Singapore is often described as a concrete jungle, but you’ll also find plenty of lush, hidden oases tucked between its skyscrapers and located on the fringes of the city-state. This weekend, why not try something a little different and explore the country by bike? The expansive Park Connector Network makes it easy to cruise along the designated routes, or you can choose to venture off the beaten track into more unexplored terrain. Slap on some sunscreen, don your protective gear and get your blood pumping while becoming better acquainted with Singapore’s natural wonders.
1. Coney Island
It can be a bit of a trek to get to this island, located off the coast of Punggol in the north-eastern part of Singapore. But once you arrive, you’ll be fascinated by just how much nature you can find here. Take a ride along one of the coastal trails, discover hidden beaches and make your way through an enchanting forest. Keen birdwatchers should also bring their binoculars and keep their eyes peeled for the 80 species of birds that call Coney Island home. You can either bring your own bike or rent one from Jomando Adventure & Recreations at Punggol Settlement or GoCycling at Punggol Park or Punggol Jetty.
Beginning at Choa Chu Kang Park, this route takes you through various parks and greenways where you’ll get up close and personal with nature. Dairy Farm Nature Park, with its rugged terrain, is a highlight, as are the Jurong Lake Gardens – home to the beautiful and cultural Chinese Garden and the zen Japanese Garden. This 12km-route also comes with several opportunities to hop off your bike for a bit and take breaks in the tranquil and usually uncrowded surrounds. If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot one of the roughly 50 bird species that have been sighted along the Bukit Panjang Park Connector. The Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden are currently temporarily closed due to pandemic restrictions so check its website for updates.
Bike on the wild side in northern Singapore: you’ll be surrounded by nature, but will never be too far from heartland neighbourhoods such as Yishun, Sembawang and Woodlands should you want to stop for a break along the way. The entire loop spans around 25km, but you can also opt for a shorter 11km-route that takes you from Lower Seletar Reservoir Park to Woodlands Waterfront. Water is a major feature along this route, and you’ll pass through reservoirs, a freshwater swamp and a jetty at Woodlands Waterfront that’s one of the longest in Singapore. The park connectors will keep you on smooth ground, but you’ll also hit some undulating terrain on your route. Keep a lookout for wildlife such as monkeys and rare birds.
Singapore’s largest nature park is also the first in the country to have separate mountain biking and hiking trails. It’s ideal for bird watching, and is also a great place to find out more about the various native tree species that have been planted here. The mountain biking trail is segmented into different sections with varying difficulty levels, so choose the one that best fits your abilities. Seasoned mountain bikers can also brush up on their skills at Chestnut Bike Park, with skills lines and a skills area. Finally, the Chestnut Pump Track caters to riders of all levels who want to practice and advance their techniques within a controlled environment.
Make your way to Pulau Ubin from Changi Ferry Terminal and enjoy a cycle around Ketam Mountain Bike Park. It’s the first trail in the city-state to meet international standards for mountain biking competitions, with 10km of trails that will suit cyclists of all skill levels. The three tracks have different ratings from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), so go for one that corresponds with the level you’re comfortable with. If you have the time, you can consider turning your bike ride into a full-day trip and discovering all that Pulau Ubin has to offer.
Running through Bedok Jetty, East Coast Park and Bedok Reservoir Park, this is among the most popular trails in Singapore – and it’s easy to see why. From sea to shore to street, there is a whole range of sceneries you’ll chance upon along the way. You’ll also have plenty of options when it comes to stopping for a rest, whether you want to have a snack at a food centre or soak your feet in the waters of East Coast Park. Made up of mostly park connectors and cycling paths, anyone who can ride a bike will enjoy this easy, meandering route.
Get a workout in the central area and get a glimpse of iconic housing estates such as Toa Payoh, Whampoa and Ang Mo Kio. The entire route is joined up through the Park Connector Network, so be aware that you’ll be sharing the paths with those out for their walks and jogs. Along the 36km stretch, you’ll see the old-school Toa Payoh Town Park, the gorgeous Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park (keep an eye out for otters) and the soothing Kallang River.
This article was originally published on 5 September 2020 and updated on 23 April 2021.