Singapore may be a tiny red dot, but there’s lots of nature to explore here on bike via our excellent Park Connector Network (PCN). Here are five bike trails in the eastern half of the island that we’ve mapped out for families to enjoy.

We found out recently that Singapore has the largest percentage of greenery compared to any other major city in the world. Like any kiasu Singaporean, we decided that we had to explore it all as soon as possible. We figured out that the best way to do this was to find routes through the Park Connector Networks – lots of greenery there, right? And the fastest way through these? Bikes.

These two-wheelers are relatively affordable, easy on the knees, and can help kickstart your family’s weekend in a healthy and eco-friendly way. Best of all, the activity will help kids de-stress from school and studies, and offer them a potent dose of Vitamin N(ature) too.


Here’s how to do it:

We’re focusing on the eastern half of Singapore in this article (the western half will come soon), with five bike trails of varying lengths. Each bike trail consists of Park Connectors (PC) that link three major parks. So that’s 5 bike trails in eastern Singapore, and 1 bike trail = 3 shorter trail segments, each within a major park. Geddit?

If you have older kids with lots of stamina, you can probably cover an entire trail within a morning. With younger children, you may prefer to break up your route and complete just one segment of the trail, leaving the other parts for your next outing. But what if you have toddlers? No worries, just pop them into a child seat or a trailer attached to your bike.

Tired? Take a break. There are pit-stops along the way. Tip: Click on the maps below for a detailed look via Google Maps. Kids can also explore playgrounds and water play areas in the parks.

Do note that the PCs may involve pedestrian crossings as well as shared pathways. Turn these into learning opportunities to teach your child about road safety. When in doubt, observe PCN etiquette and keep left on the cycling paths. Remember to keep those helmets on, load up on sunscreen and insect repellent, and stay hydrated. Most importantly, have fun!

(See also: 5 Lessons About Nature That You Can Impart to Your Child)

Bike Trail #1 – The Northern Arc

Begin your ride around Sembawang Park, before heading out on the Canberra-Sembawang PC. You can choose to detour via the rustic Simpang Kiri PC that runs alongside Sungei Simpang Kiri, looking out for kingfishers at the same time. Or head straight onto the Yishun PC, which takes you to Yishun Park. From there, continue on the Yishun PC to Lower Seletar Reservoir Park.

Overall distance: About 7.1 km

Sembawang Park

With fewer crowds than most major parks, Sembawang Park is a great place for kids to get started on their cycling journeys. Kids need a break from wheeling around? Let them climb the huge ship-shaped structures at the maritime themed playgrounds (inspired by Sembawang’s British naval history), catch the waves at one of the few natural sandy beaches left on our island, or join the shutterbugs and fishing enthusiasts on the jetty to watch the sun set over the Johor Straits.

✔ Distance: About 1.5 km to circle around the park once
✔ Difficulty: 3 / 5. It’s generally flat, but there are several sloping trails that will get those little legs pumping, then have the kids going “wheeeeeee!” as they zoom down!
✔ Toilets: Near the two playgrounds
✔ Water points: Outside the toilets
✔ Car parks: 2 open-air car parks, both a short distance from playgrounds
❌ Bike rental: No
✔ Food: There’s only one establishment in the park, the Beaulieu House Restaurant, which is housed in a vintage colonial home.

Yishun Park

The bike paths in Yishun Park are mostly wide and flat, making for a smooth ride all the way around. There are fun giant plant-related puzzles along the path too. Once an old rubber plantation, Yishun Park boasts 860 living specimens of dipterocarp trees in its unique arboretum. In the more woody areas, there are also lots of fruit trees. Look out for rambutan, fig and even durian trees − just don’t stand under those! When the kids need to rest their cycling muscles, they’ll find respite in sand pits and fun climbing structures.

✔ Distance: About 1.3 km to circle around the park
✔ Difficulty: 2 / 5. It’s generally flat, apart from a small ‘hill’ connecting two play areas, each surrounded by a circular track perfect for the kids to cycle on.
✔ Toilets: Near the two playgrounds
✔ Water points: Outside the toilets
✔ Car parks: 1 partly-covered car park at SAFRA Yishun, which is located within the park
❌ Bike rental: No
✔ Food: McDonalds and a selection of restaurants at SAFRA Yishun

Lower Seletar Reservoir Park

An oasis at the edge of the Yishun estate, Lower Seletar Reservoir Park is popular with joggers, cyclists and families hanging out. The bike path runs through this rather narrow park along the water’s edge and is a mixture of cobblestone, paved ‘roads’ and wooden boardwalk. On a hot day, the kids can cool off in fountains at the water play area. Get your requisite wefie at the kelong-inspired boardwalk that leads out to a lookout point.

