Singapore may be a bustling city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t travel consciously. Here are eight ecotourism experiences you can enjoy in Singapore.

When you envisage an ecotourism destination, a fast-paced city like Singapore typically isn’t the first place that comes to mind. 

Cities are usually renowned for their adverse impacts on the environment. Pollution and the destruction of natural flora and fauna aren’t uncommon.

Singapore’s far from perfect in that regard. Urban development has destroyed much of the original landscape on the island and air-con continues to contribute to global warming.

Despite these obvious flaws, though, Singapore has led the way in other aspects of urban planning. 

Sustainable water systems, efficient public transport, green zones, eco-friendly architecture, and reduced energy use make Singapore one of the most eco-friendly cities in Asia.

As a tourist, there is no shortage of ecotourism experiences in Singapore.  Here is how to experience the more sustainable side of Singapore.

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1 – Ride the MRT

Private car ownership and the carbon emissions from private transport are a huge contributor to global warming. 

They also encourages cities to spread out, causing even more harm to the environment.  

The cost to purchase and own a car in Singapore is among the highest in the world. This is due to significant taxes on fuel, parking, importation, licensing and registration. 

In response to this, most of the city’s population choose to use public transport – with the MRT being the most popular.
 

Public transport use is great for the environment as carbon emissions are shared between the 3.3 million other passengers.

Travellers aren’t an exception to this rule.  When in Singapore, grab yourself anEZ-Link card or Singapore Tourist Pass and use the MRT, buses, and your feet to explore the city.  

Not only is this better for the environment, but it also allows you to experience Singapore a little bit more like a local, rather than through the window of a taxi.


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2 – Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay is a major tourist attraction in Singapore. It’s also right in the heart of the city. 

Gardens by the Bay is a grand attraction that brings the late Lee Kuan Yew’s vision of a ‘Garden City’ to life.

The park also offers numerous benefits to the environment. 

‘Super-trees’ filled with living plants tower over the park, where over 158,000 plants help to offset some of the city’s carbon emissions.

Some of the trees collect rainwater in reservoirs, which then feeds back to the plants in the park. 

Others contain photo-voltaic cells to generate solar energy and exhaust air from the conservatories.
 

Aside from the super-trees, there are two large conservatories. These are amazing to visit, and include one of the tallest indoor waterfalls in the world (after Changi’s own indoor waterfall, the Jewel).  

The inner section of the Cloud Forest features displays and a cinema that educates visitors on some of the environmental challenges faced by the world. 

The key focuses here are rubbish, global warming and the effect of rising sea levels – particularly in Singapore.

We found this extremely interesting and we love how this is helping to educate both locals and tourists on some of the biggest sustainability issues in the world.


Gardens by the Bay


3 – Macritchie Reservoir

Sustainably providing water to the people of Singapore has been a priority since the mid-19th century. 

One of the solutions to this problem was the Macritchie Reservoir, Singapore’s oldest reservoir.  

This reservoir collects rainwater and provides drinkable water to a large percentage of Singapore’s population.  

In addition to this, the government has turned the reservoir into one of Singapore’s nicest and largest parks.

It is a great park to visit and walk around as a tourist.  A bridge suspended above the park also offers a birds-eye perspective and some awesome photo opportunities.  

You can easily spend a few hours walking the tracks here.  Just be careful in the heat as Singapore gets very hot in the afternoon. 

Also, watch out for the monkeys here. They can be cheeky, but they can also be dangerous. Keep your distance and avoid carrying food.


Macritchie Reservoir in Singapore

4 – Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is an interesting green space in Singapore. It is one of only two primary rainforests in the world to be located within a city.  

This rainforest is the only entirely untouched forest in Singapore and holds a protected status. 

As such, it is home to a diverse range of animals and plants.

This is particularly unusual given the fact that Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a relatively small park.  

Locals and tourists alike visit the park to run or walk along the trails.  It is the best place in Singapore to visit and feel one with nature.



5 – Singapore Botanic Gardens

The Singapore Botanic Gardens is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Singapore.  

This unique garden is a large park that is home to many species of plants. These range from vegetables and traditional crops to tropical trees and flowering orchids. 

The National Orchid Garden offers a breathtaking display of over 600 species of orchid.

There is a section of the garden dedicated to ethnobotany.  This area contains plants used by indigenous people throughout south-east Asia.  Signs provide information educating visitors about how different plants were used.

Entry to the National Orchid Garden is $5 per person. The Singapore Botanic Gardens, including the ethnobotany section, are free to enter. This makes it one of the best things to do in Singapore on a budget.


A small stream and trees in the Botanic Gardens in Singapore

6 – Marina Barrage

Marina Barrage transformed Singapore’s downtown city into the world’s largest urban reservoir.  

Marina Barrage is impressive due to its ability to serve three main purposes.  

Firstly, it provides a significant water supply to Singapore when combined with 14 other reservoirs.  

Secondly, it acts to prevent floods in the low-lying suburbs.  Chinatown, in particular, has a history of significant flooding during heavy rainfall.

Thirdly, it is a lifestyle attraction for both tourists and locals. There are a number of activities to enjoy here, including kayaking, boating, and dragon boating.

Our favourite thing to do in Marina Barrage is to simply watch the sunset behind Singapore’s city while enjoying a picnic.



7 – NEWater Visitor Centre

Back on the topic of water, Singapore has numerous methods and locations for capturing and creating drinkable water. 

NEWater is a method of water filtration developed by the Singaporean government.  

This method involves purifying wastewater (sewage) with UV lights, micro filtration, and reverse osmosis.  

The idea of drinking wastewater sounds pretty horrifying. However, NEWater has been scientifically proven to be cleaner and more potable than standard tap water in Singapore (which is already amongst the cleanest in the world). 

As the water is so pure, it is mainly reserved for industrial use where perfectly pure water is required. 

Some of the NEWater is added to the public tapwater reserves.

A visit to the centre is interesting, albeit more tailored to children.  This makes it a great ecotourism activity for families or people who are already in the Changi Village area.


Marina Bay Sands

8 – Explore Singapore’s Green Buildings

Singapore is paving the way when it comes to green buildings. 

With such a concentration of skyscrapers, there are many opportunities for these buildings to improve their environmental impacts.

In the Tanjong Pagar business district, it is hard to miss the CapitaGreen building. 55% of its exterior is covered in living foliage. 

Tourists can head to the rooftop to eat at a restaurant which sources all of its ingredients sustainably from eco-conscious farms. There’s also a rooftop garden, which we believe all tall buildings should contain.

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel towers over the main tourist hotspot of downtown Singapore. Its three skyscrapers are topped with what appears to be a boat (it’s actually an observation deck). 

It is the largest building in Singapore to earn the Green Mark Platinum Certification.

A large number of initiatives are also in place to reduce water and power consumption, relying solely on sustainable sources. 

The Art Science Museum is a stunning example of architecture in Singapore, but it also collects rainwater that is used in the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

If budget allows, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel is an awesome place to stay.  If not, a visit to the SkyPark offers spectacular views.

In case you’re worried, the lifts generate energy on the way down to help bring the next person up. 

Despite the views atop the hotel, our favourite photography spot is to capture the sunset from the other side of the Helix Bridge.


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