The 5 Most Underrated Parks in Singapore
Hidden Parks for You to Get Away
After two long weekends of wining and dining, perhaps it’s time to find your centre again. So you’ve heard it a million times before—Singapore is a city in a garden. But if you head to the more popular parks or hiking trails, you’re bound to run into a crowd. People will throng the public parks and beautiful gardens with or without a public holiday, hiking along elevated walkways or strolling along the network of boardwalks across the city. So, if you’re looking for peace of mind, here are the 5 most underrated parks in Singapore we’ve found.
1. Mount Emily Park
You may think this park is located along the Southern Ridges, where Mount Faber is, but it’s not. Mount Emily Park is tucked away on Upper Wilkie Road, between the Istana and Little India. It’s a bit of a climb to the top of the park, but the incline isn’t that steep at all. Plus, there’s a children’s playground and a fitness station too.
Around this quiet park, you can spot some older mansions, a reminder of the area’s past affluence. Another reminder is the facade of the entrance of the previous Mount Emily Swimming Pool—the first public pool in Singapore that opened in January 1931. In its heyday, around 150,000 swimmers used the pool in 1951, and its popularity continued well into the 1970s.
Despite being near Little India MRT station and the hip cafes of Selegie, it’s well hidden from sight. So the park doesn’t get a lot of visitors, except for the nearby residents. If you’re ever near the neighbourhood, this is the perfect place to catch your breath, where you can take a stroll underneath the wisened heritage trees around the park.
How to get there:
From Little India MRT Interchange, leave from Exit A and find your way to Selegie Road. Turn right into Mackenzie Road, and then turn left to Niven Road. Then, turn right into Mount Emily Road and walk up the hill. Mount Emily Park will be at the end of the road to your left.
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2. Ulu Pandan Park Connector
The Ulu Pandan Park Connector derives its name from the Ulu Pandan River, where it flows westwards towards Pandan River. And this is how it got its name, “Ulu” means upstream in Malay, whereas “Pandan” refers to all the screwpine trees that lines the riverbanks.
This park connector stretches from Commonwealth Avenue West to Pandan Reservoir. Or, you can take it all the way to Bukit Batok Park Connector. Along the way, there are plenty of wildlife to spot, especially if you like bird watching. The Red-Capped Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, and the White Egrets often dart into the canal for a drink or a catch. If you’re lucky, you can catch sight of the elegant Grey Heron wading in the shallow water for fish.
Later in the year, between March and April and between August and September, you can find the Tecoma trees in wild blossoms, dotting the path with pink flowers and petals. Then it’ll all be suffused by the sweet aromas of Purple Millettias and the brilliant yellows of the Yellow Asokas too.
How to get there:
Take the MRT on the East West Line and alight at Buona Vista MRT Exit C, where you can find the start of the park connector. Or, alight at Dover MRT Exit B, and then follow the path by the bus stop.
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3. Southern Promenade
You may have heard about the Jurong Lake Gardens and its key attractions. But the Southern Promenade offers a quiet escape from the rest of the bustle. It’s located at the southernmost end of Lakeside Garden.
Still, don’t underestimate what this underrated park in Singapore can offer. The Southern Promenade covers 8-hectares worth of wildlife and greenery. Here, you can take in the untouched serenity along the paths. Besides that, you can also find one of the few rare legal fishing spots in Singapore. So head there and cast your fishing lines!
How to get there:
If you want to skip traversing the rest of the Jurong Lake Gardens, you can take the 154 bus from Clementi MRT Exit A. Get off at Aft Corporation Dr, Yung Ho Rd, and continue along Yung Ho Road into Yung Ho Walk. There is an entrance on Yung Ho Walk.
Nearby Apartments: J Gateway
This is the pinnacle of the contemporary life in West Singapore. J Gateway is developed by MCI Land encapsulates the ease of integrated living with its accessibility to the best of what Jurong East has to offer. It’s only 5 minutes away from Jurong East MRT INterchange and its surrounding shopping malls. Plus, with top-notch amenities like private dining pavilions and an infinity lap pool, you can truly indulge in urban living in the West. Stay in our 1-bedroom and 2 bedroom serviced apartments at J Gateway.
4. Kallang Riverside Park
Bet you didn’t know you can get wet and wild here. Water sports enthusiasts often gather at Kallang Riverside Park because of the wide open bay. You can find dragon boaters and canoeists cut through the waters.
But if you prefer to stay on land, there are jogging cum cycling tracks snaking through the park, as well as fitness equipment. Thinking of a picnic? There’s a cafe, Coop Coop, within the park. And there are plenty of open spaces where you can simply lay down a mat, have your picnic underneath a palm tree, and take in the panoramic views of the Singapore Sports Hub.
How to get there:
Alight at Lavender MRT Exit A, walk East along Kallang Road and cross Crawford Street. Walk South along Crawford Street, but turn left onto the park connector by Rochor River. Follow the park connector until you get to the park.
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5. Katong Park
Katong Park is one of Singapore’s first landmarks. It is where Fort Tanjong Katong once stood, one of the oldest military forts built by the formal British Colonial Government of Singapore. Completed in 1879, it was built to help defend against Russian invaders.
Its next lease of life was as a bathing pagar. the government then built Singapore’s first public sea swimming enclosure in 1931 to serve the new residential developments at Katong. During then, it even had a bandstand, along with changing rooms, a cafe, and a playground. Vendors along Meyer Road would sell food to the visitors too.
But, alas, land reclamation works along Singapore’s east coast began in 1966. The park began to lose popularity. By the time the East Coast Parkway was constructed, many structures in the park had to be demolished.
Today, even if the old buildings from its seaside days are gone, the main pedestrian paths run through the park remain. In fact, you can still see part of the remains of Fort Tanjong Katong, and beside it the grand Mindanao Gum Tree quietly overlooks the remains.
There’s a children’s playground around the park, but you can also take a leisurely stroll and look at its storied past on heritage boards. Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the East Coast Park.
How to get there:
The Katong Park MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line will open before the end of 2024. Otherwise, you can take buses 30 and 158 from Mountbatten MRT Exit B. Get off at Opp Fort Gardens, walk south along Fort Road, and turn left at Meyer Road. The park will be at your right.
Nearby Apartments: Meyer Melodia
It’s just right across from Katong Park. Meyer Melodia is a freehold apartment that was completed in 2017 developed by Cang Properties Pte Ltd. It consists 16 units with a Gross Floor Area of 1,184 sqm. The amenities include a swimming pool, a pool deck, a gym room, and a BBQ area. MetroResidences has a series of coliving rooms, 1 bedroom serviced apartment, 2 bedroom serviced apartment, and studio unit for rent in Singapore at Meyer Melodia.
These underrated gems would take a bit of a stroll from public transportation, but they’re well worth the journey. If you’re looking for quiet after the festivities, these underrated parks in Singapore will offer you some solace for the year ahead. So, you don’t need to go to some offshore islands or a huge park for some peace of mind after all.
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