✔ Distance: About 1.2 km to cycle the length of the park and back
✔ Difficulty: 1 / 5. This is one of the easiest bike trails around.
✔ Toilets: One near the water play area
✔ Water points: Outside the toilet
✔ Car parks: 1 open-air car park along Yishun Avenue 1
❌ Bike rental: No
❌ Food: No, but you can cross the road to ORTO, a 24-hour leisure facility offering a range of dining options

(See also: The Benefits of Active Play for Kids)

Bike Trail #2 – The Punggol Circuit

Start off at the Punggol Marina Country Club, where you’ll find a host of dining outlets and a bike rental shop. Continue on Punggol PC along the water’s edge towards Punggol Point Park. Keep going on Punggol Promenade Punggol Point Walk and you’ll soon come up to the West Entrance of Coney Island (originally Serangoon Island). After exploring Coney Island Park, continue on Punggol Promenade Nature Walk. At the eastern end by the Sunrise Gateway, turn right into Punggol Waterway. Follow the tranquil man-made river to Punggol Waterway Park.

Overall distance: About 9.1 km

Punggol Point Walk

The bike path here is flat and smooth, running alongside the coast. As you head into Punggol Jetty, you’ll see lots of people having a fun day out, from cyclists and skate-scooters to anglers on the jetty. Kids can head straight for the outdoor playground for a romp before getting on their bikes. Past Punggol Point Park, the meandering bike trail is dotted with fishing platforms and rest shelters, as you head towards Coney Island. Enjoy the greenery and biodiversity flourishing along the coastline, which packs views of Pulau Ubin and the Johor Straits.

✔ Distance: About 1.0 km to cycle from Punggol Jetty to the West Entrance of Coney Island
✔ Difficulty: 1 / 5. This trail is wide, smooth and simple to navigate − just keep going!
✔ Toilets: One near the playground
✔ Water points: Outside the toilet
✔ Car parks: 1 open-air car park near Punggol Jetty, or park at Punggol Marina Country Club
✔ Bike rental: Opposite Punggol Jetty and at Punggol Settlement
✔ Food: Punggol Settlement is home to just about every famous local seafood restaurant you can think of, as well as a number of cafés, bistros and a 7-Eleven.

Coney Island Park

The main cycling path on Coney Island Park is flat and paved. However, the trails leading to the beaches are gravel tracks. It’s best to dismount, park your bikes at the three designated points and simply explore on foot. There are five differently themed beaches, mangroves, an eco-pond, a bird hide and lots more to discover. Do top up on insect repellent as there are known to be sandflies at some beaches. Don’t let the kids miss out on the adventure area constructed from natural and recycled materials known as the Casuarina Exploration.

✔ Distance: About 4.0 km to cycle the length of the park and back
✔ Difficulty: 2 / 5. If you stick to the bike trail, it’s relatively smooth.
✔ Toilets: Check out the unique Eco-toilet near the eastern end; it’s an attraction in itself!
❌ Water points: No
❌ Car parks: No
❌ Bike rental: No
❌ Food: None, so fill up at Punggol Point before heading over.

Punggol Waterway Park

Punggol Waterway, a tranquil man-made river, is flanked on both banks by a lovely meandering bike path. Located in a section of the scenic waterway, Punggol Waterway Park boasts a large recreation area popular with families. Let the kids enjoy a pit-stop at the water playground and sand-play area, or cross the Adventure Bridge and picnic amid lalang and purple fountain grass. Look out for wildlife like dragonflies, butterflies and birds. You may even spot the occasional white-breasted waterhen sharing your path! Other highlights nearby include SAFRA Punggol and Waterway Point shopping mall.

