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Macritchie Reservoir
Photograph: Delfina Utomo

The best waterside trails in Singapore

Take in the views by these reservoirs and rivers while you go for a run or take a leisurely trail

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Written by
Delfina Utomo
&
Cam Khalid
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When the going gets tough, the tough gets going – and what better way to let all your frustrations out than by going for a run. But instead of hopping on the treadmill, why not head outdoors? Forget TLC's Waterfalls for one minute and explore the rivers and the lakes that you're not used to. Seek out some calm and tranquillity by going for a walk or run at these waterside trails in Singapore.

RECOMMENDED: The best hiking trails in Singapore and the best nature trails in Singapore

  • Things to do
  • Punggol

It is an easy 2.5-kilometre trek through the island but get off the main track and on to the coastal trail. It takes you to the hidden beaches of Coney Island. Stop for a breather at one of the serene beach areas. Most of the park is still kept rustic and untouched so we wouldn't recommend having a picnic or going for a dip.

  • Attractions
  • Beaches
  • Sembawang

Sembawang Park's beachside locale is perfect for a lazy weekend picnic. While fishing is a popular pastime here, many can be seen crowding around barbecue pits and picnic tables sprinkled along the coast. Alternatively, flap out your chequered blanket and have yourself a feast here at one of the country's last remaining natural beaches.

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  • Things to do
  • Pulau Ubin

Whisk yourself to the south-eastern end of Pulau 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 stay alert 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 ($95/person for full day) and paddle through the mangroves. You might just be able to have a close encounter with jellyfish, kingfishers and (if you’re lucky) otters. 

  • Things to do
  • Changi 

For a scenic stroll, make your way to the boardwalk at the western end of Changi Point. Start at Changi Creek in the east before traversing the 2.2-kilometre stretch which looks out to neighbouring Johor. Continue towards the western rocky coast near Changi Beach Club where the path eventually branches out to Changi Point and Loyang Park Connector at Nethervaron Road. While you soak in the stunning, rustic views, you'll pass bits of Changi Beach, bumboats taking day-trippers out to Pulau Ubin, and some wildlife too.

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  • Things to do
  • Central Water Catchment

The Lower Peirce Reservoir is Singapore's second-oldest reservoir. Be one with nature and marvel at the stunning views of regenerating secondary forests that line the reservoir as well as a variety of flora and fauna via the 900-metre boardwalk. You can still find rubber trees and oil palms from the time where large areas in Singapore were covered with plantations.

  • Things to do

Another alternative to East Coast Park for the Eastsiders is the sprawling Bedok Reservoir. Tranquil and quiet, a run around the park – one loop is four-kilometre – will definitely do wonders to clear your mind. There are a lot of picturesque spots in the park like the floating boardwalks and waterside platforms to cool down after a workout, as well as for the full zen experience. 

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  • Things to do
  • Paya Lebar

For something off the beaten track, head to this hidden gem along Tampines Avenue 10. A stone's throw away from Bedok Reservoir, the equally calm waters and untouched land of Tampines Quarry has become a popular spot for anglers, bikers and drone enthusiasts. As it's left to nature's own devices, and the quarry is now surrounded by the thick foliage of vegetation. If you're planning a trip down here, be sure to carry some mosquito repellant.

 

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Yishun

Rower's Bay Park is so named for the reservoir's popularity with kayaking enthusiasts. If you're sticking to the land, the park's boardwalk is an ace spot to explore the surrounding wetlands without getting dirty. It is filled with plant species that provide a habitat for native wildlife in the area. Rower's Bay also forms part of the first phase of the planned 150-kilometre Round Island Route (RIR), which connects parks around Singapore – yes, you will eventually be able to cycle around the entire island. The completion date of the RIR is set for 2035, so you have plenty of time to start building your stamina.

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  • Things to do
  • Jurong East

The entire trail is right by the Jurong Lake waterside but that's not the best part of the trek. Stop by attractions within the park, like Clusia Cove, which is a water play area; stroll down the Rasau Walk boardwalk; get close to the water at Neram Streams and explore the swampland at Alstonia Island as well as the Freshwater Swamp Forest.

  • Things to do
  • Lim Chu Kang

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. This wetland reserve of mangrove swamps, ponds and the secondary forest is home to 140 species of birds. Take a spot at observation hides or rent binoculars to bird-watch. There are also nature trails where you can also spot mudskippers, vine snakes, macaques and climbing crabs on the mangrove boardwalks.

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  • Attractions
  • Woodlands

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 playground and a 1.5-kilometre-long waterfront promenade with a seafood restaurant great for family meals. Stick around till the evening to see the city lights of Johor across the strait... and the jam on the Causeway.

Labrador Nature Reserve
  • Things to do
  • Harbourfront

Part of the Southern Ridges, Labrador Nature Reserve contains the only rocky sea-cliff in Singapore and offers a panoramic view of the sea and cliff-side vegetation. Take a waterside stroll or explore the tunnels and fort that are remnants of World War II. Thriving with wildlife, the park is a favourite haunt of nature lovers. It is not uncommon for visitors to hear songs from a variety of bird species, including those of the oriental magpie-robin and black-naped oriole. Take a leisurely stroll along one of the nature trails, and you may spot the resident squirrels scurrying up trees.

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Central Water Catchment

One of the oldest and largest reservoirs in Singapore, MacRitchie has several trails of various difficulties for visitors to embark on. Choose a waterside trail for a calming stroll or scenic run with the picturesque reservoir as your company. Keep your eyes open! You'll be able to spot monkeys, turtles, monitor lizards and a lot of other wildlife during your walk.

Upper Seletar Reservoir
  • Things to do
  • Mandai

Put on your running gear and go for an invigorating jog around the park. Alternatively, take a leisurely stroll and admire the serenity of the reservoir or climb up the iconic 'rocket' tower and be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the waters and adjacent greenery. Just beware of the macaques that might get aggressive if you have any snacks on you.

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  • Things to do
  • Punggol

Punggol Waterway Park is segmented into four different themes for various users. Admire the surrounding views at the Nature Cove; let the kids splash around at the water playground in the Recreation Zone; discover mature trees in the Heritage Zone where Old Punggol Road is or go for a jog or cycle at the Green Gallery zone.

  • Things to do
  • Sengkang

Make a visit to Singapore’s largest man-made wetland, PUB’s Sengkang Floating Island, which is located within the park. The island features manually planted marshes and aquatic plants. The wetlands double up as a wildlife habitat and attract a variety of mangrove birds and damselflies. While at it, explore the fruit trees planted around the park and spot common edible fruits such as star fruit, chiku and dragon fruit. 

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Gardens by the Bay
  • Things to do
  • Marina Bay

Take a stroll from Bay East Gardens, before crossing over to its more popular sibling. Walk by the water's edge and take in the city views and if you're lucky, you might even spot the native river otters basking in the sun. Cross over the bridge to Marina Barrage before ending your trail at Gardens By The Bay.

More trails and ways

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