Visitors looking for a respite from the hustle and bustle of the thriving city of Singapore will find several stunning garden oases to enjoy throughout the city-state. Nature lovers, bird watchers, hiking enthusiasts, and families alike won’t be disappointed by the breadth and variety of what’s available here. Prepare to explore the outdoors with the top nature trips in Singapore.
Must-See Singapore Parks, Gardens & Hiking Trails
Singapore is home to a bounty of world-class gardens, lush nature reserves, and well-maintained trail systems. History buffs will appreciate cultural and historical points of interest at places like Fort Canning Park, while families can take to watersports like kayaking or paddleboarding at Jurong Lake Gardens. There’s a little something for everyone on a nature-themed excursion in Singapore.
Gardens by the Bay
Located in the Marina Bay Waterfront, the ever-popular and award-winning Gardens by the Bay features three unique spaces over 101 hectares. These spaces include Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay Central Garden. Bay South Gardens are the largest and the most popular of the three gardens. The outdoor garden areas at Bay South Gardens are free, but the conservatories and attractions must be paid for. Highlights here include the cooled conservatory called Flower Dome, which features plants and flowers from five continents. Floral Fantasy, another indoor conservatory, features four distinct zones that appear as though lifted right out of a fairy tale. It features unique cavernous designs, driftwood sculptures, and floral art. Visitors can wander through the misty Cloud Forest while admiring rare vegetation, or explore Supertree Grove, home to vertical gardens and a futuristic structural design. At dusk, visitors to the grove can enjoy Garden Rhapsody, a light-and-sound display.
Fort Canning Park
Fort Canning Park is a historical hilltop landmark located in central Singapore. It’s within walking distance of the popular shopping district of Orchard Road as well as the National Museum of Singapore. At one time, this park was called Bukit Larangan, meaning “Forbidden Hill” in Malay, and used to house the palaces of kings. During World War Two, the park became the headquarters of the Far East Command Center and is where the British army surrendered Singapore to Japan. Visitors can take a guided tour through Battle Box, the underground command center, to learn more about the park’s role during the war. Fort Canning Green features expansive lawns where concerts, theater productions, and festivals like Shakespeare in the Park are held. There are nine historical gardens here, too. Guests to the park can stay at the 5-star historical boutique Hotel Fort Canning, which includes a restaurant, a cocktail bar, and an afternoon tea service. Two outdoor mineral pools complement the on-site spa and gym to provide guests with options for rest and relaxation.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
In the western part of Central Singapore, visitors will find Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, a 163-hectare park. This tucked-away expanse of greenery features plenty of native flora and fauna. Guests may wish to begin at the visitor’s center and view the interactive exhibitions that explain more about the forest’s ecology. Throughout the reserve, visitors may spot the long-tailed macaques and several different bird species that call the reserve home. Several trails are available, designed to suit varying levels of difficulty to accommodate leisurely strollers to avid hikers. Cyclists won’t be disappointed — there are bike routes to take around the reserve, too.
Chek Jawa Wetlands
Catch a ferry to the island of Pulau Ubin and discover the Chek Jawa Wetlands. The wetlands are located on the eastern edge of Pulau Ubin and are home to one of Singapore‘s most impressive ecosystems. It’s also the meeting point of six natural habitats. A boardwalk along the coastline lets visitors admire both plant and marine life. A viewing tower is a must-stop for bird lovers. There’s a visitor’s center with a viewing jetty here, too. To get to the wetlands, visitors can trek from the main village after disembarking from the ferry at Ubin jetty, cycle, or hire a vehicle. Guided tours are available.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Located in northeastern Singapore, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a site of international importance for migratory birds. The migration season occurs from September to March. The wetland reserve features mudflats, forested areas, and ponds. Visitors can wander among rare mangroves on an extensive boardwalk structure and stop at observation posts to look for different species of wildlife that call the nature reserve home, including kingfishers, otters, mud lobsters, Malayan water monitor lizards, and banded archerfish.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens have the great distinction of being Singapore‘s first UNESCO Heritage Site. There are plenty of attractions here, like the popular National Orchid Garden, a Heritage Museum with interactive exhibits, and the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, which has play areas for kids. The tropical botanic gardens are free to visit, but there is a fee to visit the National Orchid Garden. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is located at the edge of the Orchard Road shopping district. Visitors can use different entrances to access the gardens. On-site restaurants and cafes provide visitors ample opportunity to have lunch or grab a snack after walking the grounds. Gardens shops make a lovely final stop for gifts.
The Southern Ridges
The Southern Ridges is a 10-kilometer trail system that connects Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park, and Labrador Nature Reserve. Nature lovers, bird watchers, walkers, and families alike will enjoy a wander through the area. There’s plenty of history to discover and fantastic views of the city and the Southern Islands to enjoy. A must-see attraction here is Henderson Waves, notable for its unique wave-like appearance and for being the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. It connects Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park.
Kranji Marshes is a freshwater marshland located in northeastern Singapore. The marshland is teeming with an impressive array of bird, butterfly, and dragonfly species. Other animals can be found here, too, including reptiles such as the monitor lizard. Guests can walk along designated trails and boardwalks. From Raptor Tower, visitors can take photographs and enjoy panoramic views over the marshland and Kranji Reservoir. Kranji Marshes is included under the Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network, which is made up of several wetland habitats, and are collectively recognized on an international level for being important locations for migratory birds.
HortPark is part of The Southern Ridges and makes a lovely stop for walkers, hikers, and nature lovers alike. The park is known for being a resource center, with plenty of activities, lectures, and tours available for visitors wishing to learn more about how to cultivate plants or hone their green thumb. For recreation enthusiasts, the pristine gardens provide a lush backdrop to the green lawns that are perfect for picnicking with the family or hanging out with friends. Must-see stops at HortPark include The Butterfly Garden, Lifestyle Corner, and the Flora walk.
Jurong Lake Gardens
The newest national garden, Jurong Lake Gardens, can be found in western Singapore. It’s easily accessible from the city center by car or public transportation, and it’s only a few minutes walk from Lakeside MRT Station. Attractions here will delight the whole family. PAssion WaVe @ Jurong Lake Gardens offers water activities that everyone can enjoy, including paddleboats, kayaks and canoes. Visitors can enjoy eating at the on-site café after an outing on the water. The Grasslands are the perfect spot to do some bird watching, with three bird blinds spread out across the area. Look out for the Lone Tree — a man-made structure made from salvaged pieces of old park pathways — that makes a stealthy perch for local raptors in the area. Visitors can wander along Rasau Walk, a boardwalk that winds its way along the edge of the water, while children can romp and play at Forest Ramble, a nature-themed spot that features several fun activities, including slides, suspended bridges, and swings.
Labrador Nature Reserve
Located near HarbourFront, the Labrador Nature Reserve is part of the The Southern Ridges. It sits along a cliffside and has views of the sea. This nature reserve is a unique spot to view local wildlife; it’s also the former site of a British military fort during World War Two. Over 70 species of birds can be found at this nature reserve, as well as 11 species of butterflies. Visitors wishing to partake in a workout will find fitness stations interspersed throughout the park and a jogging track. Bird enthusiasts can look for the Oriental magpie-robin and other birds, while history lovers can explore the former military fort that features the remains of a machine gun post.