Singapore is, no doubt, a destination that is known for its iconic buildings. I bet most of you could name Marina Bay Sands, The Raffles Hotel and maybe even some Peranakan shophouses on a picture round in a Zoom quiz. But did you know that a third of the island city-state is draped in greenery? Not only does Singapore, known as a ‘city in a garden’, have an incredible wealth of parks, gardens and green spaces, but they are some of the most phenomenal botanical experiences I’ve ever been to.
(And due to current circumstances I’ve been to a lot of gardens lately!)
If you’d like to visit some amazing green spaces on your future travels, check out this list of best parks and gardens in Singapore for a trip to remember.
Note: This post has been written in conjunction with Singapore Tourism Board and Captivate Digital Media and is based on my personal opinion from a mix of self-funded and sponsored trips there.
Incredible parks and gardens in Singapore
Gardens by the Bay
Hands down the most amazing gardens I’ve ever visited, Gardens by the Bay is a park full of horticulture experiences, involving solar-powered Supertrees, an indoor cloud forest and a man-made waterfall. Not to mention the thousands of plants and flowers found across the 101 hectares of waterfront gardens and 2 giant greenhouses, one of which is the world’s largest.
It’s free to enter Singapore’s most famous gardens, with just attractions such as the OCBC Skyway and exhibitions in the Flower Dome and Cloud Dome Conservatories ticketed.
There are food courts and cafes dotted around the Gardens. Head to the Observatory Café, found at the top of the tallest Supertree, to enjoy a cold drink and a sensational view of the Marina Bay area.
Of an evening, the mesmerising Garden Rhapsody is a must-see. The dazzling light and sound show takes place at Supertree Grove daily and feels like something out of a Sci-Fi movie.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
From Singapore’s most modern garden experience to its oldest. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a 161-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site that features tropical plants, rolling lawns and the must-see National Orchid Garden.
For visitors with young families, the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden has been designed specifically with little ones in mind. Its highlights include a farm, orchard, a stream-filled grove and play areas for experiential learning.
The Symphony Lake is also a great spot for families and couples to gather for a picnic or enjoy an open-air concert.
Fort Canning Park
Speaking of history, Fort Canning Park is Singapore’s most historically significant park having witnessed many of the city-state’s milestones. The site has housed palaces of 14th century Kings, shares a connection to the founder of modern-day Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, and is the place where the British made the decision to surrender Singapore to the Japanese during World War II, in the Underground Far East Command Centre, commonly known as the Battle Box.
Highlights for visitors today include the remnants of a fortress built in the 19th Century, the Spice Garden inspired by Raffles experimentations with spices, the ASEAN Sculpture Garden and Fort Canning Green, which often hosts outdoor concerts and performances.
For a more challenging walk in Singapore’s great outdoors, head to the Southern Ridges, a 10-kilometre-long trail that connects Mount Faber and HortPark with elevated walks and a bridge that is modern-day optical illusion.
The undulating Henderson Waves Bridge is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore and a sculptural work of art, which has proved especially popular with photographers.
MacRitchie Nature Trail & Reservoir Park
Another fantastic bridge, that’s not for the faint hearted, is the 250-metre high aerial suspension bridge, which connects the two highest points of the MacRitchie Nature Trail and Reservoir Park.
On the 11-kilometre-long TreeTop Walk you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the rainforest and might even spot some of the monkeys and flying lemurs that live there as you cross the forest canopy.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Feel like you’ve entered the jungle at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, one of the largest swathes of primary forest in Singapore.
Winding forest trails guide you through the reserve, including to the top of Singapore’s tallest hill if you take on the Summit Trail.
If you fancy exploring one of Singapore’s green spaces on two wheels instead of foot, hire a bike to explore the peaceful island of Pulau Ubin. (A fun bumboat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal.)
Ride through remote rubber plantations, over thriving mangroves and along isolated beaches, and feel like you’re a world away from Downtown Singapore.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Otters in Singapore? You might be lucky enough to spot some in this 87-hectare reserve of biodiversity.
Home to some of the world’s rarest mangroves and a stopover point for migratory birds on their way to Australia, you never know what you’ll spot as you stroll the mangrove forest boardwalks in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
Jurong Lake Gardens
Jurong Lake Gardens is Singapore’s new national gardens in the heartlands, which consists of 4 main areas – Lakeside Garden, Chinese and Japanese Gardens and Garden Promenade.
Currently only the Lakeside Garden is open while the rest are under redevelopment, but in Lakeside Garden alone you’ll find swamp forests, nature trails, streams and fun activities for children such as a Butterfly Maze.
Jewel Changi Airport
And, finally, while technically not a garden, I had to include the phenomenal nature-themed Jewel entertainment and retail complex at Singapore’s Changi Airport.
In the centre of Jewel are an unbelievable 60,000 shrubs and 900 trees and palms, which you can explore on misty walking trails that loop through the Shiseido Forest Valley.
But the hero of the show here is the HSBC Rain Vortex which streams through the heart of the building. At 40 metres high, the Rain Vortex is the highest indoor waterfall and, I promise you, it’s simply magical.
New for 2021
Looking ahead to the future, Singapore is going to have even more green attractions to tempt visitors with in the next few years.
Mandai Nature Reserve
Within the next 2-3 years the Mandai Nature Reserve will be transformed into an integrated wildlife and nature precinct. In 2021, the Jurong Bird Park and its 3,500 colourful winged inhabitants will be relocated to the Mandai Reserve, where visitors will find them flying in nine large walk-in aviaries.
Further down the line, a Rainforest Park that focuses on Southeast Asian biodiversity will also open on the Reserve.
Pan Pacific Orchard Zero-Waste Hotel
Personally, I’d be very interested to stay at the Pan Pacific Orchard group’s first zero-waste hotel that is set to open in Singapore in 2021.
With 4 levels of soaring vertical gardens, the hotel will feature 350 eco-friendly rooms, a rainwater harvesting system, a recyclable water system, and food waste will be cleverly turned into compost to feed the sky gardens.
Keeping Singapore green and clean!
Singapore is known around the world for its high levels of cleanliness but, as the hygiene standards of public spaces has become even more important of late, the government have launched a new SG Clean initiative to make sure the highest standards are met by local businesses.
The SG Clean certification scheme will help to assure locals and visitors that various establishments have rigorous measures in place for sanitation and hygiene.
As a part of this initiative, the Singapore Tourism Board are currently auditing and certifying 570 hotels, attractions and tourism establishments, so that when visitors are able to return they can seek out the SG Clean quality mark for quick and easy reassurance.
As international borders start to slowly reopen, it’s very promising to know that a destination is taking such a thorough proactive approach to ensuring the safety of its locals and visitors.
So, would you like to explore some of these fantastic green (and clean!) spaces in Singapore in the future?
Discover more of the fantastic things that await you in Singapore one day.
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