With more than 300 parks and 4 nature reserves on this small island, Singapore is aptly called the Garden City. All of the parks are well-maintained by the National Parks Board, hence they are always in optimal conditions for people who want to exercise or just get close to nature. Find out what are some of the parks that you must visit in Singapore besides the famous Gardens by the Bay!
TOP 1 East Coast Park
East Coast Park is a park with sandy beaches that stretches along the southeastern coast of Singapore. With a scenic coastline that stretches over 15km, you can take a stroll and enjoy the sea breeze while taking breathtaking photos of the sunrise and sunset over the coast. The lookout deck at Siglap Canal (area D) and Bedok Jetty (area F) enables you to venture beyond the coastline to get a better and unobstructed view.
There are plenty of activities you can do at East Coast Park. Rent a bicycle or roller blade and explore the long stretches of scenic beaches on the dedicated cycling path. Cycling enthusiasts can head to the newly-opened Cyclist Park which has tracks dedicated to both beginner and advanced cyclists, along with a nature play garden that caters to children. Alternatively, you can also jog along the beach on the walking path. The more adventurous ones can check out the skate park and the cable ski park, while those who prefer to just sit back and relax can go to one of the many breakwaters or seawalls and watch the tides and the planes flying past to the nearby Changi Airport.
After all the fun activities, you can savour delightful local cuisine at the East Coast Seafood Centre which houses a handful of established seafood restaurants, or hawker food at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village.
Address: Along East Coast Parkway and East Coast Park Service Road
TOP 2 Punggol Waterway Park
As its name suggests, Punggol Waterway Park is built around the Punggol Waterway, enabling park users to enjoy a variety of activities along the waterway. Jogging, cycling or just taking a stroll amidst the lush greenery and tranquil waters does wonders to help you relax. Its many bridges provide the perfect spots for you to capture that enchanting sunset. Be sure to head to the sunset strip and the Jewel Bridge where you can enjoy a full view of the setting sun. The round structure on the Jewel Bridge is made of steel strips and shaped like a jewel. If you’re lucky, you might catch the beautiful sight where the golden rays land on the structure, causing it to glisten like a jewel. On the other side of Punggol Waterway Park lies the Sunrise Bridge, which is perfect spot to catch the sunrise at Punggol Waterway Park. Who says you can’t get the best of both worlds!
Punggol Waterway Park is also the gateway to the nearby Coney Island if the explorer in you is still not satisfied!
Address: Sentul Cres, Singapore 821313
TOP 3 Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a 160-year-old tropical garden that has been awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not just that, it has also been ranked Asia’s top park attraction since 2013 by TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. Enjoy a leisurely morning stroll around the beautiful tropical garden, and spot the characteristic Bandstand built in 1930, the Symphony Lake where regular concerts by Singapore Symphony Orchestra and other performance groups are held, the Swan Lake where beautiful white swans and terrapins roam, and the many heritage trees and colonial buildings. The little ones can head to the nearby Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden for a great time.
Address: 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569 (entrance from Botanic Gardens MRT Station)
TOP 4 Jurong Lake Gardens
The 90-hectare Jurong Lake Gardens is perfect for those looking for tranquility amidst this bustling city. The Jurong Lake Gardens comprises the famous Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden, and the newly revamped Lakeside Garden and Garden Promenade, all of which are clustered around the idyllic Jurong Lake. You can take a leisurely jog by the lakeside, have picnic at one of the gazebos or green patches, or just take a walk and take in the sights with your eyes and camera. The garden is popular with residents staying nearby who enjoy jogging, having group exercise classes such as qi gong and even playing musical instruments in the garden.
The bad news is the Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden with their characteristic pagodas, pavilions, Chinese landscaped-gardens and bonsais are closed for redevelopment works and will only reopen in 2021. In the meantime, visitors can head to the Lakeside Garden to immerse in nature with its various features such as Alstonia Island, Rasau Walk and Neram Streams. There are plenty of play spaces for children, and plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife such as otters, birds and butterflies.
How to get there: Lakeside Garden (Jurong Lake Gardens) is accessible from Lakeside MRT station, and also by bus services 49 and 154 from Jurong East or Boon Lay Interchanges.
TOP 5 Bay East Garden
Located across the shore from the popular Supertree Groves, cloud forest and flower dome, Bay East Garden is a relatively unknown part of Gardens By The Bay, which means you can enjoy the gardens without having to jostle with scores of tourists. The sprawling garden comprises large areas of well-maintained greenery, walking and jogging tracks, nice pavilions and manicured flower hedges. You will also have a breathtaking view of the Marina Bay and all of its surrounding landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and the skyscrapers in the Central Business District. Grab a book and sit in one of the shades, or stroll the gardens in the refreshing morning mist. It’s definitely worth a trip!
