The Best Walks in Singapore: From the Forest to the City
Singapore crams a lot of variety into its tiny borders, and there is no better way to get to know this misunderstood country than to go for a walk. Check out this list of the best walks in Singapore, which pass by beaches, mangrove forests, historical districts, skyscrapers and a whole lot of trees.
The Southern Ridges
If you are looking for a walking trail in Singapore with plenty of variety then you should definitely check out the Southern Ridges. It starts at Harbourfront MRT station and takes you up the hill to Mt Faber Park, where you’ll find great views over some typical Singapore suburbs and Sentosa Island . You can then continue all the way to Kent Ridge Park, taking in a unique bridge (Henderson Waves) a treetop boardwalk and plenty of open space – an extremely accessible respite from the chaos of the city (and you might be lucky enough to see some monkeys!). This walk can be done in sections – with the whole trail coming in at around 10 km, which is pretty tough going in Singapore’s hot and humid conditions.
Further Reading: The Best Free Things to Do in Singapore
The Green Corridor
One of Singapore’s many quirks is that up until 2011 Malaysia owned the railway line that cut through the country. This “corridor” was one of the few places in mainland Singapore to survive the rapid development that transformed/consumed the landscape, and even though it has since been handed over to the Singapore government (Malaysia took its tracks back though) it retains its untamed charm. It’s a peaceful place to walk through, and even though you can often still hear traffic in the background, it really does feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. There are some bridges and abandoned railway stations to check out, but the biggest draw is definitely the wide open green spaces. The Green Corridor is best accessed near the old Bukit Timah Railway Station (I tried to get on it near Tanjong Pagar, close the centre of the city, but it was completely fenced off – the government makes it pretty tough to enjoy the Green Corridor and there is very little promotion around about it.) The whole corridor is around 26 kilometres, good luck completing that in one day though!
Further reading: Find out more about the Green Corridor and why it’s such a great Singapore success story.
Marina Bay to Robertson Quay: one of the best night walks in Singapore
Singapore has some stunning inner city scenery, the best of which can be seen on a walk down the river. You’ll see old colonial buildings surrounded by modern marvels of engineering, you’ll get to visit museums, bars, cafes and restaurants, and if you go at night you’ll see the mind-blowing site (if you’re from a small town) of immense skyscrapers lit up as far the eye can see. The whole journey takes an hour or 2 (depending on how many bars you stop at) and is one of my favourite walks in Singapore.
Macritchie Reservoir is a popular spot, but go there during the week and it’ll be extremely quiet. The reservoir itself is an attractive spot for a stroll, but venture a little further and you’ll find the unsettlingly high tree top walk. Those with a fear of heights might be better to stay on the ground, but it’s an experience I definitely recommend. I also saw monkeys up there, which is always a bonus! There is a pretty decent hawker centre style restaurant by the reservoir, and from there it’s around 6 km to the treetop walk.
Pasir Ris Park to Tampines Eco Green/Sun Plaza Park
Not many tourists (or expats) do this walk, but it’s definitely worth an hour or so of your time. Pasir Ris Park has a decent beach and a small boardwalk over a mangrove forest, but if you keep walking you’ll get right into heartland suburban Singapore. You’ll pass a prawn pond (you can pay a fee and catch them yourself) and lots of public housing buildings until you eventually reach Tampines Eco Green – a great place to surround yourself in nature. I saw a few birds and monitor lizards and also got caught in a torrential downpour, it was still fun though.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
If you want to get out into some proper wilderness in Singapore, this is one of the best options. The road leading to the wetland reserve actually houses farms (tiny ones compared to most countries, but they are still farms!), and is about as far away from the city as you can get. You can see Malaysia in the background, and if you’re really lucky you might even see a crocodile. I wrote a full post about Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve which you can read here.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
This is the highest natural point in Singapore, but don’t go hoping for an amazing view as you’ll be very disappointed (the most interesting thing I saw at the top was a sign saying you’ll be shot if you go to the restricted area). It’s still a nice walk though, and there are plenty of other trails in the nature reserve. Be careful if you decide to walk on one of the mountain biking paths like I did – cyclists go pretty fast and it can be treacherous at times. You can also walk to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve from Macritchie Reservoir (it’s about another 6 km past the treetop walk).
Perhaps more famous for cycling, Pulau Ubin is also one of the best walks in Singapore. It’s quite a big island and you’ll struggle to see it all in one day, but there are a few highlights that you shouldn’t miss. There are some strange coloured lakes (the remnants of the quarries that used to dominate the island), a coastal boardwalk, wild pigs and some you’d expect to see in Indonesia or the Philippines, not Singapore! Read a full post on Pulau Ubin here.
If you’re after beaches but can’t be bothered going to Thailand, Cambodia or the Philippines, then head to Sentosa Island where you’ll get a convincing simulation. The beaches are nice (even though they are man-made) and there are plenty of other activities on the island, including a theme park, aquarium and indoor skydiving. The walk between the 3 main beaches (Siliso, Palawan and Tanjong) is great, and if you’re there at night consider walking back to Vivo City Mall/Harbourfront MRT instead of taking the train.
Historical districts in Singapore
Singapore has 3 main historical districts; Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam. Kampong Glam (the old Arab quarter) is my favourite, but if you’ve got time you can walk around them all as they are pretty close to each other. Read a full post on Singapore’s historical districts here.
If you’re spending some time in Singapore then you should definitely check out some of these walks – you’ll get to see areas of the country you’d never expect to see, and you’ll burn some calories in the humid conditions.
Have you been on any walks in Singapore? What was your favourite, or which one would you like to try? Let me know!