Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

by Rosemarie John on July 1, 2012

With a unique collection of plants and trees from every continent except  Antarctica, Gardens by the Bay in Bay South, Singapore  takes its visitors into the realm of nature and all its bounty. Boasting two large conservatories, several outdoor gardens, a lake, a skyway and great views of the entire bay area, exploring nature within a city has just gotten all that more interesting.

Opening its doors to the public on June 29th, its vast 54 hectares of pure greenery was a celebration of the latest milestone in Singapore’s “Garden City” vision. Gardens by the Bay is a project by the National Parks Board (NParks) and home to the world’s largest columnless greenhouse.

What makes Garden’s by the Bay even more unique is its principles of environmental sustainability. Much effort and consideration was made to plan and design for sustainable cycles in energy and water throughout Bay South Gardens which include the minimising of solar heat gain and harnessing waste heat.

The Supertree Grove

OCBC Bank is the largest sponsor of Gardens by the Bay to date, with sponsorship of “OCBC Skyway” and the “OCBC Light and Sound Show”. When night falls, watch as the Supertrees come alive with a dazzling myriad of light displays bursting across the sky.

The first thing that is visible either from ground level or in the the air, are the giant man-made trees. Supertrees as they are called are uniquely designed vertical gardens ranging from 25 to 50 metres in height, with emphasis placed on the vertical display of tropical flowering climbers, epiphytes and ferns.

There are a total of 18 Supertrees, with 11 of them embedded with environmentally sustainable functions like photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy. Part of  the harvested solar energy is used for lighting up the Supertrees while the rest is integrated with the Cooled Conservatories and serve as air exhaust receptacles.

During the day, the Supertrees’ large canopies provide shade and shelter. At night, the Supertrees come alive with lighting and projected media transforming the area into a rather magical place of wonder. The highlight of the Supertree Grove is the 128 metre-long aerial walkway which connects two 42-metre Supertrees offering a different view of the Gardens from a height of 22 metres.

The tallest Supertree will soon be home to a bistro-bar by Indochine serving the fusion food it is known for.

The Flower Dome & Cloud Forest

The world’s largest columnless greenhouse, the Conservatories’ glass sits on a steel grid that acts like an eggshell.

Offering a sense spring time all year round, the Flower Dome replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California, parts of Spain and Italy and semi-arid subtropical regions like Australia. The nucleus and the very heart of the dome houses the Flower Field that reflects different seasons and festivals.

With a much colder environment, the Cloud Forest conservatory replicates the cool-moist climate typically found in Tropical Montane regions between 1,000 to 3,500 metres above sea level. Made up of a 35-metre tall mountain complete with the tallest indoor waterfall covered in lush vegetation, the Cloud Forest is home to more than 130,000 plants. The unique part about the Cloud Forest are the descent modes down from the mountain to the Secret Garden – via the Cloud Walk, which takes you outside the mountain for a closed-up view of the of epiphytes plant species that clad the side of the mountain and via the Tree Top Walk which takes you close to the forest canopy for a spectacular bird’s eye view of the treetops.

Housing a diverse collection of plants of high conservation value, the conservatories are a statement in sustainable engineering and apply a suite of cutting-edge technologies for energy-efficient solutions in cooling. Helping to achieve at least 30% savings in energy consumption, compared to conventional cooling technologies, the conservatories applies thermal stratification where the ground is cooled by chilled water pipes cast within the floor slabs enabling cool air to settle at the lower occupied zone while the warm air rises and is vented out at higher levels.

Walking into these enormous conservatories is much akin to walking into the Wonderland forest and feeling just like Alice would have minus the hookah-smoking blue caterpillar. You feel so much smaller as the trees and plants seem larger in their magnificent new home. With a vivid imagination, you could truly feel the magic of this place… all that is missing is the Cheshire Cat, the Doormouse, the March Hare, the Mad Hatter and their perpetual 6pm Tea Party. But what you choose to see and how you choose to see it, is entirely up to you!

Travel Tips & Getting There

Immerse yourself in the spectacular view of the Marina Bay Sands, as you embark on your journey through the Supertrees Grove!

Exploring the Gardens by the Bay should not be done in a rush. If you want to experience it to its fullest, allocate at least a good 4 hours to cover the Heritage Gardens, the Dragonfly LakeWorld of PlantsBay East Garden and the scrumptious dining options throughout South Bay.

The best way to get there is by MRT via the Circle Line. Alight at Bayfront MRT Station and proceed to Exit B and follow the underground linkway. Exit and cross the Dragonfly Bridge into Gardens by the Bay. For more ways to get there, click HERE

Located at 18 Marina Gardens Drive Singapore 018953, Gardens by the Bay has different opening hours for each section. Bay South Garden is open from 05:00 AM to 02:00 AM daily. Opening hours for the Cooled Conservatories and OCBC Skyway is from 09:00 AM to 09:00 PM daily. While access to the outdoor gardens in Bay South is free,kthe admission charges to the Cooled Conservatories and the OCBC Skyway can be found HERE

Titillate your senses with the changing displays of the Flower Field.

A return visit is a must to see the other seasonal, cultural and thematic displays throughout the year.

Treat your senses to the freshness and the soothing sounds of the waterfall in the Cloud Forest!

Ascend to the mountaintop comfortably via the lift and descend through two walkways.

Supertrees are made of four parts: reinforcement concrete core, trunk, planting panels of the living skin, and canopy.

*Disclaimer: We thank Gardens by the Bay for inviting Travel and Beyond to spend an afternoon in the gardens. However, as always all opinions expressed are exclusively that of the author.

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