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Coney Island
Photograph: Delfina UtomoConey Island

The shortest hikes under 30 minutes in Singapore

Take a quick break and get out in the outdoors – even if it's just for a short while

Delfina Utomo
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Delfina Utomo
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Why make things hard? If you love the outdoors but not too keen on the sun and wilderness, start with a small dose with these short hikes that you can take on. Whether you'll be going for a leisure walk or thunder through the trails by running, these short routes will hardly disrupt your day. Choose from a rustic neighbourhood park or take a hike to a secret reservoir somewhere near the city – don't worry, you don't even have to put on those heavy-duty hiking boots.

RECOMMENDED: The best secret and hidden parks in Singapore and the best beaches in Singapore for fun in the sun

  • Things to do
  • Yishun

How long it will take 10-20 min

Highlight The secret beach at low tide

On the outside, this hidden spot in Seletar might look like just shabby and abandoned village. Located near the popular cyclist spot Rower's Bay Park, Yishun Dam and Seletar Airport, you can find kampong huts and a wooden jetty (called Jenal Jetty) which is still being used by fishermen making a living. The 'village' part and Jenal Jetty is out of bounds to the public but curious types can sign up on private tours to get a closer look at the fishing village and its daily activities. 

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Yishun

How long it will take 15-10 min

Highlight The waterside walk

Rower's Bay Park at Lower Seletar Reservoir is named for the reservoir's popularity with kayaking and dragon-boating enthusiasts. The park is one of the best secret spots to catch the sunset in Singapore. Walk on the park's boardwalk for some great waterside views and check out other amenities in the park, like shelters, vending machines, a do-it-yourself bicycle repair station and toilets are available for cyclists or those seeking reprieve from our tropical heat.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.

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  • Things to do
  • Pasir Ris

How long it will take 20-30 min

Highlight Views of Serangoon River and it is also quite an educational trail 

Learn about the unique water bio-treatment system which uses plants as part of the treatment process at Lorong Halus Wetland. There are plenty of ponds at the place and every pond you see in the park is part of the system. Stroll through to read more about the process and how each pond contributes to this system. The most stunning views can be enjoyed by the Serangoon Reservoir or on the famous red bridge that links the residential part of Punggol to the park. Want to make the hike more worth it? You can walk to Coney Island from here. 

  • Things to do
  • Bukit Batok

How long it will take 30-40min

Highlight The impressive quarry in the park

The serene Bukit Batok Nature Park was developed on an abandoned quarry in 1988. There are lookout points that afford stunning views of the quarry, along with footpaths to cycle and jog on and a moderately easy hiking trail through the foliage. For a bit of history, head to the WWII memorial, which commemorates the location of one of the fiercest battles that took place in Singapore.

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  • Things to do
  • Punggol

How long it will take 30-45 min

Highlight The entire trail is by the water

If you don't have time for the wilderness of Coney Island, you can stay close to the neighbourhood and take on the waterside trail of Punggol Waterway Park. Explore the many gardens and bridges along the paved paths by the river – every time you stop for a breather, make sure you take in the scenic views as well.

  • Things to do
  • Bukit Batok

How long it will take 20-30 min

Highlight Little Guilin

Not to be confused with Bukit Batok Nature Park, this town park is also lovingly called Little Guilin because the main attraction of the park looks similar to that of the limestone hills in Guilin, China. The beautiful granite formation sitting in the lake is why most people visit this small nature park in the west side of Singapore. You can walk along the banks of the lake or sit in one of the dome-shaped shelters that overlook the lake to admire the view. 

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  • Things to do
  • Seletar

How long it will take 15-30min

Highlight The Monet-like pond

While The Oval is bustling with the brunch crowd, next to it is the tranquil Hampstead Wetlands Park. Though just a small pocket of green in the somewhat industrial area, the former marshland area has seen been spruced up so that it looks like a lush English garden with a pond – complete with lily pads – now.

Though there are observatory decks and railings (so you don't fall over!), the area has retained its rustic element and is not as 'polished' as other parks. There is a short trail loop you can take which will take you through the forested area and by the waterside. You can easily explore the place under 30 minutes but keep the peace – it's a favourite haunt for birdwatchers in Singapore. 

  • Things to do
  • Harbourfront

How long it will take 20-35min

Highlight The seafront lookout at the end of the trail

The Berlayer Creek mangrove trail is part of a larger network of habitats snaking through the Southern Ridges to the waterfront. The place got its name from Batu Berlayer (Sailing Rock in Malay), that stood at its mouth to the sea. You can't see the stone now but you can take a walk on the boardwalk to observe life in the mangrove swamps up close.

Start from Labrador Park MRT Station and follow the sheltered pavilion with wooden panels. You will come across two look-out points or rest areas on the left. Perched over the creek, these look-out points allow you to observe the surrounding mangroves and get closer to the rich biodiversity. Keep your ears and eyes open – you will be able to spot (and hear) the many species of birds that reside in the area. You can also find macaques and squirrels here. Remember not to feed the monkeys!

