As you would expect, little true wilderness remains in this glittering shrine to international commerce. However, and especially if you are travelling with children, there are a host of very safe places to enjoy the exotic wonders of Asia’s natural world.

The remnants of Singapore’s original forest is preserved at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve surrounding Bukit Hill, the highest point on the island, which forms part of the Central Catchment Area, with forested areas surrounding the MacRitchie, Pierce and Seletar reservoirs.

With a number of pleasant woodland trails for walking and mountain biking, an aerial walkway and a few rock climbing sites, the diversity of the landscape is surprisingly rich, with many plants, birds, reptiles, insects and smaller mammals, including Long-tailed Macaques and Flying Lemurs.

At the north of Singapore, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is an area of mangrove and freshwater wetlands, with Otters, Monitor Lizards, Climbing Crabs and Archer Fish sharing the 130 hectare protected area with over 200 bird species.

A little offshore from Singapore’s main island, the Chek Jawa Wildlife Haven is another inter-tidal habitat of coastal forest, mangrove, and sandflats and a good place to spot Wild Boar, Fiddler and Horseshoe Crabs, Hornbills and Red Junglefowl.

When it comes to the most iconic species of the world, although the creatures are captive, four inspirational areas, set up at enormous cost, and managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore provide highly ambitious, beautifully conceived, and well-structured opportunities to see many of the planet’s most loved animals, whilst also funding conservation projects throughout Southeast Asia.

Singapore Rainforest Zoo, one of the very best examples of its kind, is a 28 hectare wildlife park, intelligently formed within the surviving Mandai rainforest at the Upper Seletar Reservoir, and its award winning design features a series of themed and spacious naturalistic zones, emulating different natural, environments and houses over 300 of the world’s most precious species, the star of which is the very rare White Tiger.  

With a host of rides and up-close encounters, the zoo’s creative approach to wildlife presentation is especially good for children and is full of innovative original family experiences, such as having a hearty outdoor jungle breakfast in the company of Orang Utans, guaranteed to delight.

The adjacent Night Safari, set in 35 hectares of dense forest is an innovative way to see the nocturnal activities of the animals via a tram ride, mapped out in geographical zones and four walking trails, with some of the less dangerous creatures allowed to roam freely.

Occupying a further adjoining 12 hectares, The River Safari is a wildlife park themed to faithfully replicate the river ecosystems of the Mekong, Yangtze, Nile, Congo, Amazon, Ganges, and Mississippi. As well as strolling around this feast of over 6,000 animals, a boat ride will take you around the waterways, wildlife spotting. The most famous of its exhibits is the Giant Panda Forest.

The remaining of these four sites is Jurong Bird Park, located separately in southwest Singapore, which follows the familiar naturalistic archetype and is dedicated to over 400 bird species, which features themed areas such as the Waterfall Aviary, the nine storey high Lory Loft Flight Aviary, Penguin Coast, Jungle Jewels, Pelican Cove and Flamingo Lake among its stunning avian displays.