For a country whose East and West borders span only a 40-minute ride with 5.8 million people in between, Singapore has done so much with so little. Yet with all its development, an eco-conscious quality of life has remained its priority. With its vast green spaces and careful sustainable practices, it’s no wonder they are known as the “City in a Garden”. We continue Part 2 of ‘Things to do off the beaten track in Singapore’ so you can book the next flight there and look forward to some of the best outdoor experiences this eco-friendly island city has to offer.
Source: Gallop Stable Pasir Ris
If you love getting up close and personal with animals, there’s more to Singapore than just the Singapore Zoo (which is fantastic as well, being the world’s best rainforest zoo). In fact, at the Gallop Stable Pasir Ris, you get to ride them! Specifically ponies in this case. This is probably the largest public riding centre in Singapore that’s open to anyone to ride. They also have a second stable at Bukit Timah. Leisurely riding sessions or lessons start at SGD45 for ages 3 and up, and you can even organise a customised camp or workshop for your group. For children who may not be keen on riding, they can spend time feeding little bunnies on the premises while their older siblings go for a safe gallop.
A favourite highlight among travellers and locals is East Coast Park. This is a long coastal area that stretches 185 hectare across with a 15 km running track. It’s a good place for simple outdoor activities on your holiday as you can jog to the pier or enjoy the sea breeze on a rented bicycle. If two wheels isn’t exciting enough for you, strap on your rollerblades or bring your skateboard to the Xtreme Skate Park that is further up the coast. There are also designated barbecue spots that require pre-booking or you can take your pick from the many restaurants along the coast. Don’t miss out on bringing your little ones to the amazing playground at Marine Cove either! It is a well-built outdoor play area where kids can burn off all their energy, and then some. Trust Singapore to know how to include the whole family in one place!
To complete your day in the East, there are a few notable places worth visiting just to fuel up on sugar. If you happen to be in the area, you have to visit Lek Lim Nonya Cake Confectionery. Its somewhat a relic in the charming neighbourhood of Bedok. Step back in time and whet your appetite for Peranakan cuisine by trying their assorted savoury kuehs (local desserts / pastries), handmade to perfection every afternoon. Then jump back to the present day and see what those flavours look and taste like in a modern form at Sinpopo Brand desserts. Their handcrafted cakes include local flavours such as pulut hitam, pandan kaya, durian, ondeh ondeh, and gula melaka. Yum!
Source: Forest Adventure
Seeing that we’ve still got your attention, there’s a high chance you do love the outdoors and maybe enjoy the occasional rush of adrenaline too. Challenge yourself to new heights at Singapore’s largest treetop adventure park, Forest Adventure at Bedok Reservoir Park. It's an amazing obstacle course with everything a flying squirrel wannabe could dream of. The Junior Course has 26 obstacles and two ziplines to conquer, including one that goes over water. Adults have almost double the fun with 44 obstacles and three exhilarating zip lines that cross over water. For a stunning view from almost 14 meters high try out the 300 meter long Big Zip! Prices range between SGD39 to SGD50.
There’s always something to look forward to in every pocket of green and Singapore’s central region is no exception. Take time to appreciate scenic views of the Macritchie Reservoir amidst lush greenery at the Macritchie TreeTop Walk. It takes about 1.5 hours one-way to get to the treetop walk which is a highlight of the Macritchie Trails, an 11 km trail loop that goes around the reservoir park. The walkway stretches for 250 meters and gives you a gorgeous view from 25 meters at its highest point. If walking is too slow an experience for you, rent a mountain bike and get zip through the forest on the Bukit Timah Mountain Bike Trail. There are a few bike rental shops in Bukit Timah such as Bikehaus where you can pick up a bike and probably get to know the nature-loving biking community there as well.
Source: Young Parents
One more highlight in the central region that is too precious to overlook is Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden at the north corner of Singapore Botanical Gardens. It was apparently the first children’s garden in Asia to be built with the intention of encouraging a love for nature among little ones. The garden features an orchard, a farm, and play areas in a forest that celebrates the simplicity of life in nature.
A farm experience might seem a little strange for a place like Singapore, but you’ll be surprised to know that there are up to 1,400 community gardens throughout the country. If it is your first time to Asia, this is the best way to learn about edible plants that are unique to this region. Evelyn Eng and Lim Tian Soo have been running this Green Circle Eco Farm since 1999, producing about 100 different edible plants. The name Green Circle reflects sustainable practices they adhere to, such as avoiding chemicals and using natural compost like tree leaves and rejected mung beans as plant fertilizers. To encourage an appreciation for environmental conservation and healthy eating, they also conduct tours where school children and visitors get hands-on farming experience. Just remember to book in advance!
On the Southern ridge of the island is another beautiful green area of Singapore, consisting of a few gardens and parks that are connected by a web of trails. You can start your journey from Mount Faber Park, to Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park, all the way to West Coast Park. Together they make up the Southern Ridges. It is also famous for hosting Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge, Henderson Waves. Its unique structure is covered in slats of all-weather wood, making it a favourite location to cycle, jog, or walk to get from one park to another. Our highlight is Hort Park, a knowledge centre for plant and gardening solutions featuring 21 different gardens within its compound. Every month, a Gardener’s Day Out is organised where you get to participate in interesting gardening activities and hopefully be inspired to pick up a new eco-friendly hobby!