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Singapore view through trees

Jungle in the city

In Singapore you're never far away from a park or nature reserve. We share some of our favourite green spaces in the city

Photographs by Isabel Bunting

The Southern Ridges is one of the best areas in Singapore to escape the city streets and get a taste of the jungle. Four parks – Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark and Kent Ridge Park – are linked by a series of paths, offering some 10km of marked trails through green spaces. There's plenty to see, with an abundance of wildlife, plant life – and some fantastic views across the city.

pink flower, Singapore
fern, Singapore
Bird of paradise flower, Singapore

Meandering back down to ground level, you emerge at HortPark – a nine-hectare showcase of different themed gardens that's enjoyable for a wander. Amongst the displays there's a butterfly garden, edible garden and water garden – and don't miss the Floral Walk, a 300m path lined with colourful blooms. If your little ones still have any energy after all that walking, there's also a children's playground.

The Canopy Walk at Kent Ridge Park is one of these trails. An elevated walkway, it winds high up through the tree canopy. If you're lucky you may spot monkeys – signs warn against feeding them – and you'll almost certainly spot a selection of birds such as sunbird, racket-tailed drongo and white-crested laughing thrush.

Along the way you'll find yourself surrounded by lush vegetation, insect noise and birdsong. The only reminder that there's a bustling city close by is the intermittent glimpses, through the trees, of some of the city's skyscrapers.

Canopy Walk, Kent Ridge Park, Singapore
View of Singapore skyscrapers

Other highlights along the Southern Ridges include the Henderson Waves – a spectacular structure, the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, that connects Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park – and the Singing Forest. Created in 2010 to enhance biodiversity in the region, the Singing Forest features a collection of 38 different native trees species that are particularly attractive to a wide variety of birds, providing food, shelter and nesting sites.

purple flower, Singapore
pink flowers, Singapore
flower, Singapore
leaf, Singapore
white-crested laughing thrush, Singapore

Above: white-crested laughing thrush

For the energetic there's also Mount Faber Peak, the highest point in the Southern Ridges. If you can't face the climb to the top, take the cable car from HarbourFront. Either way, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views across Singapore.

racket-tailed drongo, Singapore
don't feed the monkeys
flowers, Singapore

Above, from left: racket-tailed drongo; don't feed the monkeys; flowers in HortPark

Three more green spaces to explore in Singapore

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

A nature reserve in the north of Singapore that's home to around 140 bird species including kingfishers, herons and bitterns. From September to March, visiting migratory birds can also be seen. Also look out for butterflies, otters and monitor lizards.

Find out more...

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Walk through a tunnel of Curtain Ivy, explore the rainforest or sit and dream alongside Swan Lake in these beautifully designed, tranquil gardens. There are also over 1,000 species of orchid to admire – and for a rich variety of biodiversity in a natural setting, check out the Eco Garden and Eco Lake.

Find out more...

MacRitchie Reservoir Park

Walking trails wind through this 12-hectare green space bordering Singapore's oldest reservoir. Try a hike along the MacRitchie Trails, an 11km nature trail loop through tropical rainforest – including a tree-top walk over a 250m suspension bridge. Look out for long-tailed macaque monkeys, squirrels and monitor lizards, as well as plenty of birds.

Find out more...

Green Adventures June 2016

Singapore nature reserves