There's a time for trekking and conquering nature trails but there's also a time for sitting pretty and having a picnic in the park. Forget fighting for a table in a hip cafe in the city – when the weather's looking fine, it's time to pack some bites and look for a spot in one of these parks in Singapore. We've rounded up some places don't require you to travel to the middle of nowhere, have some shade, and most importantly, located near the toilets (but not too near). So pick out your best sundress or picnic threads, pack your basket and picnic mat, and head to these lush parks for some fun in the sun.
Pick a spot that suits your aesthetic and taste at HortPark – there are 20 themed sections here, including a stunning Silver Garden made up of light-reflective plants and Balinese themed garden. Plus there's plenty of shade around for when you need to get out of the scorching sun.
Best picnic spot HortLawn is the best spot to plop down for a picnic. It's near the entrance, toilets and facilities. There's plenty of space, plus it's extremely pretty so time to snap them pictures.
Getting there The closest station to the park is Labrador Park and there are many buses to take from there that go to the park.
One of the largest parks in Singapore, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio park comprises two sections, separated by Marymount Road. Intersecting the length of the park is the starting portion of the Kallang River, which flows down from Lower Pierce Reservoir. The park's many eateries include Grub, Canopy Garden Dining and McDonald's. The park also has a spa – Aramsa Garden Spa. Other amenities include a dog run, a playground and water park. Occasionally, there will be star-gazing sessions held by Singapore Sidewalk Astronomy, at the area near McDonald's.
Best picnic spot: Take your picnic from the sprawling open lawns near the river or choose a shady spot under a tree.
Getting there: Lucky for picnic goers, the park is located near the MRT station. Alight at Ang Mo Kio station on the North-South Line and take a short walk to the park.
Marina Barrage attracts couples and families all year round thanks to its breathtaking 360º view of the bay area. Bring your own kite to sail in the bay’s gusty winds or pick one up from among the cavalcade of colourful creations in the kite shop on the grounds.
Best picnic spot: Settle anywhere on the turf, you'll still be able to get panoramic views of Singapore's skyline. On weekends, it will get packed very fast so if you're fine with heading there earlier for a brunch spot, your determination to picnic will pay off.
Getting there: It's not easy getting there without a car but if you're up for it, take a 25 minute walk from Bayfront MRT.
Clearly the best park to picnic in, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has plenty of ground to set up a spot and soak up some nature.
Best picnic spot: Surrounded by trees on all sides, the gentle slope of Palm Valley is the ideal picnic spot. At the bottom of the slope is the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage, which holds regular music events, the most popular of which is Singapore Symphony Orchestra's Symphony in the Park series. The nearest toilets are beside the Cool House, near Palm Valley Gate. Otherwise, there are also toilets at the visitor centre.
Getting there: From the visitor's centre, head left towards Corner House and further up Heliconia Walk. Or, enter Palm Valley from Orchid Plaza.
There's plenty of open spaces and green lawns at for you to set up your picnic mat and snacks at Gardens By The Bay. With all-around picturesque views, amazing play areas for the children to keep themselves occupied, trails and ways for when you need to take a walk after too many sandwiches and also the convenience of clean toilets and shops (in case someone forgets to pack the drinks) nearby – dream picnic spot!
Best picnic spot: The Bay East Garden is the best spot for views of the waterfront, there's also plenty of shade from the trees and if you need the toilets, it's a short walk away from the spot.
Getting there: If you're driving, the nearest carpark is Bay East Garden Carpark and it would take a five minute walk to the spot. Stop at nearest station Stadium MRT if you're coming down by train.
The family-friendly Pasir Ris Park boasts playgrounds, maze gardens, and bird-watching towers keep the kids entertained, while nearby barbecue pits and open lawns are perfect for having a picnic with the family. There are also nature trails, walks by the mangrove swamps and the coastline for more activities in between the snacks.
Best picnic spot: Take your pick from the many barbecue pit areas by the coastline but we suggest a spot from Area 1 and 2 as they have carparks nearby, play areas and facilities nearby.
Getting there: Located near Pasir Ris MRT station, there are many buses that take you to whichever spot you want at the park. We suggest taking a bus to Downtown East and then walking over to the park.
Changi Beach, one of the oldest in Singapore, is located so far away from the city centre that it has remained relatively undeveloped. And that’s a good thing. Unlike East Coast Park, Changi Beach Park has a distinct kampong vibe. You’ll feel it the moment you sink your toes into the white sand. In fact, we daresay that this park is your best bet if you want to escape the weekend throngs.
Best picnic spot: Park the car at Carpark 1 and set up a good picnic spot near by. With great sea views, a huge playground nearby for the kids to rough it out at, and toilets for convenience, we say this area is our sweet spot.
Getting there: Bus services 9, 19 and 89 are available at several bus stops near to the park's carparks along Nicoll Drive. Visitors can also take bus services 2, 29, 59 and 109 to Changi Village and walk across the pedestrian footbridge to the park.
When it's not the grounds for some of Singapore's hottest and coolest gigs or music festivals, Fort Canning Park is can be quite lovely. A beacon of Singapore's history (it's home to Malay kings and the site where Singapore surrendered to the Japanese), boasts some sprawling lawns and located in a convenient and central area, pack your mats and snacks for a day in the sunshine.
