The “Lion City” is redefining the concept of hiking as it integrates natural and green spaces to make your hikes worthwhile. Also known as “the Garden City”, there is an abundance of nature reserves and trails for all levels of hikers. It never ceases to amaze how one can have as many walking trails to choose from for such a small space. Indeed, leave it to Singapore to continually impress in terms of the amount of stuff that you can do or things to see. As one of the most walkable cities in the world, you will have more than enough options to stay active or enjoy the fresh outdoor air.
If you are planning to tag your kids along for the hike, Singapore is the perfect place to do just that. In fact, it is a great way to encourage your kids to go out and engage in more outdoor activities as they will be rewarded with amazing views, too.
Besides Gardens by the Bay, here are other wonderful walking trails in Singapore.
Kids playing at Singapore Botanic Gardens
1. Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Singapore. Plus, it is the only garden listed as a world heritage site, too. This distinction alone makes it a notable choice for hiking when in Singapore. It is also a great hiking destination to bring the kids to because there are plenty of flora and fauna for them to see.
Since it was established in 1852, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is one of the notable family-friendly destinations in Singapore. It is open from 5AM to midnight on a daily basis. You can, therefore, bring your kids here for sunrise or sunset walks. Despite being easily accessible from the city center, it provides a tranquil natural escape. You can explore the Evolution Garden Walk with your kids, which is a well-landscaped lot that contains the fossil remains of ancient trees. If you like to take a bit of side trip from your hike, you can bring your kids to the National Orchid Garden – home to over 1,000 species of orchids and 2,000 hybrid species.
But if there is one spot that your kids will love at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, it would be the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. This is the spot to allow your kids to roam wildly and free. It is a farm with an orchard, forest, streams, and ponds.
Henderson Bridge along Southern Ridges
2. The Southern Ridges
Don’t let your kids hold you back from going outdoor and enjoying the natural scenery during your hike. This hiking trail/destination might just be enough to convince you! The Southern Ridges is the perfect example as to why Singapore is known as the Garden City – it is surrounded with lush greenery at nearly every corner.
It offers up to 10 kilometers of pram-friendly hiking trail. You can choose to tackle all 10 kilometers of the trail or just parts of it. That decision will depend on how much time you have, and how old your kids are. For older kids, they might be able to tackle the entire trail, but for younger ones, parts of the trail should suffice to get them a great experience of the spectacular views at the Southern Ridges.
This picturesque trail connects different national parks and reserves in Singapore, which makes them easily accessible to each other. These parks are namely Mount Faber Park, Kent Ridge Park, Labrador Nature Reserve, and Telok Blangah Hill Park. Aside from having access to these different parks, another reason to take your kids hiking at The Southern Ridges is the fact that they can experience a number of flora and fauna species. And for your convenience (which is always great with kids in tow), there are many toilet facilities along the trail.
Fort Canning Park
3. Fort Canning Park
Fort Canning Park is a popular destination in Singapore and among the highly recommended attractions for tourists. For grown-ups, you might be able to appreciate this park because it provides an insight into Singapore’s history. Plus, it is easily accessible from the heart of the central business district with a nearby bus stop and train station.
But your kids will surely love spending time at the Fort Canning Park, especially in a space as verdant as this! You and your kids will stumble upon many colonial-era relics in many areas of the park. It is a great way to learn about the important role that this fort played in the defense of the island against the British rulers. Another bonus to taking your kids to Fort Canning Park for a hike is that there are many notable tourist attractions nearby that you can visit, such as the Old Hill Street Police Station and Clarke Quay.
Bukit Timah trail (Image by Visit Singapore)
4. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
No list of the best hiking trails in Singapore is ever complete without including Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. But did you know that it is family-friendly, too? Here is your chance to take your kids somewhere that allows them to experience nature at its rawest form.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is 12 km away from the city center but it is worth going the extra mile. It is known to be one of Singapore’s best trails in terms of ecological diversity and abundance. As such, your kids will be in awe with the rich array of plant, animal, and insect species (it is responsible for 40% of the flora and fauna species in the country!). It is, therefore, considered as the primary rainforest in Singapore. The highlight of your hiking trip at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the hike up the Bukit Timah Hill, which at 163 meters is the highest summit in Singapore. This is a fun challenge for kids above the age of four, especially since the trail to get to the summit is not particularly rugged
MacRitchie Reservoir Park
5. MacRitchie Reservoir Park
The MacRitchie Reservoir Park is another fun trail to explore for the entire family, and especially for the kids. This trail is 11 kilometers long in total but can be divided into different sections. You can choose your start and end-point according to how young your kids are, and what you want to see during the hike!
