Hidden picnic spots along hiking trails

We all love a good picnic. It’s affordable, convenient, and lets us enjoy a truly wholesome dining experience amid nature. However, when it comes to finding a spot to lay blankets and baskets, places like East Coast Park and Marina Barrage are high up on our been there, done that list. 

But if you’re looking for more low-key locales, we’ve found 8 hidden picnic spots. Plus, they’re all along hiking trails so you can burn a few calories after a good meal.

P.S. As many of these picnic spots are in parks, follow the NPark’s guidelines on do’s and don’ts to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone.

1. Sengkang Riverside Park to Lorong Halus Wetland

Hidden Picnic Spots - Sengkang Riverside Park
You can picnic at the Floating Boardwalk just minutes away from the start point of Sengkang Riverside Park.

Seasoned hikers may already know of the bounty of hiking trails in the northeast. If you’ve kept your eyes peeled while hiking, you’ll know there are plenty of pit stops along the way that are ideal for picnic breaks.

Lorong Halus Bridge
The last bridge you’ll cross – Lorong Halus Bridge – before reaching the Wetland.

A route we recommend starts your hike at Sengkang Riverside Park. You’ll then wander your way across multiple bridges, like the Sengkang Riverside, Jewel, Kelong and Sunrise Bridges before arriving at the Lorong Halus Wetland.

Getting to the starting point: Take the Sengkang LRT towards the LRT Sengkang West Loop. Alight at Kupang and walk 4 minutes to Sengkang Riverside Park. 

2. Imbiah Trail at Sentosa

Hidden Picnic Spots - Imbiah Trail
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The Imbiah Trail at Sentosa has been splashed across socials recently as a kid-friendly hiking trail. The scenic trail only takes approximately 30 minutes to walk through. Though short, the hike will bring you past multiple attractions like man-made waterfalls along the hike. 

Bird Watching Tower
Image credit:
Hiking the Green Isle

The end of the trail will lead you straight to a bird-watching tower, where you can admire birds fluttering between trees. It’s also a quiet place for a picnic before heading back.

Getting to the starting point: Board buses A or C in Sentosa to Imbiah Lookout, or take the cable car from HarbourFront Tower 2 or Mount Faber Station to Imbiah Sentosa Cable Car Station.

3. Wallace Trail to Dairy Farm Quarry

Hidden Picnic Spots - Wallace Trail
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Take a serene walk down the Wallace Trail at Dairy Farm Nature Park to spot wildlife and plants, and even venture through an old kampung. You’ll come across fruit trees of all kinds, like sea apple, cempedak, and even durian on this relatively easy 2.2km hike.

Hidden Picnic Spots - Dairy Farm Quarry
Image credit:
Kim Buay P

Towards the end of your hike, make a short detour past the MOE Adventure Centre and you’ll find yourself at the Dairy Farm Quarry. The open field is a quiet space perfect for a picnic, plus you get majestic views of the quarry right before you.

Getting to the starting point: Alight at Hillview MRT Station and take Exit A to the park. To get to Wallace Trail, follow the signboards from the nearest Carpark B. 

4. Mingxin Foundation Rambler’s Ridge Trail at Botanic Gardens

Hidden Picnic Spots - Botanic Gardens
Atbara House Forest Discovery Centre (House No.5) in the background.
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The Botanic Gardens is another go-to spot for a picnic, which means finding a quieter spot can be tough. But just a hike on the nearby Mingxin Foundation Rambler’s Ridge Trail will bring you to an open field that’s lesser-known to the weekend crowds.

Hidden Picnic Spots - Mingxin Foundation Rambler’s Ridge Trail
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Be prepared for an uphill walk, but you’ll know you’ve reached the picnic spot once you see the clearing at the Forest Discovery Centre. We recommend the lawn beside the colonial bungalow (House No.5) for a picturesque picnic that’s totally IG-worthy. 

Getting to the start point: Head to The Gallop Extension from Botanic Gardens MRT station exit A, and follow the signs to the trail.

5. MacRitchie Reservoir Treetop Walk to golf link

MacRitchie Reservoir is one of the most popular recreational spots in Singapore, and for good reason. From kayaking to hiking the popular Treetop Walk, the park has attractions enough to keep visitors entertained all day long.

Hidden Picnic Spots - MacRitchie Treetop Walk
Snap a selfie at the Treetop Walk.

If you’re down for a full day of outdoor fun, we’ve got the perfect route for you laced with spectacular birds-eye views, and finished with a sweet picnic at the park’s golf link.  

Jelutong Tower
Get to the top of the Jelutong Tower for views of the treetops.
Image credit: @yongsukhur

Kick off your journey at the Treetop Walk, and enjoy the view of the reservoir from a bridge suspended 25m above ground. If you want a more vertical challenge, try conquering the Jelutong Tower in the middle of the forest. At 8-storeys tall, you’ll just be above eye-level to the jungle’s canopy.

