By SGN | 20 Nov 2023
Singapore may be a modern metropolis, but one of its chief charms for residents is being able to live close to nature. With green lungs scattered across the island, along with mangroves, coral reefs and tropical rainforests teeming with wildlife, there’s lots to discover in the great outdoors.
And the city is only getting greener. Since the 1970s, the city has steadily built over 300 parks to spruce up the environment and improve quality of life. By 2035, the Singapore Green Plan intends to create 1,000ha more green spaces within our urban jungle – that’s the area of more than 1,800 football fields!
Ready to get exploring? Here are five ways to embrace your adventurous spirit and discover the hidden gems of nature in Singapore:
Geocaching is a global treasure hunt where participants use a GPS, their phones, or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers known as caches! These waterproof vessels, planted by people all around the world, contain a log book inside for successful finders to sign, along with unique trinkets you can take or leave.
Started in 2000 in Beavercreek, Oregon, geocaching is now practised in all corners of the globe – from blistering cold Antarctica to sunny Singapore. In Singapore, there are a total of 1,075 geocaches across the island waiting to be discovered.
Don’t let the novelty hold you back. Geocaching is fun with friends and family, and there’s even an online geocaching shop to help you unleash your inner scout. To start your adventure, simply download the app on the App Store or Google Play.
Although Singapore is known for its bustling cityscape, there are some awesome spots for stargazing if you know where to look.
To take a break from the urban hustle, head down to reservoirs or parks that are more distant from the bright lights. Imagine lying down on a comfy fleece blanket, the vast sea of stars twinkling overhead. Amidst the calm, all you hear are the chirping crickets and leaves rustling in the cool breeze.
Changi Beach Park, Yishun Dam, Labrador Nature Reserve and the Singapore Botanic Gardens are some locations where you can stargaze and find a slice of tranquility. However, if you want to tinker with telescopes and enjoy a closer look, visit the Science Centre or Woodlands Galaxy Community Club.
Stargazing is the perfect activity for enjoying the outdoors if you don’t want to work up a sweat. It’s also a nice way to spend a cool night out with your loved ones.
Life on an island-city wouldn’t be complete without enjoying its surrounding tropical waters. But beyond merely relaxing by the beach, why not dip your toes in something a little more adventurous?
You could sail around the mouth of the Singapore River at Marina Bay or head further out and kayak through the mangroves of Pulau Ubin. Over at East Coast Park, more fun options are available, including wakeboarding, windsurfing, and stand-up paddling.
If you’re looking for something more unusual, you can even train your core and glutes as a mermaid with the Mermaid Club Singapore (yes, it exists!).
Singapore’s tropical rainforests are home to native species such as the Raffles’ banded langur and the oriental pied hornbill. (Photos: Andie Ang / David Wirawan)
Singapore is home to over 2,000 native species of fauna and flora – and that doesn’t even include our marine wildlife. Since the late 19th century, the country has made deep efforts to conserve its natural environment, even as urban development marches on.
From the offshore islands of Pulau Ubin and Coney Island to sprawling nature reserves like Kranji Marshes and the Southern Ridges, there’s lots to explore and many opportunities to get up close to wildlife.
On Pulau Ubin, you might be able to spot mousedeer, Sunda pangolins and pied oriental hornbills. Visit East Coast Park to catch the hawksbill turtles, or the Central Catchment Area for sightings of the spotted wood owl and Raffles’ banded langur!
While embracing your wild side, be sure to keep a safe distance from critters like monkeys or wild boars to avoid getting hurt. For more recommendations, check out this guide by TimeOut.
Without a doubt, the best way to experience nature and take in the scenery is on foot.
Launched in 2019, the Coast-to-Coast Trail is the longest hiking route in Singapore. The 36km trek spans the entire island, linking nature areas, parks, and park connectors. From quarry lakes to untouched forests to old cemeteries, discover a charming side of Singapore that you may not have seen before. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the famous family of otters at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park or rare migratory birds at Coney Island!
Another area worth exploring is Alexandra Woodland. The 26ha forest in the south of Singapore contains a magnificent structure called the Lost Ark shaped from large fallen trees next to a pond. It’s best to be safe in this off-trail location, so wear proper attire and walking shoes and always let someone know of your whereabouts.
Other hidden gems include the Mandai T15 Trail, the Rail Corridor, and even a 100-year-old forest that surrounds the Botanic Gardens’ Learning Forest. Whether you’re looking to fill your weekend or embark on an outdoor adventure, the parks and nature reserves of Singapore have a lot to offer.