When most people think of Singapore they think of a concrete jungle, but just a short trip out of the city it's a lush green oasis just waiting to be discovered. Here's how to get back to nature and explore the wilder side of Singapore.
Gardens by the Bay
If you're short on time, be sure to visit Gardens by the Bay, a green oasis in the city. Spanning 101 hectares, Gardens by the Bay is comprised of three waterfront gardens - Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central. Key features include the Cloud Forest, a mountain environment set in a cool-moist conservatory, the Flower Dome where spring never ends in a cool-dry conservatory, Dragonfly & Kingfisher Lakes and the Heritage Gardens.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Just a short 12km journey from the city centre, you'll find this pristine rainforest spanning 164 hectares and also boasting Singapore's highest hill. The Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves provide a gorgeous green home to more than 840 flowering plants and more than 500 species of animals, including long-tailed macaques and other monkeys, the flying lemur (Colugo) and squirrels. Don't feed them, but do try rock climbing, mountain biking or hiking.
As the last 'kampung' (village) in Singapore, the pretty Pulau Ubin in the wild north will take you back to Singapore’s rich history in the 1960s and help you explore a simpler way of life. Feel the breeze in your hair as you walk under coconut palms, or hire a bike and explore some shady trails to the sound of nothing but birdsong. You'll also find secluded beaches, overgrown rubber plantations, plenty of fresh air and mangroves.
MacRitchie Reservoir and walking trails
Well worth a day out of the city is a trip to MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore's first reservoir, built over 1867 and 1868. Before, when most of the island was covered in lush, primary forest in the early 19th century, a lot of this forest was cleared. Now you can walk the boardwalks, which span the edges of the MacRitchie Reservoir, and discover the many walking trails in the forest.
Tree Top Walk
Make like a monkey and see the world from the treetops with Singapore's Tree Top Walk, a free-standing suspension bridge that attracts hundreds of tourists every day and remains a fun place to visit. Spanning between Bukit Peirce and Bukit Kalang, the two highest points in MacRitchie, this is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Singapore. You'll get a bird's eye view high up in the canopy, and might be lucky enough to spot some of the 80 rare bird species that call the forest home.
Wherever you go to get back to nature in Singapore, remember to take your sunscreen and plenty of water. When you see Mother Nature in all her glory, you might wind up staying with her longer than you planned.