Artist duo Ripple Root’s vibrant murals – which are largely inspired by the city-state’s plethora of lush greenery – decorate the streets of Singapore, livening up the walls and bringing color to the lives of residents. Estella Ng (Ripple) and Liquan Liew (Root) met as colleagues at a design firm before joining forces to create paintings on the side. Soon they had enough pieces for a show, and after their first sold-out exhibition, they decided to pursue Ripple Root full-time.
Characterized by a bright and bold palette, jaunty brushstrokes and plenty of intrinsic movement within each painting, Ripple Root’s murals evoke a sense of freedom, whimsy and playfulness that immediately draws the eye. Their creations deal primarily with the themes of nature and wildlife, while their technique borrows from Southeast Asian ornamentation traditions – such as textiles and arabesque tiles.
From the beautiful and hardy greenery found throughout the city-state to the captivating street art that brightens many corners, the video spotlights defining aspects of Singapore’s identity that have stood resilient throughout – and perhaps in spite of – its rapid development and urbanization.
Given that the natural world informs much of their artistic practice, we asked Ripple Root to recommend some of their favorite parks and gardens in Singapore. Read on and bookmark these suggestions for your future visit to the Little Red Dot.
Labrador Nature Reserve
Park of the Southern Ridges, Labrador Nature Reserve (seen above) is a park on the southern edge of Singapore that’s perfect for tranquil morning walks and capturing images of the only coastal cliff in the Lion City. Aside from sweeping views of the ocean, the nature reserve is also home to bird species such as the oriental magpie-robin and black-naped oriole, making it a popular spot for birders. If you fancy a fine-dining meal, the park is also home to Tamarind Hill Restaurant, which serves delicious contemporary Siamese cuisine in a historic colonial bungalow.
Stretching from Mount Faber Park in the east to Kent Ridge Park in the west, the Southern Ridges comprises about six miles of green space connected via paved roads, awe-inspiring architectural structures and jungle terrain. Aside from various types of secondary forest, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of plenty of local flora and fauna on your walk. Try to plan your route so that you wind up at the Henderson Waves – the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, which floats almost 120 feet above street level – at sunset. Its distinct, wave-like structure makes it an ideal photo spot, especially during golden hour.
McRitchie Nature Trail & Reservoir Park
One of the most popular spots in the city-state for long morning hikes, cross-country runs and water sports such as canoeing and kayaking, this expansive park situated in central Singapore is a veritable paradise for lovers of all things nature. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can take a six-mile hike along a trail that circumnavigates the entire reservoir. Alternatively, scale the TreeTop Walk, which is currently closed but is scheduled to reopen in May 2021. Measuring more than 800 feet in length, the free-standing suspension bridge links the park’s two highest peaks, offering a panoramic view of the various flora and fauna that populate the forest canopy.
West Coast Park
Located on the western end of Singapore, this seaside recreational park is a great pick if you’re looking for a quieter scene. Sprawled out over nearly 125 acres, the park offers large open lawns, seaside vistas and plenty of facilities including barbecue pits, campgrounds and wide paths for jogging. Kids will particularly like the Adventure Playground, which consists of eight playsets and obstacle courses of varying levels of difficulty. The park offers a pretty spectacular view of the sunset, so consider visiting during the waning hours of the afternoon.
Founded in 1859, this expansive 200-acre urban park is the first and only tropical botanical garden to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include the National Orchid Garden, which is dedicated to Singapore's national flower and displays over 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of the blooms; the Ginger Garden, which showcases a few hundred species of the eponymous plant and its relatives; and the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden – the first garden in Asia dedicated to children, and where your little ones can gain a greater appreciation for nature.