GARDENS AND PARKS IN SINGAPORE
Speakers Corner (Hong Lim Park, off New Bridge Road, near Clarke’s Quay) is set up to be a place where ostensibly anyone can stand on a soap box and speak their mind about issues of the day. Set up in 2000 and based loosely on the free-speech area of London's Hyde Park, the park is open everyday from 7:00am to 7:00pm and is an area set aside by the Singaporean government for demonstrations — which are rare in Singapore — and performances and exhibitions. Some days few speakers show up. The venue has seen a rising number of protests following a relaxing of rules in 2008. Two rallies against the government's immigration policy held in early 2013 attracted crowds of over 5,000, making them the biggest protests in decades. A gay pride rally has been held since 2009 under stringent public assembly laws. In 2017, during the gay pride rally, Speakers’ Corner was barricaded and participants had to show ID to prove they were citizens or permanent residents before they could enter, with a set maximum taking part.
Fort Canning Park covers 18 hectares and is located in the heart of the city on a hill overlooking the business district. Nearby is UE Square designed by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. Chinese and Japanese Gardens on Yuan Ching Road in Jurong features pagodas, arched bridges and wonderfully laid out gardens in the style of the countries it was named after.
Chinese Garden (East Juring) featured northern Chinese imperial style of landscaping and architecture and was designed by renowned Taiwanese architect Yuen-Chen Yu. Rising from the cultivated gardens are majestic pagodas, it is built to integrate and to be in harmony with the natural environment. A must-see is the Suzhou-style Bonsai Garden, built using 1,000 bonsai trees imported from China. The gardens are connected to the nearby Japanese Garden by the “Pai Hung Ch'iao” or “White Rainbow Bridge”, built in the style of the 17-Arch Bridge at the Summer Palace in Beijing. Hours and Days Open: Daily 6:00am - 11:00pm; Website: Admission Fee: Free admission , Tel: (65) 6261 3632. Nearest MRT Station: Chinese Garden MRT station (EW25) is an above-ground Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station on the East West Line in Jurong East, Singapore.
Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum (in the Chinese Garden) is a turtle and tortoise sanctuary started off as family pets of the owners, the father-daughter duo Danny and Connie Tan. Since its humble beginnings, the museum is now home to more than 1,000 turles and tortoises from 58 species, including playful pig-nosed turtles, terrapins, large tortoises, and even feisty alligator snapping turtles. Hours and Days Open: Daily, including Public Holidays 9:00am to 6:00pm; Website: http://www.turtle-tortoise.com General Admission: Adults: S$5.00 Children(under 6 years): S$3.00 Senior Citizen (Above60 years old): S$3.00; Address: 1 Chinese Garden Road, Tel: +65 6268 5363 Nearest MRT Station:
Bukit Batok Memorial Site (on Lorong Sesuai) is popular with nature lovers, families and runners. There are meandering paths and a 10-story-high hill that provide breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. Developed on a site of an abandoned quarry, you’ll also find a picturesque pond near the entrance of the park at the foot of a high cliff wall –– a relic of when it was a quarry. It was also the site of two war memorials built by the Japanese to honour their dead soldiers. These memorials were destroyed. All that remains are two pillars and 120 concrete steps leading to a transmission tower. Hours and Days Open: Daily 7:00pm - 7:00am (lighted hours); Website: http://www.nparks.gov.sg; Admission Fee: Free admission. Nearest MRT Station: Bukit Batok MRT station (NS2) is an above-ground Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station on the North South Line in Bukit Batok, Singapore.
Kusu Island (five kilometers by boat from downtown Singapore by boat) holds an annual pilgrimage that honors a legendary turtle that it is said to have made it possible for the Chinese and Malays to live harmoniously on Singapore. According to legend a turtle saved a Malay and Chinese sailor and then turned itself into the island. Taoist pilgrims visit the Tua Peking Temple. Muslim Malays visit the Muslim kranat, or hermit’s shrine. When the pilgrimage is not happening Kusu is very quiet. There is a nice beach with the Singapore skyline visible in the distance. There a couple of turtle ponds with cement turtles that recall the legend. Pulau Ubin is a small island north of the airport known for ist mangrove swamps.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay (on Marina Bay, five-minute walk from downtown Singapore) is an award-winning horticultural attraction that houses over 250 thousand rare plants and covers 101 hectares. The Gardens comprises three spaces—Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central. From the waterfront promenade, enjoy an amazing view of the Marina Bay financial district skyline. The grounds are perfect for an evening stroll and a picnic with loved ones.
