The first thing that striked me when I read about Gardens by the Bay a while back, was the cost of SGD1 Billion that was spent to build a garden over 6 years. It must be some awesome garden, I thought. So when I found that it will be open to public last Thursday, K and I braved the crowds to check out the place.
Photo by Gardens by the Bay
(Warning, long post with plenty of photos. Read on only if you are interested to find out what’s found in Gardens by the Bay )
So here’s a run down of the place:
The key highlights of Gardens by the Bay are the 3 paid attractions; the glass conservatories of the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest, as well as the Skyway.
We went directly to the highlight of the gardens; the first glass conservatory of the Flower Dome
Photo by Gardens by the Bay
One of the main features of the Flower dome of 1.2 hectares (approximately the size of 2.2 football fields) is that it replicates the cool-dry climate of the Mediterranean and the semi-arid sub tropical regions, like Australia, South Africa, Spain and Italy. The temperature in the Flower Dome is maintained at 23 – 25 degrees celsius.
What are some of the key areas in Flower Dome?
1. The BaoBabs
Also known as bottle trees, the bulbous shape of the trunks give the trees an unusual form.
The Ghost tree from Madagascar – its spooky name is coined as it is often cultivated at traditional tombs in local villages
2. Australia Garden
Kangaroo’s Paw – Mainly found in South Western Australia, the flower of the plant is shaped like a kangaroo’s paw, thus the name.
3. Olive Grove
The Olive trees species in planted in Olive Grove are extremely old, with some over a thousand years old!
There’s also the South American Garden, Californian Garden, Mediterranean Garden, South African Garden, Succulent Garden. And the flowers, that’s something you will surely not miss being in the Flower Dome.
The Flower Field is another key feature in Flower Dome, there will be 4 seasonal changes to the floral displays yearly, to reflect themes and festivals.
As we moved into the next conservatory, Cloud Forest. The first thing that caught our attention was the 6 storey high, 35 meter ‘mountain’ with a 30m waterfall. The ‘mountain’ is covered with lush vegetation and connected by two walkways, ‘The Cloud Walk’ and the ‘Treetop Walk’
The Cloud Forest replicates the cool-moist climate found in Tropical Montane regions between 1000 – 3500 sea level, such as Mount Kinabalu in Sabah and elevated areas in South America and Africa.
There are nine unique zones within the Clour Forest Conservatory where one can experience the ecology of cloud forests, some of which include;
1. The Lost World
This is the highest point of the ‘mountain’ at 35 meters and it features a cloud forest vegetation found a around 2000 metres above sea-level. Typically, carnivorous plants such as pitcher-plants and the Venus Fly Catcher can be found here.
2. Cloud Walk and Tree Top Walk
While we were in Cloud Forest, we caught the automated mist + fog effects stimulating a tropical or montane moist forest characterized by a frequent low level cloud cover. I guarantee that you will not leave Cloud Forest with dry clothes and hair!
3. Earth Check
A lab display of screens where facts, figures and statistics are presented on the state of the earth today and the problems that we will face due to climate change and habitat loss.
4. +5 degrees
Visitors can virtually experience the temperature increase around the planet, through an interactive large screen.
The other areas in Cloud Walk include the Secret Garden, The Cavern, Waterfall View, Crystal Mountain.
The 3rd paid attraction at Gardens by the Bay are the Supertrees. Supertrees are vertical gardens to showcase the vertical display of flowering climbers, epiphytes and ferns. There are a total of 18 Supertrees, ranging from 25 – 50 metres (9 to 16 storey in height), 12 are situated in the Supertree Grove while the remaining 6 are placed in clusters of 3, facing the F&B area of Gardens by the Bay. A walkway known as Skyway links two of the 6 super tress to enable visitors to take in an aerial view of the Bay South Gardens. the Horticultural theme gardens and man-made lakes surrounding the conservatories;
Due the lack of time, coupled with the extremely humid weather, K and I were not too compelled to visit the Heritage Garden and The World of Plants, Dragon Fly Lake and King Fisher Lake, which are outdoor and are free to visit by the way. So maybe next time.
So what’s our take on our Singapore’s SGD 1 Billion Garden in the City? It’s too early to tell really, if this is money well spent to boost our tourism economy. But after we experienced the sights of beautiful flowers, enjoyed a ‘temperate’ natural experience in our hot climate. And according to K, he has seen the one of the highest and the best waterfalls in Singapore. Our 3 hours at the Gardens by the Bay were well spent, despite the maddening crowd.
So money does buy some happiness after all, even if it means for that momentarily 3 hours experience
If you love nature and flowers as much as I do, do make a trip with your family to Gardens by the Bay. Especially the Flower Dome conservatory, before over-enthusiastic tourists and photo-takers start to destroy the edges of the Flower Field display.
During our visit, K and I spotted many visitors stepping into the sides of the flower bed just to get a better photo of themselves with the flowers That’s probably one of the challenges that NParks will need to deal with; the education of visitors to Gardens by the Bay to ensure the sustenance of ecology in its attractions, with it’s high traffic of visitors and frequent human interaction.
Do make a point not to forget to remind your little ones not to pluck any flowers, leaves or plants during your visit the Gardens.
If you are all game to brave the crowds and the long queues the next couple of weekends, here’s some information you might find useful :
Garden : Daily 5am – 2am
Cooled Conservatories and Aerial Walkway: Daily 9am – 9pm
Entry to Bay South Garden is free.
Admission to Cool Conservatories and Aerial Walkways (Local residents enjoy differential rates from tourists
Adults 1 Conservatory – $12 2 Conservatories – $20 Aerial Walkway – $5
Child 3-12 Years Old 1 Conservatory – $8 2 Conservatories – $12 Aerial Walkway – $3
For more information on Gardens by the Bay, do check out their official website.