Nature reserves in Singapore


nature reserves and parks - collage of macritchie reservoir park, jurong lake gardens, tampines eco green and punggol waterway parkImage credit (clockwise from top-left): @octeorrific, @thesmartlocalsg, @mindycwc  

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and get a good supply of fresh air, know that there are more than 350 parks and 4 nature reserves in Singapore to choose from. 

Whether it’s just to take a stroll, to have a picnic, or go on a cycling adventure, there’s one fit for every activity.

It’s a long list, but we’ve narrowed it down to the biggest and best ones for that break from city life – aside from the usual Botanic Gardens, ECP, and Pasir Ris Park.

Read our other articles on nature trails in Singapore here:


1. Kranji Marshes


nature reserves and parks - kranji marshes

Home to more than 170 species of birds, 54 species of butterflies and 33 species of dragonflies, Kranji Marshes is one of the largest freshwater marshes in Singapore. This is probably the best place to spot shy marsh birds like the Black Baza or Japanese Sparrowhawk during raptor migratory season at one of the dedicated bird hides waiting for you along your trek.

nature reserves and parks - kranji marshes

Read our guide on Kranji Marshes here.


2. Jurong Lake Gardens


nature reserves and parks - jurong lake gardens lone tree

The iconic pagodas of the Chinese Garden and torii gates of the Japanese Garden are now part of a larger nature park – Jurong Lake Gardens. This national garden spans along the West of Singapore and is the newest hotspot for families and couples alike, and now also includes Lakeside Garden – of which the highlight is the lalang-filled Grasslands with a Lone Tree standing in the middle.

nature reserves and parks - chinese garden pagoda
Chinese Garden

Image credit: @hugohst

If you’re coming from Lakeside MRT, you will first come across paths leading to the Chinese and Japanese Garden. Within these parks are a unique landscape of pagodas and traditional oriental buildings.

nature reserves and parks - japanese garden bridge
Image credit:
@zen_sc_lee

As for Lakeside Garden, follow the boardwalks to get the most scenic views of the lake then head to the Forest Ramble, a playground with 13 different zones for your kids to scamper around in.

nature reserves and parks - jurong lake gardens forest ramble

The rest of Jurong Lake Garden is still a work in progress but looking at what they have now, pretty sure there’s a lot more fun waiting to be unpacked. 

Read our article on Lakeside Garden at Jurong Lake Gardens here.


3. Tampines Eco-Green


nature reserves and parks - tampines eco green
Image credit:
@thesmartlocalsg

With no lamps, no pavements and the only toilet with a natural flush in Singapore, Tampines Eco-Green is probably one of the most unpolluted parks you can find here. You may face difficulties spotting the entrance to this park because the wooden signage is usually covered by a blanket of vegetation, but follow the Sun Plaza Park connector from Tampines MRT and you should be good to go. 

nature reserves and parks - tampines eco green
Image credit:
@anderspluscindy

There’s no specific map to follow but there are sufficient sign boards to help you navigate around. Look to the bird hides to spot perching birds like the Bulbul bird. Or take a breather at one of the log benches around the park. 

nature reserves and parks - yellow-vented bulbul at tampines eco green
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Image credit: @jefrejjjjj


4. Fort Canning Park


nature reserves and parks - fort canning park
The famous staircase that’s a hotspot for wedding photos

Image credit: @parichyyyy

A historical site by day and occasionally an arts venue by night, Fort Canning Park is most probably one of the more happening nature parks in Singapore. 

nature reserves and parks - sang nila utama garden at fort canning park
The gate of the newly built Sang Nila Utama Garden at Fort Canning

Image credit: @launaros

In its heyday as “Bukit Larangan” or Forbidden Hill, this nature park has witnessed many historical milestones. One of the more notable spots you can make a quick pit stop at is the Battlebox, where the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese. 

nature reserves and parks - fort canning park
Image credit:
@msmaysworld

But if you’re not a history buff, you can still enjoy the vast open space through an outdoor movie or a picnic while watching a live play – events like these are commonly held at this park throughout the year. 


5. Hort Park


nature reserves and parks - hort park
Image credit:
@hazwanyazit

Part of the Southern Ridges, Hort Park is a hotspot for gardening enthusiasts. You can take a stroll along the different garden plots with flowers that Singaporeans have helped grow, as well as walk through the various themed gardens like the Butterfly Garden where you’ll get to meet those beautiful creatures in a netted house.

nature reserves and parks - community garden at hort park
Image credit:
@subaudible

nature reserves and parks - butterfly garden at hort parkImage credit: @kyrsson_de_amor

There’s also a Nature Playgarden for kids to explore and get connected to nature through playing with sand and gravel or making music with hanging bamboo poles.

nature reserves and parks - nature playgarden at hort park
Image credit:
NParks


6. Labrador Nature Reserve


nature reserves and parks - labrador nature reserve
Image credit:
@icoolscissors

Located near the southern tip of Singapore, Labrador Nature Reserve is home to the only coastal cliff in the country so you can be sure to enjoy the sea breeze and the sound of waves crashing here. If you’ve always wanted to try fishing, this is one of the few places that you can legally do so.

nature reserves and parks - secret tunnel at labrador nature reserve
Secret tunnel

Image credit: amsk

Other sights you can find here include war relics namely the tunnels and the fort built at the higher points in the nature reserve, which are hidden along the trail up. 

nature reserves and parks - labrador nature reserve
Image credit:
@abbythemongrel


7. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve


nature reserves and parks - sungei buloh wetland reserve
Image credit:
@jshenn

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a majestic sight during the bird migration season. You’ll get to see flocks of sandpipers and plovers populating the reserve before they take off on another journey. You’ll also spot native marsh animals such as mudskippers, monitor lizards and water snakes throughout the year. 

nature reserves and parks - sungei buloh wetland reserve mangrove walkImage credit: @komsinha

Follow their weekly guided walks or take it easy with the junior adventure trail to experience walking on the paths alongside the muddy mangroves and getting up close and personal with the swamp animals.

nature reserves and parks - sungei buloh wetland reserve
Image credit:
@penguin_picturessg


8. Chestnut Nature Park


nature reserves and parks - chestnut nature park

Chestnut Nature Park is a haven for mountain biking enthusiasts as it offers an 8.2km long mountain biking trail fit for beginners and advanced riders. For the full rugged experience, mountain bikers can train at the Pump Track – a circuit of bumps and banks – or the Northern and Southern Biking Trails.

nature reserves and parks - chestnut pump track at chestnut nature park
Chestnut Pump Track

But if you’re not into cycling, there are 3 hiking trails you can venture along, ranging from 1.5km and 2.1km long. 

nature reserves and parks - chestnut nature park
Image credit:
@kateong

The Northern Hiking Trail has a well-defined path that will lead you to an observation tower where you can bird watch and take in the view of the woodlands. The other 2 trails – the Nature Trail and Southern Trail – are tougher with more dirt tracks and undulating terrain in a grove of trees.


9. Coney Island


nature reserves and parks - coney island
Image credit:
@syiq

The green gates to Coney Island have made it to our Instagram timelines way too often but it’s safe to say that its recurrence only shows how fulfilling every experience is. This island off Punggol features a misty trove of unfamiliar trees that’ll make you feel like you’re in an enchanted forest.

nature reserves and parks - coney island beach

When following the main path, look out for the entrances to the quiet beaches where you can take in the sight of ships cruising by. 

Check out our guide to Coney Island here.


10. Macritchie Reservoir Park


nature reserves and parks - macritchie reservoir treetop walk
Image credit:
@jong1lee

MacRitchie Reservoir Park is most known for its TreeTop Walk, a 25m high suspension bridge overlooking a forest canopy. But getting to the bridge itself is no joke when you’ve to trek a whopping total of 7km-10km in a round trip. The toughest part is the last 100m before reaching the bridge itself. It’s a really steep climb but once you overcome it, you’ll be greeted by the magnificent view of the rich forest.  

nature reserves and parks - macritchie reservoir
Image credit:
@octeorrific

But that’s not the only thing this reservoir park has to offer. It is also one of the best places to engage in both land and water activities. You can hike, kayak and canoe with a scenic view of the pristine forest and waters.

nature reserves and parks - kayak at macritchie reservoir
Image credit:
@jpoonwy

Read our guide on MacRitchie Reservoir TreeTop Walk here.


11. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve


nature reserves and parks - bukit timah nature reserve

Standing at 163m, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is not only home to one of the first forest reserves in Singapore but also our highest hill.  You can expect a very steep climb, either on the paved main path or set of stairs. It can get strenuous if you are not well-prepared but once you’re past the initial slope, the rest of the trek is relatively easier.

nature reserves and parks - cave at bukit timah nature reserve

A tip to spare your legs from muscle cramps: Try going down backwards, as there’ll be less strain on the knees.

On your way down, keep your eyes peeled for pangolins shuffling over fallen branches. For an adventure, follow the Cave Path and it’ll lead you to 2 caves built by the Japanese during the war.

nature reserves and parks - bukit timah nature reserve

Another gem you can check out nearby is Hindhede Quarry. It’s a short, leisurely walk from the main Bukit Timah Nature Reserve carpark with well-paved footpaths and easy trails to follow. 

For a more detailed guide around Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, you can check out our article here.


12. Punggol Waterway Park


nature reserves and parks - punggol waterway park
Image credit:
@mindycwc

Punggol Waterway Park offers a beautiful water frontage for a relaxed stroll. They also have a recreation zone that caters to both the young and the elderly through the sand and water play areas and fitness corner. 

nature reserves and parks - sand play at punggol waterway park
Image credit:
@helloiamdarrien

nature reserves and parks - kelong bridge at punggol waterway park
Kelong Bridge

Take a walk along the Punggol waterfront into the park and you’ll come across the Rope Bridge and Kelong Bridge. To truly take in the magnificent views here, visit when the sun’s setting.

nature reserves and parks - sunset at punggol waterway park
Image credit:
@minty_resz


13. Central Catchment Nature Reserve


nature reserves and parks - central catchment nature reserve
Image credit:
NParks

The Central Catchment Nature Reserve is one of two main water catchments in Singapore. You can choose among the 3 nature trails available here – Walking Trail that’ll lead you to the TreeTop Walk, Chemperai Trails that’ll bring you along the edge of the reservoir, and the Prunus Trail to be immersed in the dense rainforest – where you’ll possibly get a peek of the critically endangered Banded Leaf Monkey. 

nature reserves and parks - central catchment nature reserveImage credit: NParks

The trails are relatively easy considering the well-paved tracks. The only difference between these 3 trails is the amount of time you’ll spend trekking along them. The latter two will take around an hour’s walk while the trail to the TreeTop Walk will take about 3 hours.


Hiking and walking trails in Singapore


Singapore might be a small urban country but we definitely have an abundance of green spaces to unwind at. These places are convenient and family-friendly so if you ever need a break from the bustling city, you can freshen up by being immersed in nature before another week of hustling. 

To find out more about Singapore’s nature spots, check out these articles: