Escape the city: Best nature spots in Singapore for expats

Expat life
27 Apr 2023
13 mins read
Written by Team Instarem

Trying to find a balance between urban bustle and nature’s beauty? Look no further than Singapore! Home to varied expat populations and a busy cityscape, Singapore is sure to captivate you visually. However, there is much more than meets the eye in this unique country – it takes just a short walk from the main drag of Singapore to stumble upon some of the best nature spots in Asia.

For those looking to escape the fast pace of metropolitan life for a bit, nothing really beats finding an escape into nature. Whether you’re looking for a full day trip or just a few hours, there are plenty of places that offer incredible views, silence, relaxation and the chance to reconnect with yourself and recharge your batteries.

For those who are interested in Eco-tourism in Singapore, look no further. And for those who just want to run in a park, this article will answer all your questions.

So instead of endlessly scrolling through social media feeds take the opportunity to find your not-so-distant slice of paradise and immerse yourself in some eco-therapy. There’s a great nature spot just waiting for you to discover it. So don’t wait any longer – get exploring today. Here are a few places shortlisted by us to get you started: 

Bukit Timah Forest Reserve

When it comes to the best nature spots, Singapore has a long and storied history. Among the most iconic of these is the Bukit Timah Forest Reserve, established in 1883 – one of the first forest reserves that came to fruition as recommended by Nathaniel Cantley, who just so happened to be the then-Superintendent of Singapore’s esteemed Botanic Gardens!

The seeds for this historic move were planted back in 1882 when Cantley was commissioned by the Straits Settlements Government to present a report on the island’s forests. This research and dedication spawned several other jungles preserves over time, vastly enriching Singapore’s reputation as a go-to spot for nature lovers from all corners of the world.

Singapore is located on the equatorial belt, making it a nature enthusiast’s paradise! With its immensely rich and diverse ecological systems, nature-loving visitors can expect to be mesmerised by an amazing array of plants, animals and insects – all characteristic of a humid equatorial climate.

Too good to be true? Not so! In addition to its vibrant diversity, this 163-ha nature reserve even boasts Singapore’s tallest hill, the infamous Bukit Timah Hill at 163 m. Here you’ll find some of the last remnants of the primary rainforest which has served as a botanical spot for over a century; many species of Malayan plants have been discovered here! So, make sure to take in nature’s artistry when exploring this nature reserve – you won’t regret visiting this rare habitat.

Good to know information about Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Entry Fee: Free

Opening Hours: Open from Monday through Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm.

Contact No: +65 1800 471 7300

Transport: Bukit Timah is conveniently located just 12km away from the city centre

Bus: Off the PIE at the junction of Bukit Timah/Dunearn Road, several bus lines stop nearby along Upper Bukit Timah Road and Jalan Anak Bukit. Bus lines accessible are 67, 75, 170, 171, 184, 852 and 961.

Train: Take the Downtown Line and alight at Beauty World station (Exit A); one can then reach the Visitor Centre within 10 minutes.

Chestnut Nature Park

Located on the eastern end of Chestnut Avenue, Chestnut Nature Park is the best spot for your nature fix! It skirts right around Central Catchment Nature Reserve, acting as a buffer to protect this precious area. And if that wasn’t enough of an incentive – in 2017, bigger and better things started to happen at Chestnut with the North portion opening! With 82 hectares in total, it has made sure it holds its title as Singapore’s largest nature park – so you can be sure there’ll be plenty to explore!

The park is stocked with a range of recreational activities, from hiking and mountain biking to bird watching. As the first nature park in Singapore to introduce separate mountain biking and hiking trails, you can be sure to explore the best the forest has to offer without intruding on other users’ activities. Not only that, park users are given access to convenient amenities like shelters, pavilions and toilets as well as a bike rental kiosk where they can also buy pre-packaged snacks. So come on down and take a leisurely stroll in Chestnut Nature Park – after all it’s one of the best nature spots in Singapore and what all nature lovers know best!

Good to know information about Chestnut Nature Park

Entry Fee: Free

Opening Hours: Open from Monday through Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm.

Contact Number: +65 1800 471 7300


Bus: 700, 700A or 966 and get off at housing block 202 at Petir Road. You’ll see Chestnut Avenue on either side of the road and the entrance is on the same side as Block 202.

