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15 parks and gardens to enjoy a picnic in Singapore

“Hot and humid with a chance of rain” goes the daily Singapore weather report, but don’t let that put you off! Hit one of the following picnic spots for a fun afternoon in the great outdoors with friends and family.

1. Botanic Gardens

One of our all-time favourite spots in Singapore, the Gardens are especially great for a sophisticated picnic. You could throw down your blanket almost anywhere, but our favourite patch of grass is probably at Palm Valley or Symphony Lake, especially when one of the regular free classical music concerts is being staged

2. MacRitchie Reservoir Park

A popular destination for nature lovers and exercise enthusiasts, MacRitchie has plenty of convenient amenities such as toilets, drinking fountains and showers, as well as great walking or running trails for those who want to move, and good views across the reservoir for those who just want to sit. Beware of sneaky monkeys, though!

MacRitchie Reservoir, nature walk, tree top walk, park
Stay close to nature at the MacRitchie Tree Top Walk

3. Marina Barrage

The Green Roof at Marina Barrage, approximately the size of four football fields, is open to the public for recreational activities. It’s best enjoyed in the twilight for panoramic city views.

4. Chinese and Japanese Gardens

For an Asian twist to your picnic, try the iconic Chinese and Japanese Gardens in Jurong. Among the attractions are a rainbow bridge and a pagoda, inspired by structures in China and modelled on the gardening techniques of Japan.

5. Fort Canning

Work up an appetite on the steepish paths and check out the Battle Box, the Spice Garden and the archaeological remains at Fort Canning Park before shaking out your picnic blanket.

gardens by the bay, garden, singapore
Set your picnic mat down amidst the greenery at Gardens by the Bay

6. Gardens by the Bay

There are lots of areas within Gardens by the Bay to picnic in, but we suggest Bay East Garden. This 2km waterfront stretch has sublime views of the Marina Bay skyline, plus open lawns, swaying palm trees and waist-high flowering shrubs – and you may see the occasional otter too!

7. Jurong Hill Park

About a ten-minute walk from Jurong Bird Park is Jurong Hill Park and its Garden of Fame. Admire the 27 trees planted by foreign dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, and enjoy the great views.

8. East Coast Park

With a scenic coastline that stretches more than 15km, the beach at East Coast Park is an excellent venue for a weekend picnic. Grab a spot under the shade of the casuarina trees, close your eyes, take in the breeze and just imagine you’re on holiday. And do check out the new Marine Cove kids’ outdoor play zone (by the new McDonald’s) with slides, seesaws and activities galore! We also like the spot in the far eastern reaches (access from Changi Coast Walk) where there are generally few people (and lots of planes to watch)

9. West Coast Park

Another great open space by the sea! There’s a bicycle obstacle course, a sand-play area, plus lots of swings and climbing structures that older kids will have fun on. Take frisbees and sand play equipment.

10. Pasir Ris Park

Great for the whole family, it has an adventure play area with a flying fox, swings, a sand area and climbing pyramids of rope. There’s a mangrove walk, a horse-riding centre, cycling paths, a maze and a kitchen garden. Keep a lookout for the ice-cream uncle.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, parks, nature reserve
Enjoy the serenity at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

11. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Trek to Singapore’s highest peak – 164m! – keeping an eye out for monkeys, lizards, flying foxes, birds and beautiful flowers on the way. Take good supportive walking shoes and plenty of mosquito repellent.

12. Kranji Reservoir Park

Grab one of the pavilions or benches and enjoy the panoramic view of the Straits of Johor. Pack your fishing rod – the park has two fishing grounds, so if you’re feeling lucky, you can try catching your own lunch.

13. Labrador Park

This is a peaceful, scenic walk from hilly jungle down to the yachts at Keppel Bay. Plus, check out The Training Shed, an awesome, chilled-out event in Labrador Park that’s staged once a month.

14. St John’s Island

Take the ferry from Marina South Pier for a picnic on Lazarus beach. Join a pre-picnic guided nature tour with the Tropical Marine Science Institute. The island’s natural shores are ringed by coral reefs, so bring your snorkelling gear to swim in the lagoons after picnicking on the beach.

15. Pulau Ubin

Jump on a bumboat at Changi Point Ferry Terminal for the easy 15-minute journey across to sleepy Pulau Ubin. We suggest you bring a portable picnic, hire some bikes and take a ride before settling on your favourite picnic spot – there’s a whole island to choose from! Bring hats and insect repellent.

After even more ideas?

Try… Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Coney Island, Dhoby Ghaut Green, Jurong Central Park, Lower Seletar Reservoir Park, Sembawang Park and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Tips for a successful outdoor feast:

  • Pack hats and sunscreen to avoid sunburn, and lots of water to prevent dehydration. Insect repellent and wet wipes are handy too.
  • For games, throw in a Frisbee, badminton set or cricket bat and ball, especially if there are more than six or so people coming along.
  • If the ground is damp, lay a shower curtain under your picnic rug to avoid a wet bottom.
  • Even if you don’t have a large Esky or cooler, pick up soft-sided chiller bags at any supermarket and fill them with ice to keep food and drinks cool.
  • Load everything into a trolley with wheels, and off you go!

This is an article that first appeared in the September 2016 edition of Expat Living. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!

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