Being an island, there are plenty of coastal trails to choose from in Singapore. And we're not talking about long walks on beaches with pristine white (and reclaimed) sand with the beautiful sea breeze. Level up that beachside stroll with mangrove swamps, sea-cliffs and hidden beaches. Where to find them? Follow this list.
Part of the Southern Ridges, the park contains the only rocky sea-cliff in Singapore, and offers a panoramic view of the sea and cliff-side vegetation. On top of that, keep your eyes and ears open for local birds. It is not uncommon to hear songs of a variety of bird species, including the magpie robin and black-naped oriole. If you like your coastal walk to have a side of history lessons, remnants of World War II such as tunnels and a fort also provide an educational experience for visitors.
Changi Beach bears the unsavoury reputation of being the site of the Sook Ching massacre – but that’s a long time ago. Because the 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. Rent bicycles for the family and hit the nearby Park Connectors, or book one of the 20 barbecue pits across the entire park – and since most people flock to its cousin on East Coast, it’s relatively easier to score one here.
Officially launched this year, Rower's Bay Park at Lower Seletar Reservoir is so named for the reservoir's popularity with kayaking and dragon-boating enthusiasts. The park's boardwalk has become popular with those in the neighbourhood as the best spot to view the sunrise or sunset so come at the right time! The wetlands surrounding the boardwalk have also been filled with plant species that will attract and provide a habitat for native wildlife in the area – look out for the grey heron and copper-cheeked frog.
A coastal park offering a northern view of the sea, Woodlands Waterfront Park is linked to Admiralty Park via the Northern Explorer Loop. Besides jogging and cycling tracks, this 11-hectare park houses a huge playground and a 1.5km-long waterfront promenade that faces Johor Bahru. You'll find many anglers trying their luck on the jetty – join in or just enjoy the views of the Causeway.
Strap on your best walking shoes and trudge through the swamps of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve to learn more about the flora and fauna that call this mangrove forest home. Weekly, volunteer-led tours – they regularly change – introduce the plants, birds, insects and other indigenous species found in this ASEAN Heritage Park (Singapore has two, the other being Bukit Timah Nature Reserve). This wetland reserve of mangrove swamps, ponds and the secondary forest is also home to 140 species of birds. Take a spot at oberservation hides or rent binoculars to bird-watch. There are also nature trails where you can also spot mudskippers, monkeys and climbing crabs on the mangrove boardwalks.
The most famous beach in Singapore, East Coast Park stretches along the eastern coast of Singapore from Changi Airport, past the numerous restaurants at East Coast Seafood Centre to Fort Road. There are dedicated cycle and walking paths, bicycle and rollerblade hire stalls, a skate park, and barbecue and camping areas.
Though open 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.
Go for a jaunt through Pasir Ris Park with the kids in tow. While the coastline view is a plus, explore the mangrove swamp using the boardwalks and bird-watch at the three-story viewing tower. Playgrounds and pony rides keep the kids entertained, while nearby barbecue pits and nature trails ensure parents can keep an eye out for their little ones.
Whisk yourself to the south-eastern end of Ubin for the islet’s main attraction: Chek Jawa. The wetlands and its rich ecosystem are best seen during low tide – stroll down the kilometre-long boardwalk and keep your eyes peeled for colourful sea critters such as the peacock anemone and biscuit sea star. If you’d like to add some adrenaline rush to the trip, sign up for the island’s kayak tours and paddle through the coastal mangroves. You might just be able to have a close encounter with jellyfish, kingfishers and (if you’re lucky) otters.