Alternatively, you could take a bus 190, 972 or 960 and alight at Bukit Panjang Road near the BKE exit. From there, it’s just a 10-minute walk away.

Car: A visit to Chestnut Avenue is best done by driving – and you couldn’t find an easier way to get there than taking the Petir Road along with the BKE Expressway.

Bukit Batok Nature Park

Bukit Batok Nature Reserve

When it comes to nature escapes in Singapore, Bukit Batok Nature Park is definitely a hidden gem. With its serene location on a former quarry site and lush natural beauty, this park offers the perfect afternoon getaway for those seeking peace and tranquillity. Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely stroll, a challenging hike, or a picnic surrounded by breathtaking scenery, Bukit Batok Nature Park has got you covered. So why not take a break from the concrete jungle and indulge in a little bit of nature therapy? Trust us, it’s worth it.

From nature escapes to stunning views, there’s plenty to explore. Climb the lookout points that reach more than 10 storeys high for amazing views of the quarry or take a breather and admire nature at its finest with the picturesque pond nestled beneath a high cliff wall. But beyond nature, this place holds much meaning.

Aside from sustainable tourism or so it seems, there is also a historical side to this park.

Pay tribute to the soldiers and victims of World War II at the memorial plaque situated within the park in Lorong Sesuai. Followed by 120 concrete steps leading up to a transmission tower, it marks the site of two pillars left by the Japanese honouring those who fell during WW2. Read all about the secrets and understand the history while you’re there!

Good to know information about Bukit Batok Nature Park

Entry Fee: Free

Opening Hours: Open from Monday through Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm.

Contact Number: +65 1800 471 7300



Get a bus at Autobacs along Bukit Batok East Avenue 6 or opposite Autobacs (bus stop ID: 43201)

Bus number (bus stop ID 43209). Bus 61, 66, 157, 174, 178, 852, 970, 985

OR take a bus number 970 or 985 from Bukit Batok East Avenue 2. Opposite Block 266 (bus stop ID: 43229) to Block 267 (bus stop ID: 43221).

MRT: From the Bukit Batok MRT station, you can go on a 1.7km walk along Bukit Batok East Avenue 3 and 4. If you want an even longer adventure, take a 2.2 km trip from Beauty World MRT Station via Jalan Jurong Kechil and Bukit Batok East Ave 6. And if that’s not enough for you, then you can trek 2.1 km over to Hillview MRT Station via Hillview Avenue.

Car: Located along Bukit Batok East Ave 2 and conveniently located near Bus stop ID 43229, opposite Block 266.

Windsor Nature Park

Come explore the 75-hectare Windsor Nature Park, conveniently located off Venus Drive in the Upper Thomson area! This green buffer for Singapore’s Central Catchment Nature Reserve provides adventure-seekers with options to discover more about Singapore’s parks and nature reserves. When the nature park was first being planned, its overarching vision to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, provide awesome sightseeing opportunities and explore Singapore’s natural and cultural heritage were kept in mind. The three objectives – to strengthen the integrity of the nature reserve, enhance recreational opportunities and involve the community through education – have realized that vision in a breath-taking fashion. After all, who wouldn’t want to experience the beauty of nature while at the same time learning more about their culture?

Take your pick from two new trails: the Hanguana Trail and Drongo Trail! For a special experience, embark on the Hanguana Trail and be immersed in lakes of rare native plants, some delightfully named after Singapore itself. Alternatively, take on the Drongo Trail with a sub-canopy walk that offers glimpses of wildlife living under the canopy level; get ready to be amazed by the sights of a regenerating secondary forest. Then make sure to trek over marsh habitats and crisp freshwater streams using restored trails and improved boardwalks! So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy this beautiful exotic park, conveniently located at Upper Thomson – all within reach.

Good to know information about Windsor Nature Park

Entry Fee: Free

Opening Hours: Open from Monday through Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm.

Contact Number: +65 1800 471 7300


Bus: Located just 10 minutes away from Bright Hill Station by foot or a few stops away via a range of buses – no. 132, 163, 165, 166, 167, 855 and 980.

Alternatively, take buses 52, 162, 162M, or 410 to Sin Ming Ave then exit at either Block 454 (Bus stop ID: 53369) or Opposite Block 454. (Bus stop ID: 53361)

Car: Venus Drive – accessible either by walking through Upper Thomson Road and Sin Ming Avenue or by driving right up to it

Thomson Nature Park

Exploring Thomson Nature Park is like stepping back in time – literally. Dating back to the early 1930s, this nature park used to be a bustling Hainan Village with over 100 families of various races.