You could easily explore this trail for an hour or complete the entire trail for four hours. Since it is accessible from the MacRitchie Reservoir Park, you can spend time to explore the open spaces at the park before embarking on this hiking trail. If you are bringing older kids with you, don’t forget to take them to the TreeTop Walk, which is a 250-meter free standing suspension bridge. If your kids are not scared of heights, this would be a fun trail to tackle. From above this treetop walk, they’ll get the chance to spot monkeys and birds, as well as the canopy view of the nearby park.
Tampines Eco Green
6. Tampines Eco Green
Tampines Eco Green is one of the hidden parks in Singapore. It would be cool to take your kids hiking to a place that does not even exist in most maps! To say that this park is one-of-a-kind is an understatement but there is one thing you can’t deny – there is nothing quite like it in Singapore. Even the signboard to the park is obscured by the natural scenery behind it!
This elusive park is located in the urban area of Tampines, which makes it easy to go to. It is perfect for families because it is one of the few remaining places in Singapore that allows you to experience nature in its authentic form. There are no trails or pavements in most parts of the park, except the one that you will find near Tampines Ave 12. As you wander the area, it feels like walking into a virgin forest. In fact, this area is more rugged before than what it is now because there were no cleared paths back then. The National Parks Board of Singapore has developed the area to invite nature recreation in the city.
To get to Tampines Eco Green, you must alight at the Tampines MRT Station. From the station, it is a 20-minute walk to get to the park. It is recommended for day-time hiking only as there are no lights in the park. The park itself measures 36 hectares in land area.
Pulau Ubin (Image by Family Holiday Destinations)
7. Pulau Ubin
When in the topic of the best nature hiking trails in Singapore to take your kids to, Pulau Ubin might be a little off-the-beaten track but it is worth traveling for. First and foremost, this hiking destination is located away from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you need a short nature break, you can hop on a 15-minute boat ride with your kids from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal.
The island has a four-kilometer hiking trail that combines both paved and unpaved roads (stone paths). This trek is located near the coast so you can savor the fresh air from the surrounding coast and wetlands. There is also an impressive wildlife in Pulau Ubin, which will delight your kids – especially young ones. The woodpecker is one of the most notable wildlife found on this island. Aside from the woodpeckers, there are also monkeys, giant monitor lizards, and wild boars that can be spotted from time to time. If you want to change it up, there are also biking trails in Pulau Ubin. But if you want to make the most of your island adventure, you can even take your kids to camp out on the island.
8. Coney Island
Coney Island is one of the hiking trails in Singapore that is gaining a lot of popularity, thanks to social media. You can’t blame those who are raving about this park – it is a pristine sanctuary that serves as home to a number of fauna species.
Coney Island was just recently re-opened but it is already drawing lots of visitors in. This park is known to be ecologically sustainable, which makes it easy for bird species such as magpie-robins and parakeets to thrive. Its boundless biodiversity is without question its best feature. The best part about Coney Island is that it features many hiking trails. All of these trails provide you with a glimpse of the extent of its beauty that would appeal to people of all ages – from hiking enthusiasts to family with kids. In fact, hiking experts would recommend Coney Island as a great introductory hike for children.
Depending on the difficulty level and length of the walking trail, your kids might feel exhausted towards the end of your hiking trail. Make sure you are well-prepared by packing enough water and some snacks. This should help keep their tantrums at bay and also to re-fuel them to take on the rest of the hike. Do not underestimate the heat in Singapore, too. You need to research the weather forecast ahead of time, or pack sunscreen and a hat to protect you and the young ones. If you want to encourage them to do more hiking in the future, proper planning is going to make the experience challenging without losing the element of fun.