Shortly after arriving at my hotel, I decided to take a walk to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. I say decided as though it was a last minute thing, but really I had spent the final 3 hours of my flight planning my route around the gardens! This is somewhere that has been top of My Bucket List for a while and I couldn’t wait to tick it off. A UNESCO World Heritage site, filled with an abundance of trees, flowers and animals which have been a part of Singapore far longer than any of the skyscrapers. First opened in 1859, there are several different themed gardens to explore and a tropical rain forest. One of the only original pieces of jungle left in Singapore, and one of only two countries in the world with a jungle, the other being in Rio de Janeiro Brazil.
A 15 minute stroll along from my hotel led me to the Tanglin Gate. Consulting the board and taking a small map, I set off in the direction of the swan lake. Honestly, I don’t know what I was expecting, as a small dinosaur most things are big in my eyes. But, I was taken aback by the size of the Botanic Gardens and some of the trees inside it. Wide paths lined with lamps which reminded me of Narnia.
Small streams winding in and out of an abundance of plant life, both big and small. Being so close to a busy road, seemed like a distant memory, all I could hear was the bird life and breeze rustling through the trees, it didn’t take long to forget I was in walking distance of a city centre.
I was taken aback by the sheer amount of wildlife within the gardens. I was expecting to see a huge number of birds and a few squirrels in the Botanic Gardens. Leaving the shade of the giant willow tree near the pagoda, I took a less trodden path around the back of the lake. Enjoying watching the butterflies floating above some pink flowers, my photographer began screaming (I can’t go anywhere with this human, how embarrassing). To my surprise, a giant monitor lizard was just chilling in the morning sunshine. Leaving the lizard in peace and continuing around the lake I found some turtles swimming about.
The more exploring I did, the more excited I became at the thought of finding more animals roaming around freely.
Coming to a crossroads there were several paths to choose from, each with a signpost to a different garden (and it’s distance from you). Curiosity got the better of me and I just had to find out what a ginger garden was (and could I eat it?). Sadly, many of the plants had not flowered in this garden. But, I was not disheartened for long, as I found a waterfall! So exciting and refreshing from the heat, I could of sat and watched it for hours but my photographer had found something even better … A waterfall that I could walk behind!
It was a bit scary at first, but I walked through it and best of all my photographer got soaked. Searching for some sunshine to dry off a soaking wet human, took me through a series of small ponds with lily pads that were starting to flower (no frog sightings though).
National Orchid Garden
I didn’t actually enter the National Orchid Garden because you have to pay to go in, and there was at least three bus tours in front of me. But, at the front was a clock with 4 time zones on it, surrounded by orchids.
I could write pages upon pages about these beautiful flowers and still not do them justice. Even the photographs don’t show their true beauty. I had never seen orchid flowers on anything other than a photograph. I’ve been converted to seeing the beauty of plants (rather than just wanting to eat them).
Symphony lake and Palm valley
Behind the orchid clock (I’m not sure of its real name) was a open grassy area surrounded by giant palm trees. By this point I was in my element, endless shades of green surrounded me, small white clouds floated above the trees and chickens were running about in the shade. That’s right, chickens, well roosters, of all the places to find a Jurassic relative it was in Singapore!
Behind the Symphony stage was a beautiful big lake, with an arrow pointing towards London. Filled with aquatic life and birds, I took a well earned break in the wooden pagoda. The shade was welcomed as the temperatures were slowly beginning to creep up. After watching the Kingfishers hunting for a while, it was time to move on as the bus tour had caught up with me again.
Finding a small path tucked next to a small water feature, I headed up into the trees. The trees towered above me, shading me from the sunlight. The fragility of this small tropical rainforest struck me; trees surrounding me were older than the gardens itself. I can’t help but wonder what these trees have survived, at least now they are looked after by a whole host of rangers.
Following along the walkway, the majesty and ambience of the forest surrounded me. Being small I had the best view of the lower tree layer of the rainforest. The canopy and emergent layers were just visible if my photographer lifted me up. The walkway was easy to walk along and was accessable for wheelchairs, a great way to see the rainforest without the strenuous hiking.
After a morning of exploring, the heat of the midday sun arrived and it was time to head back to the concrete jungle in search of air conditioning.
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