Lakeside Garden

Last Updated on 1 August 2023

One of our favourite places to visit, Jurong Lake Gardens is a sprawling 90-hectare of greenery surrounding Jurong Lake. While the Chinese and Japanese Gardens are currently closed for redevelopment works, the newer Lakeside Garden has been opened since April 2019 and provide us with a decent space to stretch our legs and expend some energy.

Lakeside Garden can be easily reached from Lakeside MRT station, or public buses 49 and 154. Two car parks are accessible from Yuan Ching Road and chargeable by the minute (standard HDB rates). But free parking is available from 6.30 to 8.30am daily!

To enjoy free parking, we’ll have to drag ourselves out of bed in the wee hours of the morning so that we can get to the Garden at 6.30am.


I know, right?

And so, bright and early, we set off for our morning hike around the Garden…

…enjoying the wonderful lakeside views along the way.

While getting our healthy dose of exercise, we managed to also pick up little nuggets of information from the educational boards planted all around the Garden. For example, we didn’t know that Jurong Lake is actually a man-made reservoir formed by the damming of Jurong River, contributing to our country’s water supply.

When the season is right, we might even be able to experience the pretty sakura-like flowers in bloom.

Whichever season we choose to visit, love is always in the air!

Everywhere we go, we see couples enjoying a lovey-dovey time.

Even though Chinese Garden is no longer accessible at the moment, we can still admire the prominent Twin Pagodas jutting out into the water…

…and the gleaming 13-arch White Rainbow Bridge arching over the lake. The bridge was built to resemble the style of the 17-arch bridge at the summer palace in Beijing.

Strewn all over the Garden are tall arching trees that provide much welcomed shade, not only for us…

…but also for the resident birds.

Often well hidden amongst the tree foliage is the Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia), a dainty yellow bird with a beautiful singing voice.

The Pied Imperial Pigeons (Ducula bicolor) particularly love to hang out in the berry-bearing trees and engage in a fruit feeding frenzy. Once introduced as free-ranging birds in Jurong Bird Park, these prolific birds seem to be thriving in the wild and can now be spotted all around Singapore.

When the many ficus trees planted within the Garden are fruiting, we are bound to spot all kinds of bird species hanging around these trees and indulging in a feast. We were fascinated one day to observe the Coppersmith Barbet (Psilopogon haemacephalus) flying in and out of one of these ficus trees.

Whenever the caterpillars start to infest these ficus trees, we’ll see a variety of cuckoos swarm the trees feasting on caterpillars, such as the Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus)

…the Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris)

…the Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus)

…the Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo (Hierococcyx nisicolor)

…the Large Hawk-Cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparverioides)

…and the Rusty-breasted Cuckoo (Cacomantis sepulcralis). The juvenile and some of the adult female Rusty-breasted Cuckoos have rufescent upperparts and whitish underparts with blackish barrings…

…while the adult males have a greyish head and peachy-rufous underparts.

Often caught diving for fish around the lake and streams are the many species of kingfishers, including the Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris)

…the White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

…the Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis)

…and the migratory Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis).

During the winter migratory season, many visiting birds head toward Jurong Lake Gardens and make this wonderland their home for the holidays.

Some of the migratory birds that frequent the gardens include the Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)

…the Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis)

…the Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

…the Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)

…the Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus)

…the Watercock (Gallicrex cinerea)

…the Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans)

…the Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis)

…and even migratory raptors, like the Oriental Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus).

One of our favourite places to hang out in Lakeside Garden is the Grasslands…

…because that is where we can stalk the grass birds!

With several bird hides scattered around the Grasslands, we might have a better chance of spotting the sneaky birds that skulk around in the tall grass…

…such as the Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)

…the Javan Munia (Lonchura leucogastroides)

…the Lesser Coucal (Centropus bengalensis)

…the Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus)

…the Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)

…and the Barred Buttonquail (Turnix suscitator).

In the Grasslands, it would be quite difficult to miss the striking Lone Tree that stands tall amongst the grasses. If we didn’t chance upon the information board planted in front of the tree, we wouldn’t have realized that it is actually a sculpture, made of recycled iron pieces scavenged from old park pathways.

We weren’t the only ones. Even the birds are fooled into thinking that they are perching on a real tree branch.

If we ever get bored stalking the birds, we could pop over to the shallow pond located at the edge of the Grasslands to stalk the dragonflies.

Many species of colourful dragonflies can be spotted here, such as the Common Scarlet (Crocothemis servilia)

…and his not so scarlet female partner.

An interesting boardwalk trail to explore is the Rassau Walk that meanders through clusters of freshwater swamp plants, and overlooks the lake with scenic views.

The Rassau trail will lead us all the way to Heron Island, where we’d usually attempt to spot some of the herons known to live here.

More often than not, we’d conveniently plant our butts on one of the deck chairs and lie in wait for a heron to appear.

If we wait long enough, a Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) or two will surely make an appearance. If not at Heron Island, then they’ll most likely be sauntering along somewhere else in the Garden or hanging out by the lake.

These Grey Herons have managed to build their colony and establish a stronghold in Jurong Lake Gardens. We had previously observed a thriving heronry over inĀ Japanese Garden, and flocks of them can frequently be seen commanding the skies.

With an abundance of fish swimming in the lake, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to bump into the Smooth-coated Otters enjoying a fresh sashimi buffet in the lake…

…or rolling around in the sand by the lakeside.

There is so much ground to cover and so many things to explore in Lakeside Garden. We will have to keep coming back and attempt to spot more of its resident birds and wildlife.