Stepping Into The Future at Gardens By The Bay
I don’t think there would be anyone who hasn’t seen pictures of the iconic Supertrees in Singapore before. Reaching between 25 and 50m tall, these vertical gardens wrap around colourful steel tree-shaped frames, adorned with fairy lights at the tips and just make you think of scenes from Avatar. The Supertrees are one of the most well-known and popular attractions in Singapore, but they are actually only a small part of the huge Gardens by the Bay complex.
Gardens by the Bay might just have been one of my favourite places in Singapore. It has been perfectly designed and created to not only entice visitors to come and visit the gardens, but also to enhance plant research and orchid breeding, educate visitors on different plants and gardens from around the world, and work towards sustainable development and conservation. There’s actually so much more to explore at Gardens by the Bay than just the Supertrees. Here are some of the top highlights:
The most well known of attraction at the gardens, the Supertrees definitely make you feel like you just took a giant step into the future. You can see the vertical gardens slowly creeping their way up to the top, providing shade in the day time and coming alive with fairy lights and a musical light show every night. The Supertree Grove is home to most of the supertrees, but you can also find some in the Silver and Golden Gardens.
For the best views, there is actually a cafe at the top of one of the supertrees in the grove! You can kick back and relax 50metres high and enjoy stunning views of the gardens and the Marina Bay area, as well as out to Singapore CBD and across the river.
Outdoor Gardens Opening Hours & Admission
The Outdoor Gardens, including the Supertree Grove, Sun Pavillion, Heritage Gardens, World of Plants and Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes offers free admission and is open each day from 5am to 2am.
Replicating tropical mountain regions and moist conditions, the Cloud Forest launches you high above sea-level and takes you on a journey all the way back down. The conservatory is quite cool, with mist seemingly circling around the mountain, and is also where you can find the world’s tallest indoor waterfall standing at 35 metres tall.
There are all different levels to the cloud forest to explore, which offer an interesting insight into many rare plants and their fast-disappearing environments, including the Lost World, Crystal Mountain, Secret Garden and Tree Top Walk. The Cloud Forest offers a very interesting perspective on what might happen to different types of gardens in the future and the way that we might destroy our living environments.
Cloud Forest Opening Hours & Admission
The Cloud Forest is open from 9am to 9pm each day, with last entry at 8:30pm. A double ticket for the two conservatories costs S$28 per adult.
The Flower Dome Conservatory takes you on a journey to discover all types of flowers, plants and different environments from around the world. During our visit the Flower Dome exhibition was a collection of gardens from all around the world, the different weather patterns and environments that different countries have to endure and a little bit of history about the evolution of these environments.
The Flower Dome is actually the largest glass greenhouse in the world! The floral display in the centre of the dome changes throughout the year with different features and stories. We visited just after Christmas, so the gardens still had a very Christmassy theme, with Santa’s workshop set up right in the middle of the gardens. At the moment, and until the 4th of March 2014 the gardens are set up for the Chinese Lunar New Year with an elegant courtyard set up in the middle of the dome. I would definitely suggest checking out the Flower Dome Website to check out the latest floral displays and find out when the dates change if there is an exhibit you don’t want to miss.
Some of my favourite areas of the Flower Dome were the Australian and South African Gardens and the Baobabs – which was set up like a Mexican desert will all types of cactuses and desert flowers.
Flower Dome Opening Hours & Admission
The Flower Dome is open from 9am to 9pm each day, with last entry at 8:30pm. A double ticket for the two conservatories costs S$28 per adult.
The OCBC Skyway
For a completely unique experience you can even take a walk around the tops of the supertrees, across the OCBC Skyway. The Skyway sits 22metres high and the aerial walkway offers you a unique up close look at the futuristic supertrees and the gardens from the very top, as well as panoramic views across the surrounding area of Singapore.
For an even more exciting experience, try to aim your trip up to the Skyway at the same time as the evening light show. The magical light show see the supertrees lit up with millions of colourful fairy lights, and would be even more magical and surreal from 22m in the air!
OCBC Skyway Opening Hours & Admission
The OCBC Skyway, located in the Supertree Grove, is open from 9am to 9pm and costs S$8 per adult.
Each night, the Supertree Grove glistens to light with a magical music and light show that is not to be missed! If you’ve visited Gardens by the Bay during the day make sure you come back at least one night of your visit to experience the beautiful show. It is insane to see these huge futuristic trees glistening with thousands of colourful little fairy lights, perfectly timed to music.
Each night there are two shows, one at 7:45pm and one at 8:45pm, and the theme and songs of the show change every couple of months or so. During our visit everything was Christmas themed, and you could here the sound of Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You before you even spotted the trees! Admission to the light show is completely free as it’s part of the Supertree Grove. Visit the Garden Rhapsody Event Page to find out about the current light show.
$3 Shuttle Service
If you don’t feel like walking (the Singapore humidity can do that to you sometimes), the Gardens runs a loop shuttle service between Bayfront MRT Station and the Conservatories. The shuttle runs from 9am to 9pm each day and the S$3 ticket gives unlimited rides for the whole day. The shuttle arrives generally every 10 minutes.
Image from Gardens By The Bay
If you didn’t feel like you had stepped into the future enough already, Gardens by the Bay offers you a ride on the Auto Rider – a fully operational self-driving vehicle. W H A T ? ? These crazy self-driving cars allow visitors to see more of the Gardens from the comfort of an air conditioned vehicle, with live commentary on board!
If you’d like to ride you will need to collect a time slot coupon from the Auto Rider counter at Bayfront Plaza and then purchase a ticket at the ticketing counters. Tickets are sold on a time-allocated basis and costs only S$5 per vehicle. The Auto Rider runs every 20 minutes from the Bayfront Plaza to the Flower Dome. You’re really in the future now.
Arriving via the Circle or Downtown MRT Line you can hop off at Bayfront MRT Station (CE1/DT16), where you can take exit B and then follow the underground walkway out of the station. From the exit cross the Dragonfly Bridge or Meadow Bridge into Gardens by the Bay.
From the Helix Bridge near the Art Science Museum you can follow the footpath leading under the East Coast Parkway, which will take you straight to the Bay South Garden along the waterfront.
If you’re coming from Marina Bay Sands or the Marina Bay Shoppes you can walk across the overhead Lions Bridge inside the Marina Bay Sands Hotel (open everyday from 8am to 11pm), or take the underground linkway through the Bayfront MRT Station.
Singapore have lots of community bikes that you can rent with an app on your phone and then lock and leave whenever you’re done with it. If you’re arriving by bike the only place that you can leave public bikes are on the waterfront out the front of the cooled conservatories. Make sure you don’t just leave them wherever you stop in Gardens by the Bay.
If you’re arriving by car to Gardens by the Bay, there are several carparks around the gardens to leave your car. With some carparks open 24 hours and rates as low as S$0.03 per minute, you’ll definitely be able to find somewhere to park. If you’re doing a quick run in and run out at lunch time you can even take advantage of the free lunch time parking in the Bay South Carpark on weekdays between 12pm and 2pm.
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Perfect dresses to look good but stay cool in the Singapore humidity: