Whether you’re looking for the best walks and hikes in Singapore or just keen to enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer, this list is for you! Singapore has amazing jungles, parks, coastal walks and reservoirs that are open to the public (and free). We know it’s hot; but once you’re out there, you’ll forget about it – and it’s much cooler in the jungles than out! Hiking in Singapore is generally not too strenuous, but there are some hills that will get you out of breath and some rough and muddy ground. So, we don’t use the word “hike” too lightly in this list – you’ll need to wear a pair of good trainers!
You’ll also encounter wildlife in many of these places. The best idea, in general, is to avoid eye contact and walk calmly past; this is especially true for monkeys and wild boars. Monkeys can be aggressive if there’s food involved, and boars have been known to attack. Snakes usually hear you coming and get out of your way, so they’re not as commonly seen as you might think. You can also come across large monitor lizards, turtles and even otters, if you’re lucky!
Windsor Nature Park hike
7am to 7pm
This is one of several newly upgraded green zones around the various reservoirs that occupy the centre of the island. The park complements the recently launched Springleaf and Chestnut Nature Parks. Covering 75 hectares, Windsor features three hiking trails (Drongo, Squirrel and Hanguana) and a 150-metre sub-canopy walkway. Much of this is on raised pathways, but there are also the original jungle trails if you prefer. Wild boar sightings are common at the start, as well as monkeys and wild chickens! Parking is on Venus Drive – it can be busy early on the weekends but usually quieter than the other MacRitchie access point. A walk from the car park to the Ranger Station and back will take about 1.5 hours. For longer walks, you can continue around MacRitchie Reservoir (3 hours), the Tree Top walk when it’s open (up to 2 hours), and even on to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
MacRitchie Reservoir walks and hikes
7am to 7pm (TreeTop Walk currently closed; expected to reopen May 2021)
Walking alongside the lakeside boardwalks of MacRitchie Reservoir presents you with stunning views and many inlets of clear water of a greeny-blue hue. There are shorter boardwalk loops that can vary from one to two hours or you can choose to do the 10km loop of the reservoir that will take you around 2.5 to 3 hours. There are maps and markers along the way and the 10km loop is marked out. Halfway around is the link to the HSBC TreeTop Walk, a 250-metre aerial suspension bridge with panoramic views over the surrounding rainforest and Upper Peirce Reservoir. (This is currently closed.)
Even in the heat of the day, the shadowy jungle is cooler than you might expect, so you don’t need to worry about going super early or closer to evening. The jungle tracks around here are one of Singapore’s most popular running trails and it can get busy especially on the weekends, so keep to the left! There’s also kayaking on the reservoir which is open to the public – and interesting to watch.
Labrador Park walk
7am to 7pm
Built onto the edge of a secondary forest, Labrador Park gives you views of the coastline and sea, as well as a path through marshes brimming with wildlife, and the only rocky sea-cliff on Singapore’s main island. The park also features historic bunkers, tunnels and a fort, as well as machine gun post and artillery remains. It’s within walking distance of VivoCity, which means that post-walk snacks or drinks are within reach. If you park at Carpark A you have easy access to smaller pathways with the remnants of tunnels and bunkers dating back to 1892. This is a short loop of around 45 minutes but you can continue walking down the hill to the coastal pathways all the way to Keppel Marina and beyond. Or there is a shorter loop around a park and jetty to the right, but the sea views are a bit spoilt with container ships.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve hike
7am to 7pm (check safedistparks.nparks.gov.sg for updates on opening hours and car parking hours)
One of the largest swathes of primary forest left in Singapore, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was one of the island’s first forest reserves, set up in 1883. It’s now home to more than 840 flowering plants and over 500 animal species. At the base of the hill near the car park is a visitor centre, which is well worth a visit. The park also boasts Singapore’s highest peak, quarries and several winding forest trails. The main path straight up to the hill is a killer if you’re not in shape, but you’ll see lots of very fit people running up it with backpacks – training for bigger things! There are also plenty of mountain-biking trails in the area too. Note: Check safedistparks.nparks.gov.sg for updates on opening hours and car parking hours.
East Coast Park walk
Open 24 hours
Singapore’s largest and most popular park offers a long stretch of sea, sand and trees. Come here for the breeze and enjoy walking, cycling, rollerblading and barbecues. The well-loved Marine Cove reopened in July 2016 after a four-year hiatus. It features a huge outdoor playground as well as a variety of family-friendly dining concepts, including a unique upscale McDonald’s outlet. You can rent bikes and larger peddle vehicles that take a whole family.
Mount Faber hike
Open 24 hours
This walk provides some wonderful panoramic views over the city, the harbour and the southern islands. You can also take a cable car to Sentosa from here. One approach is to park at VivoCity and walk all the way up; or you could park at one of the car parks further up. Mount Faber leads on to the Southern Ridges (below).
Southern Ridges walk
Open 24 hours
This area links a series of hill trails between Mount Faber, Telok Blangah Hill and Kent Ridge Park, with great views across the Telok Blangah area. Highlights are the undulating Henderson Waves Bridge and the elevated 1.3 kilometres of Forest Walk.
