Exploring Singapore’s Serene Sanctuaries: A Guide to the City-State’s Lush Green Spaces and Nature Reserves

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Imagine walking through Singapore’s bustling streets, the hum of the city ever-present. But there’s a secret many miss—the verdant oases that offer solace amidst the urban chaos. Stroll with us as we uncover the city-state’s hidden green gems and breathe in the serenity amidst the bustling urban rhythm.

Central Region – Gardens by the Bay is an amazing park with so much to explore – from rare flowers, to supertrees, to sculptures from around the world. Check out the 22-metre-high aerial walkway linking two Supertrees and the 35-metre-tall indoor waterfall. Don’t forget to go to the Supertree Observatory for an incredible view of the Marina Bay district! The Singapore Botanic Gardens are also a must-see – it’s been around for over 150 years, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s the National Orchid Garden, swan lake, and heaps of tropical trees to enjoy. Kids will love the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, with its own farm, orchard and grove complete with streams and ponds.

Fancy a hike? Check out the MacRitchie Nature Trail & Reservoir Park. You’ll need to cover 11km to complete the trail, and don’t forget the Treetop Walk – a 250m long suspension bridge connecting two of the park’s highest points. If you’re a history buff, head to Fort Canning Park in the city centre. You’ll find loads of historical landmarks, such as Fort Gate from the 19th century, and the Spice Garden. A bit further out is the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, where you can take on the Summit Trail and climb Singapore’s highest hill (164m) in the ASEAN Heritage Park.

Southern Region – Head down south of Singapore for a nice stroll to check out Mount Faber and HortPark. You’ll be walking through the Southern Ridges, a trail that’s about 10 kilometres long with some cool structures like the Henderson Waves – the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore – and the Forest Walk and Canopy Walk bridges.

North Eastern Region – Seletar Reservoir is divided into two sections – Lower Seletar Reservoir Park and Upper Seletar Reservoir Park. Lower Seletar Reservoir Park has lots of fun features like the Family Bay, which has a performance stage, Heritage Bridge, bioswale rain garden, and a water play area for kids. Anglers come to try their luck at fishing off the jetty too. Upper Seletar Reservoir Park is a favourite with runners, and has loads of trails and landmarks like the rocket-shaped tower you can climb up for awesome views of the park.

Punggol Waterway has it all! It’s divided into four sections: Nature Cove, Recreation Zone, Heritage Zone, and Green Gallery. Rent a bike and explore the park, let the kids go wild at the water playground, check out the birds near the waterway, or take some amazing pics of the scenery in the evening. It’s a great spot for a green getaway!

Western Region – If you’re into nature, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a must-see! It covers 87 hectares and was first found by some birdwatchers from the Malayan Nature Society in 1986. There’s a ton of wildlife there, like migratory birds, crabs, mud lobsters, and even crocodiles and otters. Take a walk along the boardwalk to check out the mangroves during low tide, or stop at one of the observation posts to watch the animals in their natural environment.

If you’re looking to get in touch with nature, you should check out Jurong Lake Gardens. It’s a 90-hectare sanctuary with Lakeside Garden, the Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, and Promenade (all opening in 2021). At Lakeside Garden, there’s plenty to keep everyone occupied, from play spaces based on animals like crabs and herons to sand and tidal play areas. And if you’re looking for peace and quiet, take a stroll along the lalang fields or along the waterside boardwalks.

Navigating the Tranquil Trails: Hiking Gems in the City

Head out on an adventure to explore Singapore’s hidden gems! Hiking is the best way to take in all the greenery around the city-state, plus check out the iconic structures like the boat-like tower and the durian-looking domes. Make sure you wear your comfy hiking shoes, plus don’t forget to put on sunscreen and bring mosquito repellent. Have fun!

The Rail Corridor – The Rail Corridor is known for its awesome landscapes and its rich history. The railway line was used to transport people and goods between Singapore and Malaysia from the start of the 20th century until 2011. Now, it’s been improved to make it easier to get around. You can check out the Bukit Timah Railway Station and two steel truss railway bridges that have been restored – plus lookout decks to admire the scenery and paths to explore the rainforest.

Alexandra Woodland – This spot is like a hidden gem, a little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the train line. You should hang around and take some pics! The main draw here is the incredible ‘Lost Ark’ structure made from huge trees that have fallen near a natural pond. Just remember, this is an off-trail area so you should take care and wear the right clothes and shoes. 

Mandai T15 Trail – If you’re looking for a chill hike, then the trail around the Central Catchment Nature Reserve is the one for you. It’s not as well-known as Macritchie or Bukit Timah, but it’s not as hard either, so it’s great for beginners and pros. You’ll get to see lots of Singapore’s unique wildlife, like sambar deer, macaque, and Oriental Whip Snake.

Chestnut Nature Park – Chestnut Nature Park is the biggest nature park in Singapore, covering 81 hectares and divided into North and South regions. It offers dedicated trails for mountain biking and hiking, so you know where to go. The biking trails have winding slopes and a pump track for stunts, while the hiking trails, especially the 2.1km Southern Loop, go through different terrains and steps.

These sanctuaries stand as a testament to Singapore’s commitment to sustainability and the conservation of its rich biodiversity. So, the next time you find yourself in this remarkable city-state, remember to take a detour from the bustling streets and immerse yourself in the tranquil embrace of its serene sanctuaries. There’s magic in every leaf and bloom, waiting to be discovered by those willing to wander off the beaten path.

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