A Day Out In The Neighbourhood: Mount Faber

Relax your mind, body and soul in the greenery-filled environment of this hilly hangout.

By Chris Ong        16 February 2022

While Mount Faber is more of a hill-slash-park locale located within the larger Bukit Merah planning area – there’s enough here to merit a closer look-see and visit.

For one, this 94-metre hill (it stands at 106 metres above sea level) offers an amazing view of the Telok Blangah area and beyond, across the cityscape of Singapore’s Central Area and the Central Business District (CBD).

For another, its history, to say the least, is pretty eventful. In the past, Mount Faber (formerly known as Telok Blangah Hill; the name changed happened in 1845) was home to a signal station and flagstaff, functioned as the Fort Faber defence installation, and even had an observatory built on it.

The Alkaff Mansion

In its current incarnation, it’s a favourite destination for both locals and tourists, what with Mount Faber Park, Singapore Cable Car and interesting heritage buildings such as the Danish Seamen’s Church, Al-Amin Mosque, and The Alkaff Mansion found in and around the area.

So, just for a day or two, skip the urban habit of shopping (VivoCity, Depot Heights Shopping Centre and Bukit Merah Town Centre are the closest retail spots if you must). Climb a hill instead, to revel in some of life’s other livelier pleasures.

(Want to discover more of such interesting SG neighbourhoods? Peruse our reads on Tampines, Jurong, Punggol, Toa Payoh and Yishun!)

1. SAFRA Mount Faber clubhouse

Think of this as SAFRA’s getaway club of sorts, with a host of modern facilities housed in a striking building with a tessellated tile-like patterned facade, and ensconced in verdant green surrounds.

Here’s how you can relax yet keep active here. If you’re all about keeping your body moving on a weekend, you can try the UMove Fitness calisthenics, movement and handstands classes. Want to keep just your fingers and hands “busy”? Then flex them at SuperBowl or Forest5 Darts Cafe (that also offers frozen Sapporo beer on tap).

Wing it like a solo-pro by hitting the EnergyOne Gym or the swimming pool that’s enveloped in lush vegetation (it’s very resort-ish). Or get into some team sports with friends by booking the futsal court, multi-purpose outdoor court or indoor badminton court facilities.

Old Habits at SAFRA Mount Faber

Once you’ve had your fill of active fun, it’s time to fill up with some tasty treats. Some lovely comfort finds here: Old Habits (part cafe, part vintage boutique), Food Paradise (comfy-size food court), Sakunthala’s Restaurant (affordable halal-certified, Indian fusion fare), Summer Garden Restaurant (Chinese cuisine, as well as halal and vegetarian options), and Turandot (Sichuan and Western cuisine restaurant). Or, settle for your familiar favourites, Heavenly Wang and Subway.

What’s more, there are special services for SAFRA members. SAFRA Mount Faber’s your go-to if you want to upgrade yourself through the SAFRA Education Scheme and to get some free legal guidance and advice from the SAFRA Legal Information Service (currently on hold in light of SMM guidelines).

2 Telok Blangah Way, 098803, www.facebook.com/SAFRAMF; www.instagram.com/saframtfaber

BONUS: SAFRA members enjoy up to 20% off F&B, facilities, services and activities at SAFRA Mount Faber.

2. Mount Faber Park

Henderson Waves bridge

This is the famed park that SAFRA Mount Faber is located within. One of the oldest ones in Singapore, the park offers breath-taking views of a sea of trees belonging to a secondary rain forest and panoramic vistas of the southern part of Singapore and its southern islands.

Just where to see all of these mind-blowing scenery? First, you can look for the many lookout points located at various sides of the park’s ridge and peek through the telescopes found there. Next, you can opt to take the cable car from Mount Faber to Sentosa for a bird’s eye view (more about this later – see below).