The boardwalk then leads to the seafront where you can spot Sentosa Island across. Here, the ocean and the mangroves intersect – look closely and you can see the difference in colours of the waters. Follow the boardwalk to explore more of the Labrador Park coastal trail or head back to civilisation. 

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  • Things to do
  • Tanglin

How long it will take 30-45min

Highlight The boardwalk at the Keppel Discovery Wetlands because of the views and how calming it is 

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 for nature lovers to explore. 

You can cover the area on foot through the network of boardwalks and elevated walkways that allow visitors to be close to nature. Start close to the lowlands and the ground and slowly make your way up. You can also stand on an overhead bridge where you can observe the whole area peacefully. 

Stand at the edge of a freshwater forest wetland at the Keppel Discovery Wetlands and watch the dragonflies on the water, escape to faraway Japan at the Bambusetum, walk amongst some of the tallest trees in Southeast Asia SPH Walk of Giants where you can also jump around on aerial nets on the boardwalk.

  • Things to do
  • Lim Chu Kang

How long it will take 20-30min

Highlight Climb the Raptor Tower for the best views of Kranji marshes – including the bits that are not opened to the public

Home to many species of birds, butterflies and dragonflies, this nature reserve is the perfect recreation area to observe and enjoy the island's wildlife. At 57 hectares and with a range of natural and green habitats, Kranji Marshes is Singapore's largest freshwater farmland. 

Sit at one of the bird hides to observe life in the marshlands quietly or you can book a guided tour in advance with NParks to walk through the areas of the park that are not usually open to the public. 

Check out five unique things you can do at Kranji Marshes here.

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  • Things to do
  • Punggol

How long it will take 30-45min

Highlight The lookout point with steps leading to the sea is the best place to take a breather

Located in the far end of the North East, Coney Island is a rustic escape that preserves the island's natural character. 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. 

Keep your eyes open for native macaques, rare birds and butterflies on the island while you explore the woods and the hidden beaches. Look out for snakes if you're venturing into the woods! 

  • Things to do
  • Tampines

How long it will take 30min

Highlight The pond area is the main highlight of the park. Sit on one of the logs or benches by the waterside to watch the fish, terrapins, dragonflies 

Continue 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 that this green space exists, wrapping around one of the most populous neighbourhoods in Singapore.

Wade through the greens as you take on the walking trail within the sanctuary to uncover its rich biodiversity, featuring many species of birds, butterflies, dragonflies and spiders. Sit on one of the rustic wooden benches while you admire the marshes and listen to the unique sounds of wild birds – and the expressway.

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  • Things to do
  • Sengkang

How long it will take 30-45min

Highlight Get close to the constructed wetlands – there is a patch of grass where you can have a picnic or just watch the kite fliers.

The Sengkang Riverside Park is a riverine park by Sungei Punggol – one of the two large rivers that run through Sengkang. The park is home to a unique water feature, constructed wetlands that collects and filters rainwater naturally through its aquatic plants. The wetlands also double as a wildlife habitat and attract many mangrove birds into the park such as purple heron, collared kingfisher and little tern. Other than that, dragonflies & damselflies, like the Red Scarlet and Common Bluetail damselfly, can also be found resting on the aquatic plants. For an immersive experience, you can walk right up to the edge of these ponds to observe the wildlife for yourself. 

Just nearby and over Sungei Punggol, you can also the Sengkang Floating Wetland. Cross the bridge to get closer to the floating island of aquatic plants or sit on the seats shaped like orange slices on the bridge for a breather. 

Hindhede Nature Park
  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Bukit Panjang

How long it will take 15-20min

Highlight The main highlight, of course, is the picturesque Hindhede Quarry which is located at the end of the trail.

If you're looking for a leisurely hike with the family, head to Hindhede Nature Park located next to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve which has easy trails and well-defined footpaths perfect for families, children and hiking beginners. Scenic and serene, it is also an excellent spot for wildlife watching as it is home to inhabitants like the banded woodpecker, clouded monitor lizard and plantain squirrel so it pays to keep your eyes open when taking a walk. 

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Keppel Hill Reservoir
Photograph: Delfina Utomo

Keppel Hill Reservoir

How long it will take 30min

Highlight Walk to the edge of the reservoir and check out the fallen branches and trees in the water, terrapins and fish. There is also the remnants of a diving board.

If you're willing to go off the main path, bash through some super tall ferns and wild grass and get slightly scratched by thorny plants and stems to find the secret Keppel Hill Reservoir, you will be greatly rewarded.

Formerly used as a private reservoir in 1905 and then a swimming hole from the 1940s, the body of water was totally left out on official maps of Singapore from 1954. Start your trek on Keppel Hill Road before slipping into a man-made path which leads to the reservoir.

If you have more time to hike

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