Singapore Staycation Part 1: Monkey Attacks & MacRitchie Reservoir

Happy Lunar New Year from Singapore! I was lucky enough to ring in the Year of the Dog with a much needed five day weekend. As the cost of flights increase by approximately 500% during this time, I decided it was best to simply stay in Singapore, relax, and explore some new areas. Not leaving the country ended up being a great decision, as my friend Dan from Korea also came to visit for a few days!

Rewind a few days- the long weekend started out with a day trip to MacRitchie Reservoir, a giant section of (barely) untouched jungle, smack dab in the middle of Singapore. A breath of fresh air (literally) from the hustle and bustle of this city-state/country/city/island.

You would think that living on a land mass four times smaller than P.E.I, everything would be fairly close to to get to. However, some things are easier to get to than others- MacRitchie being one of the harder ones. We ended up taking a short Uber ride instead of the hour and a half public transit trip.

The Reservoir starts out as just that- a large body of water where you can rent kayaks among other things (I really need to start taking pictures of everything). You can then take a boardwalk or trail leading to other landmarks, such as the Treetop Walk- which was our intended destination.

A monitor lizard

We saw lots of creatures along the way, the first being a monitor lizard, which I had previously seen in the Botanic Gardens. My first reaction, “Is that a komodo dragon?!” Turns out, komodo dragons are in the same family as monitor lizards.

A spiky and well defended tree. If anyone knows the name, please share!

We also came across tons of unique plants and trees that we do not have back home. Black needle spiked trees, plants with leaves the size of my body, and red-stemmed palm trees, to name a few.

We had heard wild monkeys frequent MacRitchie, but nothing could prepare us for the sheer amount of them, and what would happen during our first encounter with one.

We saw Monkey #1 from afar- in awe that in the middle of Singapore, we were now amongst wild monkeys. We immediately whipped out our cameras and started taking pictures. All of a sudden, the monkey looked up, and locked eyes with me. Literally stared into my soul like no other animal (and wild, at that) had looked at me before. It then showed it’s teeth- a sign of aggression (not a smile, we would later found out). Then proceeded to jump from the tree it was on, to the tree that was right above us. I screamed and ran away as fast as I could! Images of being scratched and bitten and having to get a rabies shot flashed through my mind. (I am being slightly overly dramatic, but let me have my moment).

And it was at that exact moment where monkeys went from being cute, to terrifying- and will now forever taint all my future experiences with monkeys. (Which have already happened all too soon, who knew there were so many monkeys in Singapore?!?!) We later found out, on a friendly sign placed ever so helpfully after this near monkey attack, to never make eye contact with the monkeys. Lesson learned!

3.5km later, unscratched and unbitten, we made it to the Treetop Walk!

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 Just to show HOW big the leaf is. Bigger than half of me I would say!

It was at this point where our walk was coming to an end, all we had to do was follow the signs to the parking lot. Simple, right? But no, of course seven monkeys had to be hanging out just where we needed to go. Not just on the trail, but on the overhead branch as well. Since the stress from our last encounter was still alive and well, there was no way we were going through that alone. We thought it was best to wait for other people who were also heading that direction, and use them as a human shield walk with them. Surely there had to be some people coming soon?

And that is exactly what we did. Not long after we conjured up our plan, a group of four people were headed to the parking lot, so we tucked ourselves behind them, trying to act as inconspicuous as possible. Although we did not do a very subtle job….as the whole time we were muttering “don’t make eye contact, don’t make eye contact”.

We ended up telling them the story, our behaviour then making a whole lot more sense.

That was the first day of Chinese New Year, just the tip of the shenanigans about to transpire. Stay tuned for more!

-Laura

 

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