✔ Distance: About 3 km from the eastern end of Punggol Waterway to the main park area
✔ Difficulty: 2 / 5. It’s all smooth and flat apart from a couple of elevated bridges that require cycling (or walking the bikes) up slopes. Enjoy the “wheeeeeee!” all the way down the other side!
✔ Toilets: Three park toilets along the waterway, with one complete with showers by the water play area. (Toilets also to be had at SAFRA Punggol and Waterway Point.)
✔ Water points: Outside the park toilets
✔ Car parks: 2 open-air car parks along Sentul Crescent, with one right by the water play area
✔ Bike rental: At SAFRA Punggol
✔ Food: Enjoy a host of dining options at SAFRA Punggol and Waterway Point.

(See also: Splash @ Kidz Amaze (SAFRA Punggol): Singapore’s First Indoor Water Playground and Happy Park at Waterway Point: The Best of Both Wet and Dry Worlds)

Bike Trail #3 -The North Eastern Riverside

An extension of sorts to the Punggol Circuit, start off at the Lorong Halus Wetland before crossing the Lorong Halus Bridge over to the Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk. That takes you on the Sungei Serangoon PC alongside the first river on this trail, Sungei Serangoon. You’ll then meet up with another river, Sungei Punggol, via the Serangoon, Buangkok (peek into the last kampung in Singapore) and Punggol PCs. Keep an eye out for the many waterside birds fishing in the rivers, such as the collared kingfisher and little egret. This trail ends at the Sengkang Riverside Park.

Overall distance: About 10.3 km

Lorong Halus Wetland

Cycle on the simple paved paths on the outskirts of the gravel reed beds and around the polishing ponds at Lorong Halus Wetland. Once a smelly landfill, its purpose today − all 18 football fields worth − is to collect and treat rainwater. The cattails you’ll see growing there are actually a natural means of filtering harmful substances from the environment. Don’t forget to get your requisite family wefies at the iconic Lorong Halus Bridge – often referred to simply as the Red Bridge!

✔ Distance: About 1.0 km to cycle around the wetland
✔ Difficulty: 1 / 5. Expect a casual and relatively quick, yet educational ride.
✔ Toilets: One at the Visitor Centre
❌ Water points: No
✔ Car parks: 1 open-air car park by the Visitor Centre
❌ Bike rental: No
❌ Food: No

Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk

This popular waterfront recreational destination sees lots of activity, especially on weekends. The beautiful boardwalk with seating areas facing the scenic Serangoon Reservoir is a great rest stop. Kids can cycle around or use the multi-generational fitness equipment. If anyone’s peckish, park your bikes at one of the many ‘springy’ bike parking facilities and head up the stairs to lots of food options.

✔ Distance: About 1.0 km to cycle from Lorong Halus Red Bridge to the start of Sungei Serangoon PC.
✔ Difficulty: 1 / 5. Like most of the Punggol Promenade, it’s a smooth and comfy ride.
✔ Toilets: One at the park, as well as another behind Popeyes fast-food restaurant
✔ Water points: Outside the park toilet
✔ Car parks: 2 open-air car parks by the restaurants at Tebing Lane
❌ Bike rental: No
✔ Food: You’ll be spoilt for choice with a cluster of restaurants, including newly established container bistros that have moved into the area.

Sengkang Riverside Park

A great place to end this ride, Sengkang Riverside Park has smooth bike paths flanked by lots of greenery. Made up of three main sections, it is also home to the Sengkang Floating Wetland. Park your bikes at the Sengkang Sports & Recreation Centre and walk over to check out the largest man-made floating wetland in Singapore. There is also a fruit park, and kids will love the giant mangosteen shelter! Back at the Sports Centre, there’s even a swimming complex complete with water slides if you need to cool off after all that cycling.

✔ Distance: About 2.5 km to cycle around the three sections of the park
✔ Difficulty: 2 / 5. Some gentle sloping paths, but otherwise flat.
✔ Toilets: 1 at the park (and at the Sports Centre)
✔ Water points: 1 at the park toilet
✔ Car parks: 1 open-air car park along Anchorvale Street (and at the Sports Centre)
✔ Bike rental: At the Sports Centre
✔ Food: You’ll find lots of food options at the Sports Centre, from McDonalds to the retro Legend Café.

