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coney island
Photograph: Delfina Utomo

The best walking trails in Singapore

Step up to the streets with these walking trails that show a different side of the city.

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Written by
Delfina Utomo
Contributor
Cheryl Sekkappan
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Embrace the great outdoors with these treks and trails that keep you on your feet for hours. Catch some culture on a civic district walk that covers some of the best museums or square up for a gruelling 36km hike that connects Punggol in the northeast to Jurong Lake out in the west. It’s a big world out there, and there’s more to it than tall buildings and ERP gantries. Let’s see it on foot.

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Art trail: Kampong Gelam (1km)
Photo: Cam Khalid/Time Out Singapore

Art trail: Kampong Gelam (1km)

START Duo Galleria
PIT STOP Gelam Gallery
END Cuturi Gallery

Indulge in some colourful street art on a walking trail around Kampong Gelam. Start at Duo Galleria and head towards Ophir Road, where you can't miss the iconic El Lío by Jaba, a futuristic Aztec mural that's mirrored by another Jaba piece on Haji Lane. Either head down Bali Lane to check out Southeast Asia's first Hall of Fame, which is a large outdoor showcase of art from 17 local artists. Otherwise, pop over the adjacent Haji Lane to explore its quaint shops while passing by bold murals like Singapura Club by Ceno2. The next stop is Gelam Gallery, Singapore's first outdoor art gallery in the back alleys of Muscat Street.  Admire 30 artworks, including the pop culture-dominated creation by multi-disciplinary artist PrettyFreakyFantasy and the bold, terrestrial piece by graphic designer Liyana Farzana. Exit via Baghdad Street to explore more amazing pieces such as Coffee Story by Yip Yew Cheong along Sultan Gate, and complete your tour with some air-conditioned art appreciation time at Cuturi Gallery or a rewarding meal at The Fabulous Baker Boy, both on Aliwal Street. 

City trail: Civic District (3.5km)
Photograph: Shutterstock

City trail: Civic District (3.5km)

START Dhoby Ghaut Green
PIT STOP The Botanic
END Asian Civilisations Museum

It’s easy to take the city for granted – for most of us, we see it almost every day. Throw away what you know about the Civic District and uncover the story behind the old buildings. Spend an artsy day catching some culture in the city. Start your walk from Dhoby Ghaut Green and make your way to the National Museum of Singapore. Before you enter the museum, take notice of the unicorns on its facade supporting the crest of Queen Victoria. After learning about Singapore’s history, head to the lush Fort Canning Park for a stroll through the beautiful park. Lunch at the historical CHIJMES and take in the gothic architecture. Continue to the durian-shaped Esplanade where you can catch a free performance by the waterfront or in the concourse. As you walk through the Esplanade Park towards the National Gallery and Victoria Theatre, remember to snap some architectural shots of the city skyline before catching the sunset at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

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Nature trail: Coney Island (3km)
Photograph: Delfina Utomo

Nature trail: Coney Island (3km)

START Punggol Point Jetty
PIT STOP Beach Area E
END East Entrance

The solitary Brahman cow on Coney Island is no longer roaming the island (RIP) but there are still lots of reasons to visit. Coney Island is easily accessible from Punggol Central – no passports or ferries needed. The rustic Coney Island Park is an ecologically sustainable park with many environmental initiatives – all the benches, park signs and boardwalks on the island are made from recycled wood. Begin the trek at Punggol Point Jetty on Punggol Beach. Walk past people trying their luck fishing at the boardwalk and take in the first sighting of Coney Island from afar. At the West Entrance of Coney Island, you might be greeted by the family of native macaques, some lugging around the young ’uns. Try spotting one of the many species of birds in the park from the bird hides or take the well-defined path across the island. There are a couple of secluded beach spots to explore while trekking but Beach Area E takes you through a mangrove swamp that leads you to a beach. Stop for a breather and a sandwich before making your way to the East Entrance and the end of Coney Island. If the island walk isn’t enough, you can make your way to the nearby Lor Halus Wetlands.

Waterside trail: Lakeside Gardens (2.5km)

Waterside trail: Lakeside Gardens (2.5km)

START Clusia Cove
PIT STOP Garden House
END Neram Streams

Though this trail may not be a long one, you’ll be making a lot of stops during this waterside route. It’s the best trek to do with children because they’re kept occupied with all of the park’s kid-friendly features. The starting point, Clusia Cove, is where man-made play pools mimic tidal patterns and water movements of coastal shores, making it fun for a quick splash. Let the kids run wild at the Forest Ramble where the playground is built to exercise their imagination and problem-solving skills. After a quick snack at the Garden House, it’s time to take a leisurely stroll and also learn about the wetlands and its wildlife. The Grasslands is probably the most photogenic place in Lakeside Gardens with its fields of tall grass.

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Cross-country trail: Coast-to-Coast Trail (36km)
Photograph: NParks

Cross-country trail: Coast-to-Coast Trail (36km)

START Jurong Lake Gardens
PIT STOP Adam Road Food Centre
END Coney Island

The Coast-to-Coast (C2C) Trail cuts across the island, spanning 36km linking Coney Island in the northeast with Jurong Lake Gardens in the west. If you’re feeling ambitious, this challenging trek can be conquered in a day (or less if you choose to cycle) starting from Jurong Lake Gardens. Though the whole route utilises park connectors, it’s not all greenery and foliage. There are times where you walk by busy roads and through estates. Still, the trail covers some of the best parks and nature reserves in Singapore like Bukit Batok Nature Park and Hindhede where you can witness the majestic granite quarry, the waterside views at MacRitchie Reservoir and Punggol Waterway Park and the rustic wildness of Coney Island. Pit stop-wise, if you’re going to be passing through Adam Road, a visit to the hawker centre is a must.

More trails and ways

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