Best of the City – A Scenic Urban Running Route

Training for the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run and Army Half Marathon? Check out all the interesting sights you can experience on this running route.

By Steve Thio        29 September 2021

Trust avid runner Joanne Chew, a trainer and treasurer with the SAFRA Tampines Running Club, to find the best urban running route full of stunning sights! Now you can enjoy and experience the gorgeous sights our city has to offer during your run – from the flowering towers at Gardens by the Bay to the futuristic architecture of the ArtScience Museum. 

We speak to Joanne as she shares some notable landmarks and scenic places where you can shoot a quick selfie before carrying on with your run, as well as useful advice to be mindful of when running in the city.

And with the 27th SAFRA Singapore Bay Run and Army Half Marathon (SSBR & AHM) returning from 1 to 28 November 2021, there’s no better time to dust off those running shoes and start your training! Don’t forget to sign up here!

Q: What is your favourite urban running route?

Joanne: One of my favourite running routes in the city is a 13km loop around the Marina Bay area. This route allows us to feast our eyes on Singapore’s majestic city skyline and the many famous landmarks around the Bay. 

Q: What do you love about the views along this route?

Joanne: The views along this route are spectacular both in the day and at night. You can witness glorious sunrises and sunsets, as well as the magical light-ups on different infrastructures at night. Sometimes there will be special illuminations on the skyscrapers for certain celebrations. You will never be tired of running this route!

Q: Where is your starting point for this route?

Joanne: I like to start my run from the East Coast Park B1 carpark, from where it is 3km to Gardens By the Bay East. The total distance will be 19km. The fresh air and greenery at East Coast Park is a good kickstart for your senses, especially for a morning run. 

Q: What are some of the notable sights and landmarks on this route? 

Joanne: The path from the B1 carpark towards the Green Bridge will lead us to the new Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant, which has a lush green rooftop garden. This place is similar to Marina Barrage’s rooftop garden. As it is not easily accessible via public transport, it is not crowded most of the time. From there, run towards Bay East Bridge and Bay East Garden which offers stunning views of our city skyline.

Turn left and follow the footpath towards Marina Barrage and Gardens by the Bay. The footpath and cycling paths here can be very crowded, especially in the evenings and on weekends, so do be extra careful on this stretch of park connector – from the Bay East Gardens to Marina Barrage and Gardens by the Bay. 

You can choose to turn left and run around Gardens by the Bay area to see the Supertrees and lakes. After passing the tall vertical beams at the Dome, you will come to the fascinating Helix Bridge which also offers a fantastic view of the bay and Singapore Flyer. This bridge is illuminated by a series of twinkling lights at night which makes for a  wonderful experience when you run through it. 

Q: What can we expect after Gardens by the Bay?

Joanne: Running on, you will be greeted by the gigantic ArtScience Museum building which is shaped like a lotus with 10 irregular petals or fingers! On the ground floor of the building and below the museum is a big pond which is always full of pretty pink and purple blooming lotus. 

After running past MBS, you can see the new Apple Store which looks like a huge iridescent ball floating on the water. Many people also like to take photos on the Giant Chair and DREAM bench which are along the way and near to Red Dot Design Museum. The panoramic, waterfront view of our financial district with the tall commercial skyscrapers is really breathtaking!

Running with the waters always on your right, you will pass by Customs House that has some big and cool sailboats in front. Further down are Fullerton Bay Hotel and Clifford Pier. Do watch out for cars turning into the hotel entrance and lobby area. 

Run towards Merlion Park to see our iconic Merlion and the astounding Marina Bay view. Cross the Jubilee Bridge and run towards the Floating Platform and you will also see the magnificent Singapore Flyer towering above you and yellow-blue F1 track. 

Q: And after the Marina Bay area, where is the most scenic route to run?

Joanne: From there, follow the river and run to Kallang Riverside Park. You will get a good view of our Sports Hub and Indoor Stadium along the way. 

Kallang Riverside Park is a quiet and tranquil place to run as it is usually not crowded, and the path is wide with tall shady trees. Sometimes you can see dragon boat teams and canoeists practising on the river. The running path will lead you to Sports Hub. Run along the scenic Stadium Riverside walk before going across the aesthetic Tanjong Rhu suspension bridge and towards the 4-storey high Tanjong Rhu Lookout Tower. This tower offers amazing sunrise and sunset views of the Kallang Basin, the waterfront condominiums, CBD skyline, Sports Hub and Indoor Stadium. The breezy and therapeutic run along Tanjong Rhu Promenade will lead you along the water’s edge of Marina Reservoir and back to Bay East Garden to complete this scenic urban running loop. 

Some pointers for urban running

1. Always keep to the left side of the footpath unless overtaking. 

2. Try to run in single file or at most, in twos, so that you will not take up the whole of the path which can be quite narrow at times.

3. Watch out for children, cyclists, walkers and skaters who will be sharing the path/pavements. Some of them may not know the rules and will be on both sides of the path so we have to be extra careful, especially in the evenings and on weekends, to avoid any accidents. 

4. Be mindful of curbs, road humps, uneven pavements and stairs.

5. Look out for shoppers who may walk out of the malls and straight into your way.

6. Obey traffic rules and watch for cars along the driveway and hotel lobby.

7. There are some restaurants outside Marina Bay Sands and they have tables along the walkway. Be considerate and do not run too fast or too near to the diners and waiters around that area.

8. Do bring your mask along in case you need to enter the malls or other buildings to use the facilities.

9. Bring your own water bottle for convenience, even though there are water dispensers at some of the toilets along the route. 

10. Bring your phone and some cash for emergency use. You can use a running belt or a running vest to hold your essentials.

11. Even though most of our roads and pavements are quite well lit, sometimes the lights may be faulty or cyclists cannot see you clearly. You can clip a small flashing light to the back of your cap or clothing when you run in the early morning or at night.

12. For safety reasons, make sure your headphones or earbuds are not too loud so that you are more aware of your surroundings. Consider wearing just one earbud.

Check out Joanne’s recommendations for the most beautiful running routes in nature! If you’d like to meet other trainers and seasoned runners like Joanne, find out more about the SAFRA Running Club here.

Share your favourite running trails with us at magnsman@sph.com.sg!

Photos: Joanne Chew