Top 10 Underrated Places in Singapore that Will Bring You Close to Nature!

Underrated Places in Singapore - Travelfaring.com

Underrated Places in Singapore that Will Bring You Closer to Nature – Top 5 Reasons to Visit

If you’ve always wanted to discover some of the underrated places in Singapore that will bring you especially close to nature, this this is the post for you! 

Apart from that, you might enjoy this post if you’re visiting or living in Singapore and:

  1. You’d like a different feel to how you have perceived Singapore as the major city with lots of shopping malls and business districts only.
  2. You want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy life.
  3. You want to get to know a little more about Singapore and the glimpses of its yesteryear. 
  4. You’re trying to find something awesome to do with your nature-loving friends and/or families.
  5. You want to be surprised by how much of nature Singapore does have, even in its island state. 

So in this post, we will be covering parks and other nature-loving environments in Singapore!

Why are we doing this?

Because people who visit Singapore (well, at least most of my friends) only think of either major tourist attractions in Singapore, Singaporean foods and/or shopping malls.

The fact is that there are many more places waiting for your discovery sparks to take to explore, why not start with the unobvious underrated places in Singapore! Because when you mention Singapore in the western and eastern world, you might be thinking of either the Sentosa Island (during Trump’s visit), the Avatar-worthy architectural phenomenon called “Supertree” at the Gardens by the Bay and/or famous chilli crabs.

Now before I go on and talk about these places, I’ve always admired how the Singaporean way of doing things are (1) well-organized and (2) well thought out. You will definitely see the same magic in all of these underrated places you may visit in Singapore here as well! Thank you Singapore!

MacRitchie Reservoir Singapore - Travelfaring.com
Image Credit: Erwin Soo [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

#1 MacRitchie Reservoir Park

If you’ve only ever been to different malls in Singapore and want to start exploring a park in Singapore, then this might very well be one of the great options. 

Why Visit MacRitChie:

  1. MacRitchie is one of the 4 Singapore’s Reservoir, which means all agricultural activities are prohibited and you can see a lot of well-preserved reservoir and forest areas inside.
  2. Surprisingly close to town, you can actually take walks, runs and jogs here in the mornings, especially on weekends. Be sure to get some nice shoes on because there are small hills up and down throughout the 11-kilometer, 4.8-kilometer or 3.2-kilometer paths of your choice!
  3. Did I mention there are monkeys that reside in this reservoir park? Yep, and be sure to go early in the morning to get some photos! 
  4. Apart from monkeys, you can also enjoy bird watching as you walk through the park as well!
  5. Along your hike, you will also be able to go on the Tree Top Walk (suspension bridge) to enjoy the bird’s eye view of the beautiful park surrounded by greenery that will take you into another world!

How to get to MacRitchie Reservoir Park:

  1. Closest MRT: Alight at Caldecott MRT (Yellow Line) & take a short bus: route on Google Maps
  2. 2nd Closest: Alight at Marymount MRT (Yellow Line) & take a bus nearby: route on Google Maps
  3. 3rd Closest: Alight at Botanic Gardens MRT (Yellow Line) & take a bus nearby: route on Google Maps

Need to Know before Going to MacRitchie Reservoir 

  • MacRitchie opens from 7 am to 7 pm. Staying inside the reservoir beyond 7 pm is not allowed. (Besides, you can spend your time elsewhere in Singapore after 7 pm anyway!)
  • Tree Top Walk opening hours: Tuesday – Friday: 9 am -5 pm | Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: 8.30 am – 5 pm. Note: Closed on Mondays, except on Public Holidays
  • Check weather forecast: don’t go during rains / stormy weather as it may be dangerous
Fort Canning Park Singapore - Travelfaring.com

#2 Fort Canning Park

Another beautiful park right smack in the middle of the town in Singapore, located near Clarke Quay and City hall. Now, you even have the newest Funan Mall right opposite the Fort Canning Park entrance as well! 

(By the way, I wrote about the newly renovated Funan Mall here – I think you will enjoy it as well)

Although this is very near these MRT stations, I believe its unique charm comes from going into the park itself, rather than just looking at the big sign in front that says “FORT CANNING PARK”. 

I’d say that you should allow yourself to be drawn by its beautiful entrance because as you walk into the park, you may very well discover some of the classic history and charms of how Singapore used to be like.

Why Should You Visit Fort Canning Park?

  • Due to the long and significance of its place (from 14th century Malay rulers to early 19th with Sir Stamford Raffles to it being turned into a fort in the late part of the 19th century – beginning of the 20th century with underground bunkers, etc), as you walk through the park, you will see glimpses of history that resonates in the midst of the breathing forests.
  • On the lighter note, you can also find resident roosters and chickens around the park as well.
  • And as you walk through the park down the beautiful curved and twisted walking paths (from opposite Funan mall towards Clarke Quay / Boat Quay area  near Fort Canning MRT station), you may also find families with children picnicking and playing on awesome slides (that some adults like myself also wanted to go on them as well).

