While Singapore’s city center is great, there’s also lots to see and do outside of it. If you’re staying in the city center, getting to these places requires a subway (MRT) ticket, but the activities itself are all free of charge.
First up are the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which are easily accessible from the Botanic Gardens MRT Station. Just follow the station’s exit to the Botanic Gardens and you will find yourself at the entrance. The Gardens contain a lot of tropical flora. This is not only worth a visit if you’re psyched about nature, but it also offers a very calm and relaxing atmosphere to escape the bustling city center and be amazed by some very beautiful plants.
Mt. Faber Park is another nature spot, but it is very different from the Botanic Gardens. Mt. Faber is mostly a hill whose peak offers great views of the city, its harbor and the sea. The Park is accessible from the HarbourFront MRT Station, which is located under the largest shopping mall of Singapore: VivoCity. Take exit D from the MRT Station and the shopping mall, cross the street and you’ll find yourself at the beginning of the Merang Trail. Right from the beginning, it really feels like you’re in a rainforest and if you’re lucky you can even spot some monkeys! There are a lot of mosquitos though, so don’t forget to bring mosquito spray. Singapore’s cable car system has a station at the Mt. Faber peak, which can take you to Sentosa, but it’s relatively expensive. The other parks Telok Blangah Hill and Kent Ridge are accessible from Mt. Faber Park through the Southern Ridges Park Connector.
Another place you can go just to brag to your friends you’ve been there: the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia. It can be found on Sentosa island. You can get to the island by using the aforementioned cable car from Mt. Faber (and VivoCity), or by taking the MRT to HarbourFront Station, from where you can either take the Sentosa Boardwalk or the Sentosa Express (a monorail train). Taking the Sentosa Express costs SGD 4, which grants you unlimited use of the monorail services. When we were there, the Boardwalk was free of charge. However, this was only for a limited period, so it could be that you have to pay an entrance fee to visit the island. If you’re taking the Sentosa Express, exit the train at the Beach Station and follow the signs to Palawan Beach. If you’re walking, you can immediately follow the signs to Palawan Beach. At Palawan Beach, take the narrow bridge to Palawan Island where you can enjoy an impressive view of the Strait of Singapore. Visiting Sentosa can be fun, but try to avoid the weekends as it can be very crowded. Sentosa is one big attraction park so if you’re not into that, it’s not worth visiting. (Really, don’t go.)
To even out the crowdedness of Sentosa, here’s another relaxing spot: the Chinese Garden. (Yes, you need 3 relaxing spots to even out the intensity of a weekend-visit to Sentosa.) Getting to the Chinese Garden by MRT is not a short ride, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Singapore. Already from inside the MRT train (which is above ground here) you will be able to see an iconic large red pagoda against the sky. From the Chinese Garden MRT Station, it’s (obviously) a short walk to the park. It’s a tranquil place and not touristic at all. The park has some beautiful architecture and there are a lot of animals too. You will see eagles, hear chirping birds from the trees and dragons. Yes. Komodo dragons can be seen chilling in the grass, just as us humans like to do. Remember to keep your distance though, as they don’t like chilling with company.
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