5 Ways to Get Close to Nature, and Away from Crowds
Looking for a place away from the crowds to relax, refresh and recharge?
We’ve got just the list for you.
If you’ve been longing to immerse yourself in nature since the Circuit Breaker began, you finally have the chance to! As we’re well into Phase 2, now is a good time to explore trails, parks and outdoor spaces which have reopened.
Spending time in nature provides an array of health benefits including an immunity, longevity, mood and creativity boost! Beyond these, outdoor activities allow you to get away from the stressful city life, create memorable family moments and have enjoyable workout alternatives.
Whether you’re looking for places to run, hike, paddle or simply reconnect with mother nature, it is important that you continue to practice social distancing. That said, please check the latest visitorship levels at parks or recreation areas with this real-time map
from NParks before heading out. Stay safe and enjoy your explorations!
1. Stand-Up Paddle yoga on the Singapore Strait
Stand-Up Paddle yoga is a great way to forget your troubles and get a full body workout.
Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) yoga combines yoga and the sport of paddle boarding, and turns it into one memorable bucket-list experience! The benefits of yoga alone includes enhancing flexibility, strength and muscle toning, cardiovascular health, blood circulation and injury prevention.
To give you something to meditate on while you’re chilling on the board, the Singapore Strait was once a bustling waterway in the 15th century! So imagine trading boats carrying traders, travellers and possibly pirates, using this waterway to get from the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea.
Suitable for beginner and advanced yogis alike, SUP yoga is a guided one hour session with a highly qualified SUP and yoga instructor, and can accommodate one to five participants at a time. The instructor not only teaches you how to navigate wind, current and waves, but also how to find balance and take your yoga practice to a whole new level. The guided session also helps you build a foundation of mindfulness, balance and strength, while enhancing your deep breathing practice. Immersing in the soothing sounds of the ocean may just be the thing you need to help reduce stress, refocus and find inner peace. Find out more about SUP yoga lessons from Aloha Sea Sports Centre
For ultimate comfort and sun protection while at sea, grab a few long-sleeve surfing t-shirts and neoprene surfing leggings. Both are designed to maintain a snug fit when wet. Made with UV-resistant (UPF 50+) fabric, these lifesavers will protect your skin from chafing when lying or sitting on the board.
Choose from a wide range of UV-resistant clothing from Decathlon, located at Waterway Point
2. Kayak across Pulau Ubin
Kayak along the waterway between Pulau Ubin’s two islands, and appreciate the biodiversity
along the mangrove’s shoreline.
Did you know that the island of Pulau Ubin is made out of two separate islands, with a waterway flowing between them? Although few know of this fact and have ventured through this untouched waterbody, you can now embark on an expedition to explore this river with a kayaking guide. Adventure Paddlers
offers a four hour guided kayaking tour from Singapore and across Pulau Ubin, covering a distance of around 22 km. On this eco tour, you will find yourself completely surrounded by a tranquil mangrove habitat which is home to a rich array of wildlife. It’s a fascinating adventure where home feels like a world away.
Kayaking is considered the “hiking” of water activities because you have the freedom to explore the more inaccessible nooks and crannies of the mangrove. This brings you much closer to the wildlife around you. Another plus is the fact that kayaking is a sport suitable for all experience levels. Confident paddlers can opt for a single kayak while beginners can pair off with an instructor on a double kayak. You will be using a Cabo Ocean Kayak which is designed to be stable, easy to paddle and ideal for all skill levels. What a fantastic way to pick up a new skill while exploring the great outdoors!
Each expedition is limited to a maximum of five people per group. So, why not bond as a family while learning a new skill on water? Kayaking is a beginner friendly sport where kids as young as seven years old can paddle with their parents. As for busy adults, it’s a stress-relieving low impact workout. After a weekend trip like this, bask in a great sense of accomplishment, knowing you have travelled across the sea with nothing but two arms!
Remember to bring along a Lifeventure Ultralight Dry Bag to keep precious items like a spare set of clothes and your mobile phone bone dry. Made with a special ripstop nylon fabric, siliconised coating and fully taped seams, these bags are ultra durable, light and waterproof. They also feature a special roll top and lightweight Kross buckle to ensure not even a single water drop goes through.
Get your Lifeventure Ultralight Dry Bags, available in different sizes, from Liv Activ located at Changi City Point
3. Hike along Singapore’s Southern Waterfront
This black-and-white bungalow on Bukit Chermin Hill makes for a picture-perfect snapshot.
The Bukit Chermin Boardwalk is a little slice of heaven. The most convenient way to get there is from Labrador Park MRT Station, which includes a stroll through one of the only mangroves in the Southern part of Singapore called Berlayer Creek.