Address: 11 Rhu Cross, Singapore 437440 (Off Rhu Cross / Bay East Drive (at the end of Tanjong Rhu Road)
TOP 6 Fort Canning Park
Fort Canning Park is perhaps the place that is most steep in history in Singapore, being the site of the palaces where the Malay kings once ruled in the 14th century. When Singapore was occupied by the British, the Headquarters of the Far East Command Centre and British Army Barracks were located here. During World War II, the decision to surrender Singapore to the Japanese on 15 February 1942 was also made at Fort Canning Hill, in the Underground Far East Command Centre commonly known as Battle Box. Many artefacts have been found on Fort Canning Hill through excavations, which points to its significance as an important landmark in history. The Fort Gate, the remnants of a fortress built in the 19th century still stands here.
Today, there are many gardens in Fort Canning Park which pays tribute to its past by showcasing the historical aspects such as the Armenian Street Park and the Artisan’s Garden that once housed the workshops and living quarters of craftsmen in the 14th century. To help visitors get acquainted with the history, there are several signs throughout the park where you can scan with the BALIKSG app and launch an augmented reality trail on your smartphone.
The park has also become a popular venue for concerts and performances such as Shakespeare in the Park and Ballet Under The Stars, where visitors plonk themselves down on the gentle slopes of the hill amidst the 18th century gateways and gazebos of Fort Canning Green. Many visitors also descend on the stairwell (pictured above) to take instagrammable shots.
How to get there: Fort Canning Park is bounded by Hill Street, Canning Rise, Clemenceau Avenue and River Valley Road, and is walkable from Fort Canning, Clarke Quay and Dhoby Ghaut MRT Stations
TOP 7 St John’s Island
St John’s Island is one of islands located to the south of the main island of Singapore. Located just around 6.5 km away from the main island, this hidden paradise used to house political prisoners and people undergoing drug rehabilitation, and was once a quarantine station for patients with certain contagious diseases. Today, it is a getaway spot for people who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s long stretches clean beaches with clear white sand, picnic grounds and wooden tables and chairs amidst trees that shield you from the hot sun, trekking routes and gazebos make it a superb place for relaxing, picnicking, exploring the nature and taking beautiful photos, all while enjoying the soothing sea breeze. Other activities that you can do there include swimming in the tranquil beaches and lagoons, fishing and visiting the Sisters’ Island Marine Park Public Gallery.
How to get there: You can reach St John’s Island by purchasing ferry tickets online or at Marina South Pier. It takes only about 30 minutes to reach this paradise!
TOP 8 Woodlands Waterfront Park
Woodlands Waterfront Park is a 11 hectare park at the northern tip of Singapore. There’s a 1.5km-long waterfront promenade which offers gorgeous views of the sunrise and sunset over the sea at the north side of Singapore. From here, you can see the entire coastal park and the Straits of Johor. It is no wonder this scenic trail is highly popular among residents and visitors. There are also dedicated cycling and jogging tracks, a variety of exercise equipment and a large playground which makes this park suitable for both the young and the old.
Address: Admiralty Road West
TOP 9 MacRitchie Reservoir Park
MacRitchie Reservoir is Singapore’s oldest reservoir and part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The MacRitchie Reservoir Park, a 12-hectare park surrounding the reservoir, offers jogging tracks and hiking trails amidst the lush greenery where you can spot many rare bird species and wildlife such as long-tailed macaque monkeys, squirrels, monitor lizards, and even colugos (flying lemurs) and owls. Experience what it’s like to literally walk among the treetops at the Treetop Walk, a 250m suspension bridge linking the two highest points within MacRitchie which offers scenic views. Kayaks and canoes are available for rent.
The MacRitichie Reservoir Park is a hotspot among nature lovers, bird watchers and people looking to workout. The MacRitchie trail is 11km long so it is not for the faint hearted. However, it is not an obligation to complete the trail as there are several exit points. If you are persistent enough in completing the trail, you might spot several hidden treasures around the track such as the Syonan Jinja shrine, an abandoned Japanese Shinto shrine that commemorated the Japanese soldiers who died in Singapore in World War II.
How to get there: Take buses 52, 74, 165, 852, 855 from Marymount MRT Station
TOP 10 Hort Park
Hort Park is one of the parks in the Southern Ridges which links Kent Ridge to Harbourfront. It is a one-stop gardening resource centre where you can find garden plots and vegetable plots tended by gardening enthusiasts. On top of that, there are also stunning themed gardens where well-manicured lawns lie amidst beautiful landscape gardens filled with many types of ornamental plants, fruits and vegetables. Make your way down the Balinese Garden, Butterfly Garden, Edible Garden, Silver Garden (silver, grey and white hued plants) and many more, which promises to be educational and at the same time provides opportunities for plenty of instagrammable shots.
The Nature Playgarden is designed for children to get acquainted with nature by playing with sand and gravel, and making music with bamboo poles. On the other hand, the Therapeutic Garden (the first of its kind in a public park) inculcates design elements and user-friendly features that caters to the elderly to help them to benefit from the restorative effects of greenery on their mental and emotional well-being. As you walk further in, you’ll even see large greenhouses where temperate flowers are grown, although admission is not allowed.
Address: 33 Hyderabad Road (off Alexandra Road), Singapore 119578
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