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Looking for unique picnic ideas or picnic places in Singapore to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life? In recent years, Singaporeans have developed a penchant for all things outdoors, thanks to the government’s push to expand and enhance park facilities around the island. And oh, how we yearn to breathe fresh air after prolonged periods of working from home!
From kids-friendly picnic spots to secluded ones for more privacy, check out our recommendations for a day of fun-under-the-sun around the Changi Precinct. Go ahead, spread your picnic mat, slather on some sun care, and get that much-needed dose of Vitamin D now!
1. The Family Man: East Coast Park
Hey, fathers, we’re looking at you! Who says picnics are a mother’s turf? More often than not, a father’s attention to detail and creativity in planning not only surprises his spouse but warms the hearts of the little ones too.
For the sweet Family Man looking to bring his brood out for a day of fun (and keep them out of mom’s hair for a bit!), we recommend East Coast Park, the largest park in Singapore by size. One of the best places to spend your time in the east of Singapore with a coastline spanning 15km and a land area of 185ha, the possibility for a beach-front picnic is endless.
Parkland Green (Area C), Raintree Cove (Area C), and Cyclist Park (Area D) have perfect spots for a seaside picnic away from the usual large crowds that hoard the area.
Parkland Green has a sprawling green lawn surrounded by bistros and cafes, making it easy to grab a bucket of ice-cold beer or a hot cup of coffee to go with your picnic. Raintree Cove not only offers a scenic view of the sea but also has a variety of swings, much to the delight of younger children, while Cyclist Park has two biking circuits - Learner and Advanced circuits - of varying difficulty levels for riders of all ages to hone their skills.
All three areas allow you to sit back and relax under the shady Casuarina trees while keeping an eye on the young ones playing with sand on the beach. Public restrooms within the vicinity are also clean and accessible for easy wash-up.
If you have high-energy children looking for adrenaline fun, we suggest you head towards the newest Coastal PlayGrove with a mighty four-storey Play Tower in Area B of East Coast Park. As one of Singapore’s largest outdoor features, the Play Tower boasts a vertical net play area and slides. Alternatively, visit another hotspot, the all-time-favourite Marine Cove Playground in Area C. Both locations are within walking distance to the beach and have a cluster of the best F&B options to grab extra snacks for the little tummies.
What to bring: East Coast Park pretty much has all that you need if you spend your time near the cafe clusters. If simplicity is the order of the day, just bring a picnic mat and get your food takeaways from one of the eateries. Aside from that, bring a willing heart to let your kids run amok and have fun. Of course, we define fun as wet shoes, sandy feet, and sweat-drenched clothes!
Practical tips: Bring a change of clothes, towels, wet tissue, and simple first-aid and medical supplies for potential boo-boos while the children play. If it is going to be extra sunny, sunblock and wide-brimmed hats work wonders to protect the head and neck.
2. A Couple’s Date: Changi Beach Park
Looking for something idyllic and nostalgic to do for your date? How about a relaxing picnic under the wispy trees on Changi Beach?
While Changi Beach stretches over 3.3km, we recommend choosing a picnic spot near the quaint Changi Point Ferry Terminal at Changi Village. The area is relatively quiet and gives you a perfect view of the colourful bumboats ferrying people to Pulau Ubin or one of the seafood kelongs. Psst… That’s an opportunity for the next date, right before your eyes!
After your picnic, take a stroll along the 2.2km-long Changi Point Coastal Walk. Keep an eye peeled for unique bird species, such as the tiny Pacific Swallow, or look out for rare marine creatures along the shoreline. With the right timing, you can even soak in the golden sunset with your date.
When night falls, enjoy dinner from one of the charming eateries at Changi Village or have a drink at the microbrewery near the ferry terminal.
What to bring: Good planning to impress your date! Bring your picnic supplies, but if you lack anything, be sure to check out the mama shops nearby. Or, if you want to splurge for a special occasion, why not try out fancy services such as Wondrous Picnic, which would create a beautiful set-up for you with food add-ons, minus the logistical hassle?
Practical tips: Dress comfortably for this date. You will want to look cool (literally) and be comfortable walking on the boardwalk. Like all beaches, insects such as sand flies and mosquitoes are ubiquitous, so show your caring side by preparing a bottle of citronella spray to repel any unwanted company on your date!
3. The Instagrammer: Pasir Ris Beach
Name me a park in Singapore that has all of this in one place: A horse stable, a mangrove boardwalk, a birdwatching tower, a ginormous playground, and a maze garden, all within walking distance to the beach. Yes, it’s our very own Pasir Ris Park, one of the best picnic places in Singapore!
As the island’s second-largest coastal park, Pasir Ris Park is highly Instagrammable with its myriad offerings. Plonk yourself under the lush raintree canopy or lay down your basket near a whimsical gazebo that doubles as a sheltered picnic spot.
