The Red Dot sure is punching above its weight in terms of stuff to do in a relatively small space. What other city boasts dozens of amazing hiking trails all within a stone's throw of the city centre?
Here at HoneyKids we’re constantly searching for fun things to do with the kids that will keep them active and that don’t cost a zillion dollars. Top of the list has got to be a hike in one of Singapore’s many nature reserves and trails. We love that there are hikes for all levels – from beginners right through to advanced hikers. And you get to see the island at its lush, green, wild best, complete with monkeys, the odd snake (eek!) and birds galore! Here are our top picks for hiking in Singapore, with trails that are great with the kids in tow.
Dairy Farm Nature Reserve – great for beginners
If you’re quite new to the whole hiking thing, Dairy Farm Nature Reserve is a great place to start. The main trail is paved, making it an easy walk for little feet. A couple of hundred metres up the path you’ll reach the Wallace Education Centre – an open air cow shed, housing a visitors centre which tells the story of Dairy Farm’s changing landscapes. There are clean toilet facilities here too, so you don’t need to totally ‘rough it’.
The 1km Wallace Trail begins close to the Wallace Education Centre and is a relatively easy walk for kids although they may need a helping hand in places, especially where there are tree roots growing over the path, or steps without railings, but it’s perfect for showing the kids that they’re brave and tough. We love the exposure to nature here too: you’ll spot all sorts of flora, like betel trees, mushrooms and torch ginger. You might even be lucky enough to see Macaques perched in the trees feasting on durians!
The Southern Ridges – pram-friendly hiking
Don’t let the small people hold you back from going on a hike! The Southern Ridges comprises nearly 10 kilometres of pram-friendly trails that you can tackle all in one go, or in part. Connecting Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve, this picturesque trail showcases Singapore’s beautiful flora and fauna whilst still being accessible to families who need pram access. It’s also good for little feet who aren’t yet up for the more rugged terrain of a proper hiking track. There are toilet facilities on this trail and it’s easy to get to by car or public transport, so go on…grab the pram and get hiking!
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve – an animal lovers’ paradise
If you’ve got an animal lover on your hands, this is the trail for you. You’ll see mudskippers, crabs, shellfish, water snakes, spiders, monitor lizards, otters, herons, kingfishers, sunbirds and more! As Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is teeming with wildlife – you may even spot a croc or two! We love that there are shorter, gravel trails here, packed with loads to see – the perfect combo for keeping the kids motivated on a hike.
The Forest Trail leads directly from the Visitor Centre to Eagle Point and is an easy 300 metre walk for little tootsies. More energetic troops can tackle the almost two kilometre Migratory Bird Trail. Between September to March, this trail holds even more excitement as it’s migration season for shorebirds, such a plovers and sandpipers. Keep your eyes peeled for those Estuarine Crocodiles!
Located near the Visitor Centre is the Junior Adventure Trail, perfect for kiddies who aren’t quiet ready yet for hiking. You could consider sending bigger kids off with one parent for a hike, while smaller kids could enjoy the play-based activities on the Junior Adventure Trail.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve – visit Singapore’s highest point
It’s hard to believe that just 12 kilometres from the city centre you can be hiking through rainforest, spotting birds and monkeys! A visit to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is something that every Singapore-dweller must do at some point. Did you know that Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is home to 40% of Singapore’s native flora and fauna, like the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and Malayan Colugo?
If you’ve got energetic kids on your hands, they’ll enjoy trekking to the top Singapore’s highest hill. Bukit Timah Hill stands at 163 metres and whilst it’s not a particularly rugged trail to the top, you’ll certainly know you’re alive. We reckon kids over four years (ish) will be up for the challenge.
MacRitchie trails – something for everyone
The trails at MacRitchie range from an easy one-hour hike to a difficult four-hour, 11 kilometre hike. We love that many of the trails start off close to the MacRitchie Reservoir Park, so you can hang out in the open space before embarking on one of the trails, or split up with older kids with one parent tackling the trek while younger kids hang back. Bigger kids will love the TreeTop walk, a 250-metre aerial free standing suspension bridge that spans the two highest points of MacRitchie _ you’re sure to spot monkeys, birds and loads more from here.
Pulau Ubin – off the beaten track
Got cabin fever? Want to feel like you’re well and truly away from the hustle and bustle? We suggest a walk around Pulau Ubin, an island just a 15-minute boat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. While many people opt to ride bikes around the island, you could walk the roughly four kilometre trail which is a mix of paved road and stone paths.
We love the coastal vibe of this trek, with wetlands and coastal views, perfect for when you want to get away from it all and sniff some fresh air. The wildlife here is off the charts too, with woodpeckers, wild boars, monkeys, snakes and giant monitor lizards to count but a few. You could even consider camping overnight on Pulau Ubin to really top off your island adventure!
Top image: Kate Dimarco
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