5 outdoor activities in Singapore worth braving the heat for
Planning your annual leave? Finding things for your weekend to-do list? Just want to get out of the house? There’s plenty to do and see in Singapore, and some places are worth braving the heat and working up a sweat for.
1. Something for everyone at Jurong Lake Gardens
Whether you’re a nature lover, fitness enthusiast, or just want a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, there’s something for everyone in Jurong Lake Gardens.
Spot hornbills, water monitor lizards, and otters (if you’re lucky!) at the Jurong Lake boardwalk. Snap Instagram-worthy shots at the Grasslands’ dreamy Lalang fields, or with the majestic ‘Lone Tree’ sculpture.
Families can check out the Forest Ramble, a playground with 13 play zones that are inspired by marshland creatures, or Clusia Cove for water play with sand.
Gym enthusiasts can get a workout amidst greenery at the ActiveSG park, and water sports enthusiasts can kayak, sail, windsurf, dragon-boat, and stand-up paddle at Passion WaVe @ Jurong Lake Gardens.
The park also boasts all-inclusive features, such as the merry-go-round for wheelchair-bound children at Forest Ramble, and customised spaces for water sports.
2. Explore the flora, fauna, and history of the Rail Corridor
Formerly the railway line between Singapore and the Malay peninsula in the 20th century, the Rail Corridor is a 24km path stretching from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar. Today, the section between Hillview and the old Tanjong Pagar Railway station is a highly-accessible route that combines heritage, biodiversity, and recreation.
There’s plenty of history with the artefacts and landmarks that were once part of the former railway line, such as: the Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Timah Railway Stations, one steel truss bridge spanning Bukit Timah Road and Dunearn Road, and the other at Upper Bukit Timah Road.
There’s also plenty of biodiversity, given the Rail Corridor’s proximity to 4 nature parks. You might spot: Crimson Sunbird, Scarlett-backed Flowerpecker, Sunda Pangolin, and even the Sunda Scops Owl!
You might notice that trail finishings complement their surroundings. For instance, areas nearer the nature parks feature a grass and gravel finish. In more urban areas, the trail is finished with a more hardy, earth-coloured porous material.
3. Immerse in nature at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park. Located in Kranji, the extensive mangrove forest has a rich biodiversity that includes migratory birds and native inhabitants like mudskippers, crabs, shellfish, and water snakes. Up to 200 bird species have been recorded here!
Coastal Trail: look skywards for the White-bellied sea eagle in majestic flight, and onion-shaped ‘pods’ that are also hideouts for bird enthusiasts and photographers. At low-tide, you might see crabs and mudskippers.
Migratory Bird Trail: Pop into one of five shelters (known as “Hides”) to observe birds from a close proximity. During the bird migratory season between September and March, you can even catch sight of shorebirds or waders that take rest at this beautiful sanctuary.
Don’t miss the bridge that connects the Wetland Centre to the Migratory Bird Trail. It’s the best place to spot Estuarine crocodiles!
4. Have fun at MacRitchie Reservoir, nature’s playground
MacRitchie Reservoir is THE reservoir to visit if your objective is maximum outdoor fun. That’s because it caters to the needs of everyone, from runners to water sports enthusiasts to nature lovers.
For runners, follow the yellow trail for an 11km-long loop that takes you across varied terrains, and provides up-close encounters with monkeys, squirrels, and monitor lizards. You’ll run past the reservoir, near a golf course, across freshwater streams, and face the occasional steep hill.
For water sports enthusiasts, kayaks, canoes and pedal boats are available for rent. MacRitchie Reservoir’s calm waters make it perfect for beginners, and there is a Kid-in-a-Kayak programme for kids aged 10 to 12. You can also fish legally here.
For hikers, the TreeTop Walk is the perfect way to take in the lush green foliage. Start from the carpark at Venus Drive if you want the fastest route (2.5km each way). To work up a bigger sweat, start your journey from MacRitchie Reservoir Park (4.5km each way).
5. Explore Coney Island by bicycle
Many of us rediscovered the joy of cycling during this pandemic. Why not go on a bike exploration journey around Coney Island?
Coney Island Park is home to a wide variety of habitats such as coastal forests, grasslands, mangroves, and casuarina woodlands. Follow the 2.5km Park Connector at Coney Island as a guide to exploring the island.
If you prefer to go on foot, head for the boardwalk that will take you to the beach for mesmerising promenade views of Serangoon Harbour.
Originally known as Pulau Serangoon, the island was owned by the Aw Boon brothers, and known as Haw Par Island in the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1950s, the island was developed by another businessman into “Singapore’s first island health resort”.
Speaking of health, there are immediate benefits from going out in the sun and getting active!
Health benefits of going out in the sun:
- Boosts Vitamin D production, which is crucial for calcium absorption and strong bones and muscles
- Production of serotonin, the mood-lifter chemical which also helps us sleep, eat, and digest better
Health benefits of physical activity:
- Improves cognitive ability for children below age 131
- For adults, exercising helps to reduce short-term feelings of anxiety1
- Production of “happy” brain chemicals such as endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and endocannabinoid, which help to lower stress levels, reduce feeling of loneliness, and help relive anxiety and depression2