How to get to Fort Canning Park?

  1. You can alight at City Hall MRT (Green / Red line intersection), walk through Funan Mall to the Fort Canning Entrance: see the route on Google Maps.
  2. You can alight at the Fort Canning MRT (Blue line) and voila you’re there!: see route on Google Maps. (For this route, you might need to climb up a set of stairs to get to the inside of the park)
Coney Island Punngol Settlement - Travelfaring.com
Image credit: Jnzl's Photos flickr.com/photos/surveying/22249151646

#3 Punggol Settlement (Punggol Promenade Nature Walk & Punggol Point Park) & Coney Island

Most people who visit Singapore may never make it to the north of Singapore – we’re talking Punggol, Seletar, Sengkang, and Hougang, to name a few. (Look, if you have never heard of these awesome districts in Singapore, you’re not alone. In my first year in Singapore, I had never even visited these underrated places in Singapore.)

Since then, I have now visited two interconnected and awesome underrated places in Singapore – Coney Island and Punggol Settlement.

Why Would You Visit Coney Island & Punggol Settlement?

#1 Coney Island is actually an island park in Singapore that you can access it directly via 2 bridges (western and eastern). 

  • (1) The western bridge is connected from the Punggol Settlement side
  • (2) the east bridge is connected via the Lorong Halus Jetty near Pasir Ris Park.

#2 Coney Island is home to so many interesting species of animals and flora that is situated on 

  • (1) mangroves 
  • (2) grasslands 
  • (3) coastal forests and
  • (4) casuarina woodlands (in my research, this one’s interestingly only usually found in Australia)

#3 There’s a 2.5-kilometer path through Coney Island, so you can easily bike, walk, run or jog through the island!

#4 And you will most likely be walking on the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk if you’re walking from Coney Island out to Punggol Settlement. You can even walk further to the Punggol Point Park to enjoy the views of the sea as well.

#5 Punggol Settlement is a two-story food sector that opened in 2014 next to the Punggol Beach (the beach is one of the historical sites listed on the National Heritage Board’s list, and you would never have guessed its dark history).

#6 If you want to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city, then you can take a huge deep breath (or several) once you’re at the Punggol Settlement as you stare into the sea that separates Singapore and Malaysia.

How to Get to Punggol Settlement / Coney Island?

  • Alight at Punggol MRT (Purple line) & take the bus 84 from Punggol Bus Interchange to Punggol Settlement!
  • Take Grab, Gojek or Comfort Taxi from the mall next to Punggol MRT: Waterway Point mall.
Little Guilin Bukit Batok park Singapore - Travelfaring.com
Image credit: Michael Gwyther-Jones from https://www.flickr.com/photos/12587661@N06/15799842825

#4 Little Guilin or Xiao Guilin (link)

This is one of the underrated places in Singapore, situated at the Bukit Batok town park, that has a big granite rock sitting in the middle of the lake, or you can say it’s like a smaller version of Guilin in China.

As you walk through this well-maintained landscape along the lake, you might also encounter some couples going for their pre-wedding shoots or wedding-day photos (if you’re there on Saturdays).

The only reason why you should be here is for you to be rested and relaxed while being surrounded by nature.

How to Get to the Little Guilin?

Labrador Nature Reserve Labrador Park Singapore - Travelfaring.com
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gunman47/9410374647

#5 Labrador Nature Reserve

If you’ve been to harbor front and Vivo city (last stop on the Singapore’s purple line), but you have never really been in the areas beyond harbourfront shopping center then you might have missed Labrador Nature Reserve.

This is probably one of my favorite underrated places in Singapore because it has such a calming feel as you’re surrounded by green forests and you’re able to walk along the majestic coastal walking paths that look like a beautiful sunset boardwalk every single evening if you ever get the chance.

Why Should You Visit Labrador Nature Reserve?

  • Prepare to have a calm walk amongst the relaxing atmosphere of greeneries as you walk through these secondary forests.
  • After walking through the greeneries for about 15-20 minutes, you will eventually see the beautiful sea as you walk, jog or run on the beautifully built and well-maintained boardwalk, or better known as the “Bukit Chermin Boardwalk”.
  • If you love to hear the real sounds of birds, you can even hear the beautiful sounds of nature from Oriental Magpie-robin and Black-naped Oriole (source)
  • Oh, and there’s also the “Dragon Teeth Gate” (Long Ya Men) right at the Southernmost edge inside the nature reserve as well. 

How to Get to the Labrador Nature Reserve?

