In a metropolis of almost 4 million Singapore surprised us with the amount of green space left for recreation. Parks and gardens are both a tourist destination and an escape from the work week. Beautifully upkept they are a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Botanic Gardens is set on a 74 hectare site. Originally set up by Sir Stamford Raffles (yes the one that the hotel is named after) in 1822 at a site near Fort Canning it was moved to its present site in 1859. Strolling through the gorgeous gardens is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
Fort Canning is another park right in the middle of the city. The Battle Box, an ex- British Military Command Centre, and various colonial buildings can provide your daily dose of education or just enjoy a leisurely stroll. Fort Canning is located on a hill so just be aware that you will be walking up and down a few stairs or hilly pathways. On the weekend the park was full of locals enjoying the great outdoors.
Mount Faber was one of my top picks when we were out and about. As well as being a gorgeous parkland it is also one of the points that you can join the cable car to Sentosa Island. Near the cable car station is a restaurant and also the Bell of Happiness. Dating back to 1909 the Bell of Happiness was originally a bell from a Polish ship which after 80 years of service was gifted to Sentosa Island in 1992. It is said to bless newlyweds with happiness, peace and harmony.
Moving from the peak of Mount Faber we took the Henderson Waves Walk through the park taking in the magnificent Henderson Waves Bridge the wave-shaped pedestrian bridge connecting Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangha Hill Park. We didn’t see the bridge lit up but a gorgeous photo can be seen here. The Canopy Walk, accessed close to the Labrador MRT, will take you on a series of bridges through the rainforest canopy and also connects with the Henderson Waves Bridge.
We are yet to explore the Treetop Walk accessed from the MacRitchie Reservoir Park. it is a 1.5- 2 hour walk just to get to the canopy walk and so we had to give it a miss this time. We had been told you could take a taxi and get quite close to the beginning of the walk if you went to Island Club Road but this is now a private access road.
Our other ‘yet to explore’ park is a running track close to King Albert MRT. Found behind the old Bukit Timah Railway Station the green corridor is what is left of the now defunct railway from the Malay Peninsula. A great story on the track, which is now a great favourite with runners, can be found here.
It is always good to leave something to explore next time you are in town!