Orchid Delight at the Singapore Botanic Gardens
A paradise for garden lovers and worthy of any travelers’ time, a trip to the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the National Orchid Garden was magical for us.
Hot Take: The gardens are simply stunning and a great free-ish place to spend time in otherwise expensive Singapore (4.5 stars)
Pro Tip: Go in the morning for cooler weather and lesser crowds (this is especially true for the National Orchid Garden) and bring water to stay hydrated.
Climate, space, and enthusiasm are critical ingredients to create the perfect garden. In Singapore, there is the perfect blend of all three of these elements and the results are simply spectacular as gardens proliferate throughout the city. For world travelers on a budget like us, the best trove of the city’s myriad garden offerings is the free Singapore Botanic Gardens [https://www.sbg.org.sg/]. A short subway or UBER ride from downtown, the gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is easily accessible to all and provide a lovely way to spend an hour or a day (as your schedule allows).
Our journey began at the Tanglin Gate and, upon walking through the gate, we were immediately transported out of the steel and concrete cityscape of Singapore and into the lush greenery of the rolling hills of the gardens. It reminds us a lot of walking into Central Park in New York City (if Central Park were immaculately manicured and maintained). As we walked along the well-marked paths, we delighted in the foreign look, textures, and smells of so many species of plant life that we had only heard or read about (or were totally unfamiliar to us). We also enjoyed the openness which permitted a breeze that contributed to a temperature we swear felt 10*F cooler than the dense urban sprawl we had left.
We arrived at the crown jewel of the property, the National Orchid Garden [website link], after a 30 minute stroll (note: you could get there in a brisk 10 minute walk, but that would be a waste and is against the ethos of the gardens). After each paying the Singapore $5 entry fee (about $4USD), we entered the most spectacular collection of orchids that we have ever seen. Superlatives cannot do justice to the place as virtually every surface was covered with blooming orchids or every manner of shape, size, and color. We learned that there are well over 30,000 different varieties of orchids (and new hybrids are being constantly created by expert breeders), so the picture below are just a few of the highlights.
After making our way through the winding paths of the orchid garden, we were further rewarded once we reached the VIP section which housed orchid hybrids named for presidents and heads of state that had visited the garden.
However, our favorite part of the orchid garden was the Golden Shower Arches. To walk through these gates is to be taken through a childhood dream of the world as it could only be in the imagination. We had to pinch ourselves!
After soaking up the orchid garden and their ample giftshops for 2 hours (you MUST spend at least an hour here, but Matt was getting hungry so we had to move on), we headed back into the main part of the botanic gardens. Delaying lunch for another hour, we wander through the various groves and floral displays. The water gardens and the bonsai trees were amongst the highlights for us.
In all, we spent about 4 hours in the gardens. While this felt like a good amount of time for a single visit, there was so much that we didn’t get to see and we both agreed that we would come on a monthly basis (or more) if we lived in Singapore.