Singapore: Top Places to Experience a Jungle

Laura Maudlin - Dec 29, 2014
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Singapore is a small country with a considerable green space. Though you won't see a tiger – the last one was killed in the 1930s – you will likely see a squirrel scuttle across your path. Still there are several places in Singapore that you can explore and get to experience the jungle in the city during your visit.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

This nature reserve overlooks the Strait of Johor and is located to the far north of Singapore. It is home to about 140 bird species. Mostly on weekdays you will find the reserve admirably calm and in case you are interested in seeing its wide variety of birds, a visit before 10.00 am is recommended. Apart from bird watching, you will also get a chance to see alarmingly large monitor lizards or observe otter families as they playfully hunt for fish. If luck is on your side, you may also get to see saltwater crocodiles.

Singapore Zoo

This is among the world's best with many of its animals free ranging. Actually, there are several places outside of Sumatra and Borneo where you can come in close contact with Orangutans as they swing on trees. There are also proboscis monkeys which are rarely kept in captivity and are famed for their big snouts and huge red bellies. You will find these monkeys in the forests of Borneo which are sadly dwindling at a rapid rate and as precious creatures as they are, you will find them to be great animals to share your space with.

If you want to see flying foxes as they eat fruits right in front of you, then you should also venture into the Fragile Forest. This is a large enclave where you will see lemurs curiously wandering around. Your visit won't be complete until you venture next door to the new River Safari and see wildlife of the one of the greatest rivers in the world including the giant Pandas. On a Night Safari, you will also get an opportunity to see nocturnal animals like the free-ranging deer, the Malayan tiger and leopards closely on the open-concept enclosures as evening closes in.

Southern Ridges

The Southern Ridges consist of 3 parks – the Kent Ridge Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park and the Mount Faber. All these parks are linked by many walking paths making Southern Ridges one of Singapore's most unique green spaces.

The parks has a total of 8 trails that also include the Forest Walk which is a raised walkway, the Singing Forest with its collection of native trees that attract birds and the 300m Floral Walk along a path marked with flowering plants.

The highest point in the park is Mount Faber Peak and to get there you can climb, take a shuttle bus or ride a cable car from Harbour Front. For spectacular views, the serene Faber Point, west of the cable car terminus is the perfect spot. To watch the sunset over the Singapore straits, the Altivo & Glass Bar is a good spot.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

For instant relaxation, this urban green space will make you forget that you are in a city surrounded by 5.5 million people with the constant roar of traffic. Just like most things in Singapore, the gardens are well kept and designed with each area transitioning into the next with its own ambiance. There is the calm Swan Lake, carefully pruned bonsai and orchid gardens, the humid green rainforest zone not forgetting the old trees that were grown during Queen Victoria's reign over the British Empire.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

If the managed vegetation in the Botanic Gardens bewilders you, you will find the Central Catchment Nature Reserve a more impressive masterpiece of urban planning. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the highest point on Singapore island and at 163 m it is one of the only 2 primary urban rainforests in the world – the other one being in Rio de Janeiro.

The reserve is marked with concrete paths and side trails deep into the ecologically diverse forest which Dr. David Bellamy, the famed British conservationist, estimated to have more plant species than the entire North America.

You can also walk and see monitor lizards, a flying femur, a python and macaques on the dozens of kilometers of trails in the MacRitchie Reservoir nature reserve including a walk cross the Treetop Walk suspension bridge. Later you can retire at the peaceful reservoir park.

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