Whether you’re looking for a place to stroll, picnic, jog or just breathe in some fresh air, escape to any one of these many parks and gardens in Singapore, many of which have water views.
1. River Safari
Opened in 2013 beside the Singapore Zoo, River Safari features over 5,000 specimens representing 300 species. As well as showcasing eight of the world’s iconic rivers, there are two resident giant pandas, the world’s largest freshwater aquarium, a squirrel monkey forest and the river boat ride is set to open by the end of 2013. riversafari.com.sg
2. Gardens by the Bay
Spanning 101 hectares, Gardens by the Bay comprises three waterfront gardens, the towering super trees and two massive indoor environments: Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. The showcase of horticulture and garden artistry aims to “bring the world of plants to Singapore and present Singapore to the world”. gardensbythebay.org.sg
3. Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens is an impressive oasis of greenery, with terrain varying from rolling lawns to jungle, and plant life from orchids to cacti. The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden is a special garden for kids, while Symphony Lake is a great spot for families and friends to gather for picnics and open-air concerts. For information on events, workshops and tours, visit www.sbg.org.sg .
4. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
One of the largest swathes of primary forest left in Singapore, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is home to more than 840 flowering plants and over 500 animal species. The park also boasts Singapore’s highest peak and several winding forest trails.
Our tip: Aside from the four coloured trails, try the out-of-the-way Durian Loop for a much quieter jungle-walking experience.
5. East Coast Park
Singapore’s largest and most popular park, East Coast Park offers a long stretch of sea, sand and swaying palms. Come here for the refreshing breeze and enjoy walking, cycling, rollerblading and barbecues.
Our tip: Exercise aside, the outdoor restaurants and hawker centres here are a great place to watch the sunset.
6. MacRitchie Reservoir
Meander along the boardwalks at the water’s edge, or hike through the forest on a cross-country trail. Routes vary from one to five hours. A highlight is the HSBC TreeTop Walk – a 250-metre aerial suspension bridge with panoramic views over the surrounding rainforest and Upper Peirce Reservoir.
7. Fort Canning
Established in 1859 as an arms store, barracks and hospital, Fort Canning is sprinkled with memorials of Singapore’s history. Attractions include Sir Stamford Raffles’ personal bungalow and the Spice Garden – a replica of the original 19-hectare tract established by Raffles in 1822. There are plenty of winding paths and quiet spaces, too.
8. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Wind your way through the mangrove forest boardwalks, or watch the birdlife over the freshwater wetlands – especially during the September to March migratory season. Check sbwr.org.sg for regular workshops and demonstrations.
9. The Southern Ridges
The Southern Ridges links a series of hill trails between Mount Faber, Telok Blangah Hill and Kent Ridge Park, and offers spectacular views across the Telok Blangah area. Highlights are the undulating Henderson Waves Bridge – Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge – and the elevated 1.3 kilometres of Forest Walk.
10. Pulau Ubin
Visiting this island is like taking a trip back in time. Get a taste of what Singapore was like in the 1960s, by exploring the island’s trails, shady rubber plantations, isolated beaches and thriving mangroves. Hire a bike and check out the Chek Jawa wetlands – one of Singapore’s richest ecosystems – to see mangroves, coastal forests, seagrass lagoons and coral rubble. To get to Pulau Ubin, take a bumboat ($2.50) from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal.
- Attractions at Labrador Park include World War II bunkers, tunnels (currently closed for maintenance) and a fort. The park also boasts panoramic sea views.
- Visit Mount Faber for panoramic views over the city, harbour front and the southern islands. You can also take a cable car to Sentosa.
- Recently renovated, West Coast Park has been entirely built on reclaimed land. Attractions include a bird sanctuary with boardwalks, sea views, and an adventure playground.
- Hort Park is a recreational and educational park that includes a variety of show gardens to inspire people who love gardening. The nursery sells plants and garden accessories.
- On Singapore’s northeast coast, 71-hectare Pasir Ris Park (close to Changi Airport) is popular for pond-fishing and bike rental and has a six-hectare mangrove forest with boardwalks.
- One of the oldest coastal parks in Singapore, Changi Beach Park offers over three kilometres of coastal boardwalks passing long stretches of beach.
- Visit the Chinese and Japanese Gardens for an interesting mix of planting, landscaping and oriental architecture. Attractions include the main building which is based on Beijing’s Summer Palace and an extensive bonsai garden. Lanterns light up at night during the mid-autumn festival.