There’s a reason why Singapore has been called the "Garden City", and now a "City in a Garden". Besides impressive skyscrapers and air-conditioned shopping malls, we’ve also got hiking trails, farms and beautiful parks at every corner, even within the bustling CBD. With pockets of green everywhere, there’s always space to take a breather.
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Sandwiched between two national monuments, the Thian Hock Keng temple and Nagore Durgha Shrine, Telok Ayer Green sits hidden from the usually busy main streets. Telok Ayer used to be the landing site for immigrants in Singapore and the park is also designed after the original shoreline. You'll find some sculptures in the park which pay tribute to its history like a sampan used to carry goods, a Chinese lantern procession and an Indian milk trader.
Though it has been in the city since 1943, Esplanade Park is one of the oldest parks in Singapore – and also one that showcases many of Singapore's landmarks. It is one of the best parks to go during your lunch breaks as well as you stroll through to look at the Lim Bo Seng Memorial, the Cenotaph and the Kim Seng Fountain while reflecting on the sacrifices made by those before us.
Known for its buzzy eateries and bars, there's never a quiet or boring day in the Duxton and Keong Saik precinct. If you do need some respite, Duxton Plain Park is a narrow but lush park, flanked by shophouses. There are plenty of benches in the shaded areas where you can sit and watch pigeons or the see the black stray cat who lives in the area basking lazily in the sun. There is also a mysterious and solitary Muslim tomb in the area which is believed to hold special powers.
The Ann Siang area is known for its great restaurants and heritage shophouses that warrant a picture for the 'gram but stick around a little and take a little detour from the street and you'll find a lush spot of respite. Who knew that between buildings and offices, there's enough space for a pretty park as well as different tree species, in particular, the tamarind, cinnamon, nutmeg and breadfruit trees.
Yes, it is an austere-looking building that houses a whole lot of important Southeast Asian art but the rooftop of the National Gallery of Singapore is one of the most tranquil places in town you can find. With foliage walls, a reflecting pool, benches and one of the best views of the city, this is a good spot to get some respite in your free time.
If you must know, Telok Blangah Hill Park is part of a very huge park. While the other parts of the Southern Ridges are HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Park are more well known, don't put down this park just yet. There's heaps to do like getting on the trek for the Forest Walk or admiring flowers at the Terrace Garden, a popular spot for weddings photos.
Who knew you'd find a peaceful pocket of green on the rooftop of a busy mall in one of Singapore's busiest streets? Come take a breather at this park high above the crowd and you'll also find some quirky sculptures by none other than Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese doyenne of visual art herself.
Built around a reservoir on top of Pearl’s Hill Terrace, this park is quite the hidden spot in the city. Take a short stroll from Outram Park MRT Station and with a little trek, you're on top of a hill where you can relax in the wooded ambience, feed the terrapins in the pond, spot the occasional squirrel, or continue your jog.
Located in the Botanic Gardens, the Learning Forest was designed to integrate with the existing 6-hectare rainforest to form an enlarged forest habitat. Unlike the rest of the Botanic Gardens, the Learning Forest is a little more rustic and sprawling, segmented into different areas like the bamboo garden, an arboretum of wild fruit trees, and wetland ecosystems for curious sorts to explore, discover and like its namesake, to learn about Singapore’s rainforests.
It's one of those parks that don't seem so special at first untill you continue to walk further in. Walk along the Pasir Ris park connector towards Tampines and you’ll come across sprawling greenery formed by open grasslands, freshwater wetlands and a secondary rainforest – you’d never guess they wrap around one of the most populous neighbourhoods in Singapore.
Though opened to the public, making your way to this end of Singapore is quite an adventure already. Good thing you don't even need a ferry to get to the island, just a pair of good walking shoes will do. This ecologically sustainable park also uses timber from fallen trees for all the signage in the park, benches and the boardwalk over the mangrove swamp. Everything on the island is kept rustic and as it is so expect hidden beaches and some wildlife out and about.