Our island may be small, but if weekends are anything to go by, more and more families are starting to enjoy the outdoors over weekends—rolling around in the grass, wading in the waters of our beaches or having a picnic in the park. The demand for a curated picnic experience has increased exponentially, giving birth to companies such as Picneeds and Beauteaq.
We set out to explore every nook and cranny of Singapore to find hidden picnic spots that are either unknown or severely underrated. Perhaps once this haze dissipates, a picnic might be just the thing you need to wrap up a week of work, meetings, and career commitments.
Coined the Garden of Fame thanks to the many foreign dignitaries that have planted their mark here (literally), this picnic spot is hidden in Jurong Hill Park. The park has an abundance of lush greenery and stands at 60 metres tall, providing views for miles.
If the peak of the park isn’t enough for you, visit the look-out tower on Jurong Hill to get an aerial view of Jurong! The park is also one of the best-known spots for wedding photoshoots. Hey, who knows? Your picnic date could even turn into a proposal
Kranji Reservoir Park not only provides you with a panoramic view of the Johor Straits and potentially your dinner (if you’re an avid fisherman, this place is perfect). There’s a war memorial plaque in the area as a sign of respect to the soldiers that died during the Battle of Kranji in World War II.
It’s also relatively off the beaten which means you’ll get a peaceful picnic getaway, away from the madness of the city.
Yishun Dam is my favourite spot to relax and escape reality for a while, although I’ve never tried having a picnic here. The dam is divided into two and extends into Yishun Avenue 1. The area closer to Yishun is no longer a bunch of rocks and grass with no lights—there are designated seating areas and even a public toilet. Be warned of the mosquitoes at night if you choose to picnic in that side of the dam at night.
The main road at the dam closer to Seletar Airport’s side (toward Punggol) will be filled with motorcycles and cars, especially since no form of public transport reaches the area.
You can sit here, feel the breeze and make all the noise you want; yes even in the middle of the night because there’s no one around to chase you away or make a noise complaint against you. Also, midnight picnics need to be a thing.
Opened in April 2019, Lakeside Gardens is the first instalment of the Jurong Lake Gardens rejuvenation. Think a newer version of Punggol’s lalang fields for you to frolic about, and the Logs Trail (a bunch of wooden stumps recycled from trees) and another lone Instagram tree to replace the one we lost from Seletar Reservoir.
While you picnic, your young ones can explore the various play areas in the park as well. The Forest Ramble play area has 13 different zones for playtime galore. No more food wastage, especially since they’re bound to be famished after an energetic run. Also, there’s even a man-made beach called Clausia Cove, complete with sand and shallow waters for little ones to wade in.
Pronounced “hin-d-her” after a Danish family surname, this park was opened in 2001 and catered specifically to families with young children. The trail to the nature park is tucked away behind the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve’s Visitor Centre. Instead of the steep hiking trails that you might find in other Parks, this nature park prides itself on its gentle incline, playgrounds with various forms of entertainment to keep babies and children happy; think baby swings, trampoline and a mini zipline.
The highlight of the nature park is the old quarry. From a look-out point at the end of the trail, visitors can admire the view of Hindhede Quarry. Although you can no longer appreciate the mining of the past since it’s filled with water, you can still enjoy the terrapins and fish that now call the quarry home.
Also called Punggol Waterway Park, it is located along Sentul Crescent near Waterway Point. Formerly a project by HDB to turn Punggol into a waterfront town, this park is now Singapore’s longest man-made waterway.
Not only does it provide a splash of greenery into the neighbouring houses, but it’s also divided into four areas that give residents more leisure opportunities. The Nature Cove area allows visitors to relax and enjoy the scenic view of the waterway, and you can hold your gatherings and picnics on the lawn area here too. The Recreation Zone is perfect for families to enjoy both water and sand play.
If you’re a nature buff, you’ll enjoy taking a stroll through the Heritage zone and Green Gallery – both areas surrounded by mature trees and vegetation that are lovingly conserved together with the natural terrain of the park.
Who knew you could picnic in a shopping centre? Well, Changi City Point has space for you to rest your tired feet in their Arena @ Level 3. The architecturally-attractive dome structures are a perfect place for you to empty your snack hauls (let’s be honest, we all go snack shopping instead of grocery shopping) and devour them.
If it gets too hot, find shade and solace in the outdoor amphitheatre.
Hidden in the corner of Bak-Kwa haven, or Chinatown as its better known is this little nook, Pearl’s Hill City Park is situated at the top of a hill, with a small reservoir nearby. Tall trees and foliage act as a barrier between the heavy traffic and this concealed oasis, adding to the serenity.
It might feel a little like just another neighbourhood park; however, it’ll help you feel slightly better knowing that you’re relaxing on a bench or seeking shelter under a shaded hut in a hidden corner of central Singapore instead of behind someone’s HDB flat.
With all the park connectors popping up around the neighbourhoods, it means more accessible access to trails that are off the beaten path. Sengkang Riverside Park is located close to Anchorvale Street. A constructed wetland sets this picnic location apart from other green areas. You can admire the mangroves from up close since there aren’t any barriers between you and nature.
It’s a perfect place for those who have a deep appreciation for nature. Time to make a trip down to do a spot of bird-watching and count the wetland’s resident turtles. If you run out of picnic food, there are eateries along the park trail to stuff yourself even more!
You could probably pretend that you’re having a destination picnic while at Woodlands Waterfront. In addition to being located at Johor Bahru’s doorstep, which means it’s a fantastic place to find peace. Con: Your phone will always attempt to connect to Malaysia’s telcos, so your data’s pretty much useless. Pro: The perfect location to disconnect!
Enjoy the views of the Causeway and the Johor Straits while stuffing yourself silly and relaxing on the 400-metre refurbished jetty. You can also opt to walk and cycle around the area, let your kids have some fun at the Adventure playground and Sky Walk if they get bored or try your luck at fishing and catching crabs.
Before I forget, here’s one bonus picnic place we should all AVOID. Pandan Reservoir. One word – midges.
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