Singapore is perhaps best known for its stunning architecture and sweeping skylines. However, The Little Red Dot is also home to a world of tropical biodiversity and stunning wildlife – a natural history that’s inherently connected to today’s urban life. Next time you need a break from the urban jungle, head out to one of these locations to feel at one with nature.
Granite Quarry at Pulau Ubin
The name Pulau Ubin actually translates directly to ‘Quarry Island’ in Malay. This was the island’s main purpose for a while, however, these days the quarries have filled up with water, creating these stunning, cobalt-colored lakes.
Lazarus Island is perhaps the only place in Singapore where there are no stores. This tiny island – accessible from St John’s island by ferry from Marina South Pier – boasts calm waters and a beautiful crescent beach that will have you feeling like you’re relaxing on a deserted island.
Another beautiful location to catch both sunset and sunrise is Changi Beach. There are chalets for rent along the coast, which make it the perfect location for a staycation or romantic getaway – a tad more calm than family-friendly Sentosa Island. Just be sure to get your shopping for the weekend done in advance, since there aren’t any stores near the chalets.
Aside for the Singapore Zoo, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is your best bet for seeing animals in the wild. Home to one of Singapore’s richest and most diverse ecological systems, keep an eye out for monitor lizards, monkeys, and even snakes.
The beaches in Singapore often get bad reviews for their expensive seating and the fact that you can see ships in the distance. However, if you’re looking for a lazy beach to spend the day, Palawan Beach on Sentosa Island, with its clear waters and soft sand, will not disappoint. Keep your costs down by bringing a towel to sit on and buying food and drinks from the hawker stall instead of the beachside restaurants.
MacRitchie Reservoir is one of Singapore’s nicest parks. You can rent canoes and kayaks, go for a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk or experience life above the forest on the MacRitchie Treetop Walk. What is even more impressive is that this giant park is located just about 10 minutes from Orchard Road.
East Coast Park is popular with tourists and locals alike, which is no surprise when you consider that it boasts 15 kilometers of coastline. The park is well equipped, with facilities for renting bicycles, tandem bikes, barbecue pits and more. Thanks to its flat geography, exploring East Coast Park is a relaxing way to get some exercise and people-watch at the same time. It is worth noting that the park is notoriously difficult to get to by public transit, so the best way to get there is to head to a nearby MRT station and take a taxi (about $7 from Kembangan MRT on the EastWest Line, or $9 from Stadium MRT on the Circle Line).
Head west out of town to Bukit Gombak MRT on the NorthSouth Red Line to get to Bukit Batok Town Park, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a world of rock formations more commonly seen in the Andaman islands near Thailand. Although some of the National Park’s trails have been closed, there are still many other paths open to the public. Look out for the granite quarry that still has a large granite rock sticking out of it.