We let you in on tranquil green spaces around town for some alone time with nature.
When it comes to hanging out with Mother Nature, we all have our go-to parks, gardens, beaches and offshore islands. Embarking on a fitness journey? We’ve got the best nature trails in Singapore covered. Needless to say, we’re doing pretty well living up to our Garden City title. But if you’re on the hunt for something off the beaten track, we’ve uncovered the lesser-known secret parks and hidden gardens around the city for your mid-day breather. Grab a sandwich and let’s go explore!
Secret parks and hidden gardens in Singapore
Telok Blangah Hill Park
Unlike the pocket parks on this list, the one at Telok Blangah is huge. It’s part of the Southern Ridges, which also includes Mount Faber Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve. You can dive into the elevated trek at Forest Walk for something more rugged, or check out Henderson Waves to admire the city skyline from up high. Another great place for photo-taking: The Terrace Garden, which boasts 360-degree sights of the island.
Telok Blangah Hill Park, enter via Henderson Road.
Thomson Nature Park
Neighbouring Springleaf and Windsor Nature Parks, this lovely green space on the edge of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve takes over the site of a former Hainan Village. Five trails wind around the village’s road network, so you can kick off your adventure with a glimpse into the kampung life of the past, with conserved ruins and freshwater habitats co-existing in the secret park. Oh, and sharp eyes will be able to spot a few rare and endangered animals, including the Raffles’ Banded Langur.
Thomson Nature Park, enter off Old Upper Thomson Road.
Tampines Eco Green
Here’s where you can do a spot of bird watching and look out for butterflies and dragonflies flitting across the grass. With features like green roofs, bird hides, an eco-toilet and furniture made from recycled materials, the scenic park is an environmentally-friendly one. It’s home to open grasslands, freshwater ponds and a rainforest, padded with hiking trails that weave through the beauty of nature.
Tampines Eco Green, enter via Tampines Avenue 9 and Tampines Avenue 12.
Duxton Plain Park
Facing the back of shophouse rows, this secret park is a narrow and curved one nestled in the Chinatown precinct near The [email protected] It follows along a former railway line, providing a serene space for anyone to stroll through. With birds and the occasional chicken wandering around, it presents quite a different scene from the buzzing Keong Saik Road nearby. Visitors will also pass by a mysterious Muslim shrine, which is believed to be dedicated to Sharifah Rogayah, the granddaughter of Habib Noh, Singapore’s most famed Muslim holy man.
Duxton Plain Park, enter via New Bridge Road, Neil Road, Kreta Ayer Road or Yan Kit Road.
National Gallery Singapore rooftop
Surely you must have some deep thoughts after looking at all those Southeast Asian artworks? Pop over to the rooftop deck of the National Gallery and take a breather in the sprawling 3,000 sqm area. You’ll be luxuriating in the serenity of the space with its lush walls and reflecting pool while overlooking the hustle and bustle of the Civic District.
National Gallery Singapore, 1 Saint Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957
Yishun Pond Park
Don’t judge this infamous neighbourhood by its eccentric nature. Instead, pay a visit to one of its many green spaces and get lost in the hidden garden of Yishun Pond Park. The area is teeming with flora and fauna, home to birds, marshland plants and an abundance of towering trees. For a bird’s eye view of the landscape, make your way up the spiral tower and get your camera ready.
Yishun Pond Park, enter via Yishun Central, in front of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
Labrador Nature and Coastal Walk
This one’s a route that leads you from Alexandra Garden Trail to Berlayer Creek mangrove trail to Bukit Chermin Boardwalk. Along the way, you’ll pass by thick vegetation, endangered plants and native wildlife, including numerous bird species. Pause for a couple of minutes to enjoy the quiet of Berlayer Creek mangrove and keep an eye out for the Giant Mudskipper (one of the largest of its kind in the world) or the Oriental Dollarbird.
