Things To Do In Singapore

9 Best Hidden Picnic Spots Along Hiking Trails To Plonk Yourselves At Besides ECP & Marina Barrage

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 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 NParks’ guidelines on do’s and don’ts to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone.

How to prepare for a picnic?

Start with checking the weather, and if there are shelters nearby in case of wet weather. Or, bring an umbrella or poncho and consider getting waterproof picnic mats and containers.

Bring mosquito repellents – there are patches, wristbands, sprays, and creams you can get. Those who are planning to eat during the picnic can also pack dry and wet tissues and hand sanitisers.

Food-wise, avoid items that are mayo-based which may spoil easily in Singapore’s heat. Go for dry foods and snacks such as salads with oil-based dressings, sandwiches, dried fruits and nuts, and chips that are easy to pack and consume, plus require little to no utensils.

Is it legal to have picnics outdoors in Singapore?

You are allowed to have picnics outdoors, as long as the area is not cordoned off. There may be “do not sit” or “do not step on grass” signs, so remember to look out for those when choosing your spot.

Most parks have sprawling greenery for you to chill on. There are benches and tables which you can use, or you can bring your own picnic mats or blankets to sit on. However, there are some places, such as Gardens by the Bay, that do not allow picnic furniture like foldable chairs and tables – so be sure to read up on the guidelines before heading down.

Singapore has firm rules on littering and smoking in public areas. To avoid getting fined, follow the laws and discard any trash properly after you’re done. Lastly, be mindful and respectful of other users so everyone can have an enjoyable time.

1. Telok Blangah Hill Park

Many of us might go straight to Henderson Waves at the Southern Ridges for a picnic, but a hidden gem right next door is the Telok Blangah Hill Park.

Recreate your favourite K-drama moment at the old-stone staircases, or pretend you’re Rapunzel letting down your luscious locks to bae. What’s unmissable would be the large field of pastel pink bougainvillaeas – tread carefully to the centre of the field and you’ve got a stunning photo spot. There’s also a gazebo here if you plan to have a picnic with your pals.

Getting to the starting point: Take bus 120 to Opp Blk 70b bus stop. Walk 2 minutes to Telok Blangah Hill Park.

2. Sengkang Riverside Park to Lorong Halus Wetland

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.

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. 

3. Imbiah Trail at Sentosa

Image credit:
@juwana13 via Instagram

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 down. Though short, the hike will bring you past multiple attractions like man-made waterfalls along the hike. 

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.

4. Wallace Trail to Dairy Farm Quarry

Image credits:
@mark9plus1 via Instagram

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, such as sea apple, cempedak, and even durian on this relatively easy 2.2km hike.

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. 

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

Atbara House Forest Discovery Centre (House No.5) in the background.
Image credit:
@nadnut via Instagram

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.

Image credit:

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.

6. 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.

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.  

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

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 stories tall, the top level will place you just above eye level with the jungle’s canopy.

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.

7. Mount Faber Park to Labrador Nature Reserve

Image credit:
@pangkim.adventure via Instagram

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 hiking trail from Mount Faber Park to Labrador Nature Reserve. 

Forest Walk.
Image credit: @montessori_cu_iana via Instagram

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.

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

The Round Island Route is an ambitious 75km hike should you go the whole nine yards. But there are shorter trails along the route that will still bring you to picturesque picnic spots.

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 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 free water playground within the park to burn off extra energy.

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

9. Toa Payoh Town Park to Kallang Riverside 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.

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.

Image credit:
@yeojingeok via Instagram

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 have the Explore A Route Challenge held from 20 May to 20 July 2022 with enticing prizes up for grabs. 

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 help 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

More nature trails:

This post was brought to you by AIA.
Cover image adapted from: @nadnut & @pangkim.adventure via Instagram
Article originally published by Gwyn Lim on 10th June 2022. Last updated by Joycelyn Yeow on 14th March 2024.

Gwyn Lim

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