Our city never sleeps – scores after scores of new HDB flats, new hotels, and new shopping malls spring up all the time, with the latest being the food haven that is Sengkang Grand Mall. It might appear that our Garden City is morphing into more of a concrete jungle than it already is.
But that’s not entirely true, because much has been done to preserve our existing green spaces and create new ones.
Opened back in 2019 after 7 long years of work is Lakeside Garden – the first section under the umbrella of Jurong Lake Gardens, which joins the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay as the third National Garden in Singapore. We trooped off to the heartlands of the West and braved the sun to uncover the best of this sprawling nature haven:
Gardenhouse, a multi-purpose hall in the vicinity, brings that “Little House on the Prairie” vibe.
Say hello to one of the best places for an outdoor wedding photoshoot: The Grasslands. This mildly hilly area is covered in a sea of lalang and tall grass tufts, making the perfect dreamy backdrop for couple portraits. It’s an enormous stretch of land, so don’t worry about having to fight for space with other lovebirds.
Punggol’s “Instagram tree” has since been rendered dead and removed after a lighting strike (R.I.P.), but you can still get your dreamy shots at the Grasslands’ striking Lone Tree.
Save for a few HDB blocks peeking out from behind the surrounding greenery, the scene of this tree perched majestically amidst the lalang is reminiscent of an African savannah. Well, our scorching weather certainly adds to that atmosphere so you might want to slather on some sunblock.
Photography tip: Shoot from a lower angle with your camera tilted upwards to avoid catching the apartments in your photos.
Spoiler: The Lone Tree is not actually a living organism, but a huge sculpture made of recycled iron parts – which explains why it has a deeper russet brown hue compared to the other trees around it. If anything, at least this stately metal tree won’t be subject to the mercy of nature conditions, and will hopefully stand strong for many years to come.
Get up close to check out the texture of the twisty metal “ropes” that make up the tree’s trunk.
Peer out from the panels of the dome to watch small birds like the Scaly-Breasted Munia flit past.
You’ll also want to pop by A Bridge Between Habitats, a dome-shaped structure for birdwatching from without scaring off our feathered friends.
Note: Try to work your way through the empty patches of dirt in between the lalang instead of trodding straight on it. This will help prolong the lalang’s life so that we’ll all be able to enjoy it for a longer time.
Hop along or simply sit down and relax on the Logs Trail, a cluster of wooden stumps made from old Rain Trees and Senegal Mahoganies. Don’t be alarmed if you find toadstools and other types of fungi growing on the sides of the logs – it’s normal, particularly during the wet season.
The slightly uneven, neutral-coloured surface of the logs looks great in pictures, especially from a high angle.
Peel your kids from their screens and let them go wild at Forest Ramble, which consists of 13 play zones named after freshwater swamp animals based on their movement characteristics.
Slither down a giant slide like a snake, zoom down a zipline like a heron in flight, or bounce on trampolines like a frog jumping across lily pads.
This wooden climbing structure is designed to resemble a bird’s nest.
The trampolines give you the perfect boost for jump shots.
Sound play: Hit gongs and a wooden xylophone to learn about how various materials produce different sounds.
Scuttle like a crab through this maze.
Recline on a hammock when you’re all tired out from the fun.
Merry-go-round for wheelchair-bound children.
It’s heartening to know that Forest Ramble is all-inclusive, with wheelchair-friendly structures that include a swing and merry-go-round.
You’d wanna come prepared with a towel, swimsuit, or at least a change of clothes for your little ones. Clusia Cove has a shallow water play area with real sand, so things are gonna get messy!
Channel The Little Mermaid on the rocks by the sand.
The pool comes with water gates which kids can operate to learn about the flow of water. Rest assured that for hygiene purposes, shoes aren’t allowed in the pool. There’s also a smart auto-disinfecting water system to get rid of any nasties in the water.
Greenery around Clusia Cove.
Not to worry, parents – there are toilets with shower facilities nearby so you won’t have to drive home with a car full of sand.
There’s also Fusion Spoon cafe here to satisfy those rumbly tummies.