Best picnic spot: To soak in the sun and bask in the outdoors, head to the vast Fort Canning Green but if you like to sit in the shade under tall ancient trees, Fort Gate is a cosy spot for those who want some quiet.
Getting there: The closest MRT stations are Bras Basah, Dhoby Ghaut and City Hall. It only takes a short walk to reach the park but we warn you, there will be a lot of climbing.
Stretching over 15 kilometres, this swathe of sand and grass is teeming with coconut trees and picnic tables.
Best picnic spot: Avoid the crowd by setting up camp at Area F, between car parks F2 and F3. You'll get a scenic view of the sea – and its spacious lawn area is the perfect place for plane-spotting and playing frisbee. After your picnic, stretch your limbs and wander through the lush bougainvillea garden nearby, or head to Sunset Bay Garden Bistro next to it for a few drinks. The closest public toilet is located at car park F2 and is even equipped with shower rooms.
Getting there: It's a 20-minute walk away from the skate park. Or take the bus and drop off at car park F3, after East Coast’s Sea Sports Club).
Quiet and tranquil – because it's pretty damn far from anywhere else – this park has lots of unique architecture for you to snap an Instagram shot or do a spot of painting. And its many grass patches and pavilions mean you won't be starved of places to make camp at.
Best picnic spot: Near the Bridge of Double Beauty, on the banks of the Chinese Garden side of the river, which separates it from the Japanese Garden. Not only is it relatively cooler there, you'll get to take pictures of the sculptures of the zodiac animals in the vicinity with the seven-storey pagoda looming in the background. The closest public toilet is situated at the edge of the Garden of Abundance, away from the bridge.
Getting there: From the East Entrance (where Chinese Garden MRT station is), facing the seven-storey pagoda, walk to your left, then past the Garden of Abundance until you reach the bridge. From the Japanese Garden main entrance, head left around the island (or walk through it and pass a mini lake with red bridges).
This park sits on 50 hectares of land that's equipped with a camping site, barbecue pits, a dog run and a huge playground with eight sets of play areas – perfect for families.
Best picnic spot: Pick any spot in Area 3, preferably under the shady trees near the playgrounds if you want to keep an eye on the young 'uns. Also, for a last-minute picnic, just grab food from the nearby McDonald's. Area 3 also faces the sea – you can head up the lookout deck for a closer view of the ships that dot the horizon. The nearest toilets are either at the McDonald's or in a block to the left of Area 3.
Getting there: From the bus stop or the car park (Car Park 3) nearest to the McDonald's, walk towards the playgrounds.
Labrador Nature Reserve, which is a part of the Southern Ridges, is rich in biodiversity and has many relics dating back to World War II that you can explore. For the less intrepid, the boardwalks offer spectacular views of the sea.
Best picnic spot: Spread your mat along the shady areas or in one of the sheltered pavilions near Car Park B. For those with kids, there's a playground near the lighthouse and, on weekends, a van selling old-school block ice cream at the car park. The nearest toilets are to the right, away from the lighthouse and near the open space.
Getting there: From Labrador MRT station, walk along the Berlayer Creek boardwalk, then turn right towards the Berlayer Point Lighthouse. If you're driving, head up Port Road and turn left towards Car Park B.
For an indoor picnic experience
Themed restaurants are enjoying a resurgence in Singapore, and Picnic is looking to get a piece of the action. An assortment of ferns and succulents hang from the walls of the garden-themed restaurant, and there’s even an astroturf-covered garden space in the middle of the restaurant that will make you feel like you’re really having a picnic in the park. The varieties of plants are refreshed according to the seasons, with the lighting changing in accordance with the day – which means you can catch a glimpse of the ‘sunset’ while indoors. It’s free-seating and there are multiple tables for groups, but we recommend zooming in on the one near the bar with a built-in ice bucket to hold drinks. So head down early to picnic at the best spot.
Food-wise, order from any of the 13 stations that are set up as independent food trucks. Ezo is a Japanese concept that serves Hokkaido-inspired eats like butadon ($14 lunch/$19 dinner), a rice bowl with three different cuts of pork (belly, collar and loin) all marinated in a sweet and savoury tare sauce and grilled to order. If you’re looking to share, go for the rotisserie half chicken ($23 lunch/$26 dinner), that’s served with your choice of mash potatoes or ratatouille.
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Singapore isn't just a concrete jungle, there are pockets of green to seek out the wild, urban walking trails and unique group sports activities – there are plenty of reasons to go outside in this city. Strap on a good pair of shoes and embark on one of these land-based adventures.
Spending 24/7 in the thick of city life can take a toll. Hop on a boat to these offshore islands and breathe in the fresh air. Set up camp – or a picnic mat if you don't intend to stay the night – and relive those kampong days at these uninhabited islands that are ripe for exploration. Just don't forget to mozzie repellant and sunscreen.
Singapore may be small in size but you'll be surprised to find plenty of green spaces including farms (yes, we've got farms!) and outdoor activities indulge in – if you know where to look. So leave the car at home, hop on a bicycle (get a cool one from one of these bike shops or do a bike-share) and explore these cycling trails in and around the city. Don't worry, we've included plenty of leisure beginner-friendly options (with a good view to boot), intense mountain biking tracks and everything else in-between to suit all abilities.