  • Alight at the Labrador Park MRT station (yellow line)
  • Start your adventure as you walk out of the MRT, you will see the entrance of the “Berlayer Creek Boardwalk”! (Tip: on Google maps, it’s not part of the “walking directions” when you search for it, but it’s in dotted green line)

Good To Know Before You Go:

  • This nature reserve is opened from 7 am to 7 pm (remaining in the reserve after 7 pm is now allowed)
  • Wear shorts and t-shirts for your beautiful walk, job or run, and be sure to take a snap from your phone along the way
  • You’re able to walk, jog and run all the way to Keppel Bay, which is another beautiful place that you will encounter quite a few yachts.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore - Travelfaring.com
Image Credit: Zairon [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

#6 Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (Hindhede Quarry)

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is one of those places where you’re not often hearing about. I’m not sure if it’s because Bukit Timah is more of a newer area filled with landed properties (rather than the standard HDB or condos that we see in Singapore) or is it because it’s a bit further away from the city center (~10km+) than, say, MacRitchie Reservoir (~6km).

However, if you actually get to this place, this is definitely one of the nature reserves you don’t want to miss!

Why Would You Visit Bukit Timah Nature Reserve?

  • It is the first nature reserve ever built in Singapore, where you will be able to encounter the undeterred fauna and flora throughout your experience here.
  • It only opened again in 2016 after closing for major works since 2011. So, it’s worth a visit!
  • And if you’re adventurous, you can actually trek up the highest hill in Singapore called the “Bukit Timah Hill”, standing at 163.63 meters tall.
  • If you’re feeling tired from trekking, then you can also visit the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Visitor Centre (I even love how to colonial-age architecture of the center itself sits so well in the midst of the greeneries as well)

How to Get to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve?

  • Alight at Beauty World MRT and take exit A. (I mean, it’s really a beauty-full world out there at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve).
  • To get to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Visitor Center, it’s only a 12-15 minute walk into the nature reserve itself! See the route here.

Good to Know Before You Go 

  • As you can see with all of the parks in Singapore, you’re able to visit this nature reserve from 7 am to 7 pm as well. No overnight stays and parking, please!
  • And please be kind: don’t smoke!
  • No pets allowed here!
Jurong Lake Gardens Chinese Garden Singapore - Travelfaring.com
Image Credit: George Tan from https://www.flickr.com/photos/j0035001-2/28362640757

#7 Jurong Lake Gardens

Latest Update in 2019: although the Chinese and Japanese Gardens of Jurong Lake Gardens are closed for redevelopment until 2021 at this point in time, you can still enjoy the lakeside with activities for everyone in over 7 areas along the lakeside.

When I speak about Jurong Lake Gardens with my friends, some of them have indicated to me that they rarely ever even set their feet in the Jurong area. So, jokes on them for not exploring the different parts of Singapore, yeah? Lol, maybe it’s just me who loves to explore different places, especially because I now live in Singapore as well.

Well, I believe that since you’re reading this post, you’ll definitely consider a visit to the Jurong area in the west of Singapore. Right?

Well, if you’re going to visit the Jurong area, such as going to Jurong Bird Park and the Jurong East Mall (JEM) and West Gate mall, then don’t miss this up and coming Jurong Lake Gardens.

I say it’s up and coming because, at the time of writing this post, the Jurong Lake Gardens have been developing a newer area of the Japanese Garden beyond the existing Chinese Gardens. 

Did I catch your attention?

Why Would You Visit Jurong Lake Gardens?

  • Apart from the Japanese and Chinese gardens, you can enjoy the Clusive Cove, PAssion WaVe, Forest Ramble, Garden House (exciting displays and exhibition), Rasau Walk, Neram stream and the Active SG Park. This is an awesome intro video with a little laugh along the way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=97&v=ja8JB2vCY80 
  • Currently closed until 2021: Jurong Lake Gardens is actually comprised of the huge and beautiful Chinese Garden that is not only a park but you will also get a taste of beautiful and unique Chinese architectures (Twin Pagodas and Chinese bridges that you may have seen in some Chinese movies with Emperors walking about and thinking in his garden) that you may not see anywhere else in the Singapore parks. 
  • Currently closed until 2021: And as you walk across the “Double Beauty Bridge” from Chinese garden across the water, you will encounter the Japanese garden part of the Jurong Lake Gardens.

How To Get to Jurong Lake Gardens?

  • Take the MRT (Green line) & alight at Lakeside MRT!
Lower Seletar Reservoir Park Singapore - Travelfaring.com
Image Credit: Kunal Mukherjee from https://www.flickr.com/photos/redlinx/3607889662

#8 Lower Seletar Reservoir Park

If you’re ever in the northern part of Singapore and you just want to relax by the seaside with awesome wind breezes and a little something for everyone (families, couples and singles with friends or even alone), then Lower Seletar Reservoir Park is one of those underrated places in Singapore that really needs no introductions in words once you go and experience it yourself.

Why Would You Go to Lower Seletar Reservoir Park?

