By Juls H.
On a trip back from Melbourne, I started to yearn for expansive, open spaces. Spaces where I could stretch and revel in the acres of green and unending sky – I opened my browser to book another air ticket but was reminded that my annual leave has ended. What’s an urban dweller in need of some space in this tiny island-state to do? Well, Singapore may be small, but it does have green spaces aplenty if you know where to look! Here are the best places to go for some fresh air and your best yoga poses:
1. The Botanic Gardens
Photo credit: Juls H.
Botanic Gardens is a newly awarded UNESCO heritage site and for good reason – it has a rich 150-year history behind it. The Gardens was started by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore and a keen naturalist, mainly to introduce into economic cultivation crop in 1822.
After a series of twists and turns with its usage (even becoming a zoo at one point!), it has evolved to become a national park with an array of botanical and horticultural attractions.
Ask the locals and there will be stories involving first dates and wedding photos. Indeed, a visit to the garden will slow time down as you see happy families eating brunch picnics on the green, or join the elderly folks in a good workout of the Chinese martial art taiji, a form of martial arts that focuses on breathing. It also boasts a herb garden and an orchard garden; a visit to either of these gardens will expand your knowledge of plants as the plants are displayed with a concise write-up.
The winding paths are dotted with park benches, and rainforest trees provide much-needed shade from the sunny weather in Singapore. A perfect way to spend your weekend would be a walking trail by the local guides.
2. Henderson Waves at Hortpark
Henderson Waves at Hort Park is a huge suspension bridge that cuts across the Southern Ridges, and so lured by the vision of open skies, I grudgingly hiked the Telok Blangah Hill just to get to the structure. The Southern Ridges is 10 km of green, open spaces that connect a few other parks together. A person can hike from the Southern Ridges to Vivocity shopping mall just by following the trail.
What appealed to me about the structures was the undulating, wave-like roof. The graceful arc is a shelter for hardworking hikers, and a panoramic view of the forest awaits those who manage to hike to the bridge. It is not that far away – the start of the trail at Hort Park to the structure itself takes only about 20 minutes.
Other highlights of the Southern Ridges include the Forest Walk and Canopy Walk – other bridges cutting through the Adinandra Belukar, a distinct type of secondary forest.
Photo credits: Pitturban Studies in Singapore
3. Kent Ridge Park
Kent Ridge Park is the park nearest to the National University of Singapore, but surprisingly, its unspoiled beauty is undisturbed by the students nearby. What that means is a walk underneath the forest canopy makes for a quiet, reflective moment.
Venturing down the path brings you to the Forest Walk, which is another trail deeper into the heart of the forest, but as I was with Mummy dearest, a stroll was all we could manage. The other end of Kent Ridge Park opens out to fitness stations, which is great for those who are looking to do their core exercises. In fact, some exercise groups run boot camps in Kent Ridge Park, making the park a good place to go for exercise bunnies and lazy amateurs like myself alike!
The other end of Kent Ridge Park
Photo Credit: Asia One
So if you are yearning to see greenery and feel refreshed, these are some of the places you must visit in Singapore. Of course, for a tiny, crowded island, I must say we have done a good job squeezing greenery in aesthetically pleasing arrangements but it sure doesn’t harm to visit bigger green places now and then to feel like you’re in another part of the world!
Pro tip: Visit for more information on the various parks and gardens in Singapore.