Singapore is the smallest nation in Southeast Asia, in terms of land area. However, it is a masterpiece of urban planning – an actual example of how a city would look like when urban planners had their way.
It’s not surprising, then, that large tracts of land for public parks still exist in the Lion City despite its limited land area. I’ve had the chance to visit three such parks during my trips in 2017 and 2019. These parks are popular with both tourists and locals as they charge no entrance fees, but some establishments within these are pay-as-you-enter.
Problem is, the threat of Covid-19 still looms overhead so it’s best to postpone such visits for now. Thus, I’ll let these pictures do the job of taking you on a virtual tour.
HAW PAR VILLA
This park built by the Aw brothers of Tiger Balm fame features larger-than-life dioramas of scenes from Chinese literature and Chinese mythology figures such as Guanyin, Confucius, and Budai the Laughing Monk. The Ten Courts of Hell exhibition at the park’s eastern wing illustrates in gory detail what happens to evildoers in the afterlife. Haw Par Villa is connected to the Lion City’s mass rapid transport system via the Circle Line (CC25 – Haw Par Villa Station). Its location along Pasir Panjang Road offers a nice view of the harbor across the street when viewed from the park’s highest point.
READ MORE HERE: The Monching Visits Singapore: Haw Par Villa
Haw Par Villa (Tiger Balm Gardens)
262 Pasir Panjang Road,
Fort Canning‘s history spans multiple eras in the history of Singapore: from the precolonial period, the British rule, World War II, independence, up to the present. Notable landmarks include the Battle Box (formerly the headquarters of the British Armed Forces in Malaya), Fort Canning Green, and Raffles House. A dedicated station on the Downtown Line (DT20 – Fort Canning Station) connects this historic hill to the tube system. Meanwhile, an exit near the Badang Terrace provides a good view of the watering holes at Clarke Quay below!
READ MORE HERE: The Monching Returns To Singapore (Day 2)
Fort Canning Park
River Valley Road,
The Singapore Botanic Gardens were established in 1859 in order to to evaluate possible cash crops that can be grown on the island. Rubber tree cultivation incidentally started in the Botanic Gardens spearheaded by its first director Henry Nicholas Ridley; his actions would put Malaya on the map as a major producer of latex. The National Orchid Garden is the Botanic Gardens’ main attraction, but the other gardens are equally pleasing to the eye – with the entirety of the gardens serving as the Lion City’s green lung. Two train lines stop at the Gardens’ common station: the Downtown Line (DT9) and Circle Line (CC19).
READ MORE HERE: The Monching Returns To Singapore (Day 3)
Singapore Botanic Gardens
491 Bukit Timah Road,
And there you have it – three parks in the heart of the Little Red Dot that provide a different view from the usual drab and gray colors of the city. Stop by these parks on your next visit and see a different side of Singapore!
To cap off this post, permit me to greet my Singapore-based readers in celebration of their nation’s 55th birthday today, August 9.