  • For families, you can enjoy the Family Bay area as you let your kids play in the water bay area, while you relax near the rain garden and gazed into the beautiful flowing reservoir and calming green trees on the opposite side.
  • You can enjoy the jetty nearby looking over the water as well as make a booking of the lawn area to host your own carnival or dragon boat events!
  • You can also enjoy water sports (e.g. Kayaking) nearby with rentals the Water-Venture outlet and perhaps catch some dragon boating teams rowing across the river at the Rower’s Bay Park as well.
  • There’s also activities and food nearby at the Orchid Country Club as well.

How to Get to the Lower Seletar Reservoir Park?

  • Alight at Khatib MRT station (red line) & take bus 117 for 2 stops and you will get to the Lower Seletar Reservoir Park!
Kusu Island Singapore Turtle Island Singapore St John's Island - Travelfaring.com
Image Credit: Thaejas [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

#9 Kusu Island & St. John’s Island

Unlike Coney Island and the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk (& Punggol Settlement), you can’t walk to Kusu Island and St John’s Island. 

To get to these 2 islands, you can reserve for a spot on the boat to go and explore these islands!

Hope I got your attention once again (haha)!

Why Would You Go To Kusu Island & St. John’s Island?

  • Amidst the legends of the Kusu Island (such as shipwrecked men were saved by a giant turtle that transformed itself into the Kusu Island, which is why there’s a tortoise sanctuary here), you can actually go see a lot of tortoises and a beautiful Chiese Temple called “Da Bo Gong” (visit this while the Chinese gardens are closed until 2021 at the Jurong Lake Gardens). 
  • During your visit to Kusu Island, you can opt to swim and/or picnic here with your friends and families as well.
  • Now on to St. John’s Island: although not painted with a legend story but with real stories of it being used for a quarantine place in the 19th century as well as drug rehabilitation center later one, it’s now a completely different place. In fact, locals may come here for a half-day getaway from the hustle and bustle or even stay here overnight in one of the holiday bungalows and chalets.

How to Get to Kusu Island & St. John’s Island?

  • Alight at the Marina South Pier MRT station and take a ferry to St. John’s Island then Kusu Island for $18 (Adults) or $12 (Children). This is the price for a two-island ticket and back: Marina South Pier → St. John’s Island → Kusu Island → Marina South Pier.
  • See Weekday and Weekend Ferry Schedule here.
Changi Point Coastal Walk Singapore - Travelfaring.com
Image Credit: alantankenghoe from https://www.flickr.com/photos/digitaljourney/6260013261

#10 Changi Point Coastal Walk

Apart from the holiday chalets, a popular nasi lemak spot at Changi Village Hawker Centre and the nearby Ferry Terminal (that you can take to the Batam Island), Changi Point Coastal Walk is the place you want to be at any time of the day (since it’s open 24 hours). And it’s super easy to walk around through the well-built boardwalk. The 2.2-kilometer boardwalk is split into 6 sections: Creek Walk, Beach Walk, Sailing Point Walk, Cliff Walk, Kelong Walk, and Sunset Walk.

Why Would You Go to Changi Point Coastal Walk?

  1. Get away from Singapore’s busy city and enjoy the peace and quiet while being surrounded by nature and the touch of the wind.
  2. Discover the coast of Singapore and see a glimpse of Singapore’s past.
  3. Encounter some awesome flora and animals that are native to Singapore here like the Sea Hibiscus, Pacific Swallow birds and the changeable lizard!
  4. Do a classic staycation by staying a night at Changi Beach Club.
  5. Try out sailing courses nearby at the Changi Sailing Club!

How to Get to Changi Point Coastal Walk?

  • The green line (MRT): get off at Tana Merah MRT & take this bus or cab over
  • Blueline (MRT): get off at the Upper Changi MRT & take this bus or cab over!
  • Take a cab straight to the location!

Wrap Up

I believe that these 10 Underrated Places in Singapore are the starting point to help you discover Singapore beyond the major attractions alone!

They are the places that, upon visiting, you’re grateful; in realizing how such a young nation has overcome amazing feats in the last few decades and preserved as well as developed to become such a beautiful nation.

We hope that you will be able to visit at least one of these places at a suitable time to you and your loved ones. 

And you may see that Singapore has much more to offer than what you have heard or seen before.

Share Your Thoughts

I hope you have enjoyed what’s been shared in this post.

Do you have any other underrated places in Singapore that will bring you closer to nature? We’d love to hear from you! 

Comment below!

GK
GK
GK is a curiosity-driven traveler who discovers places through its natural beauties, histories and people's stories. A perfect travel plan for GK and his family would be a great coffee to start off the day before taking in the breathtaking views of landscapes and horizons with some hikes in between and toppling it off with some great photos of the places and people. And how can you forget great local & fresh foods to truly be immersed and inspired by what the world has to offer.

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