Singapore, a city state with a revolutionary approach to urban development. Gardens by the Bay is parts of a government strategy to improve Singaporean quality of life by creating more green spaces. Singapore’s unique aim to create a “city within a garden” rather than a “garden within a city” is what makes the project stand out.
While the main intention is to create green social spaces throughout the city, Gardens by the Bay has become a massive tourist attraction, mainly for its innovative design and as an icon of the city. The whole garden exudes this positive energy – maybe its being among plants or that everyone visiting is in awe. There’s just something about this place that helps you feel at peace, the rush of the city left far behind.
The most well know part of the gardens are the Supertree groves, around which vines and plants are entwined, holding onto the super trees for life. The name “Supertrees” is not a random pick but actually describes their capabilities, which mimic those of natural trees. For example the have the ability to collect rainwater (of which there is a lot of in Singapore) for reuse in irrigation and fountain displays, and they harness solar energy which is used to light the trees at night.
It is possible to climb up onto the walkway and wander among the trees but we found them impressive enough from below that we were content without climbing them.
While the Supertrees are the most iconic feature of Gardens by the Bay, our favourite part by a mile was the cloud forest observatory – it was incredible.
The observatory simulates a tropical mountain climate at a height of between 1,000 – 3,000m above sea-level – hence simulates a cloud climate. And yes, this means that it is very chilly inside (we were delighted to be blasted by the heat and humidity on leaving).
With a 35m waterfall, a sky walk around the observatory and more orchids, ferns and mosses than you’ve ever seen, you will leave in awe at nature. In addition to being a beautiful and relaxing observatory it doubles as an educational centre with exhibitions inside the main dome.
Its well worth paying to enter the cloud forest, however we were pretty disappointed by the flower dome observatory. It felt almost like an after thought, beautifully designed but lacking the botanical awe that the rest of the site has. It features different areas assigned to different ecosystems. To be honest what possibly made us dislike it the most was the addition of a tacky Christmas display in the centre of the dome, which seemed to be fighting with the plants as the main attraction.
Gardens by the Bay can be found behind the Marina Bay Sand hotel complex – head for the Marina Bay MRT stop and you’ll see signs directing you.
While the garden is free to walk around, you must get tickets to go on the Supertree skywalk (S$8) and to enter the observatories (package for both – S$28). Most accommodation in Singapore offers discounted attraction tickets and we were able to get some really good discounts booking them through our hostel so definitely wait to see if this is on offer before purchasing tickets online.