Visiting Thomson Nature Park

Living in Singapore means we’re constantly hustling, whether it’s working that 9-5 or furiously mugging for our grades. If you’re looking for a quick breather from the hectic side of life, look no further than Thomson Nature Park with its scenic walking trails and a much-needed sight of untouched flora and fauna.

Containing the conserved ruins of a Hainan kampong from the 1930s, the 50-hectare site is populated with relics of the past. You’ll get to explore them up close as you traverse the park’s 5 different trails.

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Explore all 5 trails within the park

Ruins & Figs Trail (1.5KM)

hainan village ruins, thomson nature parkSome of the well-preserved remnants of the Hainan village
Image credit: Keng Ho Pwee

As the park’s flagship heritage trail, the Ruins & Figs Trail gives you an inside look at the historical ruins of the Hainan kampong that once was. The almost century-old architecture is draped with fallen leaves and branches – a telltale sign that the village’s amenities have stood the test of time.

Streams & Ferns Trail (1.4KM)

streams & ferns trail thomson nature parkImage credit: Chuansheng Ji

If you’re looking to admire the greenery instead, the Streams & Ferns Trail takes you on a more scenic route. As you slowly saunter down this path, admire the park’s freshwater habitat and more of its lush greenery – just like the arch of branches that forms a natural tunnel.

To get the best of both worlds, this trail intersects with the Ruins & Figs Trail at multiple points, so you can hop between the 2 if you’d like a change of pace.

malayan box turtle, spotted tree frog, thomson nature parkThe Malayan box turtle and spotted tree frog reside within the park.
Image adapted from: IUCN and Ecology Asia

For animal lovers, keep your eyes peeled for aquatic animals like the near-threatened spotted tree frog and endangered Malayan box turtle that may be languishing around the stream. 

Rambutan Trail (0.4KM)

rambutan trail, thomson nature parkImage credit: VanGarrett James Lee

The Rambutan Trail is a standalone trek that loops around the old site of a 1930s rambutan plantation. Just like the rest of the park, scattered around the trail are multiple informational sign boards filled with tidbits of the area’s history so you can understand how life was like back then.

Macaque Trail (0.35KM)

macaque trail, thomson nature parkImage credit: NParks

Named after the long-tailed macaque, one of 2 primates that reside in this area, the Macaque Trail is one of the last stretches you can opt for deeper into the park. While trying to spot one of these monkeys, pose for some Instagram-worthy pictures with the scenic open-air view of the grassy plains and towering trees as your backdrop.

Langur Trail (0.15KM)

ruins & figs trail, thomson nature parkImage credit: Chuansheng Ji

The shortest trail of the lot, the Langur Trail gets its name from the Raffles’ Banded Langur – a vulnerable primate species that is often confused with the long-tailed macaque. Fun fact: the park acts as a conservation site for this rare monkey. It’s said that there are only 60 of these elusive monkeys that roam around nowadays, so consider yourself lucky if you spot one.

raffles' banded langur, thomson nature park
Singapore was teeming with Langurs back in the 1920s.
Image credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Pro tip: Look out for aerial bridges across the forest canopies to have better odds of sighting the Langur. Built from rope, these connectors were specially constructed to facilitate movement of tree-dwelling animals like the Langur, so you may very well see one cross before your eyes!

aerial rope bridge, thomson nature park
The aerial connector between treetops helps small animals navigate the park freely
Image credit: Merryy Marryy

Catch a glimpse of other wildlife in their natural habitat

Bird watching throughout the park

Hidden in the foliage of the park are numerous species of birds which enthusiasts are constantly on the lookout for. The critically endangered straw-headed bulbul is just one of the many breeds soaring about in the park, so having a pair of binoculars on you would be ideal for your bird-spotting needs.

Spot other rare animals like pangolins and deer

sunda pangolin, sambar deer, thomson nature park
The park is also a conservatory for both the Sunda pangolin and the Sambar deer.
Image adapted from: ZooBorns and Creatures of the World

2 other endangered creatures to add on to your mental register of rare animals to look out for are the Sunda pangolin and the Sambar deer. You may catch the pangolin scurrying about as they wander around the park or even spot the nocturnal deer in deep slumber near thick vegetation. Treat them like Shiny Pokemon – it’ll be incredibly hard to find them but on the off chance you do, it makes the trip all the more worthwhile.

Exploring Thomson Nature Park

With a raft of exotic animals and vegetation breathing life to a historical site, Thomson Nature Park serves as a quaint reminder to take it easy, making it the right place to unwind and embrace the simpler things in life.

Getting there: You’ve got plenty of bus options to get to this discreet park. Take Bus 138, 167, 169, 860 or 980, alight at either Aft Tagore Dr (bus stop ID: 56061) or Bef Tagore Dr (bus stop ID: 56069). From there, it’s a 2-minute walk to the entrance. 

Address: Off Old Upper Thomson Road
Opening hours: 7AM-7PM, Daily

Cover image adapted from: Wildlife Reserves Singapore, IUCN and NParks