8. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore’s northwest area is a nature reserve of global importance and was registered as an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2003. A large number of migratory birds use the nature reserve as a stop-over point on their migratory route. The water bodies here thrive with mudskippers, crabs, mud lobsters, mullet, halfbeak, archer fish, and several other varieties of aquatic fauna. The Malayan water monitor can also be spotted in the area. Some of the notable birds visiting or residing in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve include the Chinese egrets, Mongolian plover, cinnamon bittern, greater crested terns, whimbrel, lesser whistling-duck, milky stork, etc. There is also a resident family of smooth otters residing here. The back mangrove of the nature reserve hosts the largest moth species in Southeast Asia, the Atlas moth. Saltwater crocodiles are the dangerous predators of the ecosystem and are occasionally sighted in the waters. Several observation hides are provided at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve for visitors to observe the flora and fauna in tranquility.
7. Pulau Ubin
Located to the northeast of Singapore, Pulau Ubin is an island that was inhabited by a few thousand settlers engaged in granite quarrying on the island. However, today only about a hundred villagers live on the island. Pulau Ubin has an abundance of natural flora and fauna and is a part of the Ubin–Khatib Important Bird Area. It supports a significant number of resident and migratory birds including many threatened species. The island is thus a favorite haunt of bird watchers and other nature lovers.
6. Jurong Bird Park
The Jurong Bird Park is a major tourist attraction in Singapore. The aviary occupies an area of 49 acres on the Jurong Hill’s western slopes and is managed by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore. There are plans to relocate the bird park to Mandai by 2020 as announced by the authorities of the park on June 1, 2016. The Jurong Bird Park hosts the world’s second largest walk-in aviary, the 2 hectares large African Waterfall Aviary. Here, there are more than 600 free-flying birds belonging to over 50 species. Some of the notable avians of the aviary are the turacos, hoopoe, and the golden-breasted starling. A section of the bird park is reserved for flightless birds like the emus, rheas, ostriches, and more. The largest collection of birds of Southeast Asia is found in the Southeast Asian Birds Aviary. Birds of peaceful nature are allowed to roam freely in the aviary while the territorial ones are kept in large cages. Other interesting features of the Jurong Bird Park include the Lory Loft, the Penguin Coast, the World of Darkness, and the Pelican Cove. Several bird shows are also arranged for visitors such as the High Flyers Show, the Kings of the Skies Show, and Lunch with the Parrots.
5. Gardens by the Bay
A nature park, Gardens by the Bay spans an area of 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore. The park features Bay Central Garden, Bay South Garden, and the Bay East Garden. The conservatory complex houses both the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. The former is the largest columnless glasshouse in the world. The Flower Dome houses Mediterranean plants and plants of other semi-arid tropical regions. It has a number of gardens, a bistro, and an olive grove as its main features. The Cloud Forest replicates the environment of tropical mountain regions and features a 138 feet tall man-made Cloud Mountain. The Mountain has different levels with different themes and is entirely covered in plants like ferns, orchids, clubmosses, etc. Another visually appealing feature of the Gardens by the Bay are the Supertrees. These trees range in height from 82 ft to 160 ft and act as vertical gardens. Several other features like the Children's Garden, Horticultural Themed Gardens, the Flower Market and main event space are part of the Gardens by the Bay.
4. Singapore Botanic Gardens
The world’s only tropical garden to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a major tourist attraction in Singapore. It is 158 years old and was founded by an agri-horticultural society in 1859. It is located at the fringe of the main shopping belt of Singapore. The garden acted as an important center of research on rubber plants and played a significant role in the region's rubber trade boom in the past. The National Orchid Garden located here is an important area of orchid studies and houses 1,200 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids, the largest collection of orchid in the world. The 82 hectares large botanic gardens also host over 10,000 species of flora and receives about 4.5 million visitors each year.
3. River Safari
Nestled between the Night Safari and the Singapore Zoo, the River Safari is another interesting nature destination in Singapore. The Safari is the first of its kind in Asia. It is a river-themed zoo and aquarium featuring river boat rides and freshwater attractions as the chief highlights. It was opened on February 28, 2014. The River Safari is visited by about 820,000 people annually. It is operated by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
2. Night Safari
The Night Safari, the world’s first nocturnal zoo, is located adjacent to the Singapore Zoo where it spans an area of 35 hectares in a secondary rainforest. Dr. Ong Swee Law, the former executive chairman of the Singapore Zoo, first suggested the concept of a nocturnal zoo. The Night Safari was then created at a cost of S$63 million and opened on May 26, 1994. It houses more than 2,500 animals of 130 species with 38% species belonging to the threatened category of the IUCN Red List. The safari is a popular tourist attraction in Singapore and receives about 1.1 million visitors every year.
1. Singapore Zoo
Also known as the Mandai Zoo, the Singapore Zoo is one of the top attractions in Singapore. The zoo is located on the margins of the Upper Seletar Reservoir in a heavily forested area. It encompasses an area of 28 hectares. The zoo was opened on June 27, 1973, after being built at a cost of $9 million that was funded by the government of the country. The zoo is currently operated by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore. It hosts 315 species of animals including 16% of threatened species. The zoo is famous for housing its animals in exhibits that are naturalistic with large open spaces and hidden barriers, moats, and glass walls between visitors and the animals. The world’s largest captive colony of orangutans live in the Singapore Zoo. An average of 1.7 million visitors visits the zoo annually.
About the Author
Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.
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