Singapore isn’t all hawker centres and shopping malls – with the upcoming travel bubble, get out and explore the city’s greener side for some fresh air and wide-open spaces, including its most spectacular nature reserves and glorious botanical gardens. Trek this way!
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
It ain’t exactly Everest, but you’ve got nature, birds and bees a plenty at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, home to Singapore’s highest hill. With 163 hectares of rainforest to unleash your inner Tarzan (or Jane), start at the Visitor’s Centre and head to Bukit Timah Hill for a heart-pumping, bum-burning climb that’s short but brutal, at about 20-45 minutes.
En route, you’ll spy gorgeous greenery, flying squirrels and cheeky long-tailed macaques (no bananas in your backpack, please). Get in and out, or extend your hike with the clearly marked trails that loop around the expanse of jungle. Tip: Go early and avoid weekend mornings if you can.
177 Hindhede Drive, Bukit Timah Vhf Station, 7am-7pm daily, nparks.gov.sg
Singapore Botanic Gardens & National Orchid Garden
A perennial fave, the glorious gardens are always a pleasure; whether you want to stop and smell the roses or burn some rubber on those Nikes. From the Cluny side to the Nassim Gate bordering on Orchard Rd, it’s an easy, breezy walk.
En route, you’ll pass flora and fauna a plenty, but budding horticulturists could pop into the National Orchid Garden to gaze at varieties of the national bloom amidst three hectares of greenery. (Note there is a small entry fee.)
National Orchid Garden at Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, 8.30am-7pm daily, nparks.gov.sg
Gardens By The Bay
This multi-million dollar baby, including giant supertrees with dizzying walkway and mammoth conservatories, is completely manufactured but has to be seen. The outdoor bits are open 5am to 2am so you can easily avoid the heat, and hordes. Phenom.
Fort Canning Park
A lush, jungly hill perf for shady saunters, start at the National Museum entrance, where sweat-saving escalators will glide you up the steep section, then meander the heritage trail, visit the small but insightful Battlebox WWII Museum (FC is the site of the Brit army surrender in 1942), and inhale the fragrant spice garden. Active types will relish the challenge of steep steps and open-air workout spots.
This splendid watery jungle is teeming with wildlife and home to the knee-wobbling but view-tiful TreeTop Walk. Take water, snacks and mozzie spray, but don’t feed the monkeys. Feeling adventurous? Take the 12K jungly trail between MacRitchie and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
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