Bike Trail #4 – The Eastern Excursion

Cycling around Pasir Ris Park is quite an adventure in itself, and it is also the starting point for this trail. From there, head on the Tampines PC that runs alongside the scenic ABC Waters @ Sungei Tampines. It passes by fishing-friendly Pasir Ris Town Park and then leads to Tampines Eco-Green. Continuing on the Tampines PC takes you through Sun Plaza Park, past the Tampines central hub with all its malls, and all the way to Bedok Reservoir.

Overall distance: About 11.3 km

Pasir Ris Park

This sprawling beach park offers amenities for camping, barbecuing, sea sports and of course, cycling. The paved paths meander through the park, taking nature-loving families to find the mangrove boardwalk and butterfly garden. Park your bikes and explore these on foot. Peek through bird hides or climb up the three-storey-high bird watching tower to stalk migrant birds. On the ground, you may even come across wild chickens pecking about! The kids will want to check out the huge playgrounds packing giant space nets for the big kids and a dedicated area for toddlers.

✔ Distance: About 3.5 km to cycle from one end to the other. Taking about 10 km to traverse the entire park, it alone offers plenty of challenges for the littler cyclists.
✔ Difficulty: 3 / 5. Expect long, flat bike paths interspersed with sloping hills and raised bridges going over two rivers that run across the 70-hectare park.
✔ Toilets: Many scattered through the park, with one near the playgrounds
✔ Water points: Outside the toilets
✔ Car parks: 6 open-air car parks, with the Car Parks ‘C’, ‘D’, ‘E’ and ‘F’ closest to the main recreational areas
✔ Bike rental: 2 near Car Park ‘C’ and ‘D’
✔ Food: Tuck into western fare like pizza and pasta at The Five Rabbits bistro and Georges @ The Cove. Or pop into Downtown East for endless dining options.

(See also: How to Have a 48-hour Staycation at D’Resort @ Downtown East that your Kids will Love!)

Tampines Eco Green

Its name says it all. Although bicycles aren’t encouraged here, you can park your bikes at the designated area and explore this eco-friendly park on foot. A little-known sanctuary for flora and fauna, it features various natural habitats. These include open grasslands, freshwater wetlands and a secondary rainforest. Peek through bird hides and try to spot the yellow Baya Weavers building nests. For more playground-type fun with regular cycling paths, head across the road to Sun Plaza Park.

✔ Distance: About 2.0 km to cycle around the green
✔ Difficulty: Not applicable. Expect a casual and relaxing, yet educational walk.
✔ Toilets: 1 Eco-toilet just past the first rest shelter near the entrance
❌ Water points: No
❌ Car parks: No
❌ Bike rental: No
❌ Food: No

Bedok Reservoir Park

Encircling the 88-hectare Bedok Reservoir is a gravel track that makes for an excellent jogging or cycling workout. You can also use the paved bike paths running through the park. On the southern bank of the reservoir, a scenic floating deck and viewing gallery with tiered lawn steps are a great vantage point to watch dragon boats, kayaks and wakeboarders on the water. Nearby is a multi-generational fitness corner and playground. (Do note that Forest Adventure’s treetop obstacle course on the northern bank is currently closed for renovation and is set to reopen in April 2017.)

✔ Distance: About 4.3 km to cycle around the reservoir
✔ Difficulty: 2 / 5. The paved bike paths are smooth, but the gravel track, though just as flat, can pose a little more of a challenge for cyclists who may not be accustomed to it. Still, it’s definitely a fun experience!
✔ Toilets: 2 at the south-east and south-west corners of the reservoir
✔ Water points: Outside the toilets
✔ Car parks: 1 open-air car park at the south-west corner (another on the north bank)
❌ Bike rental: No
✔ Food: Kids love the name of the café WaWaWa, which is located near the car park.

Bike Trail #5 – The Coastal Connection

Start on this trail in the early morning and be rewarded with a gorgeous sunrise from Changi Point Coastal Walk. If you wish, enjoy breakfast at Changi Village Hawker Centre before catching a bumboat that takes you to Pulau Ubin from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. Or head over the footbridge to Changi Beach Park to start your coastal ride. You’ll see lots of planes coming in for a landing at Changi Airport as you head along the Coastal Park Connector which takes you all the way to East Coast Park for a day of fun. This is the longest trail in this list, with lots to do and see, so you may want to split it over three separate days!

