Nature is the best healing balm in the world. So when city life gets overwhelming, I love to escape to Singapore’s green spaces. From heritage gardens to beach parks, treetop walks and wetland reserves, these seven sanctuaries will lift the stress and fatigue, and magically restore you.
The only tropical garden in the world to be named a UNESCO World’s Heritage Site, this 157 year-old garden is home to more than 10,000 species of flora. I love taking a walk in the Ginger Garden, unwinding at the Swan Lake, joining a workshop at the Botany Centre and enjoying a concert at the Symphony Lake.
Must-Do: Visit the National Orchid Garden, and discover the largest orchid collection in the world with 1,200 species and 2,000 hybrids! Don’t miss the VIP Orchid Garden, with some 100 orchids named after celebrities, dignitaries and heads of states. Look out for the Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher orchids.
First discovered in 1986 by a group of birdwatchers, this 202-hectare of mangroves, mudflats, ponds and forests are home to diverse wildlife. I love strolling through the meandering wooden stilts, and spotting crabs, shellfish, herons, kingfishers and sunbirds. From September to March, you could even catch sight of migratory birds on their way to Australia – some of them have flown all the way from Siberia!
Must-Do: For a deeper appreciation of the wetlands, book a free guided walk in advance to identify flora, as well as birds and other natural inhabitants. Art enthusiasts may also join an art class and create nature-inspired pieces.
#3 Jurong Lake
Surrounded by verdant parkland, this freshwater lake and reservoir is an excellent spot for jogging, cycling or water sports. I personally love coming here for brisk morning or cool evening strolls to decompress and escape the city bustle.
Must-Do: Visit the Chinese Garden. Stroll along the stone bridges, explore the pagodas and rest your feet at the teahouse. The garden really comes to life during Chinese festivals such as Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival, where children will light up the gardens with whimsical lanterns.
If you love nature, you’ll love this reservoir park. Its 11km of hiking trail are lined with gorgeous trees, long-tailed monkeys, squirrels and monitor lizards. Fringed by Singapore’s first reservoir, it’s also a great place for kayaking and canoeing.
Must-do: Take a morning walk with your head above the trees – the Treetop Walk is a 250-metre suspension bridge. Linking two of the highest points within the nature reserve, it’ll offer you majestic views of the forest.
A mere 12 kilometres from the Central Business District, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is one of two tropical rainforests in the world located within city limits. This ASEAN Heritage Park is home 840 species of flowering plants and 500 species of fauna.
Must-Do: Ascend to the summit of the Bukit Timah Hill. At the height of 163.63 metres, it’s the highest hill in Singapore! This summit trail is only open on weekends from 7am to 6pm.
50 years ago, East Coast Park didn’t even exist – all 185 hectares of this beach park is built on reclaimed land. Today, it has become one of the most iconic hangout spots in Singapore, and my personal favourite. With a cycling track lining 15km of gorgeous coastline, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors.
Must-Do: Enjoy seafood and local cuisine at East Coast Food Lagoon. Try the satay (spicy meat skewers), wanton mee (dumpling noodles), sambal stingray and barbequed wings. Or, rent a pit and enjoy your own outdoor barbeque by the sea.
Connecting some of Singapore’s most iconic green sanctuaries – Hort Park, Mount Faber Park, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserves – this 10km trail offers panoramic views of the city and nature.
Must-Do: I love walking along the Henderson Waves, which connects Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park. At 36 metres height, this wave-like pedestrian bridge is gorgeous when alit at night.
For more cool ideas, speak to your personal assistant at Capella Singapore.