Rated as one of the top three things to do, no trip to Singapore is complete until you check out Gardens By The Bay. With a variety of attractions to see, you could easily spend a whole day here exploring the many impressive sights and displays. Overall it is a very affordable price and some parts are even free! Come check out why I rate Gardens By The Bay as my number one thing to do in Singapore.
Best Thing To Do In Singapore: Gardens By The Bay
Gardens by the Bay can be found in the main downtown area. The park spans about 101 hectares, all of which is on reclaimed land. It is located right next to the downtown MRT station making it easily accessible from anywhere in Singapore.
It is also right next to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, aka one of the best places to stay in Singapore. If you want to see what the view of the gardens in like from up above, then take a drink at the top of this impressive building. Gardens By The Bay is actually made up of 3 distinct areas, the main one being the South Garden where you will find the supertrees and domes.
Getting There By MRT
Getting to the Gardens by the Bay by MRT is rather simple. The closest station is called Bayfront. This station is accessed by both the circle, and downtown lines. The MRT in Singapore is probably one of the easiest forms of public transport I have ever used.
Once leaving the metro, there are many signs directing to Gardens by the Bay. Just past the exit for the Marina Bay Sands and start a long walk down a hallway. Not your ordinary sort of hallway. This one has floor to ceiling mirrors on both walls, making it seem a lot bigger than it is. Once at the end, climb a small set of stairs and you will be in Gardens By The Bay. The man ticketing area is behind the Supergrove, with access from the road for those arriving by car. It took us about 10 minutes to get to the ticketing area from the exit of the MRT.
To walk around the grounds of Gardens By The Bay and around the supertrees is free and is a must in any Singapore Itinerary. However, you will need to buy a ticket if you want to go inside the domes. A ticket is $28SGD /$20.60 for adults. This allows access to both Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. The OCBC Skyway is a separate ticket which costs $8.00SGD / $5.90.
The Cloud Forest Dome was the first place we decided to have a look at once we got our tickets. Words can not describe the amazing scene that unfolds in front of you as soon as you enter into the cloud forest. When the second set of automatic doors open up, you step into another world. The first thing that hits is the temperature drop. The cloud forest is kept very chill, a cool 23 C, a stark contrast to the muggy heat of Singapore. A huge towering mountain stands in front, with a cascading 30m waterfall.
Walking around you pass through many gardens of orchids, ferns and pitcher plants. The main journey starts by taking a short elevator ride up to the top of the mountain. At the top is what is known as the lost world, a little garden oasis of many flowers (some of the lego variety) and a small pond. This is certainly one of the top attractions for all types of travelers and I highly recommend if you are traveling Singapore with kids.
The lost world leads on to the cloud walk. A suspended walkway in the sky that branches away from the mountain and slowly descends as it curls around to the floor below. There is a great view out the dome of Marina Bay Sands, and in the other direction is the Singapore Flyer. Looking back towards the mountain it is impressive to see the vast amount of plants used to clad the side of this enormous structure.
Crystal Mountain and Tree Top Walk
Built like a cave, this level contains many stalagmites and stalactites, fossils and over interesting rock formations. Here you can learn more about geology as well as a little bit about the history of the planet through fossils. On this level is also the tree top walk.
Similar to the cloud walk, just at a lower level, the tree top walk takes you out away from the mountain before looping back around and exiting on the same level. Part of the walkway takes you right up alongside the structure, so you can reach out and touch the vast number of ferns and other plants on the exterior. It makes a good photo spot with an amazing backdrop of red flowers among the green ferns.
On The Way Out
Below the Crystal mountain, is an interactive exhibition called the cloud forest gallery. Here you can learn all about the history of man and the effects of us on the world today, pollution, the overuse of resources on the environment, and how we can go about change to preserve the world we live in.
Down one more floor is the Cloud Forest Theatre. It shows a short film about how us as individuals can help to conserve nature. It makes for an informative and daunting, realization about the world of today.
After spending time exploring the Cloud Forest Dome you can go through to explore the Flower Dome. Walking into the flower dome, the same chilling temperature awaits. With 3,332 glass panels, the flower dome is much larger than its cloud forest counterpart.
The Flower Dome is made up of many different areas. Too many for me to go over in detail. Though a good place to start off is by exploring the succulent garden. It is just like being in the desert without the heat. The succulent gardens contain an impressive display of Cacti, Aloes and Crassulas. Look but don’t touch as many are covered in small spines.
At the end of the succulent garden, you can now look down into the center of the flower dome. In the middle is the main flower field. Surrounding are the many other gardens such as the South African, Australian and Californian gardens to name a few. Walking back you can find yourself in the Baobabs and bottle trees. The African Baobab is actually the tallest tree in the Flower dome.
So much time can be spent walking around various different gardens, exploring the beautiful areas and many flowers and trees. There is also some impressive animal sculptures, such as a sloth hidden against the trunk of a big tree. What is amazing is the attention to detail, every corner of the flower dome has been meticulously groomed and planted, not a tree out of place. Its very impressive.
The Supertree Grove itself is free to walk around. The main grove is located right in the middle of the gardens. There is also the silver and gold gardens which have a smaller set of supertrees. The attention to detail and the reason behind them being built is extremely fascinating to learn.
Over 160,000 plants have been planted on the exterior of the 12 super trees, 11 have canopies built in to the upper layer that have environmentally sustainable functions. Some of the trees have solar receptors that charge energy for the night show. Others are connected to the 2 conservatories and act as exhausts to keep the air cool. Each super tree has an important purpose for the well being of the garden, they aren’t just impressive structures to admire.
The OCBC Skyway is located in the heart of the Super Tree Grove. Between 2 of the tallest trees, the bridge walk is suspended in the air, offering amazing views of the surroundings. There can be quite a line, the best time is to go early in the morning. This is because the elevator can only fit a few at a time. There is also a total limit of people on the bridge. Though, this means it is never overly crowded at the top and you can get an awesome photo with no one else in it.
Once up the elevator, you are greeted by an impressive view. At 22m high, there is a great view of the gardens. Although you are still only half the height of the tallest Super Trees. The walkway itself is 128m, and at each end, it wraps around the tree giving a great viewing platform. The main walkway itself though is quite narrow, although still wide enough for 2 people. This allows you to stop and take photos without getting in the way of others.
In the evening head back to Gardens By The Bay for the night show. The show goes at both 7.45pm and 8.45pm, so you have 2 chances to catch it. Though, be there on time as it lasts only 15 minutes.
After getting off the MRT, we slowly make our way towards the gardens. After already visiting yesterday, we know a few spots we think will be good for viewing. Unfortunately, with the rain, we opt for shelter under a real tree with a few other people. At 7.45pm, right on time, all the lights of the supertrees fade to black, and we come out from hiding to watch the show.
A short narration starts the performance. Then, the music begins and the lights of the trees start to glow. I could use many words to describe the light show; majestic, spectacular, even peaceful. It is truly a moment I won’t forget. Looking up into the night’s sky, with calming music playing over the change of colors in the trees, it is truly something to remember.
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Backpackers Wanderlust was a guest at Gardens By The Bay, however, as always, all opinions are my own.