Overall distance: About 19.2 km (not inclusive of Pulau Ubin)

Pulau Ubin

You can bring your bikes over to Pulau Ubin on the bumboat (it costs $3 per person and $2 per bicycle) or simply rent when you get to the island. Cycle east towards Chek Jawa, park your bicycles in the designated area and explore the mangrove boardwalk on foot. Challenge the kids on a climb up the 20-metre-tall Jejawi Tower – the view is worth it! Alternatively, head to the beaches north to see the off-shore kelongs or head west and explore three highly Instagrammable quarries. There’s also a mountain bike park, but take note: its off-road trails vary in levels of difficulty and kids and casual cyclists are advised to stick to the Blue trail.

✔ Distance: About 2.0 km to cycle from the jetty to the Chek Jawa pit-stop in the east, about 3.0 km to the quarries in the west, and about 2.8 km to the beaches in the north
✔ Difficulty: 4 / 5. If you stick to the main cycling paths, which are paved and mostly smooth, but also involve uphills and downhills. Simply dismount and walk the bike up or down if it gets too challenging.
✔ Toilets: 2 toilets near the jetty, as well as another 2 by the beaches and 1 near the Ubin quarry
❌ Water points: No. Tap water on Pulau Ubin is not potable, so do bring your own, or purchase bottled drinks at the shops near the jetty
❌ Car parks: Not applicable
✔ Bike rental: Yes, several bike rental shops near the jetty
✔ Food: Two rustic seafood restaurants run by Ubin residents near the jetty

Changi Beach Park

Apart from sun, sand and sea, the sea-themed playground here with its wobble raft is sure to provide lots of amusement for the kids. Cycling here usually comes with a sea breeze and paths are wide, smooth and flat. Along the way, look up into the sky. Chances are, you’ll catch sight of planes flying in and out of Changi Airport! Just past the SAF Ferry Terminal (which splits the park into two distinct halves) is Coconut Grove, where you may chance upon windsurfers and kitesurfers having a blast in the water.

✔ Distance: About 3.7 km to cycle from one end to the other
✔ Difficulty: 2 / 5. This is another straightforward and smooth ride all the way through.
✔ Toilets: 4 toilets at intervals throughout the park, with the first nearest the playground having a baby changing station
✔ Water points: Outside toilets 2 and 3
✔ Car parks: 7 open-air car parks along the park, with Car Park 1 nearest the playground
✔ Bike rental: 2 PCN Pit-Stops near Car Parks 1 and 7 at either end of the park, as well as several bike rental shops at Changi Village.
✔ Food: Bistro@Changi, right next to the PCN Pit-Stop by Car Park 1, offers Western fare from pasta to grilled seafood and steak.

(See also: Your Ultimate Guide to Camping with Kids in Singapore)

East Coast Park

One of the most beloved recreational spots in Singapore, East Coast Park surely needs no introduction. The Coastal Park Connector leads you right into its easternmost end, which generally sees less foot – and cycle – traffic than its more popular areas. Then simply follow the cycling path all the way along the coast, to wherever catches your fancy. The kids will surely want to head straight for the recently refreshed Marine Cove, with its huge playground. There are also lots of rest shelters and park benches along the beach.

✔ Distance: About 15.0 km to cycle from end to end, and about 7.3 km if you end the ride at Marine Cove.
✔ Difficulty: 2 / 5. This well-loved cycling path is paved and mostly flat. Look out for the signs on the ground that separate the walking and cycling paths.
✔ Toilets: You’ll find toilets all along the park, most with shower facilities. This includes the ones at Marine Cove and Parkland Green.
✔ Water points: Outside the toilets
✔ Car parks: A series of open-air car parks throughout the length of the park, with Car Park ‘C1’ at Parkland Green and ‘C2’ and ‘C3’ nearest to Marine Cove.
✔ Bike rental: 6 bike rental shops line the park, including one at Parkland Green and two at Raintree Cove (where Burger King is).
✔ Food: Food options range from the East Coast Lagoon Hawker Centre and seafood restaurants to fast-food outlets. Parkland Green sees a series of bistros while Marine Cove is home to McDonalds and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

P.S. Avid cyclists will tell you that cycling can be addictive. If you and your kids are hooked, look out for the second instalment of this two-part series, which will feature bike trails heading west!