Opening Hours & Getting There
To get to Gardens by the Bay via public transport, take the MRT and alight at Marina Bay MRT Station. Take Exit A and then board bus 400. Four stops later and you are at the main gate.
Alternatively, alight at Bayfront MRT Station and take Exit B. Follow the underground link way and you will find yourself at the Dragonfly Bridge. Simply cross the bridge to enter the Gardens.
If you’re walking to the Gardens and want to navigate using Google Maps or similar, the address is:
18 Marina Gardens Drive
Let’s get the money matters out of the way first. Entry into the Outdoor Gardens is free, but there are several paid areas: the two Cooled Conservatories (the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest) as well as the OCBC Skyway (a canopy walk). You can also pay for a ride on the Garden Cruiser to save on walking. Rates for local residents differ from the standard rates for visitors shown below, so if you’re heading down to the Gardens with a local friend do take note. Also, visitors in wheelchairs need not worry. There is a barrier-free route to most parts of the gardens. The maps provided at Gardens by the Bay will show you the route.
(Flower Dome and Cloud Forest)
|OCBC Skyway||Garden Cruiser|
|Senior citizen (≥ 60 years old)||$28||$5||$5|
|Child (3 – 12 years old)||$15||$3||$3|
Prices correct as of July 2012. Please visit http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg for the latest information.
Now, on to the garden itself. The free areas have several smaller themed gardens for you to explore. This includes the heritage gardens, where you can visit the Indian Garden, Chinese Garden, Malay Garden or Colonial Garden, and the educational World of Plants, which teaches you about trees, palms, fruits, flowers, fungi and more. Families with children can head to the Tadpole Play Garden, and the various lakes and ponds scattered around Bay South lend even more variety to the garden. There is a boardwalk along the Dragonfly Lake that makes for a romantic stroll.
The Supertree Grove, which houses 12 of the 18 supertrees, is not to be missed. The supertrees are vertical gardens that have over 160,000 plants growing on them. Some of the supertrees have solar panels to harvest solar energy, which is used to power the light show that goes on after sundown. Others serve as air exhaust receptacles for the Cooled Conservatories. Strung between the two tallest supertrees is the OCBC Skyway, a 128m long walkway that offers a magnificent bird’s-eye view of the Gardens. Do note that the walkway is suspended – those with a fear of heights might find walking across it a little challenging, although the sides anchored to the supertrees are nice and stable.
There are several dining option available, with a couple more due to open in the later half of 2012. A must-try is Seventh Heaven, which serves over 30 hand-crafted ice cream flavours. These include eight floral flavours that were developed exclusively for Gardens by the Bay.
The larger of the two conservatories is the Flower Dome, arguably also the more charming. The Flower Dome imitates the cool, dry climes of certain desert regions. There are over 300,000 plants in the Flower Dome alone, sorted by geographical area. By touring the Flower Dome, you can visit the Mediterranean Basin, South West Australia, South Africa, Central Chile and even California. Desert plants from all over the world are housed in this conservatory, but desert plants are not just limited to cacti. There are baobab trees, olive trees (one of which is a thousand years old!) and all manner of exotic plants. A particularly memorable example is the African Mother’s Tongue, a plant that plays dead to deceive animals that might otherwise eat it.
Desert plants are, of course, not the only plants in the Flower Dome. With a name like that, you wouldn’t expect anything less than fields of flowers, and in this the Flower Dome does not disappoint. The Flower Field is a display that changes according to seasons. The moment you step into the Flower Dome you will be greeted by the delicately and naturally scented cool, dry air to soothe one more of your senses, providing respite from Singapore’s tropical weather.
You are greeted by a man-made waterfall when you enter the Cloud Forest. The Cloud Forest has a distinctly wetter environment compared to the Flower Dome, and the ground can be wet. The rough floors are extremely slip resistant, so you don’t have to worry.
Take a lift up to the Lost World at the top of the mountain. Here, you will see plants that live 2,000 metres above sea level. As you make your way down the Cloud Walk, you can see the plants on the mountain up close. The Waterfall View is a great photo spot, and the next stop, the Crystal Mountain, shows the sort of stalagmites and stalactites that develop in caves in mountains. Then there are some educational areas teaching visitors about global warming and you finally emerge in the Secret Garden, a misty garden that is more reminiscent of Conan Doyle’s Lost World than the area at the top of the artificial mountain.
The plants here are less floral, but far lusher than those in the Flower Dome. One of the most easily identifiable plants in the Cloud Forest is the pitcher plant. There are walls of them in various areas, which allow the curious easy access to this fascinating plant.
In this age of high-speed internet and jet-setting holidays, it is perhaps not so easy to amaze and charm our jaded senses, but the two cooled conservatories bring to mind the Crystal Palace of Victorian England – and the wonder that must have accompanied its opening. All but the most intrepid traveller will find something fresh and new to see and experience at Gardens by the Bay.