Thomson Nature Park walk
7am to 7pm
This is another new green space for Singapore, having opened in late 2019. Located between Old Upper Thomson Road and Upper Thomson Road, the park’s 3.8km of trails take in heritage highlights including a former Hainan Village, whose ruins have been conserved.
Gardens by the Bay walk
5am to 2am
Spanning 101 hectares, Gardens by the Bay comprises three waterfront gardens, the towering Supertrees and two massive indoor environments: the 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.” And the Children’s Garden is a free-entry treat: think water-play areas, swings, climbing equipment and an adventure trail. Head to the Gardens website for more information.
Singapore Botanic Gardens walk
5am to 12am
This is an impressive oasis of greenery, with terrain varying from rolling lawns to jungle, and plant life from orchids to cacti. In 2015, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first and only tropical botanic garden on the list. It features the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden (a special garden for kids), while Symphony Lake is a great spot for families and friends to gather for picnics and open-air concerts. This is busy at the weekends, but you can always still find a quiet spot. For information on events, workshops and tours, visit the Gardens website.
Hort Park trails
6am to 11pm
This recreational and educational park includes a variety of show gardens to inspire people who love gardening. The nursery sells plants and garden accessories. The western edge of the park provides access to Kent Ridge Park, for those who are hiking the whole of the Southern Ridges. It’s also near the black and white houses of Alexandra Park if you want to wander around them.
West Coast Park walk
Open 24 hours
You’d never guess it, but this park is built entirely on reclaimed land. Attractions include a bird sanctuary with boardwalks, sea views and an adventure playground; you can even go camping! (Find out where else you can camp in Singapore here.)
Pasir Ris Park trail
Open 24 hours
On Singapore’s northeast coast, the 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.
Fort Canning walk
Open 24 hours
Established in 1859 as an arms store, barracks and hospital, Fort Canning is sprinkled with memorials of Singapore’s history, including the bunker where the British made the decision to surrender to the Japanese. Attractions include Sir Stamford Raffles’ personal bungalow and the Spice Garden – a replica of the original 19-hectare tract established by Raffles in 1822. Set in the heart of Singapore, it has plenty of winding paths and quiet spaces too.
Changi Beach Park picnics
Open 24 hours
One of the oldest coastal parks in Singapore, Changi Beach Park offers over three kilometres of coastal boardwalks passing long stretches of beach. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy a bite to eat.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve exploring
7am to 7pm
Wind your way through the mangrove forest boardwalks or watch the birdlife over the freshwater wetlands; birds are especially plentiful during the September to March migratory season. Every now and then, there’s even a crocodile sighting at Sungei Buloh.
Coney Island walk
7am to 7pm
Opened to the public in October 2015, this ecologically sustainable park near Punggol focuses on conserving energy and water, recycling and retaining the natural elements in the park. Like bird watching? Look out for one of the 80 species of birds. You can also explore rich biodiversity in the variety of habitats, including coastal forests, grasslands and mangroves.
Chinese and Japanese Gardens stroll
Located in Jurong, these gardens present an interesting mix of planting, landscaping and oriental architecture. Attractions include a main building based on Beijing’s Summer Palace and an extensive bonsai garden. Lanterns light up at night during the mid-autumn festival. Most of the green spaces in this area are currently closed for redevelopment works that are expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Find out up-to-date details here.
Bukit Batok Nature Park
Open 24 Hours
Starting as an abandoned quarry in the 1980s, Bukit Batok has grown into a diverse park that offers a variety of different levels of trails. So whether you’re looking for somewhere to run, or just to take a relaxed walk and admire lakes and ponds, there’s something here for you. It also boasts a ten-storey lookout tower with stunning views. Plus, if you’re interested in a bit of history, you can view the World War II memorial within the park.
Pulau Ubin bike or hike
Regular boat services run during daylight hours
Crossing the water to 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. You will get to see mangroves, coastal forests, seagrass lagoons and coral rubble. To get to Pulau Ubin, take a bumboat ($3) from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal. If island-hopping is your thing, here’s our handy article to give you some more ideas.
Dairy Farm Nature Park
7am to 7pm (Singapore Quarry hours: 8am – 5.30 pm)
Slightly rougher than the other trails, the Wallace Trail at Dairy Farm Park is a must for walkers, bikers and lovers of natural history. Named after naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, one of the fathers of the theory of evolution, the Wallace Education Centre features an interactive exhibition on the biodiversity and wildlife in Dairy Farm. In addition, the 2.2km trail is suitable for mountain biking and walking; it ends with spectacular views over the Singapore Quarry, now a wetland, where you can admire the freshwater flora and fauna that lives in this part of the island.
Rifle Range Nature Park
This new park will cover 67 hectares at the southern end of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Among the plans for the green space are hiking trails with various degrees of difficulty and a sky garden with an elevated walkway.
Singapore is investing a huge amount into walking and cycling tracks through the park connector networks and we will soon be able to walk, run, cycle or rollerblade around the island in a continuous loop!