Singapore isn’t exactly known for its nature reserves or national parks. Yet the island-nation is a great place for animal lovers due to its excellent zoo and wildlife parks, where visitors can observe animals in amazingly natural habitats. Here are our top picks for wildlife spotting in Singapore.
Jurong Bird Park
Stepping into Jurong Bird Park means stepping inside the world’s largest walk-in aviary. Encompassing a 49-acre (20-hectare) swath of jungle, the bird park provides a home to some 8,000 birds representing more than 600 species. An air-conditioned tram connects the various exhibits, which are also accessible on foot.
The Singapore Zoo, considered to be one of the best zoological parks in the world, is home to 2,800 animals of more than 300 species and the world’s most successful orangutan breeding program. The philosophy of the rainforest–themed zoo includes thoughtfully landscaped habitats, minimal caging, and special viewing features, like elevated platforms or underwater windows to maximize your chances at seeing the animal residents.
Singapore Night Safari and River Safari
The Singapore Zoo also operates two safari experiences outside the bounds of the zoo itself. The most popular of the two is the Night Safari tour, where you embark on an after-dark safari into the jungle by tram and on foot to observe nocturnal critters in their naturalistic habitats in the world’s first nocturnal zoo. On the River Safari, a newer offering, you enjoy a boat trip along the great rivers of the world to see the animals that live in and around the globe’s freshwater environments.
If you’re craving a more natural animal encounter, consider a day trip to nearby Pulau Ubin. The mangrove forests of this island off Singapore’s shores are home to a host of wildlife, including water monitors, hornbills, and pink dolphins. Keep an eye out for these and other animals during an eco-friendly kayaking tour.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Singapore’s first Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Heritage Park comprises wetlands, ponds, mudflats, and mangrove forests. An important habitat for migratory birds, the biodiversity-rich reserve has a new visitor center as well as several nature trails for spotting the park’s resident animals.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Situated on a high hill only a short way from Singapore’s city center lies Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, one of the last areas of primary rainforest in the country. Some 40 percent of Singapore’s native flora and fauna reside within this park.