Need a mind cleanse? Detox at Singapore’s finest Nature Reserves

5 mins read

Qinthara Fasya | 24 November 2021

It’s time to change out of your WFH pyjamas and enjoy some fresh air

Explore some of Singapore’s scenic nature trails

For many of us, WFH has become the default this year, so it’s time to branch out and grab some vitamin C. This year, several of us found secret paths around Singapore, thanks to the fact that many of us had more free time than normal. Whether you’re going for a stroll, a hike, a bike ride, or a family excursion, these parks and nature reserves are sure to bring out your inner natural spirit.

With over 350 parks and 4 nature reserves under care, NParks is responsible for maintaining and enhancing the greenery of our City in Nature. NParks are also actively involved in community engagement to encourage conservation of our urban greenery. Join us as we explore some of these nature reserves – both new and old, to provide you with options for your next weekend adventure.

Mount Faber Park

A classic, but remains breathtaking and timeless. Mount Faber Park, one of Singapore’s oldest parks, is a popular tourist site with a variety of activities for tourists.

Take the cable car from Mount Faber to Sentosa Island to get a bird’s eye perspective of the horizon. Alternatively, for a panoramic view of the southern half of Singapore and the southern islands, look through the telescopes at one of the numerous viewing stations located on various sides of the ridge. Explore our country’s natural history at Faber Point, the park’s highest point, where a mural wall shows images of local historical events and the tree that was planted on the inaugural Tree Planting Day still remains.

A secondary rain forest covers Mount Faber. The vegetation on the hill not only beautifies the park but also serves to stabilise the land.

Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park, and Labrador Nature Reserve are all part of the Southern Ridges, which also includes Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park, and Labrador Nature Reserve.

Park lighting hours: 7:00 pm to 7:00 am daily

Accessibility: No wheelchair access

Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa

This location might be a little further from us by distance, but it is the closest match to get a feel of the Singaporean kampung back in the day. As you go to Pulau Ubin, you will be whisked back to 1960s Singapore. This 1,020-hectare island, shaped like a boomerang, is home to Singapore’s last hamlet, or kampongs, as well as the Chek Jawa Wetlands, one of the country’s most diverse ecosystems.

The boat ride takes ten minutes and costs $4 per person ($2 extra if you are bringing your bicycle) each way. There are no scheduled departure time to and from as bumboats set off only when there are 9 to 12 passengers. Do confirm the fare with the bumboat operator.

Other than hiking through the interesting trails, you could also book a tour to experience Ubin’s unique heritage and get a gist of the kampung feel. The 2.2km trail takes about 2 hours to complete. The tour will start at the Ubin Volunteer Hub and take you through the spice trees around Jelutong campsite, Butterfly Hill, Pekan Quarry, Sensory Trail Ponds, Kampong House, Old Bin Kiang School site, Toa Pek Kong Temple and end at the Wayang Stage. Each tour costs $60 (maximum of 5 people per group due to COVID-19 situation).

The Chek Jawa Wetlands track is closed for now, but tours resume from 4 December 2021 onwards. Click here download the Pulau Ubin Map.

Telok Blangah Hill Park

Trek the Forest Walk, a 1.3-kilometer-long elevated walkway that connects HortPark and Telok Blangah Hill Park, to take in the splendor of the secondary woods on the outskirts of Telok Blangah Hill Park, or proceed to Earth Trail to get up up and personal with the forest understory plants. Cross the Henderson Waves to Mount Faber Park to finish up your tour to Telok Blangah Hill Park. This 274m long construction is Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge, and it’s known for its creative, unique wave-like structure made up of a succession of undulating curving ‘ribs.’

The Terrace Garden is another feature. Terrace Garden is a set of semi-circular terraces at the summit of the park that are popular with wedding couples. You will be able to take in a breathtaking 360-degree vista of Singapore from here.

Park lighting hours: 7:00 pm to 7:00 am daily

Accessibility: No wheelchair access

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Image from SilverKris

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, located just 12 kilometers from the city center, offers a glimpse of nature in its purest form. Because of Singapore’s tropical position, the reserve features one of the richest and most diversified natural systems in the world. A remarkable variety of plant, animal, and insect life, typical of a humid tropical environment, will be visible to visitors.

This 163-hectare reserve contains Singapore’s highest summit, Bukit Timah Hill, which stands at 163 meters and is home to one of the country’s few remaining remnants of primary rainforest. For more than a century, the forest atop the hill has been a botanical collection site, and many of the first known specimens of Malayan plants have been acquired here. Find out more here.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve

The Central Catchment Nature Reserve, located in the heart of Singapore, serves as a big green lung. The Central Catchment Nature Reserve is the largest of Singapore’s nature reserves, with approximately 2,000 hectares of forest cover and some of the most biologically diverse forests.

Come see for yourself on the well prepared nature pathways. The MacRitchie Paths are a 20-kilometer network of trails and boardwalks that run around the MacRitchie Reservoir. The TreeTop Walk, a 250-meter suspension bridge that connects MacRitchie’s two highest peaks, and the Jelutong Tower, a 7-deck observation tower that provides visitors with an unobstructed view of the forest in MacRitchie, are two of the reserve’s main attractions.

Labrador Nature Reserve

Labrador Nature Reserve is an oasis of calm and natural wonders, built on the edge of the secondary forest with a prime vantage point of the cliff-side vegetation and a lovely view of the sea. The park, which is teeming with animals, is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts. Visitors are likely to hear a variety of bird species’ songs, including those of the Oriental Magpie-robin and the Black-naped Oriole. You could see local squirrels scrambling up trees if you take a leisurely stroll along one of the nature trails.

Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, and Kent Ridge Park are all part of the Southern Ridges, which also includes Labrador Nature Reserve.

Specifics Do’s and Don’ts: 

No pets are allowed in the nature reserve. Please refer to the Map & Trail Etiquette below for more information.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

At Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park, you may marvel at the beauty and marvels of nature. Wander through the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve’s wetlands, which include an immense mangrove forest, to discover a world rich in wildlife.

Throughout the year, hike the various paths in this ecological gem to see mudskippers, crabs, shellfish, water snakes, birds, spiders, monitor lizards, and otters, among other local species. Herons, kingfishers, and sunbirds are among the local birds to behold.

Seasonal from September to March: During the migratory season, look for plovers and sandpipers among the different groups of shorebirds or waders.

For more information on each of the location’s latest advisories, do check out NPark’s website, which provides you with extensive information on each of the nature reserves and parks – to give you a better idea before visiting. As these are outdoor activities, do remember to check the weather forecast and stack on that sunblock to protect yourselves.

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