Golf link
The golf link lies between Singapore Island Country Club and MacRitchie Reservoir.

You can stop here for a quick bite or continue en route south towards Singapore Island Country Club to reach the golf link.

Getting to the start point: Alight at Caldecott MRT station and walk 10 minutes to MacRitchie Reservoir Park.

6. Mount Faber Park to Labrador Nature Reserve

Hidden Picnic Spots - Terrace Garden
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With its grand staircases overlooking flower bushes, the Terrace Garden at Telok Blangah Hill Park looks straight out of a fairytale. It also makes for a dreamy picnic spot that’s nestled right along the 10km Southern Ridges hiking trail from Mount Faber Park to Labrador Nature Reserve

Forest Walk
Forest Walk.
Image credit: @montessori_cu_iana

This 10km walk will bring you past other hiking landmarks too, like the Henderson Waves Bridge and the Berlayer Creek Boardwalk.

Getting to the starting point: Alight at HarbourFront MRT Station and take Exit D to Marang Trail.

7. Rower’s Bay Park to Lower Seletar Reservoir Park

The relatively new Round Island Route is an ambitious 75km hike should you go the whole nine yards. But there are shorter, much more manageable walks along it that will still bring you to picturesque picnic spots.

Hidden Picnic Spots - Rower's Bay Park

With its beautiful river view and surrounding greenery, make Rower’s Bay Park your starting point. The banks are a great picnic spot if you need a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Plus, other visitors have noted spotting Grey Herons and Copper-cheeked frogs, so be on the lookout for these rare wildlife sightings. 

Heritage Bridge
Heritage Bridge at Lower Seletar Reservoir.

From here, you can take the park connectors westward until you reach Lower Seletar Reservoir Park. The lesser known park also has points to recharge, like the shaded areas of the Heritage Bridge. Families with kids can also check out the kids water play area within the park to burn off extra energy.

Getting to the starting point: Take bus 103 to Aft Shell Aviation stop from Yishun MRT.

8. Toa Payoh Town Park to Kallang Riverside Park

Hidden Picnic Spots - Toa Payoh Town Park

If you’re looking for a secret picnic spot along a trail with multiple photo-ops, consider journeying from Toa Payoh Town Park to Kallang Riverside Park.

The trail begins right at the park itself, where you’ll get to snap pictures of yourself and your beau at gorgeous gazebos and bridges. Plus, the charming hexagonal enclaves mean you two get to lay picnic mats down for a private meal together.

Kolam Ayer Bridge

Once your bellies are satisfied, burn off the calories by heading towards the Whampoa Park Connector, which will lead you to the Kallang Park Connector. There, get ready to pose for pictures at the colourful Kolam Ayer Bridge.

Kallang Riverside Park
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Your last stop will be at Kallang Riverside Park, where the bougainvillaeas in full bloom make for a striking backdrop. Set up for picnic no. 2 here or just spend the rest of the afternoon taking more pics for the Gram.

Getting to the starting point: Alight at Toa Payoh MRT station and walk 5 minutes to reach Toa Payoh Town Park.

AIA-NParks Explore A Route Challenge

With plenty of options available, it might be tougher trying to decide on a hiking trail than what to pack for your picnic.

Besides the trails we’ve listed, you can find many others contributed by fellow hikers on the NParks Explore A Route (NEAR) app (Apple App Store | Google Play Store). And if you need a final push to put on your hiking boots, AIA and NParks has the Explore A Route Challenge held from 20 May to 20 July 2022 with enticing prizes up for grabs. 

Hidden Picnic Spots - NEAR App
Image adapted from NEAR App

Participating is simple – you’ll just need to visit the 9 start points listed on the app’s Challenge Board and record your trail there. Like playing tic-tac-toe, complete 3 trails in a row to hit a strike, and stand a chance to win yourself $50 Decathlon e-vouchers monthly. 

While you can follow the trails provided in the NEAR challenge app, you can also opt to curate your own trail if you’re feeling a little more adventurous. Whether you’re following an existing trail or exploring your own in true hiker style, ensure that your distance is being tracked in order to increase your chances of winning.

If completing 3 trails is too easy, aim to complete all 9. You’ll then be entered into a lucky draw to win prizes like MacBook Air laptops and Fitbit Sense smartwatches. Plus, AIA vitality members can score up to 450 Vitality Points for completing all the trails too. 

We all know that hiking is good for our physical and mental health – fresh air and nature helps us to relax and get in a good workout. And if you’re looking for even more reason to venture out to a nearby park, the Explore A Route Challenge makes picking up hiking even more exciting. Who knows, you may just walk away with a brand new MacBook Air. 

Find out more about the Explore A Route Challenge here

This post was brought to you by AIA.
Cover image adapted from: @nadnut, @pangkim.adventure