Let us take some time to stop and smell the flora as we take a stroll along with nature. Enjoy our curated list of our favourite nature trails in Singapore!
1. Admiralty Park
Photo: National Parks
Admiralty Park, located along Admiralty Road and Riverside Road of the Woodlands region, is among one of the largest nature area within an urban park. It is approximately 20 hectares in size, and can be easily accessible via Woodlands MRT Station/Bus Interchange (15 minutes walk).
Observe the beauty of mother nature and its magnificent ecosystem with more than 100 species of flora and fauna here. This habitat is home to Putat Kampung Tree, Hedgehog rattan (rare plant in Singapore), Noni Tree, Giant Mudskipper and Australian Mulberry Tree, just to name a few.
If you like to experience the harmonious co-existence of raw nature and urbanity, we will recommend Admiralty Park as the place to go!
Length of trail: 2km
Estimated time required: 1 to 2 hours
2. Changi Point Coastal Walk
Located at the far eastern region of Singapore, Changi Point Coastal Walk brings you on a scenic walk by the sea, with lush greenery and foliages surrounding the terrain. Those who visits Pulau Ubin regularly would be pretty much familiar with this spot.
There are six main segments on this boardwalk, namely: Creek Walk, Beach Walk, Sailing Point Walk, Cliff Walk, Kelong Walk and Sunset Walk.
Get to see various shrubs such as Sea Lettuce, Simpoh Air or Sea Hibiscus, and take pleasure in bird-viewing as you stroll along the pavements. If you’re in luck, you might even catch a glimpse of the Pacific Swallow, a type of bird that is metallic blue-black in colour and with red forehead and throat.
A great place for an evening leisure walk with the family!
Length of trail: 2.2km (one-way)
Estimated time required: 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
3. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Photo: National Parks
Established back in 1883, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the first forest reserve in Singapore and also the largest surviving rainforest now. It is as huge as 163 hectares.
This nature reserve is an amazing collective of biodiversity. You can find almost all spectrum of the various plant groups here. Don’t forget to stop and take a look at the interpretative signs that convey interesting facts of the reserve that are generally less widely known.
A great place to breathe in fresh air and to hike up the hill! Truly nature in its pristine shape.
Length of trail: 1.2km
Estimated time required: 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes
*Please note that public access to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) will be limited for about two years, with effect from 15 September 2014 as the National Parks Board (NParks) carries out repair and restoration works to the slopes, trails and forests in the reserve.
4. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (Route 1)
There are two routes to appreciate nature and wildlife at Sungei Buloh. Route 1 is the longer route, though with a better view of the peace and tranquility through the mangrove habitat. Look down at the mangrove roots and leaves around you and you might just spot several fascinating animals.
Great for those who appreciates wildlife and serenity.
Length of trail: 3km
Estimated time required: 1 to 2 hours 15 minutes
Photo: National Parks
5. Singapore Botanic Gardens – Rain Forest Walking Trail
Photo: National Geographic Young Explorer
The highlight of this trail is taking a walk through an archaic rainforest right in the heart of town.
Explore and discover a forest swarmed with interesting foliages and plant life such as Tongkat Ali Tree, Meranti Laut, Lianas, strangling fig and Giant Mahang, among many others. Lianas (climbing vines with thick woody stems) are common sight throughout the forest.
Some of the forest animals that you might get a chance to see are the Common Flameback, Pink-necked Green Pigeon as well as Common Tree Frog. This is among one of the shorter trails that is highly recommended for older folks.
Length of trail: 600m
Estimated time required: 20 minutes
6. Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin
Chek Jawa is tucked away in a corner of Pulau Ubin and you will need to catch a ferry to Ubin Jetty. Depending on how adventurous you feel, you can hire a vehicle, cycle, or hike across the nature trail to reach it the wetlands. Chek Jawa is an island filled with wonderful secrets and consists of 100 hectares of wetland teeming with wildlife.
The six ecosystems; Coastal Hill Forest, Mangroves, Rocky Shore, Sand Bar, Seagrass Lagoon, Coral Rubble Area; are is home for millions of creatures. Guided tours are conducted on special days when the tides are favourable. Don’t miss the Jejawi viewing tower and enjoy the opportunity to be surrounded by a diverse array of animals not found elsewhere.
Length of guided trail: 1.1km (Coastal Boardwalk)
Estimated time required: 2 hours (includes introduction of surrounding biodiversity by tour guide)
Length of nature trail: 3.2km (From Pulau Ubin Community Centre to Chek Jawa Information kiosk)
Estimated time required: 2-3 hours
*Note: the southern tip of the coastal boardwalk in closed for upgrading and will reopen 25 Oct 2015.
7. MacRitchie Reservoir (right)
Do you know the difference between the species of dragonfly and damselfly?
Take a hike along the Chemparai Trail and spot them hovering above the water. Many photo rich information panels can be found along the boardwalk explaining various flora and fauna that can be observed along the trail.
Macritchie reservoir deck features an amenities centre equipped with washrooms, showering facilities, lockers, drinking fountains and food kiosks. Children splashing along the length of the submerged boardwalk can conveniently freshen up and recharge with a quick snack break.
A 100m gravel swale enriches biodiversity and acts as a sieve against coarse sediments and pollutants from surface water runoffs. This feature integrates fun with eco-planning as the dykes and reed beds, and enhances the nation’s water quality in the reservoir.
Length of Chemperai Trail: 1.5 km
Estimated Time Required: 1-2 hours.
Length of Submerged Boardwalk trail: 40m (water depth of 50mm)
Estimated Time Required: 30 minutes
8. TreeTop Walk, Central Catchment Nature Reserve (MacRitchie)
Tree Top Walk is a 250m long freestanding suspension bridge connecting the two highest points in the central catchment Nature Reserve. Scaling the heights to 25m above ground, the terrain for this trail is challenging and consists of navigating steep slopes.