For a playful twist, Pasir Ris Park also houses one of the biggest playgrounds in Singapore, including a ‘flying-fox’ zipline, rope climbing structures, and spinning discs. Spread your mat, set up your camera and tripods, and enjoy boundless photo opportunities!
After the picnic, take a pony ride at the rustic Gallop Stable or a walk through the mysterious mangrove forest. Both places offer unique opportunities for you to whip out your digital cameras. If you are lucky, you might even spot hornbills, hawks, and owls.
What to bring: A friend with a good eye for photography, who has a truckload of patience to take a gazillion photos of you.
Practical tips: Unlike East Coast Park, the F&B options at Pasir Ris Beach are more limited, so bring along sufficient picnic supplies and food. Alternatively, you can head to the nearby Downtown East for a proper meal post-picnic!
4. The Gung-ho One: Pulau Ubin
Hello to the Gung-ho (enthusiastic) one planning to have a picnic off the beaten path. Pulau Ubin is an unusual choice for a picnic, we agree, but if you are looking for quiet places in Singapore to spread your mat, why not take a 15-minute bumboat ride to one of Singapore’s largest natural offshore islands?
The back-to-the-60s kampung (village) setting is guaranteed to time-transport you away from the stress of modern life and back to the good, old days of minimalism.
Your cellular network may be patchy, and you might need to watch out for wild boars, but how’s that for a unique picnic experience?
Pulau Ubin has three campsites around the island which are potential picnic spots. We recommend Jelutong campsite, nearest to the jetty with a mere 10-minute walk. The proximity to the main village also means you can get last-minute supplies without having to lug them across the island. This is especially important if you plan to buy your stash of beverages from the main village, as water is not potable on Pulau Ubin.
On this note, a reminder not to drink from the tap on the island. But if you accidentally do, public toilets are available across the island.
For those looking to inject more fun into the itinerary, consider renting a bike to cycle around the island after your picnic and explore its places of interest. These include learning about biodiversity at Chek Jawa Wetlands, mountain biking around Ketam Quarry, or navigating nature at one of the most picture-perfect places in Singapore, Puaka Hill, for a panoramic view of Ubin Quarry.
What to bring: Bring your own picnic food unless you want to have seafood or zichar (stir-fry dishes) takeaway from the island’s four main restaurants. Public benches and tables are scarce, so bring a foldable picnic chair or be prepared to sit on logs. Wear pants, my comrades, or bravely face the feisty ants.
Practical tips: Insect repellent is a must! Look out for wild boars too (we are not kidding on this one), be sure to stay away and let them pass.
* The above picnic spots are within public parks. Please check NPark’s website for the latest advisory, before heading down for a picnic. Some areas may be temporarily closed due to Covid-19 measures.
Not sure what food to bring for a picnic here in sunny Singapore? While picnic food bundles are aplenty online, we think part of the fun is in putting together your own picnic basket. Here’s what we think will work:
Something fresh that doesn’t require cutting. Grapes, cherry tomatoes, and all sorts of berries! They add a splash of colour to your picnic spread too!
Something savoury. Cheese, crackers and light sandwiches that can withstand long hours outside. Burgers and sliders might seem like the best picnic food option, but somehow, they tend to get cold and mushy.
Something sweet. Cookies and muffins!
Drinks. If drinks are available for purchase en route or at the picnic site, go for this option to reduce the load you need to carry.
I love how picture-perfect some picnics look. But realistically, who would lug glass pitchers, stoneware and a cheeseboard to the park on a regular day? Nonetheless, all is not lost. Here are some picnic hacks that will achieve the same effect (or close to):
Win without the weight. Use melamine plates and bowls instead of heavy, chunky tableware. They are lightweight yet sturdy enough not to fly off at the slightest gust of wind. And you save the earth from disposable plasticware too!
Collapsible and foldable. Use foldable kitchen racks as mini-tables. Throw a pretty tea towel over to match your colour scheme. Cheap, light, compact. And it keeps your food off the ground too!
Add a bit of fun. Get a bag of balloons and a cheap chalkboard from Daiso to level up your setting! These can be props for simple picnic games too. Pictionary, anyone?
Ensure dry bottoms. Invest in a good picnic mat that is waterproof. The moisture from the ground can seep into your pants. Uncomfortable!
Last but not least, it’s the company that counts! Knowing what your companions enjoy in an outdoor picnic will give you a good head-start in planning. Some may prefer to stay close to amenities in case it rains, others may like to venture out for more private and relaxing places. And don’t forget, when you are all done basking in nature in the Changi Precinct, you can head back to Jewel Changi Airport to freshen up before ending the day!
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