Lace up and surround yourself with the flora and fauna in the west. Deemed as the largest nature wonderland in the heartlands, Jurong Lake Gardens is Singapore's latest national garden, spanning a whopping 90 hectares. The gardens include Lakeside Garden, Chinese and Japanese Gardens and Garden Promenade – previously known as Jurong Lake Gardens West, Jurong Lake Gardens Central and Garden Promenade respectively. The grounds are specially landscaped and designed for families and the community to come together to play, learn and bond.
Though opened to the public, making your way to this end of Singapore is quite the trail itself. Good thing you don't even need a ferry to get to the island, just a pair of good walking shoes will do. When you reach the island, go on the coastal trail loop which takes you around the island by the water. Discover hidden beaches and coves, serene corners of the island and get to meet the wildlife – if you're lucky, you might be able to spot some monkeys and snakes!
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. It is not uncommon to hear songs of a variety of bird species, including the Oriental Magpie-robin and Black-naped Oriole. Remnants of World War II such as tunnels and a fort also provide an educational experience for visitors.
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 there.
Put on your running gear and go for a heart-pumping, invigorating jog around the park. Alternatively, take a leisurely stroll and admire the serenity of the reservoir or climb up the iconic tower that overlooks the reservoir 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 snacks on you.
Segmented into four different themes: Nature Cove, Recreation Zone, Heritage Zone and Green Gallery, there's much to see and do at Punggol Waterway. Fitness enthusiasts can jog or cycle on the well-maintained tracks along the promenade at both sides of the waterway while admiring the surrounding views. There is also a water playground for kids looking for a wet-and-wild day of fun. Alternatively, sit on the many benches placed around the park and enjoy the breeze as you listen to the soothing sounds of running, trickling, splashing and cascading water. While at it, look out for the various types of birds that can be spotted along the Waterway.
Sengkang Riverside Park features a constructed wetland and rich biodiversity lending its calm and tranquil vibes. Visitors can hike on the park’s many trails to view the manually planted marshes and get close to the inhabitants of the marshland. Home to many aquatic plants, the constructed wetland doubles up as a wildlife habitat and attracts 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. Make a visit to Singapore’s largest man-made wetland, PUB’s Sengkang Floating Island, which is located within the park.
This may be off the grid for some of y'all living in the west, but make a trip down on one of the days and it will be one of the best decision of your life. Woodlands Waterfront Park is surprisingly quaint and rustic with its extensive space and water bodies stretching far and beyond. It may not be breath-taking but it definitely is a place-to-go for some fresh air and a short run along the water body to clear your head.
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 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.
Take a stroll from Gardens By The Bay East, before crossing over to its more popular sibling. Slightly more rustic than the main park, 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 on the bridge to Marina Barrage before ending your trail at Gardens By The Bay.