Also nicknamed “Canopy Walk”, you will see the forest from a bird’s eye view. Observe the different layers; ground layers, tree shrub, canopy, and emergent; fighting for valuable spaces to reach the sun. Many monkeys (Long tailed macaques) can be spotted along the trail. Food and snacks should be stored in sealed bags, only to be consumed at the end of the hike.
How to get there:
Hike 2.5 km from the Venus Drive entrance
Hike 4.5 km from Macritchie Reservoir Park
Length of Tree Top Walk Trail: 250m, highest point at 25m
Estimated Time Required: 4 – 5 hours
9. Seletar Reservoir
Lower Seletar Reservoir Park offers spaces for activities with the family on land and in water. It features a family bay with a new performance area, a wading stream, a water play area, a bioswale rain garden, as well as a heritage bridge. There are designated paths for children to cycle and scooter around. PUB maintains a fishing jetty where avid anglers cast their rods to catch snakeheads and tilapias swimming in the waters.
The heritage deck informs its visitors about the rich history of an Orang Seletar settlement that formerly found their home in this peaceful park. There is a Water Venture that supplies kayak rentals and hosts a rowing bay. The ABC Learning Trail provides an avenue to get hands-on experience in water quality testing, learn about water sustainability, water cycle, and water treatment processes.
Length of Trail: 1.3km
Estimated Time Required: 1.5 hours
10. Tampines Eco Green
Photo: National Parks
Where can you find Grasslands, Freshwater Wetlands and a Secondary Rainforest standing in the middle of a high-rise, high density town? Tampines Eco Green is a 36.5 hectare park offering a sanctuary to insects, birds and reptiles. Eco-friendly and recycled materials make up the bulk of park shelters and furniture; reducing temperatures and attracting greater biodiversity.
This park is designed with minimal intrusion leaving most of the land in its original state. About 70 species of woodlands and open country birds including bee-eaters, woodpeckers, dollarbirds, sunbirds, munias, etc., 13 species of dragonflies, 12 species of butterflies, and 32 species of spiders live in this habitat. Snags and dead trees even remain in the park as they serve as important nest sites for birds such as woodpeckers. Hide behind the Baya Weavers and take the chance to spot perching birds and waddlers in the park’s natural ponds.
Diversity Trail: 3km
Marsh Trail and Forest Trail: 4.5km
Estimated time required: 2 – 3hours
11. Green Rail Corridor
The Green Corridor trail stretches all the way from Tanjong Pagar Railway station to Kranji. The greenery along the Corridor constitutes the longest belt of greenery extant in Singapore that is relatively well-connected. Except for a few short gaps caused by rivers and roads, this trail has an impressive belt of trees and shrubs running through.
There are different habitat types along the corridor: Woodland/Forest, Mangrove, Grassland, Marshland and Parland. Along the trails, you can also visit historic sites such as Old Ford Factory, the Rail Mall, the site of WWII battle, and some religious buildings.
The estimated length of entire trail is 26 km.
The length of the trail varies on the different routes you take.
There are 8 walking routes you can take:
- Sungei Kadut Avenue to Woodlands Road
- Sungei Kadut Avenue to Choa Chu Kang Road
- Choa Chu Kang Road to Rail Mall
- Rail Mall to Bukit Timah Train Station
- Bukit Timah Train Station to Holland Road
- Holland Road to Buona Vista
- Buona Vista to Queensway Road
- Jalan Hang Jebat to Kampong Bahru
For more information on the Green Corridor and the routes, go to www.thegreencorridor.org
12. Punggol Waterway Park
The word ‘Punggol’ in Malay means ‘hurling sticks at the branches of fruit trees to bring them down to the ground’, a reference to the area’s history as a fruit-growing district. A cool evening walk through the park’s “Green Trail” will take you past fruit trees such as durian, rambutan, chiku, jackfruit and more. Rest on benches along the winding waterways to admire the night scenery and listen for the sounds of nature around.
The park is segmented into four different themes: Nature Cove, Recreation Zone, Heritage Zone and Green Gallery. The sights and activities that can be found in Punggol waterway park are many. Highlights not to be missed include the reminiscent Kelong Bridge, Old Punggol Road bus-stop and Children’s Recreation area. Unique communities of flora and faura can also be spotted at the park’s Terraced Plantings, Aquatic Plants, and Biodiversity wall.
Try and count the thirty seven jets fountains as you explore Punggol Waterway Park. Children can have their fill of sand play and water fun in the recreational zone located near the HDB estate along Sentul Crescent. The waterplay area itself presents the joy of aiming and shooting with water cannons, not forgetting the all-important toilets located nearby for a quick wash-up before dinner.
Length of trail: 4.2km
Estimated time required: 2 hours
13. Lower Peirce Reservoir
Lower Peirce was opened by Late Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in 1977 and originally named “Kallang River Reservoir” which was constructed in 1910. It is the source for the Kallang River, the longest river in Singapore.
Along the edge of Lower Peirce Reservoir remains one of Singapore’s last remaining mature secondary forests. The wooden boardwalk is relatively simple and very suitable for families with elderly and young children. Many rubber trees and oil palms remain dotted throughout the forest, a visible reminder of when Singapore was once covered with plantations.
The forest is home to more than 900 flowering plants, 100 ferns, and 250 animal species. Watch out for squirrels, the clouded monitor lizard and forest birds such as the “White bellied fish eagle (Singapore’s largest bird of prey).”
Length of trail: 900m
Estimated time required: 20 minutes to 30 minutes
By Tan Yiying & Michele See
Do you have any nature walking spots in Singapore to share? Leave us in our comment box below.