Whether you’re looking for a place to stroll, picnic, jog or simply breathe some fresh air, escape to any one of these many nature reserves, gardens and parks in Singapore. From the manmade creations such as Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Botanic Gardens, to the wild wetlands and jungle – there’s plenty to explore and a fair bit of wildlife to encounter! Keep any food hidden..
#1 Gardens by the Bay
Spanning 101 hectares, Gardens by the Bay comprises three waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central. Bay South is the largest, at 54 hectares. The showcase of horticulture and garden artistry aims to “bring the world of plants to Singapore and present Singapore to the world”. The ‘domes’ have an entrance fee but strolling in the gardens is free. (And nearby Satay by the Bay is great for a post-wander snack!). The trees in Gardens by the Bay light up at night with a linked sound and light extravaganza that’s a must visit.
The Botanic Gardens is a historic and 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 specialised garden for kids, while the Symphony Lake is a lovely spot for families and friends to gather for picnics and open-air concerts. For information on workshops and tours, visit nparks.gov.sg/sbg.
#3 Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
One of the largest swathes of primary forest left in Singapore, Bukit Timah 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. There are various coloured trails to explore; note, though, that the Kampong Trail and Durian Loop in the southern part of the Reserve are temporarily closed for the development of the new Rifle Range Nature Park. This new park is expected to open towards the end of 2022.
#4 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. Exercise aside, the outdoor restaurants and hawker centres here are a great place to take in the sunset and eat some excellent local dishes.
Fact File: Did you know that East Coast Park opened to the public half a century ago, in October 1972?
#5 MacRitchie Reservoir nature park
One of the more well known parks in Singapore has the reservoir at it’s centre. You can 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 TreeTop Walk – a 250-metre aerial suspension bridge with panoramic views over the surrounding rainforest and Upper Peirce Reservoir.
#6 Fort Canning park
This hill in Singapore has been used for centuries; it may have even been the centre of activity in the town that thrived here in the 14th century. As such, 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. This beautiful pars in Singapore has plenty of winding paths and staircases too.
#7 Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
This is one of the best nature reserves in Singapore to really escape into nature. Wend your way through the mangrove forest boardwalks, or watch the birdlife over the freshwater wetlands – especially during the September to March migratory season. You can also see across to Johor Bahru, in Malaysia. And keep an eye out for crocodiles that occasionally turn up in the waters here!
#8 Jurong Lake Gardens
These new national gardens in Singapore are in the heartlands of the West. They include Lakeside Garden, a Garden Promenade, and the old Chinese and Japanese Gardens that have been a popular retreat for years. The whole area is currently undergoing redevelopment but it started opening in stages back in 2019. Among the interesting architecture is a building based on Beijing’s Summer Palace.
#9 The Southern Ridges
Also not really a park, the Southern Ridges link a series of hill trails between Mount Faber, Telok Blangah Hill and Kent Ridge Park, and offer 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. It’s possible to access from one area to the next, making it a popular connected jogging route that takes in plenty of nature.
#10 Pulau Ubin
Visiting the island is like taking a trip through time. Get a taste of what Singapore was like in the 1960s, or explore the island’s trails through 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 itself, take a bumboat (between $4 and $6) from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal.
#11 Punggol Park
Punggol Park in Singapore’s north-east spans 16 hectares and is situated among residential areas. Constructed for families to spend more time together, the park includes excellent cycling tracks, exercise equipment and a large pond that’s popular among amateur anglers. There’s also a dog-friendly café called Five&2 within the park, where you and your fur-babies can hang out on a casual weekend trip.
#12 Toa Payoh Town Park
Toa Payoh Town Park has a history dating back to the 1970s; did you know it was once considered a hotspot for couples to take their dreamy wedding photos!? Today, it’s become the prime location for elderly Singaporeans to gather for their daily exercise routine. There are also some old-style bridges in the park that are popular with Insta fans.
#13 Sembawang Park
If you can’t decide between going to the beach and the park, Sembawang Park in Singapore offers the best of both worlds. The park also happens to include one of the last natural beaches that still exist here. You can enjoy fishing in the surrounding waters and also have a barbecue by the seaside. Or, explore the restored pathways that were used during the British colonial days, along with the iconic Sembawang jetty and remnants from the 1920s Seletar Pier.
#14 Bukit Batok Nature Park
Surrounding Bukit Batok Hill and incorporating the summit, this modest-sized nature park was constructed out of an abandoned quarry site back in the 1980s. You’ll come across a World War II memorial plaque at the top of the hill. Rare birds such as the white-crested laughing thrush can also frequently be sighted in this gorgeous nature space.
#15 Admiralty Park
Designed for the young and the young at heart, Admiralty Park in Woodlands is the biggest slide park in Singapore. There are a whopping 26 slides to maximise your fun! There’s also a 20-hectare nature area with more than 100 species of flora and fauna. Look out for the monkeys and birds that will likely cross your path too.
Other parks and gardens in Singapore
- Attractions at Labrador Park include World War II bunkers, tunnels and a fort. The park also has panoramic views over the southern seas.
- Visit Mount Faber for great vistas over the city, HarbourFront 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, bike rentals and the 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.
For more helpful tips head to our Living in Singapore section.
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