Explore the great outdoors

Yes, the urban jungle does have a few nature reserves and trails all round the island despite having more than 4,500 completed high-rise buildings – and no, Gardens by The Bay is not considered an outdoor nature area. Head over to the 12-hectare MacRitchie Reservoir – it is Singapore’s oldest reservoir having been completed in 1867 – and you can enjoy a stroll on either one of its two boardwalks or take a hike up to challenge yourself at the 250-metre-long suspension bridge known as HSBC TreeTop Walk. There’s also a designated catch-and-release fishing ground on the eastern part of the park.

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If you fancy a bicycle ride, cycle along East Coast Park and hang out by the beach after – this 185-hectare park is popular even among the locals. Other options that are great for nature lovers or folks with a hankering for fresh air include the Mandai mangroves, Punggol Waterway Park, and the 10km Southern Ridges trail that weaves through the lush treetops of Mount Faber all the way to Labrador Nature Reserve.

Discover one of Singapore’s rare farms

Continuing on the greenery theme, Bollywood Veggies is yet another pleasant surprise found on the third most densely populated country in the world. Founded by retired couple Ivy Singh-Lim and Lim Ho Seng in 2000, this 10-acre (4-hectare) plot of agricultural land nestled in the Kranji countryside supplies local organic produce and has a cafe called Poison Ivy, a culinary school and a museum that only opened several years after the farm’s inception. Guided farm tours aside, you can also participate in other various activities such as plant treasure hunt, rice farming and potting classes.

Be mesmerised by a choir of exotic birds

Located in the town of Ang Mo Kio, Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club is the largest bird-singing and display area of its kind in Southeast Asia, where bird owners bring out their pet birds as early as six o’clock in the morning, hoisting them up 20 feet (6.1 metres) high for sunshine and fresh air while competing to be the best singer. This majestic display of exotic birds chirping beautiful melodies is a sight not to be missed even if you’re not an avian lover.

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Go on a wet and wild kayak adventure

With a little more than 700 square kilometres of total land area, Singapore is still smaller than Hong Kong as well as Penang and Malacca in its neighbouring country Malaysia. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any hidden gems here to be discovered. The city state’s Northern Islands and previously inaccessible swamps are now open for exploration and sightseeing, and you can kayak along rivers and seas to see a different part of Singapore. Currently, there are eight kayaking spots to choose from and you can try out this water sport activity with Kayakasia, a regional eco-adventure travel company managed by professional kayak guides with almost 20 years of kayak touring experience.

Shop like a local for a day in Singapore’s wet markets

Wet markets have long been an integral part of the vibrant and exciting Asian culture, so don’t leave Singapore without checking out the large offerings of fresh produce, meats, spices, dried foods and many more at neighbourhood wet markets like Tiong Bahru Market in Tiong Bahru, Chinatown Complex in Chinatown and Tekka Centre in Little India. After your market visit, you can continue your excursion by exploring the heartlands in these areas to catch a glimpse of what the local way of life.

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Experience the village life in Kampong Lorong Buangkok

With over 200 skyscrapers on the island, it’s hard to believe that a traditional village like this still exists. Located right in the middle of modern developments on 1.22 hectares of private land, this last surviving collection of simple single-storey wooden houses resided by 30-odd families is sandwiched between new towers of public housing flats and the private Gerald Mugliston landed estate. Presently, its fate remains unclear but seeing that it is not a conserve site, it might soon disappear to make way for road or building developments. Make a stop here to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy moments of a quieter, slow-paced village life where you’ll be treated to sights of overgrown gardens and livestock roaming freely around.

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