Within the city boundary, The Singapore Botanical Gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage site and a beautiful escape from the high-rise drama of the centre, a 74 hectare site set around three lakes which also contains a section of primary forest predating the gardens. The lovely National Orchid Garden is also located here.

East Coast Park provides a good opportunity to get out of the city, and is home to some bird sanctuaries, cycling routes and sports facilities, including tennis, windsurfing and kayaking. Also to the east of the city are the rides of Escape Theme Park and the water fun of Wild Wild Wet, both of which are invaluable distractions if you are travelling with the kids.  

In the centre of the island, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve provides a surprising escape into primary rainforest, considerably larger in area than that found in the botanical gardens, with walking trails, jungle trekking and mountain biking all available here. Further interesting walking trekking and kayaking is also provided by the Central Catchment Nature reserve.


The wonderful Singapore Zoological Gardens provides a fascinating window on the creatures of Southeast Asia, and is home to a host of impressive animals, including Orang Utans, with whom one can even enjoy a hearty breakfast. Although a zoo, it is a world leader in innovation and the field of conservation and is one the very best examples in the world, with well cared for animals living in highly naturalistic settings, separated by moats rather than bars.


Adjacent to the zoo and one of Singapore’s best regarded attractions is the Night Safari, a forty hectare park with 120 animal species, which provides a fascinating and highly atmospheric night-time walk or ride aboard an electric tram, passing close to the animals, including lions, tigers and leopards.


Yet another highly innovative and engaging animal park is the the River Safari, a waterborne journey through highly creative replications of famous world rivers, inhabited by over 6,000 animals which faithfully recreate the habitats of the Mekong, Yangzte, Nile, Amazon, Ganges and Missisippi. The park also features a Giant Panda Forest area.

Bird enthusiasts will be drawn further northwest to the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, an internationally significant migratory bird sanctuary. A further delight for ornithologists to the southwest of the island is Jurong Birdpark, a twenty hectare park with a monorail, and home to some 600 bird species. The adjacent Jurong Reptile Park will appeal to reptile lovers, and includes among its many denizens crocodiles, giant tortoises and impressive snakes.

Also in the Jurong area is Jurong Lake Park, home to the beautiful Chinese and Japanese Gardens and the Singapore Science Centre with its stimulating interactive displays. Children will particularly enjoy its Omni Theatre and the simulated ride into the centre of a volcano.

For those interested in the wartime history of Singapore, the moving Reflections at Bukit Chandu Centre provides high-tech interpretive displays coupled with an opportunity to handle weapons of the period.  

Aside from the excitement of the natural features, buildings and colourful neighbourhoods, other attractions around Singapore include the cable car ride to Sentosa Island, itself full of outdoor activities and attractions such as Underwater World, famous for the moving walkway through its vast fish tanks, Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom, Musical Fountain, Sky Tower and Fort Siloso.

The cable car to Sentosa runs from the Harbour, but as a scenic alternative you can also travel up to Mount Faber Park, a hilltop area of primary forest which provides superb views over the city and the islands. A further cable car extends to explore around Sentosa itself.

Sentosa Island is also the focus of outdoor activities such as cycling and golf, as well as water sport activities at its three man-made beaches.


The proximity of Singapore to mainland Malaysia and the famous 1km causeway to Johor Bharu, make side adventures to southern Malaysia easy, but perhaps the most appealing nearby destination is Pulau Tioman, famous for the superb beaches and crystalline waters which justifiably rank the island as one of the world’s best dive and snorkeling locations. This exquisite island is serviced by the ferry from Mersing on the Malaysian Peninsula.

Boat trips from Singapore also offer the possibility to visit the nearby Indonesian islands of Pulau Bintan and Pulau Batam which offer all manner of beach activities, some upmarket resorts and golf courses, making them a popular weekend getaway for Singaporeans.