Bay South — the largest waterfront garden — is where you’ll find the impressive Supertrees. These 16-storey-tall vertical gardens collect rainwater, generate solar power and act as venting ducts for the park’s conservatories. A suspended 128-meter-long walkway between two Supertrees, the OCBC Skyway, is perfect for walks at any hour, offering a bird’s eye view of the Gardens and the Marina Bay urban area. At Bay East, there are pretty pavilions, lush lawns, tropical palm trees and natural blossoms, ideal for an evening stroll or a picnic with family and friends. Along its two-kilometer waterfront promenade, you can get an amazing view of the skyline.
For a reprieve from the tropical heat (and a taste of the Mediterranean climate), head to Flower Dome, the cooled conservatory complex, which won the World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival 2012. There, you can study plant species from around the world such as baobabs and date palms. After the sun sets, don’t miss the sky show of dazzling lights and sounds in the OCBC Garden Rhapsody, which takes place nightly amidst the Supertrees. It’ll make a wonderful ending to a day out in the Gardens.; Website: www.gardensbythebay.com.sg
Rosemary McClure wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “They call Singapore's Gardens by the Bay a world of wonders. And the "supertrees" found there definitely fit that description.The city-state, sometimes called Garden City because of the abundance of trees planted along its avenues, raised the bar a few years ago when it added colossal, solar-powered supertrees to its skyline. The mechanical trees, erected by the National Parks Board, are unique. Eighteen man-made trees make up the forest, soaring to heights of 82 to 160 feet. All are part of the 250-acre Gardens by the Bay landscaping project. Singapore calls the trees vertical gardens, but their real purpose is to generate solar power, act as venting ducts and collect rainwater. [Source: Rosemary McClure, Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2016]
“The supertrees might be the most visible aspect of Gardens by the Bay, but they're not the key attractions. Two huge, air-conditioned conservatories are the main draw here, places where visitors can escape Singapore's steamy heat. You can walk among 1,000-year-old olive trees and other Mediterranean-climate plants in the Flower Dome or hike to the top of a 115-foot-tall waterfall amid ferns, orchids and other rainforest plants in the Cloud Forest. It might be hot outside, but it's cool inside the domed conservatories. Address: 18 Marina Gardens Drive Nearest MRT Station: Gardens by the Bay MRT station is a future underground Mass Rapid Transit station on the Thomson-East Coast Line. It is the nearest MRT station to Gardens by the Bay and Marina Barrage.
Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay
Supertree Grove (in Gardens by the Bay) is a vertical garden with towering trees and large canopies. Measuring between 25 and 50 meters (82 to 160 feet) tall, they bloom amidst an exciting display of lights and sounds at night. Erected by the National Parks Board, the 18 mechanical trees are solar-powered. Singapore calls the trees vertical gardens, but their real purpose is to generate solar power, act as venting ducts, collect rainwater, provide shading and work as environmental engines for the gardens.
The Supertrees were conceived and designed by Grant Associates, with the imaginative engineering of Atelier One and Atelier Ten. They are home to groups of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids and also a vast collection of bromeliads such as Tillandsia, amongst other plants. They are fitted with environmental technologies that mimic the ecological function of trees: photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy which can be used for some of the functions of the Supertrees (such as lighting), similar to how trees photosynthesize, and collection of rainwater for use in irrigation and fountain displays, similar to how trees absorb rainwater for growth. The Supertrees also serve air intake and exhaust functions as part of the conservatories' cooling systems. [Source: Wikipedia]
There is an elevated walkway, the OCBC Skyway, between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a panoramic aerial view of the Gardens. Every night, at 7:45pm and 8:45pm, the Supertree Grove comes alive with a coordinated light and music show known as the Garden Rhapsody. The accompanying music to the show changes every month or so, with certain themes such as A World of Wonder and A Night of Musical Theatre, which features excerpts/pieces from films like Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean. Nearest MRT Station: Gardens by the Bay MRT
Flower Dome at at Gardens by the Bay
The Flower Dome is a gigantic air-conditioned glass greenhouse that has themed gardens with many exotic plants and rare flora. Named the World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival 2012, this futuristic greenhouse houses a changing display of different types of flowers, plants, and trees in the Mediterranean and semi-arid regions. It is one of the most visited attractions of Singapore.
