UNCOVER A SECRET GARDEN, CLOUD FOREST AND HOLOGRAMS IN THE GARDEN CITY
In the 1970s, Singapore’s “bay” did not even exist. Today, reclaimed land stretches across the southern tip of this tiny island, nicknamed Little Red Dot, and resolutely defines the “can do” spirit of its people. Ground triumphed over water and on this patch of land emerged the city’s most ambitious project – Marina Bay.
The area has numerous iconic buildings pushing architectural boundaries, combining dramatic curves and geometric patterns with open and green spaces. These include the lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum. The museum stands alongside architecturally distinctive structures, including Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay with its twin shells, the DNA-inspired Helix Bridge as well as commercial behemoths such as the Marina Bay Financial Centre Singapore’s largest green space, Gardens by the Bay, stands grandly nearby. A 101ha man-made marvel, the multi- winning gardens merges architecture, engineering and horticulture seamlessly.
With the opening of Gardens by the Bay, Singapore is no longer a city lined only with tropical raintrees and bougainvillea bushes. Start your visit at the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest – two stunning cooled conservatories that sustain a whole new world of plants not designed for Singapore’s hot and humid climate.
Enter the 1.2ha Flower Dome – the larger of the two – and step into a Mediterranean and semi-arid tropical climate. It’s not just cacti here though. Marvel at olive trees, date palms and baobabs with their thick, water-storing trunks. Meanwhile, the central Flower Field features changing displays of blooms that evolve with the seasons
Over at the 0.8ha Cloud Forest that has just completed two years of improvement works, features three new enhancements – the Secret Garden, Cloud Forest Gallery and Cloud Forest Theatre – bringing a total of nine features within the Cloud Forest itself. Within, a temperate climate in this 58m-tall dome, normally found between 1,000m and 3,500m above sea level, allows more than 137,000 delicate ferns, carnivorous pitcher plants and moisture-loving varieties like orchids to flourish.
The best way to enjoy the Cloud Forest is to, well, start among the clouds – head for the Lost World on Level 7. Soak in the mysterious dreamscape before starting the descent on the 122m Cloud Walk, where the ever-present mist adds to the ethereal atmosphere. Be sure to stop by Waterfall View for a midway close-up look at the magnificent 35m waterfall in action. End your journey at the Secret Garden in the basement, home to more than 7,000 endangered or near extinct plants of more than 135 species and hybrids that are in limestone forests and caves. A must-see is the miniature orchids installation which can only be seen if you use a magnifying glass!
Step into the Cloud Forest Gallery to interact with a hologram feature in the latest exhibition titled “sixth extinction”, which addresses the effects of our actions on the environment.
Make time to also visit the Supertree Grove which dominates the Bay South Garden and beyond. These 12 “supertrees”, each measuring 25 to 50m, are tree-like, man-made structures that are in fact futuristic-looking vertical gardens with over 200 varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers. These ultra-cool structures also harvest solar energy and come alive with light and music shows at 7.45pm and 8.45pm daily. For a taste of the “high” life, stroll 22m above ground along the 128m aerial OCBC Skyway for a breathtaking view of the Marina Bay precinct.
The cuisine is progressive and natural focusing on seasonal produce and back-to-basic techniques. Using vegetables and herbs grown on-site, the 2-storey restaurant overlooks the stunning waterfront in a breezy garden setting.
Tel: (+65) 6604 9988
Gourmet sandwiches and Japanese inspired creations complement the artisanal coffee served here.
Tel: (+65) 6604 8826
Drop by Bakerzin for a satisfying sweet treat. A casual dining café specialising in desserts, be delighted by the wide selection of cakes, pastries and more.
Tel: (+65) 6604 7370
Facebook : facebook.com/Bakerzin
With five different culinary concepts under one “tree”. From Asian delights to easy, fast food, there’s something for everyone here.
Satay by the Bay
Indulge in hawker favourites at this food court inspired by the old Satay Club at the Esplanade.
Photo credits (Top to bottom): Singapore Tourism Board, Gardens by the Bay, Helmut Ignat, Gardens by the Bay
Travelling time from our hotels in Singapore to Gardens by the Bay:
Grand Park City Hall - 10 minutes' drive
Park Hotel Clarke Quay - 12 minutes' drive
Park Hotel Farrer Park - 13 minutes' drive
Grand Park Orchard - 14 minutes' drive
Park Hotel Alexandra - 14 minutes' drive
For more of Singapore's treasures, uncover the heritage streets of Jalan Besar and Little India.