In the third installment of our Hike the Heartlands series, we head west to the lush green neighbourhoods of Hillview and Upper Bukit Timah. Nestled amongst various nature parks and reserves, the area also serves up a rich slice of Singapore’s economic and social history with heritage sites like the old Ford Factory, the former KTM rail corridor, and Beauty World.

1. Trekking the Old Rail Corridor

Formerly a railway line used for commuting and transporting goods between Singapore and the rest of the Malay Peninsula, the Rail Corridor is today a haven for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Bordered by the woodlands of Bukit Timah and Dairy Farm nature reserves, as well as Hindhede and Bukit Batok nature parks, the stretch is a popular recreational spot for families and fitness buffs. Heritage lovers can check out historic landmarks like the defunct Bukit Timah railway station and two steel truss bridges marked for conservation.

Nearest MRT stations: King Albert Park & Hillview (Downtown Line)

NParks Rail Corridor 

Image source: NParks

2. Let’s Go Quarry-hunting!

Some of the most beautiful rustic nature spots in Singapore are old quarries – the remnants of our industrial past. The Hillview area alone is home to four such disused quarries: Hindhede Quarry, Dairy Farm Quarry, Singapore Quarry and the most well-known – Little Guilin.

Now mostly filled in with water turning them into scenic lakes that form picturesque natural landscapes, these hidden gems are inhabited by fauna such as fish, turtles and even monitor lizards. With easy trails and well-defined footpaths, these parks are perfect for families with young kids and seniors.

Nearest MRT stations: Bukit Gombak (North-South Line) & Hillview (Downtown Line)

NParks Little Guilin 

Image source: NParks

3. Great Eats at Upper Bukit Timah

Regular hikers at Bukit Timah Hill will usually make a beeline after their trek to the Beauty World area located just a stone’s throw away. Flanked by a stretch of popular eateries along Cheong Chin Nam road on one side, older strata malls like Beauty World Centre on the other side and Bukit Timah Food Centre at the end of the junction, hungry foodies can find delicious grub at any time of the day.

From traditional hawker favourites like prata, Hainanese chicken rice and Teochew porridge to international cuisine like Italian or Korean food, there’s something to please every palate. Venture a little further into the smaller streets just off Jalan Jurong Kechil and discover old-style confectionery operating alongside hip cafes or patisseries.

Nearest MRT station: Beauty World (Downtown Line)

ST Beauty World hawker ctr 

Image source: The Straits Times

4. Old Ford Factory

World War II history buffs will have a field day at the historic Old Ford Factory located along Upper Bukit Timah Road. Gazetted as a National Monument It is the site where the British forces surrendered unconditionally to the Japanese forces on 15 February 1942 after the Battle of Singapore.

With its unique Art Deco-style façade, the museum traces a rich history from its early days as a motor car factory to its eventual use as a military headquarters by the Imperial Japanese Army. Visitors can get a glimpse of life in Singapore during World War II, and even the garden plot at the back of the building features wartime crops like tapioca, sugar cane and bananas!

Nearest MRT station: Hillview (Downtown Line)

STB Old Ford Factory 

Image source: Singapore Tourism Board