, an oasis – a place where one can go to get away, be in nature, and see no trace of “city life” for miles around. No buildings can be seen, no sirens can be heard, and cell reception is spotty at best. It’s a beautiful place to hike, picnic, or just sit by the lake and read a book. One of my favorite hikes is the Tree Top Walk. For most of the walk, you’ll find yourself among the trees, rather than above them.

Most of the trail looks like this, but trust me...it never gets old.

But when you do get to the top, it looks like this:

It’s classified as a moderately difficult 5k hike, though from experience, I can say that the cause of any suffering will be heat, rather than steep inclines or treacherous terrain. This is not a walk for the faintly hydrated, so bring plenty of water.

Now, a word about the monkeys…don’t. That is the word. Use your imagination and fill in the blanks any way you like (Don’t [verb] with [noun].); it will probably apply to your dealings with monkeys. For those who would like specifics, here are a few:

1. DON’T bring plastic bags. Even empty ones. They will be stolen from you (rather violently, I might add).
2. DON’T bring food. My friend did, and this happened:

So...that happened.

3. DON’T be a hero. If a monkey tries to take something from you, just give it up. The only prize for saving your faux-Chanel handbag from a chimp will be rabies, so I humbly advise taking the high road on this one.
4. DON’T carry shiny objects in plain sight. These creatures are almost human. They are just as enamored with the new iPhone 5 as you are.
5. DON’T make eye contact. The monkeys here are aggressive and will take it as a challenge. You’ll probably lose.
6. DON’T get close to the babies. Even if they’re irresistibly cute and all you have is a prime lens and you really want that close-up shot…don’t do it. The mother monkeys will try to attack you from behind.
I nearly died for this shot. I hope you like it.

I nearly died for this shot. I hope you like it.


  1. Isabelle says:

    I love the last photo, and I’m glad you made it out OK. I went to Arashiyama near Kyoto in Japan back in 2009 – there was a monkey park up there… and I agree, monkeys can be quite aggressive. The DON’Ts here can definitely be applied there too.

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