The climate inside the Flower Dome is a replica of the cool dry Mediterranean climate. Flowers from various parts of the world like South Africa, Central Chile, California, South West Australia and Mediterranean basin, are grown inside, Particularly fascinating is the thematic flower field display designed by award-winning guest designer Kazuyuki Ishihara. Among the more interesting trees are African baobabs, surrounded by fascinating succulents. At night, the Flower Dome is bathed in glittering lights,
List in Guinness World Records, “Flower Dome is the largest glass greenhouse in the world, built with 3,332 glass panels in 42 different shapes and with a capacity for 1,000 people. Berenice García wrote in DINK Travelers: “This enclosure shelters a great variety of flowers and plants from all over the world, from dry to Mediterranean climates. It is divided in 8 beautiful gardens, so the visit is truly a wonderful experience. The amazing visual spectacle full of colors and shapes will make you reflect on the importance of taking care of the planet and preserving the species of flowers that constitute the world´s natural heritage. [Source: Berenice García, DINK Travelers, February 9, 2018]
We recommend you to take a light sweater with you. The Flower Dome has a special climate control for the preservation of the species, so the temperature is a little cold (as opposed to Singapore´s usual weather). Take at least half a day for your visit and enjoy the Flower Dome´s wonderful festival of natural colors. In the afternoon, discover other attractions at Gardens by the Bay and, once the evening hits, enjoy the view of the bay and the illuminated sculptures from above at the Supertree Grove. Operating Hours: 9.00am - 9.00pm daily, Last ticket sale: 8.00pm, Last admission: 8.00pmm Peak hours are from 4.00pm - 7.00pm daily, Longer waiting time may be experienced. Admission: Standard Rate for both Flower Dome and Cloud Forest: Adult: $28; Child (3-12 years old): $15. Nearest MRT Station: Gardens by the Bay MRT
Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay
The Cloud Forest (connected to the Flower Dome) attempts to replicate a tropical cloud forest in a greenhouse. It has a tall waterfall amid the soaring vegetation and is located in an extension of the glass and steel Flower Dome. Inside, you will a find a 35-meter high roller coaster covered by a manmade mantle of vegetation and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, both veiled in mist. You will discover the flora that grows in Malaysia´s Mount Kinabalu and in other parts of South America and Africa.
The Cloud Forest is higher but slightly smaller at 0.8 hectares (2.0 acres) than the Flower Dome. It replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions between 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) and 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) above sea level, found in South-East Asia, Middle- and South America. It features a 42-metre (138 ft) "Cloud Mountain", accessible by an elevator, and visitors will be able to descend the mountain via a circular path where a 35-metre (115 ft) waterfall provides visitors with refreshing cool air. [Source: Wikipedia]
The "Cloud Mountain" itself is an intricate structure completely clad in epiphytes such as orchids, ferns, peacock ferns, spike- and clubmosses, bromeliads and anthuriums. The design by Grant Associates was inspired by the Maiden Hair Fungus and consists of a number of levels, each with a different theme, including The Lost World, The Cavern, The Waterfall View, The Crystal Mountain, The Cloud Forest Gallery, The Cloud Forest Theatre and The Secret Garden.
