When we were living in London, I always said the next place I lived would not be another city. Then what did I do? I moved to another city. And not only that, but I moved directly into that city’s busy central shopping district where, thanks to the traffic, perpetual construction, and extremely high concentration of other people, I can in no way forget I am indeed living in a city again. Thankfully, just like in London, there are plenty of places in Singapore to get a breath of fresh air away from all the concrete and crowds, and the one I want to share with you today is Labrador Nature Reserve.
Located along the southern coast of Singapore, Labrador Nature Reserve features 55 acres of preserved natural habitats, nature trails, and a seafront promenade. Also known as Labrador Park, the nature reserve also attracts history buffs interested in seeing the remnants of the fort that was located here during WWII. Having only done a quick google search earlier in the week for ‘hiking in Singapore’ (which I figured was going to be a long-shot), I knew none of this prior to our visit, nor did I realize just how much there was to do in this park. We ended up spending over half a day here, taking the different walks and hikes and just enjoying being by the sea (even though it was a very hazy day).
Labrador Park is an extension to the Southern Ridges, a 6-mile trail connecting parks across the southern region of Singapore, so you can easily make this a full-day affair, but if it’s just a few hours’ escape from the city that you crave, here’s a list of 6 things that’ll keep you entertained in Labrador Nature Reserve.
STROLL OR BIKE ALONG THE PROMENADE
I don’t know about you, but nothing clears my head better than getting active outside, and there is no place I’d rather do that than by the water. The seafront promenade at Labrador Nature Reserve is the perfect place to go for a walk or a bike ride in Singapore with some pretty great views of the sea. Not feeling like burning calories? We saw a few people fishing from the promenade, but be sure to check you’re in an area that specifically allows fishing because some areas of the park have signs posted prohibiting it.
GO FISHING ON THE JETTY
A better (and definitely legal) location for fishing is on the recently reopened Labrador Jetty. It’s here that you’ll find the only rocky sea-cliff on Singapore’s mainland that’s open to the public. After multiple landslides, the jetty was shut down for many years, but with the cliff-face newly secured, the jetty is back up and running!
ENJOY THE SEASIDE PLAYGROUNDS
Probably intended for those a little younger, I couldn’t help but reconnect with my inner 8-year-old when I saw this swing set! Swinging with a view of the sea is definitely my idea of a relaxing afternoon. (Especially when there aren’t any actual kids on the playground with me – ha!) There are two playgrounds at the nature reserve, one quite a bit smaller than the other, but the smaller one has the added bonus of a few relics from WWII and Singapore’s colonial days just a stone’s throw away. (It’s not every day you see a merry-go-round right next to a machine gun bunker!)
HIKE THE LABRADOR NATURE TRAIL
The nature trail was what originally brought us out to Labrador Nature Reserve. While I wouldn’t consider this actual hiking (practically the whole thing is paved), besides MacRitchie Nature Reserve, this is about as close as it gets to hiking in Singapore. The upside is, the trail is absolutely beautiful. It’s completely forested and you can spot everything from rare birds to monkeys along the path. This is also where you’ll find most of the reserve’s remaining historical artifacts, so be on the lookout for those. Be prepared, though – it is a little buggy back here. I mean, it is a forest, so…just saying, if you’ve got issues with bugs, this probably isn’t the path for you.
WALK ALONG THE BUKIT CHERMIN BOARDWALK
If you’re like Lexie who spent the entire nature trail waving her hands above her head to protect herself from all the flying things, then you might want to consider taking a walk down the Bukit Chermin Boardwalk instead. Rising over the water, the boardwalk extends from the nature reserve to Keppel Bay, a short distance away. Views of the sea are prettier in this direction than they are by the Labrador Jetty and bonus, far less bugs to contend with!
EXPLORE THE BERLAYER CREEK MANGROVES
And finally, before you go, take the path towards the MRT station that goes through the Berlayer Creek mangroves, one of only two mangroves that still remain in Singapore. The tide will impact what you’re able to see here, but there are a couple of lookout points where you can usually spot some interesting creatures. (Fair warning: It’s buggy back here, too!)
Labrador Nature Reserve is super easy to get to via public transportation. Just take the MRT to Labrador Park and then follow the road in front of the station until you reach the park. Except for usage of the BBQ pits, everything at Labrador Nature Reserve is free, making it a perfect, stress-free weekend excursion!
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