What else to do at this 56-hectare park: Learn about and appreciate the nation’s natural heritage at Faber Point (it’s the park’s highest section). There’s a mural wall here with scenes depicting significant moments in the island’s history, plus it’s the place where the very first tree planted during Singapore’s inaugural Tree Planting Day still stands.

Junction of Kampong Bahru Road and Telok Blangah Road; Henderson PC is a nearby Park connector.

3. Mount Faber Peak

Here’s the “peak” of sightseeing activities at Mount Faber Park, where you can get to do lots of fun and touristy things.

You can’t say that you’ve “seen that, done that” here in Singapore without having taken the Singapore Cable Car ride. It’s the only cableway that connects Mount Faber with HarbourFront and Sentosa, that allows you and your fellow riders to be perched in your very own “flying carriage”, and travelling across sea and forested land, some 100 metres up in the air.

Before or after you take to the skies, you and your troupe can also opt to grab some nourishment on the grounds here. Pick from these 3: Arbora Hilltop Garden & Bistro, Dusk Restaurant & Bar or Good Old Days Food Court. With your significant other? Then go on an intimate date in your very own cable car with the Cable Car Sky Dining packages.

Find out all the details about these activities at www.mountfaberleisure.com.

109 Mount Faber Road, Mount Faber Peak, 099203; www.facebook.com/mountfaberleisurewww.instagram.com/mountfaberleisure

BONUS: SAFRA members enjoy 35% off Cable Car Sky Pass Round Trip at the ticketing counter and online.

4. The Southern Ridges

If you’re making time for one Mount Faber Park, might as well make time for another – or this case, another 4 more in the area.

The Southern Ridges is your foliage-filled trekking challenge – it comprises the aforementioned Mount Faber Park, along with Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve, to make up a sum total of 10 kilometres of greenery.

Which makes this a serious endeavour for bird spotters, history- and nature-loving folk, avid strollers, photography hobbyists and Instagrammers looking for their next OOOTD (Outdoor outfit of the day) post. As well as families who believe that loved ones who adventure together, stay together.

There are many pit stops and top features to keep an eye out for when you embark on your very own “walk-a-thon” across these ridges. There’s the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore (at 36 metres above Henderson Road), the 274-metre-long and wavy Henderson Waves, that links Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. Other bridges of note: Alexandra Arch, Forest Walk and Canopy Walk, with the latter two cutting through the Adinandra Belukar secondary forest.

Henderson Waves bridge

Take your breathers at the terrace-filled Terrace Garden (Telok Blangah Hill Park), themed gardens of HortPark and look-out points at the Berlayer Creek boardwalk at Labrador Nature & Coastal Walk. Or you can just relax at any point of your trail and whenever you feel like, amidst lush flora and alongside fauna.

Look up the NParks site to plan your walk or how to get to all of these parks.

5. Gillman Barracks

This one’s specially for the arts lovers. Launched in 2012, this visual arts precinct (that was a former military barracks back in the late 1930s) is home to several leading global and home-grown galleries showcasing a wide collection of international and Southeast Asian art.

While most of the works are for sale, the galleries housed in the large white buildings are open to the public (but do check ahead if you want an appointed viewing), so you and your petite Picasso can just drop by for a casual visit to admire the art pieces. The galleries include Ota Fine Arts and Mizuma Gallery from Tokyo; Singapore-based ones like FOST Gallery, Yeo Workshop, Richard Koh Fine Art and Yavuz Gallery; and NY’s Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

But, it’s not just all white spaces filled with thought-provoking contemporary art. Great art needs great eats; also found here are foodie-beloved restaurants such as Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream and Coffee, BurgerLabo, Masons and Naked Finn.

9 Lock Road, 108937 (main building), www.gillmanbarracks.com; www.facebook.com/gillman.barracks; www.instagram.com/gillmanbarracks

Unlock the special deals mentioned in this article with a SAFRA membership! Save up to 25% when you sign up and gain access to exclusive promos, privileges, activities and facilities.