Operating Hours: 9.00am - 9.00pm daily, Last ticket sale: 8.00pm, Last admission: 8.00pmm Peak hours are from 4.00pm - 7.00pm daily, Longer waiting time may be experienced. Admission: Standard Rate for both Flower Dome and Cloud Forest: Adult: $28; Child (3-12 years old): $15. Nearest MRT Station: Gardens by the Bay MRT
Singapore Botanical Gardens
Singapore Botanical Gardens (Napier and Cluny Roads) is spread out over 74 acres and features a rain forest section, 200 varieties of shrubs, flowers and trees and orchid pavilion with 3,000 varieties of orchids, including rare orchid hybrids. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015, Singapore’s first and only, such site, it was established in 1859 by the British and is a center of research and experimentations as well as place for visitor to enjoy flowers and plants. The garden was the home of the first rubber tree in Southeast Asia. It was smuggled into Singapore from Brazil in 1877. Black swans float on a tranquil lake. The trails are lit and the garden is open to midnight.
Rosemary McClure wrote in the Los Angeles Times: The gardens “were landscaped in an English style and resemble British pleasure gardens and parks. This layout has survived the passage of time, and the park is also dotted with many historical buildings. The most colorful part of the park is the National Orchid Garden, which has more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids on display. One-of-a-kind orchids are named after visiting dignitaries and celebrities who have contributed to society, so you may see famous names on garden markers, such as the William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as special guests such as South Africa’s late President Nelson Mandela and celebrities such as actor Jackie Chan. [Source: Rosemary McClure, Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2016]
According to UNESCO: “Situated at the heart of the city of Singapore, the site demonstrates the evolution of a British tropical colonial botanic garden that has become a modern world-class scientific institution used for both conservation and education. The cultural landscape includes a rich variety of historic features, plantings and buildings that demonstrate the development of the garden since its creation in 1859. It has been an important centre for science, research and plant conservation, notably in connection with the cultivation of rubber plantations, in Southeast Asia since 1875. [Source: UNESCO]
“The Singapore Botanic Gardens is situated at the heart of the city of Singapore and demonstrates the evolution of a British tropical colonial botanic garden from a ‘Pleasure Garden’ in the English Landscape Style, to a colonial Economic Garden with facilities for horticultural and botanical research, to a modern and world-class botanic garden, scientific institution and place of conservation, recreation and education. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a well-defined cultural landscape which includes a rich variety of historic landscape features, plantings and buildings that clearly demonstrate the evolution of the Botanic Gardens since its establishment in 1859. Through its well-preserved landscape design and continuity of purpose, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is an outstanding example of a British tropical botanic garden which has also played a key role in advances in scientific knowledge, particularly in the fields of tropical botany and horticulture, including the development of plantation rubber.
“The Singapore Botanic Gardens has been a centre for plant research in Southeast Asia since the 19th century, contributing significantly to the expansion of plantation rubber in the 20th century, and continues to play a leading role in the exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise in tropical botany and horticultural sciences. While the Kew Botanic Gardens (United Kingdom) provided the initial seedlings, the Singapore Botanic Gardens provided the conditions for their planting, development and distribution throughout much of Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Hours, Days and Admission Fees: The Singapore Botanic Gardens are open daily from 5:00am to midnight. It cost nothing to enter. National Orchid Garden – arguable the best part of the park — is open from 8:30am to 7:00pm and charges SG$5 (about $3.75) admission fee for adults. Nearest MRT Station: Botanic Gardens MRT station (CC19/DT9) is an underground Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) interchange station on the Downtown Line and Circle Line in Tanglin, Singapore. The station is located at the northwestern corner of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, where it was named after. It is the nearest MRT station to the Bukit Timah campus of the National University of Singapore.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve: a Sliver of Rain Forest in Singapore
