Top 10 Outdoor Activities
Singapore is often referred to the as “Garden City”, and it won’t take long before you realise why – whilst economic development has been the priority ever since our independence, our government has made great effort in maintaining flora and fauna all across the island. There is a wide network of park connectors, national parks, and the ever popular Singapore Botanic Gardens and in recent years, the Gardens by the Bay attraction. You won’t be able to visit all these beautiful parks in a week, and some are easier to get to than others. If we had to pick where to go during a short stay, here’s our list. We’ve kept text to a minimum to keep things factual, and also because we’re really bad at making things sound interesting.
1. Gardens By The Bay
This is really a beautiful garden to visit, and even as locals, we find ourselves popping by this place ever so often, especially if you have kids. There’s always something new to see, and the wide open space and super trees make always make for a pleasant visit.
For starters, there is a Flower Dome flower conservatory, and a Cloud Forest conservatory. The flower dome is the largest greenhouse in the world, according to Guinness records 2015. The Flower Dome mimics the cool and dry climates of regions such as California, Spain, Italy, South Africa and other Mediterranean. As a local, we now get to see flowers from various parts of the world in one large conservatory, right here in Singapore.
The Cloud Forest conservatory on the other hand, showcases plants from the tropics and up to 2km above sea level. Here, you will find an indoor waterfall that’s shrouded in vegetation. And since the Flower Dome has a record, the Cloud Forest must also have a record – the water fall is the largest indoor one you can find – in the world.
You can easily spend 4 hours at the Gardens, walking and exploring its vast grounds. What you see in most pictures and postcards are the iconic Supertrees. These go up to 22 metres high, and there is a walk that connects two trees together. We’ve not taken that before, but you’ll probably get a pretty good view of the Bay area up there.
The Gardens by the Bay is an absolute must visit if you have to add the token outdoor activity. The conservatory’s are air-conditioned, by the way.
Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, 018953
2. Singapore Zoo
The Singapore Zoo has gotten a reputation for being one of the best in the world, according to Forbes. It has over 100 exhibits with wildlife from all 7 continents in the world -including polar bears, white bengal tigers, hippopotamuses, giraffes, lions, tigers, and anacondas.
I personally used to go to the zoo about 4 times a month when I was a kid – it is just that much fun if you’re an animal fan or can’t quite make the trip down for an African Safari.
Tourist pricing for food and beverage applies to the Zoo, so even a bottle of water would cost you a pretty penny. There are water fountains scattered across the zoo and it is safe to drink but if you really need to drink bottled water, we recommend you bring your own.
You would easily spend the entire afternoon at the zoo, and if you’re gung-ho, you can stay onto the evening for the Night Safari, that starts at 6pm.
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Rd, 729826
Hours: 730am to 6pm Daily
3. Night Safari
Another top thing to do if you have the time, is the Night Safari. If you don’t have the time in the day for a visit to the zoo, I highly recommend the Night Safari. The weather is cooler, you get to hop on and off a tram that takes you to the different exhibits, and you get to sit through a live animal show. The animals you get to see would naturally be nocturnal, compared to the ones you see in the Singapore Zoo (the zoo and night safari are at the same location).
If a night visit to the zoo is not your thing, and you don’t want to talk around too much to see animals, check out the River Safari.
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Rd, 729826
4. River Safari
This is the latest addition to the Singapore Zoo. The River Safari houses one of the world’s largest array of freshwater flora and fauna. There are over 6000 species housed, including the endangered and ever so rare – Giant Pandas.
You get to stroll along rivers that contain species from the largest river systems in the world. These include the Yangtze, Mississippi, Nile, Ganges, Congo, and Mekong.
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road, 729826
5. MacRitchie Nature Trail
One of our favourite and go-to places for a proper hike and workout. You can embark on a short nature trail through the tropical rainforest footpath for about 4km, or go through an entire 12km circuit. MacRitchie is Singapore’s oldest reservoir, and even if you just want to take things easy on an early morning, you can stroll along the boardwalk that flanks the reservoir for a very pleasant and serene experience.
