NATURE IN THE CITY
Nature trails and green spaces for older, active visitors
With many new things to see and do, Singapore’s city life is vibrant enough (and ever-changing) to keep even the most seasoned traveller occupied. But wander further out of the urban jungle and visitors will find a handful of parks and nature reserves that make an exciting add-on to an itinerary. If your clients fancy a walk outdoors, consider taking them to these tranquil spots where they can enjoy some fresh air and the little wonders of nature.
WANDER ALONG THE EASTERN COASTLINE
The Changi Boardwalk (also known as Changi Point Coastal Walk) is a 2.2km boardwalk at Changi Point which offers stunning views of the coastline off eastern Singapore. Popular with photography enthusiasts, the well-lit boardwalk is highly accessible and with a comfortable pair of walking shoes on, it can easily be completed in about one hour.
There are six different sections: Creek Walk, Beach Walk, Sailing Point Walk, Cliff Walk, Kelong Walk, and Sunset Walk. As visitors stroll along, lots of wildlife can be spotted, including birds like black-naped terns and Pacific swallows, along with unique plants like the sea hibiscus and sea almond trees. Changi Boardwalk is also a great place to catch the sunrise, so consider adding this to your itineraries for early risers.
Other places of interest in the vicinity include Changi Village (a good area for a hearty local meal, post walk) and Changi Beach Park – one of Singapore's oldest coastal parks. There is also the Changi Walking Trail that runs behind part of the Coastal Walk where visitors can learn more about Singapore's nine different heritage trees.
Address: 7A Gosport Road
DISCOVER A LEARNING FOREST
With a legacy that extends beyond 150 years, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the nation’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in close proximity to Orchard, Singapore’s most popular shopping district, the Gardens is home to a new 10ha section called The Learning Forest – a conservation core that allows visitors access to a network of elevated walkways and boardwalks to learn more about wetland and rainforest habitats. The entire space is very walkable and there are hardly any steps to climb as the terrain rises gently across the land, making it suitable for older travellers.
The Learning Forest is divided into five sections: SPH Walk of Giants, Keppel Discovery Wetlands, Lowland Rainforest, Wild Fruit Tree Arboretum, and Bambusetum.
SPH Walk of Giants
• Features an elevated boardwalk that takes visitors from ground level up to a height of 8m.
• Showcases a collection of massive trees – most of which can grow up to 60m in height.
• A highlight here is the Canopy Web, which features cargo nets that form a hammock-like structure connected to tree trunks from a raised platform – a good spot for a short break between walks.
Keppel Discovery Wetlands
• Linked by a series of boardwalks and trails, this section of the Learning Forest lets visitors experience a freshwater swamp habitat.
• Features a plant collection of over 200 species, some of which are named after the Gardens’ iconic botanists such as EJH Corner and Nathaniel Cantley.
• Showcases a collection of trees with unusual barks, such as the Indian prune, which has sturdy woody spines that sprout like thin needles or come with multiple-branches.
Wild Fruit Tree Arboretum
• Features wild fruit trees, including soursop, lychee, and mango.
• Features 30 species of tropical bamboos.
Address: Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Tyersall-Gallop Core
EXPLORE A HISTORY TRAIL AND COASTAL WALK
Situated in the southern part of Singapore, Labrador Nature Reserve is a gazetted conservation area with an ecosystem that houses a stunning variety of flora and fauna. Lying adjacent to the reserve is a 10ha park.
History enthusiasts and bird-lovers can cover the Labrador Nature Reserve walking trail, which includes the maritime history trail and the war history trail, and is home to 70 kinds of birds, such as the oriental magpie-robin and black-naped oriole. Visitors can also explore Labrador Nature & Coastal Walk – an easy (and wheelchair-friendly) 2.1km walk that comprises the Alexandra Garden Trail, Berlayer Creek Mangrove Trail, and Bukit Chermin Boardwalk.
As an added bonus, Labrador Nature Reserve is also one of the parks connected via a 9km stretch of linked open spaces to the Southern Ridges, another popular hiking trail which spans other green areas such as Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, and Kent Ridge Park. This could serve as an extension should your clients wish to do more walking and exploring of southern Singapore.
Address: Labrador Villa Road
SEE A FASCINATING WETLAND ECOSYSTEM
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve opened in 1993 and is Singapore's first ASEAN Heritage Park. It covers 87ha of land and is recognised as a world-class conservation zone with mangroves filled with incredibly rich biodiversity. Throughout the year, visitors can trek through its many easy trails (which are also wheelchair accessible) and discover its native inhabitants, including mudskippers, water snakes, crabs, shellfish, birds, monitor lizards, and even otters. From September to March, during the migratory season, visitors can observe huge flocks of different shorebirds or waders in the Reserve, including sandpipers and plovers.
Nature lovers might also want to explore the nearby Kranji Marshes wetlands. At 56.8ha, the largest freshwater marshland in the country was officially opened to the public on 1 February 2016. The marshland lies along the northwestern shore of Kranji Reservoir and hosts more than 170 species of birds, 54 species of butterflies, and 33 species of dragonflies.
Address: 301 Neo Tiew Crescent