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve(Upper Bukit Road, 10 kilometers from the city center) is one of only two city primary rain forest parks in the world (the other is in Rio de Janeiro). It covers 3,043 hectares and features a network of well-organized hiking trails. In the middle of the park is Singapore's highest point (162.5-meter Bukit Timah Hill). On the walking trails, visitors can see exotic birds, butterflies, long-tailed macaques, flying squirrels, mouse deer, reticulated pythons, venomous green Malayan coral snakes and other wildlife. There are photo displays and exhibits about the rain forest in the visitors center. The names of some the trees and plants on the hiking routes are presented on little signs by the trees.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has been left mostly undisturbed; despite the progress and development that has transformed much of Singapore. It is home to more than 500 species of animals and over 840 flowering plants. It embraces Hindhede Nature Park, a former quarrying site abandoned in the mid-1900s. Rock-climbing activities, biking trails outside the reserve and guided tours are also available. To protect the forest’s native biodiversity, certain activities are prohibited within the nature reserve – such as hiking in groups of more than 30 without a permit or the feeding of animals. So if you’re planning a trip here, it’s best to come in smaller groups to enjoy the park in a more personalized proximity.[Source: yoursingapore.com, Singapore Tourism Board]
Mark Jacobson wrote in National Geographic: “On my last day, I climbed the hill in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, at 537 feet the highest point on the island and the closest thing in Singapore to the jungle it once was. When I got to the top of the hill, I thought I might be rewarded with a view of the entire city-state. But there was no view at all—only a rusting communication tower and a cyclone fence affixed with a sign saying "Protected Place" and showing a stick figure drawing of a soldier aiming a rifle at a man with his hands raised.” [Source: Mark Jacobson, National Geographic, January 2010] Hours and Days Open: Daily 6:00am - 7:00pm; For visitor information, contact: National Parks Board Headquarters 1 Cluny Road Singapore 259569. Tel: (65)-6471-7808 www.nparks.gov.sg Website: http://www.nparks.gov.sg; Admission Fee: Free admission; Nearest MRT Station: MRT: Beauty World MRT Station, take Exit A.
History of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Jamie James wrote in Natural History magazine: “In 1819 the English administrator and naturalist Thomas Stamford Raffles landed on what is now Singapore's main island, with a mandate to establish a colonial port. He found a population of about 150 Malay inhabitants and a tropical rainforest edged by pestilential swamps. Commerce and rubber planting soon transformed Singapore into one of the most profitable jewels in the crown of the British Empire. Today it is an independent nation of 4.1 million people and skyscrapers that soar from its city center. [Source: Jamie James, Natural History magazine, April 2004]
“Only a few slivers of rainforest survive within the 246 square miles of the main island. One such area is Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, which ranges across the highest hill (533 feet) in the interior. Although the reserve covers little more than 400 acres, its value to naturalists can only grow, as developing nations in Southeast Asia rapidly clear-cut their virgin forests. In the Malay language bukit timah means "tin hill." The hill (bukit) is made of granite, however, so it's a good guess that the original name was Bukit Temak: temak is Malay for a species of gigantic Slwrea tree, and someone may have applied that name loosely to the related species that grow on the hill. Part of the hill's claim to fame is that the English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace began his historic study of Malay flora and fauna in and around it in 1854. He stayed at a Jesuit mission surrounded by logging camps, where, in just two months, he collected 700 species of beetle. He attributed his phenomenal success to the loggers, who left behind heaps of sawdust and rotting wood detritus that provided the insects with a veritable banquet.
“The principal danger Wallace faced during his sojourn there was from tigers. As he wrote in his classic account The Malay Arcliipelago,"It was rather nervous work hunting for insects among the fallen trunks and old sawpits, when one of these savage animals might be lurking close by, waiting an opportunity to spring upon us." Almost as treacherous were the tiger traps, pits dug fifteen to twenty feet deep, which dotted the island.
“According to Richard T. Corlett, an ecologist at Hong Kong University who has investigated the history of the reserve, Bukit Timah was probably subject to a degree of logging, as Wallace's writings imply, but it has been under some form of protection since at least 1848. That is not to say the forest has enjoyed uninterrupted tranquility. In 1942 the hill was on the front line of the battle for Singapore, one of the worst British defeats of the Second World War. The Japanese occupiers respected the reserve, however, bringing in Kwan Koriba, a botanist from Kyoto University, to oversee the island's parks. Some caves near the peak of Bukit Timah, which served as military depots during the war, are now grated over and offer safe roosts for bats.
“The skirmishes at Bukit Timah since the war have been disputes about encroaching development. In 1986 a major highway was completed along the reserve's eastern perimeter, separating the area from the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, where the major remaining rainforest of Singapore lies. And granite quarrying nearby — another bone of contention — did not cease until the late 1980s.”
