MOGENS JOHANSEN visits Singapore's Gardens by the Bay
If you haven’t already been or even if you have been — do yourself a favour and take time to visit Gardens by the Bay next time you are in Singapore.
More than 50 million people have visited the gardens to date since they were opened in 2012. The two striking domes and the unusual looking Supertrees are hard to miss even if you are not in Singapore. Millions of pictures and videos of these remarkable structures are shared on social media sites worldwide, but take it from me, there is nothing like seeing it yourself, even if you are not particularly interested in gardens or plants.
I spend an afternoon exploring the two domes and stay to watch the stunning light show at Supertree Grove and it feels like I have only scratched the surface.
I begin my visit in the Cloud Forest dome — the impressive architecture of the two domes looks fantastic from the outside — but inside is even better, and it is cool, the domes are chilled to between 23C and 25C to create the perfect environment for the plants and visiting tourists. Ferns, orchids and pitcher plants cover a huge man-made mountain and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall (35m) cascades down the side near the entrance.
The journey inside takes me up through the mountain on the Cloud and Treetop Walks. It is not only a visual feast, it also conveys important messages about biodiversity and how to preserve our fragile environment.
Next door in the Flower Dome I find exotic plants from five continents displayed in nine different gardens. There are big baobab trees, thousand-year-old olive trees and more than 1000 other plants.
There is more of a sense of fun in here with several animal sculptures and buildings from the different regions among the trees and plants — there is even a cafe where you can sit and enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine.
Back outside at Supertree Grove I take the lift up one of the Supertrees for a walk on the OCBC Skyway. It is suspended 22m above the ground and connects four of the trees.
The views are fantastic, not only do I get another perspective of the trees, there are also great views towards Singapore with Marina Bay Sands in the foreground, the domes and the Singapore Flyer as well as the harbour and the Singapore Strait.
Down on terra firma again, I find a comfortable spot on the lawns under the Supertrees where I wait for the light show to begin. And what a show it is — the Supertrees seem to come alive to the accompanying music, it really is a memorable experience.
The surrounding gardens are beautifully maintained and free to visit. They include the Heritage Gardens, World of Plants and Dragonfly and Kingfisher lakes.
Although it is a busy place with huge volumes of visitors daily, everything runs like clockwork — when there is a queue, it is fast moving and often accompanied by an apology for the delay by the friendly and efficient staff.
- Entry to the two domes is $S28 for an adult and $S15 for the over-60s.
- The OCBC Skyway will cost you $S8.
- The lightshow at Supertree Crove is free — there are two shows each evening, the first is at 7.45pm and the second is at 8.45pm
- The domes and skyway are open from 9am-9pm.