Singapore’s CBD may be ultra-modern but you needn’t go far for an urban escape. Indulge your inner explorer with our list of the city’s best parks – ready for picnics, playtime or just a moment of peace.
1. Bukit Batok Town Park
Reminiscent of the scenic mountains of China, Bukit Batok offers a hint of Guilin’s magnificent karst (underlain by limestone) landscape. Not to be confused with Bukit Batok Nature Park, the long-abandoned quarry site known as Little Guilin is now a peaceful spot for an easy 20-30 minute walk with views of the majestic granite rock soaring above a lake. Shutterbugs should visit at dawn or dusk to capture the light.
Along Bukit Batok East Avenue 5, open 24 hours with park lighting from 7pm to 7am, nparks.gov.sg
2. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
Nestled amidst the housing developments of Ang Mo Kio and Bishan is an oasis of greenery spanning 62 hectares. With plenty of gently sloping lawns for picnics amidst a river fringed with wildflowers, there’s also a cycling path, several restaurants and an inclusive playground for special needs children. Take a meditative stroll through the four zones of The Therapeutic Garden, the perfect preamble to a luxurious massage at Aramsa – The Garden Spa (book in advance).
Along Bishan Road and Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, open 24 hours with park lighting from 7pm to 7am, nparks.gov.sg
3. Thomson Nature Park
This jungle enclave was once a bustling Hainan village in the 1930s. Since the ‘80s, the forest has taken over what’s left of the abandoned homes, making for a unique insight into kampong life. Start at the Ruins and Figs Trail to take in the conserved architectural relics that have merged with nature – the five trails take you through diverse local flora and fauna.
Keep an eye out for primate pals – it’s also home to a conservation programme for the endangered Raffles’ Banded Langur.
Off Old Upper Thomson Road, open 7am-7pm daily, nparks.gov.sg
4. Labrador Nature Reserve
Just a few steps from the Labrador Park MRT station is the starting point of Berlayer Creek boardwalk. The Berlayer Creek Mangrove trail leads you through one of two mangroves in Southern Singapore, where you’ll walk through wildlife before heading on towards the coastal walk which displays maritime remnants like the Red Beacon and a machine-gun pillbox.
History buffs will enjoy seeing gun emplacements from the late 1880s, cannons, old fort walls and tunnels. The end of the trail leads you to a well-deserved lunch at Tamarind Hill, a Thai restaurant housed in a gorgeous colonial house.
Along Labrador Villa Road, open 7am-7pm daily, nparks.gov.sg
5. Pasir Ris Park
Perfect for a family day out, the expansive Pasir Ris Park is built on reclaimed swamp land and offers both natural and man-made amenities for all ages to enjoy. Kids will go wild for the playground – one of the largest on the island – and ponies. There’s also a rock climbing wall plus cycling and in-line skating along the coast. Don’t miss the incredible Mangrove Boardwalk where you can get up close and personal with giant mudskippers, otters, and a diverse array of birds and greenery.
Along Pasir Ris Central, Opposite Pasir Ris MRT Station, open 7am-7pm daily, nparks.gov.sg
ManulifeMOVE has no association with any of the landmarks, dining venues, galleries or retailers included within this walking guide, selected by LUXE, and disclaims any liability as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein.
Photo credit: nparks.gov.sg