Gardens by the Bay are a Must See
The jewel of Singapore’s harbor, the Gardens by the Bay present marvelous natural beauty in a climate-controlled setting.
Hot Take: Blending mankind’s ingenuity with nature’s wonder, the Gardens by the Bay are a worthy (if a bit spendy) place to spend an afternoon or whole day. (4 stars)
Pro Tip: Go during on a weekday to avoid the crowds and make sure you don’t skip the elevated walk from the Marina Bay Sands.
Built on 250 acres of land raised from the seabed, the Gardens by the Bay provide the purest expression of Singapore’s modernism and dedication to garden spaces. Highlighted by the domed structures of the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest that sparkle like jewels when viewed from the [Marina Bay Sands Resort], the greenery of the Gardens by the Bay really deliver on the transforming Singapore from a "Garden City" to a "City in a Garden".
Opened in 2012 and now welcoming over 9 million visitors a year, the secret is out that the Gardens by the Bay provide a MUST SEE Singapore highlight. We recommend going on a weekday to minimize the crowds, but there is plenty of space to have private moments throughout the park (through the domes are more crowded). Also, because the domes are climate controlled, the Gardens can be the perfect afternoon activity in otherwise hot and muggy Singapore. One thing to check before you plan your trip is the maintenance schedule on the Garden’s website. Spoiler Alert: the domes are each closed one day a month for maintenance (on separate days).
Like most visitors, we started at the Marina Bay Sands and walked across the elevated walkway to a platform that overlooks the Gardens. The view was superb and really set the scene for the explorations to come (kind of like seeing a birds-eye map view of the place).
Immediately the eye is drawn to the dual garden domes and we made our way immediately there. It was at the ticket counter located in between the two domes that we learned the Flower Dome was closed for maintenance (which was a major bummer); however, we put on our big kid pants and decided to explore as much as the Gardens had to offer. Upon purchasing tickets (kinda spendy at ~$21 each for the two conservatories, but only half price for us), we headed in to the Cloud Forest dome.
Immediately upon entering the 2 acre Cloud Forest dome, you are greeted by a woosh of cool air (which is a blessing worth the price of admission alone) and an impressive 7+ story waterfall (one of the largest man-made waterfall in the world). The highlight of the dome is the "Cloud Mountain" which is an cleverly designed structure that has been completely clad in greenery and water features that has been wrapped in floating walkways. The volume of plant life simply cannot be overstated. And we spent the next 2 hours going level by level through the dome and marveling at the majesty and variety of so many species of flowers that were foreign to us.
One of our favorite parts was a plant/Lego display at the top of the “mountain” where some clever Lego builders constructed large sized replicas of carnivorous plants that were displayed amidst the real life plants.
However, even the waterfall and Lego displays were outdone by the circling walkways that floated whimsically at different distances from the structure. By compressing and extended the focal length of your vision, the designers let you marvel from a variety of perspectives while enjoying a bird’s perspective of the jungle.
We could have spent hours more in the dome, but time was running short and we wanted to see one of the other highlights of the Gardens, The Supertree Grove.
The Supertrees themselves are metal structures that have had ferns, vines, orchids, bromeliads, and other plant affixed to them. The ‘trees’ are also fitted with technology to mimic the ecological functions of trees, including solar cells and rainwater collection tricks. The Supertrees have heights ranging from 82 ft to 160 ft and are damn impressive in person from both far away and upclose.
After purchasing more tickets (~$6 each…no one ever accused Singapore of being inexpensive), we rode the elevator up to 70 feet to the OCBC Skyway, which is a 420 ft elevate platform walk past 4 of the giant Supertrees.
It was a walk to remember, especially since (not pictured) was the strong and steady wind that Kelly felt could lift her off the causeway! But we survived and (after spending 30 minutes gazing up at these giants from a lovely nearby grass lawn), we made our way back into the hustle and bustle of urban Singapore.