Nature reserves in Singapore: Top parks for trails and wildlife

Craving a walk in the countryside? Singapore has lots of family-friendly jungle options, from boardwalks to sky-high paths

It’s a well-known fact that space comes at a premium in Singapore. Luckily the high-rise city skyline is offset with trees and green spaces everywhere you look – and the island is home to one of the Top 10 Indoor Gardens of the World, the beautiful Gardens by the Bay. Here are four nature reserves in Singapore to keep you in touch with Mother Earth.

Or if you’re feeling up for it, take a day trip to Sisters’ Island and experience marine life in Singapore.

Monitor Lizard | Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Monitor Lizard at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Andrew H

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Despite only covering 0.2% of Singapore’s total land area at 3,043 hectares, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is home to about 40% of the city’s undisturbed flora and fauna including the seraya trees, the Singapore freshwater crab and furry critters like Horsfield’s flying squirrel, the colugo or the alien-looking pangolin.

The main trail around the nature reserve is currently closed in phases for restoration and repair works of the forest habitat. You can still access plenty of areas away from the main entrance, with the road leading to the summit of Bukit Timah Hill set to reopen on weekends from March 2015. Bukit Batok, which tags onto Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, is also open for leisurely strolls, with a leafy trail and picturesque lake (you can take your pup there too). The rest of the reserve is targeted to open in September 2016.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, 177 Hindhede Drive, Singapore 589333.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, NParks Facebook

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

A bird watcher’s paradise, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park, renowned for its habitat of migratory birds, reptiles, crustaceans and wetland vegetation. Strap on your binoculars and spot everything from purple and grey herons to stork-billed kingfishers and yellow bitterns. Your best time to see a vast array of birds is between September and March each year, so it helps to plan ahead. Don’t forget there are plenty more on the ground, too – the Malayan water monitor lizard, mud lobsters and even tree-climbing crabs can all be seen from the observation posts around the park.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, 301 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718925, p. 6794 1401. Open daily Mon-Sun 7:30am-7pm.

Labrador Nature Reserve | Nature Parks | Honeycombers SingaporeLabrador Nature Reserve, William Cho

Labrador Nature Reserve

Labrador Nature Reserve is an all-in-one terrain characterised by its rocky shore, coastal forest, mangroves, mudflats, parkland and Adinandra belukar (a type of secondary rainforest).

The reserve is broken up into three segments – the Alexandra Garden Trail, Berlayer Vreek mangrove trail and Bukit Chermin Boardwalk. Not only does it contain impressive wildlife diversity, Labrador Nature Reserve is also a historical site housing war relics like the WWII fort and a series of secret tunnels built in the 1880s under British rule. A little tip for cyclists and hikers: it’s connected via Southern Ridges, a 10km stretch of green open spaces that include Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park.

Note: The Rocky Shore and Jetty are currently closed until further notice.

Labrador Nature ReserveLabrador Villa Road, Singapore 119187. Open 24 hours daily.

16226328712_e65f703d64_kMacRitchie Nature Reserve, Travel Oriented

MacRitchie Nature Reserve

The oldest reservoir in Singapore, MacRitchie Reservoir was declared a historic site by the National Parks Board in 2002. Boasting more than a square kilometre of forest still flourishing in the area, this natural beauty has 19th century rubber tree plantation surrounding the reservoir. Admire the grand beauty from above at the Treetop Walk – a 250-metre aerial free standing suspension bridge that spans across the two highest points of MacRitchie.

Adventure seekers, go on an exhilarating hike on the 11km MacRitchie trial and see animals including flying lemurs, owls, and long-tailed macaque monkeys live in their natural habitat.  See the beautiful reserve in a different light and canoe or kayak around the serene reservoir to end your day.

MacRitchie Nature Trail & Reservoir Park, MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Singapore 298717 

Top image: Cai Yixiong, via NParks.