Going Green In Singapore: 4 Experiences To Escape The City Hustle
Rooftop gardens, lush parks and cloud forests. Go. Now!
For a city I once put in the ‘stopover-only’ bucket, Singapore has grown on me. Yes it’s still sweaty and hot (pretty much always), but the beauty of this city lies in its plentiful green spaces.
A city committed to “greening” itself, parts of Singapore engulf you in vertical and rooftop gardens, lush parks and heritage trees. Here are my four favourite nature-driven outings to help you get your green-fix.
#1 MacRitchie Reservoir Park
A local friend of mine recommended I visit MacRitchie Reservoir Park on my latest trip. I was told it was a “must see” so I was quick to jump in an Uber to make my way out to this incredible oasis of green one morning.
It was hard to believe that this beautiful nature park was just 15 minutes from the city centre. There were hiking trails that surrounded a large reservoir and the “Treetop Walk” (a 250-metre high suspension bridge that takes you high above the trees) was incredible.
A long-standing favourite among locals, people flock here in droves to get in touch with nature. MacRitchie is also home to native wildlife and biodiversity. You may even spot a monkey or two while exploring the rainforest.
MacRitchie makes for a lovely escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, and is highly recommended.
#2 Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore’s Botanic Gardens have been a significant part of the city’s landscape for more than 150 years and offer welcome reprieve from the fast-paced city.
The lush, expansive space is full of endless trails and interesting garden areas. The morning we visited, we saw yoga happening in one corner of the park, tai chi in another, and ladies enjoying tea and scones in another.
The gardens are so large you could easily get lost in there for hours. My favourite find of all was the delightful Healing Garden – a section of the gardens dedicated to a large variety of plants (over 400) renowned for medicinal and healing qualities.
#3 Gardens by the Bay
My greatest surprise on this trip was the discovery of Singapore’s spectacular Cloud Forest — an indoor botanic garden — located within the Gardens by the Bay. I’m normally one to avoid these kind of big-ticket attractions, but I went along (on my search for all things green) and was delighted by what I found.
The Cloud Forest is a mist-covered nature wonderland. It offers a mountain full of tropical plants and native flowers, a dream-like indoor waterfall (the world’s largest), and a sky-high walkway providing you with incredible ariel views over the entire conservatory. For a city attraction, it really is extraordinary.
#4 Sentosa Island
Sentosa Island is located off Singapore’s south coast and is an incredibly popular place for both locals and tourists, attracting a 20 million visitors each year. Easily accessible by cable car, ferry, bus or taxi you can be sitting on the island’s sandy shores sipping a margarita just minutes after leaving the city centre.
There are a few different beaches on the island, but my pick is definitely Tanjong, which is a lot quieter than others. On top of that, Tanjong is home to the very cool Tanjong Beach Club. Sitting pretty on its palm-fringed shores, the beach club is a great place to chill (especially mid-week) or party (their Sunday sessions are infamous).
The Sunday we visited, we sipped on cocktails (try the Tanjong Spritz), ate fresh seafood and burgers, and listened to deep house beats. The beach club’s design is also worth mentioning. Mid-century modern vibes meet plentiful timber and stone amidst a tropical backdrop.
Other green patches in the city:
Open Farm Community in Dempsey is a cafe that promotes local farming while connecting the community to nature. Surrounded by lots of lush green, this is a beautiful spot to chill over a healthy breakfast.
Employees Only is a hidden behind a pink neon sign flickering the word “Psychic”. It even has an older sibling in NYC. Great cocktails btw.
Punch is my favourite coffee spot in the city. It offers clean lines and a simple design aesthetic. Oh and then there’s excellent coffee, a small but perfectly curated food menu, and the friendly staff and service.
The Muslim Quarter’s Haji Lane for its cute, tiny boutiques and independent stores inside the laneway’s narrow shop-houses.
The Auriga Spa at Capella on Sentosa Island is good for those who enjoy deep-tissue massage. We recommend the lovely female therapist Seh.
Lloyd’s Inn is an industrial building in a quiet, hidden pocket of Singapore located not far from Orchard Road. The minimal aesthetic and concrete design is offset by the beautiful and lush green garden that envelops the hotel.