With more than 350 parks across Singapore (yes, 350!), avoid the crowds at these 10 hidden ones.
New restrictions have been imposed to stem the spread of Covid-19 across the island, which is why you may consider heading to these hidden parks in Singapore instead. Now, more than ever, it is important to continue staying active albeit the closure of many facilities.
Gyms have been ordered shut and work-from-home is the default arrangement again. While you are spending more time at home, why not travel to a nearby park for a short walk to keep active? With more than 350 parks and four nature reserves scattered across the island, there is ample space for all of us!
Just remember to adhere to safe management measures and keep up to date with new guidelines and restrictions. Head over to NPark Singapore‘s noticeboard for Covid-19 updates and learn how to stay active responsibly!
*Please note there will be further changes to the Covid-19 restrictions post the Phase 2 Heightened Alert on 13 June 2021. It goes without saying, the safety of everyone remains a top priority.
1. Zhenghua Nature Park
This 17.3-hectare nature park in Bukit Panjang in the west serves as a green buffer for the Central Catchment Reserve. On top of a multi-purpose event lawn, a children’s play area, and an exercise station, Zhenghua Nature Park features a 2.5km jogging/cycling track which runs parallel to the BKE.
As a vital ecological linkage between nature reserves and forested areas in the West, this destination boasts rich wildlife – 37 bird species have been spotted, including the Olive-baked Sunbird and the Flameback Woodpecker – as well as a diverse species of plants. Oh, and don’t be surprised to see monitor lizards and long-tailed macaques sharing the pathways too!
2. Pearl’s Hill City Park
This relatively well-hidden oasis offers a respite from the busy roads and streets of Chinatown and the Central Business District nearby. Pearl’s Hill City Park is built around the Pearl’s Hill Reservoir on the top of a hill, sheltered away from the bustle of the city.
Visitors to the park can enjoy the wooded ambience and be surrounded by matured Tembusu trees while soaking in the serenity of the space. When in full bloom, the lotus plants that litter the pond also provides a vibrant splash of colours across the pond’s still waters.
3. Tampines Eco Green
Tampines Eco Green offers a sanctuary for flora and fauna, as well as a place for recreation and leisure. With natural habitats such as open grasslands, freshwater wetlands, and a secondary rainforest, visitors may forget that they are surrounded by the concrete jungles of Singapore!
This ecopark does not allow cyclists or pets; instead, bring along a friend to enjoy the sights and sounds of this unique park. It also features the first flush-free eco-toilet in a public park. This waterless, chemical-free system converts human waste into compost using bacteria and wood shavings. Do not worry – this eco-toilet is odour-free as it has a good ventilation system!
4. Sembawang Park
Tucked away in the north of Singapore, facing the Johor Straits, this hidden park offers an escape from the bustle of the city. After its maintenance is completed on 30 September 2021, visitors can also enjoy one of Singapore’s few remaining natural beaches.
This unique escape also offers a glimpse into Singapore’s naval heritage. Take a walk along the restored old pathways used during the British occupation, visit the Beaulieu House, the Sembawang jetty, or even the remains of the 1920s Seletar Pier.
Otherwise, have fun at the maritime-themed playground (and its huge battleship-inspired play area) which pays homage to the park’s past as a naval base!
5. Jurong Eco Garden
Located in Cleantech Park beside Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in the west, Jurong Eco Garden serves as a green space for respite for the community around the business park and for the residential community in the vicinity.
This park, which remains well-hidden (even from the adventurous University students), boasts a suite of green features, and is home to more than 139 species of flora and fauna. Beside the park lies Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle, Singapore’s oldest surviving dragon kiln.
*Disclaimer: While some areas of are temporarily closed for redevelopment, the garden remains accessible to the public.
6. Pasir Ris Town Park
Not to be confused with its neighbour Pasir Ris Park, this sanctuary called Pasir Ris Town Park – is situated right opposite Pasir Ris MRT and the White Sands Mall, and is a beloved green lung within the residential estate. Its wide open spaces and amenities makes this destination popular among residents.
The park is also notably popular among anglers. This is not surprising, the park’s three-hectare seawater fishing pond! Non-professionals can even rent a rod from the fishing shop and challenge themselves at the well-shaded fishing pond.
7. Chestnut Nature Park
On the other side of Zhenghua Nature Park (see above) lies Chestnut Nature Park, an 81-hectare nature trove along the edge of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. This hidden park is Singapore’s largest nature park to date!
Aligned with ongoing habitat enhancement programmes, Chestnut Nature Park has been planted up with native tree species. Take a stroll past the Braided Chestnut trees (Castanopsis inermis), Singapore Walking-Stick Palms (Rhopaloblaste singaporensis) and the Jelutong (Dyera costulata).
Visitors here can enjoy a range of leisure activities from hiking, mountain-biking, to bird watching.
8. Coney Island Park
Off the northeast coast of Singapore lies Coney Island Park (also called Serangoon Island). With a good view of Johor Bahru, this park is as far away from the civilisation of the mainland as one can get. The rustic island park today remains virtually untouched today. The island’s charm can be felt through the many park signages, boardwalks and benches – having been carved out from timber from uprooted Casuarina trees around the island.
Start exploring this ecologically sustainable park from either its East or West entrances, or opt for guided walks conducted by NParks volunteers and learn more about the area’s diverse biodiversity and rich history.
And oh, the name? In the 1950s, there were plans to turn the island into a resort modelled after the amusement park at Coney Island, New York.
9. Kent Ridge Park
This historic park is ground for one of the last battles in Singapore fought during World War II. Visitors and history buffs can visit the nearby “Reflections at Bukit Chandu” (RBC) museum. The exhibits here tell the tale of one of the most fascinating tales of heroism during the war.
*RBC was closed to the public for redevelopment from 1 October 2018, and was expected to reopen to the public in the first quarter of 2021. However, it remains closed and in development at the moment. Visit this website to learn more.
Otherwise, the Kent Ridge Park remains teeming with life, and continues to attract nature enthusiasts from around the country . Walk along the Canopy Walk – an elevated boardwalk measuring 280-metres. In the meantime, keep a sharp eye for the rich wildlife featuring Sunbirds, Doves, and White-crested Laughing Thrushes.
Once you reach the vantage point, take in magnificent views of Singapore’s offshore islands like Pulau Duran Darat and Sentosa.
10. Ketam Mountain Bike Park
Located at a 10-minute ferry ride away from Changi Point Ferry Terminal is the Ketam Mountain Bike Park. This green haven on the offshore island of Pulau Ubin boasts a rustic charm and challenging routes for mountain-biking enthusiasts. Even for non-cyclists, the park remains a hotspot among visitors to the island.
At its highest point, Ketam offers a bird’s-eye view of Pulau Ubin. For a post-bike or a post-hike indulgence, head to the seafood restaurant on the island, or fuel up with a cooling coconut.
By Pinky Chng, adapted from The Straits Times, August 2017 / Last updated by Derrick Tan, May 2021
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