Today, explore the ruins of the village with accompanying stories and explore the secondary forest that’s full of ecological diversity around the area. Explore this area that is teeming with life – explore its biodiversity, discover nature’s beauty, and explore the ruins of Hainan Village!

As soon as you step through its main entrance, two paths are presented to you. Your journey will depend entirely on your preferences.

If the prospect of uncovering ancient ruins excites you then the Ruins & Figs Trail (1.5km) should be your first choice; or if it’s animals, plants and beauty that catches your eye then follow the Stream & Ferns Trail (1.4km).

Look no further if you’re in search of a Singapore sightseeing adventure! Upper Peirce Reservoir, Lower Peirce Reservoir, and Thomson Nature Park are three perfect places to explore if you’re looking for things to do in nature in Singapore. Spend the day walking paths, taking pictures, reading information boards, and gathering stories from the past – insightful and incredible experiences await you at each park! And the best thing? All this exploration can fit into your day’s itinerary so why not give it a try?

Good to know information about Thomson Nature Park

Entry Fee: Free

Opening Hours: Open from Monday through Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm.

Contact Number: +65 1800 471 7300


Bus: Whether you take a 138, 138A, 167, 169, 860 or 980, alighting at Upper Thomson Road both before and after Tagore Drive has never been easier – simply remember their respective Bus Stop IDs: 56061 and 56069

MRT: If you’re headed towards Old Upper Thomson Park Connector, hop off at Lentor MRT Station and go on a 2.3km journey along Yio Chu Kang Road. You can either turn right into Upper Thomson Road or take the main entrance of the park.

Car: Carpark is situated a few turns away from Bus Stop “After Tagore Drive”.

Labrador Nature Reserve

Southern ridges

Labrador Nature Reserve is one of the incredible sightseeing stops along the nine-kilometre stretch of inter-connected open spaces known as the Southern Ridges. From Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park, and finally Kent Ridge Park, you will be able to explore a wide range of fascinating nature reserves.

Labrador Nature Reserve adds its own unique history and beauty to the Southern Ridges– not only is it a rich forest boasting over 70 different types of birds, 11 butterfly species and plenty of exotic trees – but it also takes you back in time to when it served as a WWII fort built in 1878 designed to protect Keppel Harbour. While sightseeing here at Labrador Nature Reserve, exploring its wildlife and discovering its historical war points of interest, you can’t help but appreciate why this jaw-dropping piece of nature has been preserved for so many years.

Health fanatics rejoice at the sight of their favourite park! For those looking to break a sweat, the park has you covered with fitness stations scattered throughout. If that doesn’t take your health-loving heart’s fancy, why not hit up the jogging track around the reserve? Not only will it bring your health goals closer, but you can delight in taking in views of beautiful nature as you work out. Now that’s killing two health birds with one stone!

Good to know information about Labrador Nature Reserve

Entry Fee: Free

Opening Hours: Open from Monday through Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm.

Contact Number: +65 1800 471 7300


MRT: The train ride to Labrador Park MRT station takes a fairly short time, and from there it’s a picturesque 15-minute walk to arrive at the reserve

Car: Carpark options – Carpark A and B. Carpark A is near Tamarind Hill restaurant, meanwhile, Carpark B is closer to the park’s playgrounds and public toilets.

Wrapping Up

Singapore offers expats an unprecedented mix of nature escapes and metropolitan buzz! For those seeking places to explore in Singapore, a nature escape is within reach. From Bukit Timah Forest Reserve to Labrador nature reserve, there is something for everyone. Whether you prefer to explore nature parks or go for breathtaking walks in nature reserves, Singapore has your preference covered!

Little guilin

Plus, taking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life to explore nature can have so many benefits. Recent research has suggested that this break can help to restore mental alertness and reduce stress levels, allowing the mind and body to become more invigorated and prepared for whatever life throws our way. Whether it’s a simple walk in a green space or an adventurous trek along a mountain ridge, reconnecting with nature can bring joy, peace and appreciation of the environment into our lives. So why keep putting it off? Let’s break away from it all, and dive into the restorative powers of nature!

Before you go…

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*Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned.

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