Start by climbing up the sheltered lookout point located just next to the station. Up there, you will get an awe-inspiring treetop view of the creek, and it’s unique rock formation at the mouth of the sea. You will then come upon a jaw-dropping view of the sea at the end of the creek. Sitting serenely above the waters, this is where the elevated Bukit Chermin Boardwalk begins.
On the left sits Bukit Chermin, also known as ‘Mirror Hill’ in Malay — named after the clear waters of the bay. Most of the bungalows built on its slopes popped up around the 1900s during the time of the colonial era, and were designed during an architecturally significant but short-lived phase of black and white (or ‘Tudorbethan’ style) bungalows, in Singapore.
To end the trip, journey across the Instagram-worthy Keppel Bay bridge — the longest cable-stayed bridge in Singapore. This will lead you to Keppel Island for grassy patches, and romantic sea views complete with elegant yachts. For avid trekkers, plan a full day hike instead and begin your trail at Hort Park. Make your way across the panoramic Southern Ridges to Henderson Waves, and down to Berlayer Creek and Bukit Chermin Boardwalk. By the time you reach Keppel Island, you would have made it in time for a picture perfect sunset.
For this all-encompassing trek, consider investing in an outdoor smartwatch from the Suunto Traverse and Traverse Alpha range. Thanks to topographic maps support via Suunto's Movescount app, you can plan out longer routes and preview them right on the watch. There's even weather trends and a storm alarm to make sure you're not caught out in a sudden downpour.
4. Explore wildlife at Kranji Marshes
Head up the Raptor Tower at Kranji Marshes for a thrilling wildlife adventure with your little ones.
If you prefer a quick morning nature adventure that doesn't require too strenuous of a hike, Kranji Marshes, located along the shore of Kranji Reservoir makes for an educational family experience.
Also known as Singapore’s largest freshwater marshland, it contains a variety of mesmerising habitats brimming with life, such as freshwater marsh, mangrove swamps, grass habitats, ponds and a secondary forest. Bring along a pair of binoculars, notebooks and cameras, and get ready for a one to two hour wildlife adventure. This ecological spot is home to 170 species of birds, 54 species of butterflies and 33 species of dragonflies! Challenge your kids to spot any of these wonderful creatures, take a picture or sketch them in their notebooks.
After a 1 km walk down the trail, you will reach Marsh Station featuring a 10 m tall Raptor Tower and lookout point. Climb up the steps and soak in the impressive 360 degree panoramic view of Kranji Marshes and Reservoir. Spend some time up there looking out for endangered species like the Changeable Hawk-Eagle or White-bellied Sea-Eagle hiding amongst the trees. You might even spot a busy kingfisher or lazy monitor lizard looking for food in their own intriguing ways.
Arm yourself with a pair of binoculars like the Nikon Aculon A30 10x25. Compact and lightweight, the Aculon A30 can fit comfortably in a child's hands, and is not too heavy so they don't get tired from holding up the binoculars for viewing.
From binoculars to cameras, find one that fulfills your bird watching needs at Click! located at The Centrepoint
5. Run through the Rail Corridor
Nature and history wrapped into one, along Singapore’s ‘Green Artery’.
The Rail Corridor is one of the most underrated and hidden trails in Singapore. Known as Singapore’s ‘Green Artery’, this green space co-exists next to bustling residential blocks and busy highways.
Formerly part of the Malayan railway system, the Rail Corridor is now an oasis of greenery, stretching from Tanjong Pagar railway station to Woodlands Checkpoint. This rail was once used for the transportation of goods between Singapore and Malaysia. Today, this space provides a historic hike featuring a set of picturesque and romantic abandoned railway tracks leading you through an overgrown jungle corridor. As you wander along these rusty metal tracks, you will feel like you’ve stepped into another world.
While the entire trail’s 24 km length might seem like a mighty task to complete with the kids in tow, you can actually start at different points. Your journey may lead you past railway heritage structures such as the now defunct Bukit Timah railway station, that makes for an excellent photoshoot with vintage signage, tracks and station building — a thing of inspiration amongst railway and heritage enthusiasts. On the other hand, nature lovers can find comfort within the more overgrown sections of the tracks and spot any of the 96 recorded creatures. Sun Skinks, Sunda Scops Owls and Laced Woodpeckers have made this corridor home.
Before your visit, we recommend getting a pair of shoes that offer miles of cloud-like cushioning, with support and breathability so you can wear them all day. A good pair of walking/running shoes should have a soft and stable heel cup to prevent vertical or horizontal heel movement. The shoe must also be long and wide enough to avoid crowding the toes.
Who knew that you could still find these pockets of amazing nature across urban Singapore, without the crowds? Even though we need to practice social distancing for the safety and well-being of our community, it doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up at home. So call upon a loved one, and prepare for a cathartic and healing adventure this weekend without having to leave the country.