A pandemic is never a good thing, but it does not have to be all bad as well. Being “trapped” in a small island like Singapore during this period is perhaps one of the least exciting place to be in since there is really not too many things to do and explore. That said, one aspect the city tries real hard is to keep as much greens in its nature reserve parks as possible, making this island city a city in a garden. We took time to explore some of the major nature parks in Singapore, and you should too!
Amongst one of the largest islands of Singapore, this is perhaps the only few that remains very much untouched by civilisation per se. Measuring 10sqkm, you can visit Bukit Puaka to enjoy a view of Ubin Quarry, or head to the eastern coast of the island and visit the mangrove vegetation at Chek Jawa. Choose between walking or cycling, although for the latter, do avoid riding at high speeds due to the rough terrain. Visit Pulau Ubin via ferry from Changi Point Ferry Terminal between 6am to 7pm daily at just S$3 per pax.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Moving to the northwestern shore of Singapore, Sungei Buloh is a wetland nature reserve where you get close to migratory birds, monitor lizards, otters, mudskippers, crabs, and if you are lucky or unlucky (depending on the outcome), you may spot crocodiles while walking through the reserve. Also not forgetting, you will get to enjoy the increasingly beautiful skyline of Johor Baru city, located just across the Johor Strait. Unfortunately though, Sungei Buloh’s location is rather obscure, if you are visiting here without a car, taking public transport can be a hassle.
North of Punggol, Coney Island only opened to the public in 2015, and is now a highlight of the islandwide park connector which you can visit by foot or by cycling through either of its 2 entrances at Punggol and Lorong Halus. A rather flat island with a main highway running through the island, whilst there’s not much of a landscape for the perfect Instagram shot, Coney Island has been very much uninhabited since, a rather rare occurrence in land-scarce Singapore.
A 10km stretch which starts from Kent Ridge Park to Mount Faber Park, and with a park connector down south to the Labrador Nature Reserve, the Southern Ridges provides a much welcomed greenery to the over-developed city centre of Singapore. Start your ascend to the Mount Faber Park starting from HarbourFront MRT Station, and enjoy the views from Henderson Waves (Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge at 36 meters) before hitting the Forest Walk, Alexandra Arch, Hort Park and Canopy Walk. The Southern Ridges is perfect for a walk, so do leave your bicycle at home.
Also known as the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, this is perhaps the most popular nature park in Singapore. You can pick various hiking trails here, ranging from the easy 3km walk to the popular 10km walk through the popular Tree Top Walk which will reopened in May 2021 as with ongoing upgrading works. Parking is available at the MacRitchie Reservoir Park or at Windsor Nature Park. From walking along boardwalks beside the reservoir, to being in the midst of the rainforest, or walking on top of the suspension bridge 25 meters above the forest floor, MacRitchie has it all to suit your adventure for the day.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
You can approach Singapore’s highest point atop Bukit Timah Hill at 164 meters through various hikes. The most direct will be from the foot of the hill, which can be done under 30-45 minutes loop. For a more challenging hike, head east for the South View Path or complete the full nature walk at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve by walking the Dairy Farm Loop at the north of the summit. Either route you pick, do note that this is one of the last few parcel of primary rainforest in the country. Do climb to the summit!
24km long from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar, be prepared for one of the longest park connector in Singapore when it is fully completed. This is part of the railway line that once connected Malaysia to Singapore, with the land returned to Singapore in 2011. Some of key highlights includes the Upper Bukit Timah Road Truss Bridge, the old Bukit Timah Railway Station, the walk through the rainforest and when the corridor is completed, you will end the walk at grand old dame Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.
Chestnut Nature Park
Located beside Bukit Panjang, just north of Bukit Timah, Chestnut Nature Park is amongst one of the newest nature parks to open in Singapore for the public in recent years. Due to its location, the park remains quite under the radar to most, with highlights including the Observation Tower along the Northern Hiking Loop and the small river streams and suspension bridge along the Nature Trail at the north part of the part. If you are a serious mountain bike enthusiast, am sure you must already know the 8.2km mountain biking trail here!
For more information on Nature Reserves in Singapore, do visit NParks’ website.
Ranted By The Rantee