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Insider’s guide to Singapore: Subaraj Rajathurai

A Singapore wildlife consultant shares his love of nature

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Portrait shot of Subaraj Rajathurai
Photograph: Supplied

Many of Singapore’s nature reserves exist due to the efforts of individuals like Subaraj Rajathurai, a self-taught naturalist and wildlife consultant. Over the last 35 years, he has campaigned behind the scenes to preserve ecosystems including Sungei Buloh, a mangrove forest in northwest Singapore that was slated for redevelopment by the government and is now a nature park, and the 123.8 hectares of forest at Lower Peirce Reservoir.

“You can spend five lifetimes exploring nature, and there would still be more to learn,” says Subaraj, who fell in love with the rainforest at the age of 18, during a visit to Bukit Timah Reserve. Singapore’s blend of urban landscapes and hidden ecosystems keeps him fighting against rampant urbanisation: “In Singapore, you can get from a five-star hotel to a rainforest in 20 minutes.” You’ll find Subaraj still leading eco-tours around Singapore, covering untamed rainforests and nature reserves and also urbanised areas, showing how the city and nature can co-exist.

Discover where the nature lovers, history buffs, backpackers, city trippers, trekkers, discoverers and sightseers meet at VisitSingapore.com.

Subaraj’s guide for nature lovers

Subaraj Rajathurai takes you into the untamed areas of Singapore that he has fought to preserve

MacRitchie Nature Trail & Reservoir Park
Photograph: Supplied

MacRitchie Nature Trail & Reservoir Park

Head over to MacRitchie Reservoir Park, a water catchment area in the heart of Singapore. The oldest rainforest in this region is here. The diversity is amazing. If you’re lucky, you’ll cross paths with long-tailed macaque monkeys and flying lemurs.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Photograph: Supplied

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Spend your afternoon bird watching at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, home to diverse inhabitants such as watersnakes, herons and otters.

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Singapore Botanic Gardens
Photograph: Gilbert Chua

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Time Out s

Spend your evening relaxing at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Be sure to visit the Learning Forest, a lush habitat that’s home to some of the tallest tree species in Southeast Asia.

Kampung House in Pulau Ubin
Photograph: Afur Wong

Pulau Ubin

This island was nearly turned into industrial and housing estates. Nature co-exists with humans here. You’ll find wildlife in the fruit orchards, hornbills in the villages, and grey herons in its quarries.

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Pulau Ubin walkway
Photograph: Danny Santos

Chek Jawa

On Pulau Ubin, make your way to its southeastern hook, which is home to the Chek Jawa Wetlands. A confluence of six natural habitats, ranging from rocky beaches to seagrass lagoons, Chek Jawa is a miniature marvel of contrasting ecosystems.

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