Whenever friends or family visited and they only had time to see one thing in Singapore, I’d take them to the Gardens by the Bay – among all the things to do in Singapore, it’s the single most beautiful sight in the city! Most people wouldn’t expect a beautiful garden in this dense, busy city of high-rise buildings and busy malls and hawker markets! So, even if you are just on a short stop-over and have a few hours to see Singapore attractions, make the Gardens by the Bay your destination!
The Gardens by the Bay are plain beautiful, with the outdoor heritage parks, Dragonfly Lake and the two different environments in the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest Dome. And the Supertrees are a technological marvel for the geek in you!
The Cloud Forest Dome is my personal favorite: It creates a tropical highland forest environment under a huge glass dome, including a 35m high waterfall. You make your way past the waterfall and take the elevators the top. From their, a path winds its way around the dome with the “mountain” at the center. You make your way through different parts of the eco system, from the “Lost World” at the top via the “Cloud Walk” and the “Tree Top Walk” to the secret garden! You get great views of the plant life in the dome – and learn a lot about it – as well as the city outside it! If you are afraid of heights, this is probably not for you, as you’ll walk along a metal-mesh elevated walkway through the dome, high above the ground!
The Flower Dome shows flowers and plants from mediterranean climates around the world. The huge Baobab trees will get your attention first, they are an unusual tree, whether seen in the wild or here under the dome. The dome is organized by region, with gardens showcasing flowers from Australia, South Africa, South America, California or the Mediterranean. It’s a colorful place and an easy, level walk around.
The Heritage Gardens explore the link between different plants and the cultural heritage, shown in the Chinese, Malay, Indian and Colonial Gardens. The walk through the gardens is pleasant and informative, even though the “cultural links” seem a little forced…
The most amazing sight though in the Gardens are not the real plants, but the artificial ones: The giant Supertrees are up to 50m high and house vertical gardens planted on the trunks of the trees. They also contribute to the air and water flows around the garden and the generation of energy – so much technology in a garden would make any engineer/geek/nerd proud! I loved it! They make for great photos in the background and you can even go to the top of one!
Planning your trip: You can reach the Gardens by the Bay easily via the Bayfront MRT Station or via the bridge from the Marina Bay Sands, where you can stop for shopping, dining or gambling. The walk through the outdoor gardens can get pretty hot, but there is a shuttle to take you to the domes (for a fee). If you are going by taxi, they will drop you off at the visitor center, a short, covered walk from the domes. Access to the outdoor gardens is free and they are open from 5am-2am – it’s safe to visit anytime of day and the lighting of the trees is stunning at night. There is a charge to visit the two domes of US$21, local residents, children and seniors can purchase discounted tickets for one or two of the domes. They are open 9am-9pm daily. There are separate fees for the skywalk connecting the Supertrees, the audio tour or the shuttle from the MRT Station. You can find a map, the latest opening times, prices and promotions here!
If you are planning to eat t the Gardens, the aptly named “Pollen” restaurant is located at the Flower Dome. The food and service are fantastic, but it is pricy with mains at US$45-60 and a set lunch menu at US$40. You do get free access to the Flower Dome after your meal, making it a better value. Check out their menu & prices!
I’ve visited the Gardens by the Bay many times and they still amaze and delight me every time I go! It’s worth a visit and I recommend it to your trip to Singapore – it’s a great reflection of the city in many ways…