When in Singapore: Gardens by the Bay
I’ve always enjoyed the love affair of Singapore with greenery in its city. It begins with vertical walls inside the airport, to the trees that line the road leading toward Changi Airport, to the kempt neighborhoods, to the Botanical Garden. Last month, I bore witness to yet another project between city and vegetation.
Cloud forest teeming with rare flowers and plant species
In 2012, Singapore opened the Gardens by the Bay, a sustainable tourist attraction that features over 101 hectares of garden conservatory, chosen for their relationships with microclimates that would be most affected by climate change.
The Gardens by the Bay was developed and currently run by international and local experts comprising of landscape designers, horticulturists, arborists, engineers, plant health, garden and turf management experts and plant research and orchid breeding professionals.
Together, the Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central complete the gardens but it is the Bay South that features the moist conservatory Cloud Forest and the dry conservatory Flower Dome which can be accessed rain or shine, day or night.
The Cloud Forest and the largest indoor manmade waterfall
The Cloud Forest is a mountain-like dome enveloped in tropical plant life that thrives up to 2,000 meters above sea level. It also features the tallest indoor manmade waterfall at 50 meters tall. As temperatures are kept between 23 to 25 degrees Celsius—the perfect climate for the delicate flora—those who get chilly easily should remember to bring a sweater or shawl when they visit here.
Get an aerial view of each layer of vegetation as you walk down one level at a time. In addition to the foliage, ornate woodcarvings, stalagmite, stalactites and crystal formations from caves are on display, even special Venus flytraps made entirely out of Lego.
Intricate wood carvings found everywhere inside the Cloud Forest
The tour ends on the ground floor with an exhibition about conservation and climate change. A tall LCD wall shows the video of what would happen if Earth’s total temperature rise even one degree. Permanent and disastrous consequences will occur, eventually evaporating the mist needed for plant life at high altitudes.
The Flower Dome
The few flowers in bloom in early March 2017
I had just enough time to visit The Flower Dome, the largest glass greenhouse in the world, which features plants from the Mediterranean and semi-arid subtropical regions as well as Flower Field seasonal flowers.
Up to 1,000 people can enter this indoor greenhouse, which spans 1,300 square meters. As I visited in early March, the flowers were just beginning to bud.
Cherry blossoms from Japan about to bloom
I could imagine how incredible it would look with all the flowers in full bloom, including the cherry trees on display for the Sakura festival.
Supertree Grove during the day
The multi-awarded Gardens by the Bay is a must stop for anyone who loves nature. Outside of the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, one can walk amongst the Supertree Grove with its manmade trees standing from 25-50 meters tall.
Aerial view of the Supertree Grove from Spago, Marina Bay Sands
This attraction looks different from day to night, when it’s lit up to resemble something out of the movie Avatar. Anyone can visit the grove for free, but it’s best to enjoy this area by visiting all three attractions together. You won’t regret it.