Labrador Park and Nature Reserve: So Much to Offer

Labrador ParkThis seaside park is many things all in one – a seaside recreational park for the everyday visitor, a forest reserve for nature lovers, and a crumbling fort to boot for history buffs and adventurous souls.

First time visitors will want to check out the military secrets hidden in the forest on the hill as well as explore the rich biodiversity in the nature reserve, while return visitors can just relax and enjoy the spectacular views, fresh air and sunshine.

THE LOWDOWN

Seaside recreational park

At first glance Labrador Park is a pleasant seaside park, with picnic areas, rest shelters and a children’s playground, ringed by a wide pavement good for bicycling, rollerblading, walking, jogging, Taiqi and what not.

Labrador Park

Bukit Chermin Boardwalk

With the newish Bukit Chermin Boardwalk extension that hugs the shoreline and then cuts in to the mangrove area, the coastal walk is now a good 2.1km long (about a mile and a half), perfect for a short stroll or jog. The coastal walk extends past the Keppel Golf Club, the imposing Reflections at Keppel Bay condominium – designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind who is the designer of the new World Trade Centre in New York, and the luxury yachts berthed at the Keppel Marina.

Labrador Park

Keppel Marina and Reflections at Keppel Bay

The park is especially popular in the mornings and evenings with residents from the nearby areas.

Nature Reserve and Trail

Labrador Park

Mangroves at Berlayer Creek

Berlayer Creek, which the boardwalk runs through, is one of Singapore’s few remaining mangrove swamps and supposedly houses 40% of Singapore’s endangered plant species.

Nature lovers will be thrilled with the mangrove wildlife such as giant mudskippers, monitor lizards (which can be big and scary) and other fish and shellfish to be spied here. Bird watchers in particular will delight in the fact that over 60 bird species have been sighted and recorded here, and if you’re lucky you might just catch sight of a sunbird or a kingfisher.

Labrador ParkThe forest-clad hill forming the backdrop to the park is home to much varied flora and fauna, as well as plenty of squirrels and maybe a monkey or 2. Again birds abound, as well as many species of butterflies and insects. It’s a small forest though with well-lit paths, so don’t expect to run into any tigers or such wildlife.

Old Fort Remains

Hidden amid the nature reserve lie the remains of what was once Pasir Panjang Fort, with its ideal location on a hill overlooking the harbour below. It is here that the park holds many wartime secrets.

Labrador Park

Labrador Battery

Singapore’s busy southern port and deep water harbor, named Keppel Harbour in 1848, was and still is central to the island’s strategic position as a shipping and trading hub. The port is also a key entryway to Singapore from a south-western approach.

Pasir Panjang Fort on Labrador was set up by the British in the late 1800s as a defensive site to protect the valuable Keppel Harbour and the nearby coaling stations. It was completed in 1878 and the first guns were put in place, albeit temporary ones. The fort eventually became one of a series of 11 coastal artillery forts built by the British to defend Singapore’s waters. Prior to and in preparation for World War II more guns were put in place to form Labrador Battery and Berlayer Battery at the site.

Labrador Park 30

Tunnels and Ammunition Storage

Today you can still find gun remnants, machine gun pillboxes, underground ammunition storage chambers and tunnels running beneath the hills. There is even an unfounded rumor that a secret tunnel runs under the seabed connecting to Sentosa island in the distance. The tunnels are unfortunately sealed off so no intrepid exploring is allowed.

The Fort is a treasure trove of history nuggets, and there are plenty of information boards all around the site detailing the Fort’s history.

VISITING

As with most outdoor places in hot and humid tropical Singapore, try to visit in the mornings and late afternoons/evenings.

There are plenty of rest areas and lavatories all around the park as well as sheltered areas in case of rain, although there are no drinks facilities save for one or two drinking fountains.

There are a few notable dining and rest-stop options however just up the hill beyond the forest – the casual open-air setting Eco Gourmet Café close to Labrador Battery, and the more up market Thai restaurant Tamarind Hill further up on Labrador Villa Road.

LOCATION

Labrador Villa Road (Off Pasir Panjang Road)
Open 24 hours (the park is lit at night, however be warned that some consider the park haunted given its war past)

Only about 10 minutes’ drive from Singapore’s Marina and downtown business district. Follow the signs to turn off Pasir Panjang Road into Labrador Villa Road and drive all the way in to the car park.

You can also take the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and get off at the Labrador Park MRT station, which will lead you to the Berlayer Creek trail (a wooden boardwalk) and a 10-15 min walk to the seafront.

The huge shopping mall and transportation hub Vivocity and HarbourFront Centre is also in the near distance, slightly under an hour’s walk from Labrador Park.

HOW MUCH TIME

Labrador Park

Hello

A fairly thorough exploration of the park will easily take about 2 and a half hours, assuming you are not an extreme history buff or nature lover.

Walking one length of the waterfront will take about 45 mins.

The Fort and historical sites can be covered in about an hour.

If you are an avid nature enthusiast and will want to note every plant and wildlife species, then I imagine you will spend a good few hours here.

Of course if you just want to unwind and soak up the sea breeze, then take all the time in the world you want.

TIDBITS

Labrador Park

Machine gun pillbox

  • The machine gun pillboxes or bunkers were hot, cramped and very uncomfortable to be in in our warm and humid weather. I can just imagine.
  • The 2 6-inch guns Pasir Panjang Fort had going into WWII, were 37 ton guns that fired 102 lbs shells over a range of 10 miles. The guns were not fixed to face seawards only, and were also turned around to fire on the advancing Japanese troops.

 TAKE NOTE

  • Best apply mosquito repellent if you go in the evening or at night.
  • As with any tropical forest, albeit a small one, do watch out for snakes.

USEFUL LINKS

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5 thoughts on “Labrador Park and Nature Reserve: So Much to Offer

  1. Pingback: Reflections at Bukit Chandu: The Last Stand | UnTourist Singapore

  2. Pingback: The Southern Ridges – Expansive Views from Tri-Peaks | UnTourist Singapore

  3. Thank you for the article and for the wonderful blog. Yes, there is so much fascinating history and diversity in Singapore! Yet the ‘official’ tourism sector prefers to keep it hidden, herding most visitors from one shopping mall to another. So I suppose money is one factor. The other one is about not disturbing the ruling elite’s cherished myth of “from a fishing village to global metropolis in less than 50 years”… The historical truth is, thanks to its busy container port and many trade concessions, Singapore had one of the highest living standards in Asia as far back as 150 years ago. It built air-conditioned condominiums in the 1930. This prosperity attracted a colourful ethnic mix of Chinese as well as Indian, Malay, Arab, Jewish and other sojourners – another fact that is largely glossed over today.

    But enough of my ranting… Keep up the great work!

    • Hi Martin,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Yes Singapore is sooo much more than just shopping malls. Although there are a great number of visitors who do enjoy shopping and our shopping malls, I hope to be able to entice these visitors to also explore other facets of Singapore, like our parks and nature spots, museums, local food centres etc. I am happy if I can point visitors to the lesser known attractions of Singapore!

      Regards
      MBev

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