This is one for the bird-watchers. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a vital part of Singapore’s wildlife as it sees birds, like the pacific golden plover and oriental hornbill, stopping over during migration seasons. The 202-hectare (500-acre) mangrove reserve is also home to other wildlife like mudskippers, mud lobsters, mud crabs and the occasional crocodiles and otters. Getting to the mangrove can prove quite challenging on weekdays, but a feeder bus service goes there directly on weekends.
One of Singapore’s oldest reservoirs, MacRitchie Reservoir is surrounded by 12 hectares (30 acres) of lush greenery and is probably most beautiful at sunset. Slightly advanced hiking trails – 3.2-km (2-mi) and 4.8-km (3-mi) long –have long flights of stairs and steep slopes and a treetop walk that is not for the faint of heart. MacRitchie Reservoir is a popular spot for fitness junkies and nature lovers alike. There are also guided walks organised once a month for hikers and nature enthusiasts to learn more about the surrounding wildlife.
Singapore’s tallest hill stands 163 metres (535 feet) tall above ground and resides in the newly renovated Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. With over 40% of Singapore’s native flora and fauna, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is popular with the adventurous and those looking to get in touch with nature. Bikers should look out for the Mountain Bike trail, which provides a challenging route extending to the Dairy Farm Quarry and Hindhede Quarry.
Coney Island Park (formerly Pulau Serangoon) is Singapore’s newest nature trail and popular with families, cyclists and nature photographers. Located towards the end of Punggol, the rustic 133-hectare (330-acre) nature park provides one of the most relaxed and scenic cycling routes in Singapore. With bicycle rental stalls aplenty – an average of SGD15 (£8.40/US$11) for three hours – be sure to hop on and soak in the tranquil surroundings of calm waters and tall, slender trees.
Continue your journey to Punggol Waterway Park, linked to Coney Island Park via various bridges along the island. At 8.4 kilometres (5.2 miles) long, Punggol Waterway Park is a communal space for anyone to enjoy an active day out. Popular with families, Punggol is connected through park connectors and even has a host of restaurants and bars to take a break and enjoy the view while sipping a ice cold beer.
It’s not often that a nature trail encompasses five beautiful locations. Southern Ridges is a 10-km (6.2-mi) trail that covers Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ride Park and Labrador Nature Reserve. One of the highlights of the Southern Ridges is crossing the Henderson Waves – at 36 metres (118 feet) above ground, this unique architectural masterpiece is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, connecting Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. While hiking the Southern Ridges, be sure to make a pit stop to view iconic locations like Bukit Chandu, Gilman Barracks and HortPark.
As its name aptly suggests, Chinese Garden is filled with modern-day replicas of ancient Chinese artifacts: intricately designed pagodas, stone bridges and oriental landscaping. The garden resides in the west (there’s a dedicated MRT station, so it’s easy to spot) and spans across 13.5 hectares (33 acres) to include the Japanese Garden and even a Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum. With wide, flat roads, over-arching trees and beautiful sculptures around every turn, Chinese Garden is perfect for a weekend stroll or a carefree cycle.
A hike up Fort Canning Park might just be perfect for history buffs. The iconic landmark in central Singapore played an important role with many of Singapore’s historical milestones, from serving as the site of a military headquarters, to sitting palaces fit for Malay Kings. Today, Fort Canning Park offers a tranquil escape from the city, with wartime relics and stone pathways preserving its rustic history.