Coming in from the entrance near Lakeside MRT, one of the first features you’ll be met with is a boardwalk that stretches out to Jurong Lake.
Here, you’ll be able to get closer to nature and if lucky, you might come across wildlife like hornbills and otters. We happened to spot a water monitor lizard swimming while there.
There are deck chairs by the lake which you can lay on for a good tan.
Towards the other end of the park is Rasau Walk, a striking red boardwalk winding along the water’s edge, which gives you more opportunities for animal spotting.
Benches are aplenty here, and it can be pretty romantic during cooler parts of the day.
Image credit: NParks
Now, it’s no secret that skating is no longer a niche sport here. Hobbyists can rejoice that as of April 2023, we have a new skatepark in town and it’s Singapore’s largest – no less.
Image credit: NParks
Skatepark @ Lakeside Garden has plenty of obstacles for the pros but beginners can join in on the fun too with skate pods of all difficulty levels. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, channel your inner Assassin’s Creed or Spiderman at their parkour park and 3m-high bouldering wall. Best of all, all of these are free!
Address: Yuan Ching Road, Jurong Lake Gardens
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 8am-10pm (Closed on Mondays)
Image credit: Wayne Erh
Taiwan’s Starbucks stores may have some of the coolest architecture around but that’s not to say that you can’t find a picturesque outlet here in Singapore. Sip on your favourite frappe or mocha at Jurong Lake Gardens’ Starbucks – it serves some serious NZ vibes with a boathouse-shaped exterior and giant glass windows that allow in plenty of natural light.
Image credit: Wayne Erh
Better yet, you can bring your furbaby along as the outlet is pet-friendly too.
Starbucks at Jurong Lake Gardens looks even better at night.
Image credit: @photogbyjx
Address: 106 Yuan Ching Road, Jurong Lake Gardens, #01-01 Lakeside House, Singapore 619616
Opening hours: Sun-Thu 8am-10pm | Fri-Sat 8am-11pm
Contact: 6910 1219 | Jurong Lake Gardens Starbucks website
For some fun in the sun, embark on a kayaking, pedal boating, or dragon boating adventure at Passion WaVe @ Jurong Lake Gardens, with the Chinese Garden’s serene pagodas in the background.
Vantage point: A corner of the balcony on the lobby level, which incidentally allows you to be positioned smack in the middle of the 2 pagodas for a lovely photo.
Address: 100 Yuan Ching Road, Singapore 618662
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9am-6pm (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 6970 4262 | PAssion WaVe @ Jurong Lake Gardens website
Exploring the gardens is going to get you all sweat-drenched, but do resist the urge to jump into the lake – save it for the ActiveSG Park @ Jurong Lake Gardens instead. They’ve got a large lap pool to cool off in, along with a fitness corner, small playground, and a gym.
Rest area on the rooftop.
Address: 30 Yuan Ching Road, Singapore 618664
Opening hours: Mon, Wed & Fri 6.30am-9.30pm | Tue, Sat & Sun 8am-9.30pm (Closed on Thursdays)
Contact: 6970 1619 | My ActiveSG website
Lakeside Garden might be a bit of a travel for those who don’t live in the West, but that’s no excuse – it takes only 1.5 hours max to make your way from one end of Singapore to the other via public transport. And take our word when we say you’ll be majorly missing out if you pass up on the ravishing naturescape here.
In fact, despite Lakeside Garden being located in the heartlands, we deem it worthy of bringing our foreign friends to for a dose of tropical nature after mandatory tourist spots like Sentosa and the best bars in town have been covered.
This park is just one portion of the vast Jurong Lake Gardens, and we must say we’re pretty darn impressed. The other sections of the garden – namely Garden Promenade and the renovated Chinese & Japanese Gardens – will be rolled out in the coming years, and we can’t wait to see what else is in store!
Address: Yuan Ching Road, Singapore
Opening hours: 24/7
Nearest MRT: Lakeside (5-minute walk)
Photography by Pichan Cruz.
Originally published on 3rd May 2020. Last updated by Kezia Tan on 6th April 2023.
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