Whether you’re looking for a place to stroll, picnic, jog or simply breathe some fresh air, escape to any one of these many parks and gardens in Singapore.
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, 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 the gardens is free.
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 specialised garden for kids, while the Symphony Lake is a great spot for families and friends to gather for picnics and open-air concerts. For information on workshops and tours, visit www.sbg.org.sg.
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.
Our tip: Aside from the four coloured trails, try the out-of-the-way Durian Loop for a much quieter jungle-walking experience.
4. East Coast Park
Singapore’s largest and most popular park, the East Coast 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 take in the sunset.
5. 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.
6. 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 staircases, too.
7. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
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.
8. The Chinese and Japanese Gardens
Visit these gardens for an interesting mix of planting, landscaping and oriental architecture. The main building is based on Beijing’s Summer Palace, and other attractions include the pagoda and an extensive bonsai garden. Lanterns light up at night during the mid-autumn festival.
9. The Southern Ridges
The Southern Ridges links a series of a 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 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 ($2.50) from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal.
- Attractions at Labrador Park include World War II bunkers, tunnels and a fort. The park also boasts panoramic views over the southern seas.
- 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, the West Coast Park has been entirely built on reclaimed land and 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.