Labrador Nature and Coastal Walk, entrances near Labrador Park MRT station and HarbourFront MRT station
Ann Siang Hill Park
Explore the vibrant Ann Siang area and take your time to admire the colourful shophouses on display. They’re home to a good mix of cool boutiques, antique shops and popular restaurants. For a quiet respite, climb up to Ann Siang Hill Park, located at the end of Ann Siang Road. Amidst the hidden garden, you’ll enjoy a view of conservation shophouses contrasted with a backdrop of modern high-rise buildings.
Ann Siang Hill Park, enter via Ann Siang Road, Ann Siang Hill or Amoy Street.
Woodlands Waterfront Park
This peaceful coastal park beckons visitors with scenic vistas of the glittering waters. Head up to one of its peak lookout points along the picturesque trail or stroll along the 1.5km-long waterfront promenade while watching the sun set. Families can also enjoy the park’s playground and cycling tracks, or explore further by trekking through the 25km Northern Explorer Loop to check out Admiralty Park.
Woodlands Waterfront Park, Admiralty Road West
Telok Ayer Park
Located in Singapore’s busy Central Business District, Telok Ayer Park sits at the intersection of the Telok Ayer heritage ‘hood. Shaded by verdant plants and giant ferns, it’s a perfect hideaway for the CBD worker who wants a change of scenery. With swings, leafy trees, fab hawker stalls and cool cafes around to grab a bite, it’s basically lunchtime bliss.
Telok Ayer Park, enter via Maxwell Road, Cecil Street or Telok Ayer Street.
Zhenghua Nature Park
This secret park in Bukit Panjang borders the Central Catchment Nature Reserve as a green buffer. It’s an idyllic spot for families to enjoy a day out in the sun, with jogging and cycling tracks, a play area for the little ones and an exercise station. Animal enthusiasts and bird-watchers will be pleased to know that squirrels and long-tailed macaques are commonly sighted in the park.
Zhenghua Nature Park, bounded by Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE), BKE Slip Road to Kranji Expressway (KJE) and Dairy Farm Road.
Orchard Central Roof Garden
Besides housing fancy malls great for retail therapy, the iconic shopping stretch of Singapore is also home to one of the more unexpected hidden gardens in the city. And it’s just sitting atop Orchard Central. Tucked away on the 11th and 12th floors of the mall, the enchanting Roof Garden overlooks Orchard Road. Sitting amongst a display of visual art and dining spots are wild blooms, reflective ponds and beautiful green walls for a tranquil experience.
Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238896
Pearl’s Hill City Park
The Chinatown city park, which surrounds a reservoir on top of Pearl’s Hill Terrace, is quite the hidden oasis of peace and serenity. Located behind Outram Park MRT Station, it’s a short trek to the top of the hill where you can relax in the wooded ambience and take in the lotus plants, pond and occasional squirrel sightings.
Pearl’s Hill City Park, enter via Chin Swee Road or Pearl’s Hill Road.
Telok Ayer Green
Check out the hidden garden flanked by two heritage buildings: Thian Hock Keng Temple and Nagore Durgha Shrine. It serves as a quick retreat for office workers during lunchtime, or for tourists seeking refuge from the busy streets to rest and relax. The space also has symbolic historical significance – its design takes after the contours of the original shoreline. Oh, and look out for a set of sculptures: A sampan (wooden boat) used to ferry goods, an Indian milk trader and a Chinese lantern procession to represent the trade and way of life in the early days of Singapore.
Telok Ayer Green, enter via Amoy Street, Boon Tat Street or Telok Ayer Street.
This one’s sitting in plain sight, but when’s the last time you paid it a visit? While access to the Istana grounds and its lush gardens are limited to public holidays, the park opposite the giant gates is open all day, every day. Lined with rows of tropical plants, its centrepiece is a 26m-long Festival Arch towering over the reflecting pool. Keep an eye out for the monthly changing of the guard ceremony at the Istana, which you can view from here.
Istana Park, enter via Orchard Road, Penang Road, Penang Lane and Buyong Road.