Animals and Plants in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Jamie James wrote in Natural History magazine: “In 1967, in their book The Theory of Island Biogeography, the ecologist Robert H. MacArthur and the biologist Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University proposed that the degree of biodiversity surviving in an island ecology is a function of the area of the island and its distance from the source of immigrating species. Those principles have been tested and confirmed for artificially created islands of primary habitat, as well as for landmasses actually surrounded by water. The rule of thumb is that an island reduced to one-tenth its original size will lose half its species. By that standard, Bukit Timah is beating the odds. Although more than 99 percent of the original rainforest on the island of Singapore has been cleared, the reserve still retains nearly half the original native bird species and many small mammals. [Source: Jamie James, Natural History magazine, April 2004]
“But the large vertebrates have not been so fortunate. The island's last tiger was reportedly shot in the Choa Chu Kang district in 1930 (not, as local folklore would have it, in 1902 in the billiards room of the Raffles Hotel in downtown Singapore). The last one at Bukit Timah was killed in 1924 (the reticulated python has replaced the tiger at the top of the reserve's food chain). Other large mammals that have vanished are the leopard, the largest species of deer (the sambar and the barking deer), the pig-tailed macaque, and the wild pig. Some ecologists think that once the big vertebrates are gone, it is just a matter of time before the entire fabric of biodiversity unravels.
“The loss of many native bird and mammal species from Bukit Timah can be traced to hunting and trapping, rather than to isolation and habitat degradation. That may sound Hke a dismal conclusion, but it speaks well, at least, for the potential of a small reserve to maintain the diversity of its fauna. The flora seem even more resilient. Singapore's National Parks Board, which manages both the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment nature reserves, undertakes only moderate reforestation, allowing parts of both reserves to regenerate naturally. As Chew Ping Ting, a research officer, explains, the park service concentrates on rare tree species that produce adequate numbers of seedlings for transplantation, such as Aquilaria malacccusis. Whenever possible, the reserve managers try to replant where there are gaps in the forest canopy, to give the saplings an edge.”
Mammals: Common tree shrew, longtailed macaque, mouse deer, pangolin, plantain squirrel, slender squirrel, and flying lemur (not a lemur at all, this last species, which glides like a flying squirrel, is one of just two extant species in the order Dermoptera).
Birds: Asian fairy bluebird, greater racket-tailed drongo, olive-winged bulbul, orange-bellied flowerpecker, and striped tit-babbler.
Reptiles and amphibians: Blackbearded flying lizard, elegant bronzeback snake, green-crested lizard, paradise tree snake, reticulated python, spiny turtle, and Wagler's pit viper.
Insects: Atlas moth, forest grasshopper, giant forest ant, giant honeybee, green-bodied cicada, jungle cockroach, Nepliila inaculata spider, rhinoceros beetle, sky blue butterfly, and wood scorpion.
Trees: Aquilaria malacceiisis, jelutong, keruing, nemusu, and seraya. Shrubs and herbs: Ant plant, black hly, Haiigtiaiia malayana [see photograph on this page], pendant ixora. Ferns: Bird's nest fern, resam, staghorn fern, and various grass terns and tree ferns.”
MacRitchie Reservoir Park
MacRitchie Reservoir Park(at the center of Singapore Island) was created to help supply Singapore with drinking water and now is a popular recreation and picnic area. Created in the late 1900s, it is surrounded by a trail popular with joggers and hikers. It takes about three hours to walk. The crowds thin out after the boardwalk ends. On much of the route there is water on side and rain forest on the other. Colorful butterflies, drongo birds and lion-tailed macaques are often seen. Lined with old rubber trees and surrounded by lush vegetation, the MacRitchie Nature Trail provides an amazing botanical feast for nature lovers everywhere. A 3 kilometer stretch of tropical rainforest, it connects the MacRitchie Reservoir Park with the Singapore Island Country Club.
The MacRitchie Reservoir was constructed in 1867, and currently has boardwalks skirting the edge and walking trails through the forest. They range in distances from 3 km to 11 km. With interpretative signboards along the boardwalk, they allow for a self-guided tour along the fringes of the MacRitchie forest. In addition to the boardwalk, another popular attraction is the HSBC TreeTop Walk, a 250-meter aerial free standing suspension bridge spanning Bukit Peirce and Bukit Kalang, which are the two highest points in MacRitchie. The grave of Lim Bo Seng, a Singaporean war hero, is also located in MacRitchie Reservoir. The water catchment area as its forests are protected from agriculture activities to ensure that the water remains clean.
