Despite being one of the most economically prosperous and urbanized countries on the planet, Singapore has remained true to the “Garden City” vision of its former Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew. Some 10% of the island’s land area has been set aside for parks and nature reserves. Urban planners, architects and contractors are also constantly devising new ways to soften the city’s harsh edges by incorporating foliage and greenery as well as sustainable features into their designs. These efforts have resulted in Singapore being the greenest city in Southeast Asia, with several attractions to prove the fact.
Are you in need of a relaxing retreat away from your home city and are looking to arrange a holiday in the Lion City? Booking a Singapore travel combo is the most convenient way to arrange flights and accommodations to this impressive global city. And if you’re not sure where to head first, read on for our list of the greenest destinations Singapore.
Singapore’s primary gateway also happens to be a phenomenal introduction to the island-state as Southeast Asia’s greenest city. Jewel Changi’s nature-themed approach to retail and entertainment offers a number of must-see attractions that showcase the country’s reputation as a green city.
The Shiseido Forest Valley, for example, is a tranquil retreat surrounding the complex’s centerpiece fixture, the Rain Vortex. Enjoy the soothing sounds of rushing water while admiring the spectacular greenery all around you! The Valley houses about 60,000 shrubs and 900 palms and trees, all bathed in natural sunlight during the day.
Jewel’s Canopy Park at the topmost level, on the other hand, is a 14,000-square-meter recreational space where adults can unwind and children can freely roam around. The attractions there include the gorgeous Topiary Walk, a whimsical garden full of topiary animals that kids will love; the charming Petal Garden, perpetually in bloom thanks to its rotating showcase of seasonal flowers; and Foggy Bowls, a wide patch of green grass where children and their parents can play hide and seek amidst cool clouds of mist.
Gardens by the Bay
Three distinct green spaces at the Marina Bay Waterfront make up Gardens by the Bay, a 101-hectare haven for horticulturalists. All lovers of nature are welcome, too, of course! First opened in 2009, the gardens have accumulated numerous honors over the years, including Best Attraction Experience in 2019 from the Singapore Tourism Awards and a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor for the fourth year in a row.
Landmark attractions at Gardens by the Bay include the oft-photographed Supertree Grove, a collective of vertical gardens designed to resemble giant trees that provide much-needed shade during the day and light up beautifully at night; the enchanting Flower Dome, a massive air-conditioned glass greenhouse that houses flowers from all over the world, including exotic varietals that can only be found in semi-arid and Mediterranean regions; and Cloud Forest, a tropical conservatory that houses an ever-changing orchid display, as well as rare types of flora and vegetation, including carnivorous plants like the Venus flytrap and pitcher plants.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Officially established in 1859 in the Tanglin district, the historic Singapore Botanic Gardens is one of the country’s major tourist draws. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015 and is the first and only tropical botanic garden in the continent to have been included in the prestigious list.
The 82-hectare property is divided into four distinct zones that each contain a wide variety of attractions for the enjoyment of locals and tourists alike. These include the National Orchid Garden, which houses 1,000 species and 2,000 orchid hybrids; the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, the very first garden in Asia made for children with a dedicated water play area, a playground, tree-houses, and a maze; and a recently expanded rainforest habitat that holds some 314 species of plants.
The Southern Ridges is a 10-kilometer network of walking trails, bridges, and pathways that runs through three of Singapore’s greenest parks, namely Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, and Kent Ridge Park.
Even as you enjoy an exhilarating panoramic view of the area while walking within the Southern Ridges, you’ll realize why this is a favorite destination among budding photographers, bird watchers, and dendrophiles. Major draws here include the photogenic Henderson Waves, a 274-meter-long pedestrian bridge known for its distinctive waveform design. Suspended 36 meters above the ground, it is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. Another interesting architectural landmark is the Alexandra Arch, which connects Alexandra Road with Hyderabad Road. Its curved deck and tilted arch are meant to evoke the image of an open fig leaf. At night, the bridge is illuminated with color-changing LED lights, making it the perfect venue for a romantic after-dinner walk.
Lower Seletar Reservoir Park
The Seletar Reservoir area is a popular weekend destination for many Singaporeans. Aside from airy jogging tracks and walking paths lined with trees, it features a wide variety of outdoor amusement amenities that can be found all along the Seletar River waterfront. The Lower Seletar Reservoir Park’s highlights include a water play area for toddlers and young children, an open-air fitness area, a bioswale rain garden, and a dedicated fishing jetty that extends from the park into the reservoir. Water-Venture’s Lower Seletar Reservoir branch also offers kayaks and dragon boats for rent to take out onto the reservoir’s calm waters.
Singapore’s careful urban planning and commitment to preserving natural features are proof positive that even densely populated areas can be made livable. Other countries would do well to learn from its example.