If you’re more adventurous, you can explore and find your way to the Tree Tops Walk, a suspension bridge that is 25m above the ground, giving you a breathtaking view of the forest canopy. You will hardly get views like that in Singapore, where you can see as far as the eye can see.
For a proper outdoor trek and trail, this will probably be the best that you can find in Singapore.
MacRitchie Reservoir Park
Opens 24 hours
5. East Coast Park
The only proper beach that you’ll find on the mainland. East Coast Park stretches 15km along the South Eastern part of Singapore, and attracts up to 7 million visitors a year. It gets busy on the weekends, but there’s still plenty of space for you to walk, get in a serious 21km run, or hop on wheels and in-line skate, or ride a bike.
There are plenty of dining options and watering holes along the stretch of the park, so you could easily spend a mid afternoon trip there that will take you through to dinner. The park is a good getaway from the city, and is one of Singapore’s most popular outdoor attraction. Along the coast, you will see literally hundreds of commercial ships anchored out at sea, a result of Singapore’s maritime trade.
East Coast Park
Opens 24 hours
6. Singapore Botanic Gardens
One of our favoured free outdoor place to go, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is centrally located in the mid-western part of town. Did I forget to say that it is now a World UNESCO Heritage Site? It is open from 5am to midnight daily, so you don’t have to worry about opening hours. There are over 1200 species of Orchids, and over 10,000 species of flora inside the 82 hectare area that attracts about 4.5 million visitors a year.
Central location, free entry, great place for a stroll, picnic, or leisure run. If you prefer, you could just pop by for a cup of coffee or breakfast at one of the many restaurants inside.
Address: 1 Cluny Rd, Singapore 259569
7. Fort Canning Park
Deep in history, Fort Canning Park is a hill centrally located in Singapore, just at the city fringe. It was the first botanic gardens when Stamford Raffles first arrived in Singapore. It is also where he build his residence and the hill subsequently housed colonial governors.
The Fort hold historical significance dating back to World War II, and you will find old battle boxes, gates, cannons, and other military artefacts.
If you’re interested in Singapore’s history, particularly in WW2, this place is worth a visit and you’d probably spend 2-3 hours here.
Address: River Valley Rd, 179037
8. The Southern Ridges
Worth an entire morning’s walk, the Southern Ridges comprises of 10km of trails that connect 4 parks – Labrador Nature Reserve, Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill, Kentridge Park, and Hort Park.
The Henderson Waves bridge is a bridge that is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore at 36m above street level. The Canopy Walk is steeped in history and depicts some of WW2 pasts.
Next to the Botanic Gardens, this trail is worth a visit if you are living near the Southern parts of Singapore. Enjoy panoramic views of Singapore and the wide range of flora and fauna.
You would spend approximately 3-5 hours here if you complete the entire 10km trail.
The Southern Ridges
Address: Henderson Road, Southern Ridges, Bukit Merah, 159557
Hours: 24 hours Daily
9. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
As the name suggests, this area is a wetland in the northwestern part of Singapore. As a local, I only recently learnt that the wetland serves as a globally important stop-overs point for migratory birds in the region. The reserve has an area of 130 hectares, and is an ASEAN Heritage Park.
Here, you will find fish, mud lobsters, crabs, and mudskippers. If you’re lucky, you’d probably spot a Malayan monitor lizard as well.
Unlike the other parks, the wetland reserve is not centrally located and is best reserved as a destination place for nature lovers who won’t mind the travel.
Address: 301 Neo Tiew Cres, 718925
10. Punggol Waterway Park
The Punggol Waterway Park has a new 26km loop that connects 4 other parks. One loop around the Waterway Park itself is about 8km, whilst the entire connection consists of 12.25 hectare.s
You can inline skate, cycle, or run in this expansive park that contrast greenery and city living. This park is accessible via the Punggol MRT station, but in terms of location, we would say it is a destination place and is not your usual tourist attraction but is worth a visit if you had an extra half day to spare.
Address: Sentul Crescent Road, 822313
There you have it, our top picks of outdoor things to do in Singapore! If you’d like to stay indoors and shop instead, check out Top 5 Places to Shop in Singapore. For more suggestions on outdoor activities in Singapore, head back to our page on places to visit.