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OUE Downtown
Photograph: SHMA Designs

The best secret and hidden parks in Singapore

You love the great outdoors but have you dropped by one these secret green pockets in Singapore? We explore hidden parks around the island

By Delfina Utomo
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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 hidden pockets of green everywhere, there’s always space to take a breather wherever you may be. 

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OUE Downtown
Photograph: SHMA Designs

OUE Downtown 2

Property Raffles Place

Shenton Way is full of office buildings – and OUE Downtown 2 is one of them but take a walk around and you will find many retail shops and hip eateries in the building. One of the best areas in the building is the outdoor garden on the fourth floor. The soothing fountain and lush plants and trees make you forget that you're in the middle of the CBD.

Telok Ayer Green
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

Telok Ayer Green

Things to do Tanjong Pagar

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. 

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Esplanade Park
Photograph: NParks

Esplanade Park

Things to do

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. 

Duxton Plain Park
Photograph: Delfina Utomo

Duxton Plain Park

Things to do Walks and tours

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. 

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Ann Siang Hill Park
Photo: Delfina Utomo

Ann Siang Hill Park

Things to do Tanjong Pagar

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. 

National Gallery of Singapore
Photo: Fernando Javier Urquijo

National Gallery Singapore

Art City Hall

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.

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Telok Blangah Hill Park

Things to do Bukit Merah

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. 

Orchard Central Rooftop
Photo: Karen/Flickr

Orchard Central

Shopping Shopping centres Orchard

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. 

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Pearl's Hill City Park
Photo: NParks

Pearl's Hill City Park

Things to do Chinatown

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. 

The Learning Forest
Photo: Delfina Utomo

The Learning Forest

Things to do Tanglin

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.

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Tampines Eco Green
Photo: Jnzl/Flickr

Tampines Eco Green

Things to do Tampines

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. 

Coney Island
Photograph: Delfina Utomo

Coney Island

Things to do Punggol

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. 

More parks to visit

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