You can enjoy a pleasant stroll around the reservoir or make the most of the jogging path and outdoor fitness stations. MacRitchie Reservoir Park also has a pontoon, drinking fountains and a food kiosk. Hours and Days Open: Daily 7:00am - 7:00pm; Website: http://www.nparks.gov.sg; Admission Fee: Free admission Nearest MRT Station: MRT Caldecott MRT (CC17)
TreeTop Walk (in MacRitchie Reservoir Park) is anaerial free standing suspension bridge spanning Bukit Peirce and Bukit Kalang, which are the two highest points in MacRitchie Reservoir Park. The first of its kind in Singapore and in the region, The TreeTop Walk (TTW) offers a bird's eye view of the community of plants and animals that live in the forest canopy. The total length of the walkway is about 250 meters and its height from the forest floor varies, with the highest point at 25 meters.
Besides providing another avenue for nature recreation for Singaporeans, the TTW also plays an important role in forest canopy research, an area many researchers were not able to get into because of lack of access. This bridge will help to facilitate surveys and plant identification work and further our understanding of how forest ecosystems work.
The distance to the entrance of the TreeTop Walk is approximately 4.5 km (1.5 - 2 hr walk) from MacRitchie Reservoir Park and 2.5 km (45 mins - 1 hr walk) from the car park at Venus Drive. A round trip including the TreeTop Walk is about 7 km to 10 km (3-5 hrs depending on your walking pace).
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm, Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: 8.30 am – 5:00pm, Closed on Mondays, except on Public Holidays. Guidelines: The TreeTop Walk gate closes at 5:00pm sharp. Visitors are advised to start hiking towards the bridge by 4.45pm from Ranger Station to avoid disappointment. Please note that the walkway only allows for one-direction traffic. The entrance to the bridge is from the Ranger Station via Peirce track. Nearest MRT Station: MRT Caldecott MRT (CC17)
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (northern Singapore, across the water from Malaysia) is rare wildlife haven in Singapore that embraces wetlands and tropical rainforest. Have a unique glimpse of migratory birds as they make their winter journey to the warmer climates of Australia – with some coming from as far away as Siberia in their long journey south. Sprawled over 87 hectares of wetland and located in the north west of Singapore, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is also home to a wide variety of wildlife and lush flora and fauna.
Observe crabs, mudskippers and mud lobsters in their natural habitats, or if you’d like a bird’s eye view of birds and animals, view them at a distance through observation hides that are dotted throughout the tranquil park. The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a center for wetland conservation, biodiversity and education. It also provides new facilities for business travellers, with locations suitable for meetings and conventions, events and recreational use.
Designated as a nature park by the government in 1989, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve officially opened in 1993 and has received support to help preserve its beautiful space and its vast variety of nature and wildlife. You might also want to take a painting class at the art gallery here for an enhanced hands-on experience that combines nature with art. Hours and Days Open: Mon to Sat 7.30am - 7:00pm; Sun & Public Holidays 7:00am - 7:00pm; Website: http://www.sbwr.org.sg; Admission Fee: Free entry on weekdays Sat, Sun and Public Holidays: $1.00 per adult,, $0.50 per child/student/senior citizen Getting There: 1) Board SMRT Bus 925 from Kranji MRT Station. Alight at Kranji Reservoir Carpark B. Walk across the road to the Visitor Centre. 2) Sundays and Public Holidays Board SMRT Bus 925 from Kranji MRT Station. The bus stops at the Wetland Centre entrance. Please note that SMRT Bus 925 operates only from Woodlands Interchange on Sundays and Public Holidays. 3) Kranji Express: Kranji Express operates daily starting from 8.30 am and ending at 5.45 pm from Kranji MRT Station. Bus schedule details can be found here.
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: Singapore tourism websites, Singapore government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Updated in August 2020