Gardens – my favourite place to be. For a blue dinosaur I love everything green. After my visit to Singapore Botanic Gardens, I couldn’t wait to see Gardens by the bay in all its glory. I hadn’t realised it was such a big area, most parks in the UK are tiny. Sadly I had tagged this onto my morning visit to the Marina Bay Sands, just in case there wasn’t much to do there. Looking back, I should have separated these into at least two days. With already aching feet and the starts of exhaustion from dodging the crowds, I chose three places I wanted to see most during the day and planned to return to watch the 7:45 pm Garden Rhapsody show that night.
Venturing along the walkway from the Shoppes at MBS, I made my way through the beautiful Marina Bay Sands hotel once again (for a brief moment of Aircon). Outside the walkway was lined witty plants and benches, perfect for enjoying the view. MBS hotel was in one direction and the Supertree Grove at the other end of the path! It looks so much better in person than on my photographs. Getting into the gardens was easy, I had the choice of stairs, escalators or a lift. I took the escalator (because it was too hot to exercise). The whole area is really well signposted and there are even buggies available to take you from place to place if needed. I chose to walk as it took me through a beautiful Oriental garden, towards my first stop.
I have wanted to visit a cloud forest for a very long time, so I couldn’t buy the tickets to visit this one fast enough. One of the places on my bucket list is Ecuador, so what better way to see if I could manage in the climate than in a purpose built conservatory. One thing I hadn’t prepared myself for was the cold (never thought I would say that about anywhere in Singapore), take a jumper. I felt the cool mist as soon as I went through the front door. First thing I laid eyes on was The Falls, the biggest indoor (35 metres high) and probably most instagrammed waterfall in the world (84,000 posts). I was lucky that it was quiet when I visited, and could take my time to enjoy this beautiful site.
The route around the conservatory is one way, but it doesn’t feel at all like you are being herded through the exhibits. I took quite some time walking around the sloping walk way which covered 6 floors (don’t worry, there are lifts if you can’t manage all the walking). The centre is covered in flowers and the path snakes around. Descending the tree top walk I was able to immerse myself in rare plants only found in this fast disappearing environment.
Surprisingly out of everything in this conservatory, my favourite part was the miniature orchids which were hidden in this mysterious world veiled in mist. I found these in the secret garden, which is a representation of the limestone forests.
I mistimed my visit to the Flower Dome conservatory. One week too late for the Chinese New Year celebrations and one week too early to see the cherry blossom displays. Well, I didn’t totally miss the cherry blossoms. Some of the displays were out, and there were a few brave flowers beginning to bloom.
I didn’t enjoy this conservatory as much as the Cloud Forest. Maybe it was the crowds, or the tiredness from trying to do too much in one day. I did enjoy the Aloes in Wonderland cactus display and Japanese style walkway, but overall the flower dome just didn’t do it for me. In the future, I will definitely visit again and try to time it a bit better to see the flowers in full bloom.
Supertree Grove – from day to night
I decided to visit this area twice because it is so unique and I felt seeing them both in the daylight and lit up at night would allow me to experience this area in all it’s glory.
Iconic and unique Supertrees are visible from most of the Gardens by the Bay. But nothing compares to standing amidst these awe-inspiring giants. 12 are in the Supertree grove which is where both the Skyway and Garden Rhapsody are. S$8 took me up to the 22 metre high walkway, which connects two trees. The aerial walkway is 128m long which provides beautiful and panoramic views of the Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Skyline.
It is very scary at the top because the path is held up by metal wires. Wrinkly human was affected by vertigo due to the sheer drop over the side of the handrail. The walk itself didn’t take long. But, then again I saw no need to hurry and kept stopping to look at the flowers growing within the super trees!
As the sun set over Singapore, I made my way back to the Gardens by the Bay. Making my way through the heritage garden for beautiful city views and to see the giant baby statue (kind of scary at night!). Mesmerized by the simple lighting and shimmering skyline, I was already glad I had returned. I sat happily on the grass, avoiding the streetlights as much a possible. I had no idea what would happen during this show (I though fireworks). You can watch various YouTube videos but nothing prepares you for watching this in person. At 7:45 pm the trees came to life, brightening up Singapore’s skyline for 15 minutes. Classical music provided a background for the trees to sparkle. It was an incredible 15 minute light show, which is free! I still can’t believe that because the UK would undoubtedly charge an arm and a leg to watch something that incredible! video of the trees is here).
If you only have a short time in Singapore, Gardens by the Bay should be top of your list of things to do. It is beyond beautiful. I’ve never felt so safe walking through a park at night. It is an oasis on calm in a sometimes scary city.
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