WHAT CAN YOU SEE AT GARDENS BY THE BAY?

Gardens by the Bay light show
Garden Rhapsody … lie on the ground and look up!

By LINDA JAMES | Updated MARCH 10, 2022 | SEE & DO

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One of the questions I’m often asked is, “What can I see at Gardens by the Bay”. The high points are the iconic Supertrees (like something out of an “Avatar” movie), the Garden Rhapsody light and sound show, Floral Fantasy, Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest – but there’s an almost endless list of attractions at Gardens by the Bay!

There are so many free activities and sights at Gardens by the Bay that paying for the domes is definitely worth it – the whole package is good value for money, which is why they make the list of top 5 things to do in Singapore. They definitely should be on your “must do” Singapore list.

There’s no actual entrance fee for Gardens by the Bay but some of the individual attractions are free and some you must pay for.

On my first visit, I only did the free activities: wandered through the Supertree Grove, the outside gardens and the Far East Organisation Children’s Garden and then watched the Garden Rhapsody light and sound show. The Supertrees are amazing – I don’t think I’ll ever be bored with them – and I could do the Garden Rhapsody show over and over again.

Since then though, I’ve visited the paid activities – Floral Fantasy, Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. Next trip, I plan to do the OCBC Skyway and I would definitely go back and see the updated exhibitions in the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.

I strongly recommend paying for the shuttle at $S3 for a two-way ride from Bayfront Plaza to the Flower Dome. It runs at 10-minute intervals every day from 9am–9pm with the last ride at 8.45pm.

The best time to visit is first thing in the morning – it’s worth spending a whole day – so you can see some of the outdoor exhibits, head inside when it heats up in the middle of the day and then out again in the late afternoon to finish up and watch the Gardens by the Bay light show, Garden Rhapsody.

Accessibility is one of the outstanding features of the gardens because they’re right near the Marina Bay Waterfront in the heart of Singapore. There are cafes at the gardens or you could go across to the food court in Marina Bay Sands.

Covering a massive 101ha, you could spend many days here and still not see everything. Here’s a round-up of the key attractions:

Flower Dome

This is the largest of the three cooled conservatories, covering 1.28ha, and it actually broke the Guinness World Record as the World’s Largest Glass Greenhouse in 2015. It houses plants and flowers from five continents, from magnolias and orchids to thousand-year-old olive trees.

The olive trees are one of the many success stories of the Gardens. This native Mediterranean species needs sunshine but also colder temperatures to bear flowers and fruit. So, it was considered a major coup when these thousand-year-old trees successfully blossomed and fruited in the Gardens.

Both domes, an impressive example of the architecture in Singapore, are made of about 6000 coated state-of-the-art, double-glazed glass panels that allow 66 per cent of external light and 33 per cent of external heat through. The steel gridshell and arches protect and stabilise the domes. The lack of columns means the plants get as much sunlight as possible without shadows being cast on them.

Temperatures in the domes are kept between 12C and 25C, which means many plants that would usually only bloom once a year in their natural habitat now bloom almost all year round in tropical Singapore.

Open: Daily 9am-9pm. Last entry 8.30pm
Cost: Gardens by the Bay tickets for residents $S12 adults, child 3-12 $S8; non-residents $S20 adults, child 3-12 $S12 
Gardens by the Bay Cloud Forest Singapore
Cloud Forest … a misty, mystical land before time

Cloud Forest

This 0.8ha conservatory is a mist-filled landscape of rare tropical vegetation and the perfect place to spend time in the middle of a humid Singapore day.

Cloud Mountain, at 35m, towers above the ferns and pitcher plants, while the mist is created by one of the world’s tallest indoor waterfalls.

Open: Daily 9am-9pm. Last entry 8.30pm.
Cost: Gardens by the Bay tickets for both Flower Dome and Cloud Forest – residents $S20 adults, child 3-12 $S12; non-residents $S28 adults, child 3-12 $S15

Floral Fantasy

This conservatory has four distinct zones inspired by fairy tales and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, with cavernous spaces, dramatic driftwood sculptures and works of floral art.

Open: Mon-Fri: 10am–7pm, last admission 6.30pm; Sat, Sun & Public Holidays: 10am–8pm, last admission 7.30pm.
Costs: Residents: $S10 adults, children 3-12 $S5; non-residents: $S20 adults, children 3-12 $S12

OCBC Skyway

This 128m walkway is suspended between two supertrees at 22 metres above ground, providing great views not only of the Supertrees but the whole gardens. I haven’t been up yet but it’s on my list.

Open: 9am–9pm. Last entry 8.30pm
Cost: $S8 adults, children 3-12 $S5
Gardens by the Bay light show Garden Rhapsody
Garden Rhapsody … the OBSC walkway as the gardens light up

Supertree Observatory

Another spectacular photo opportunity is provided by the 50m-high Supertree Observatory, the highest point in the gardens.

Open: Monday-Fri 4pm–9pm. Last entry 8.30pm; Sat, Sun & Public holidays: noon-9pm. Last entry 8.30pm.
Cost: $S10 adults, children 3-12 $S6; non-residents $S14, children 3-12 $S10

Supertree Grove

These vertical gardens stand 25m to 50m high – about 16 storeys – and are truly a sight to behold especially at night when they light up.

However, the Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay are not just pretty! They play important roles in the operation of the gardens: one is an air exhaust for the two conservatories and 11 have solar photovoltaic cells in their canopies to harvest solar energy. They are now thriving “vertical gardens” with about 159,000 epiphytes – orchids, ferns, bromeliads and flowering vines – growing on the panels installed on their trunks.

Open: Daily 9am-9pm
Cost: Free
Gardens by the Bay carnivorous garden
Carnivorous garden … one of the most colourful – and interesting

Garden Rhapsody

I strongly recommend you see this light and sound show – it really is one of my most memorable experiences. People take rugs and blankets and lie on the ground as the lights dance around overhead.

The show has been the vision of award-winning lighting designer Adrian Tan, and one of Singapore’s most sought-after music composers and arrangers, Bang Wenfu, since 2015.

Open: Daily 7.45pm and 8.45pm. Times are adjusted for special events such as Christmas.
Cost: free

Other Free Attractions

One of the great things to do with kids is visit the Far East Organisation Children’s Garden. There are also many free gardens to visit including Kingfisher Wetlands, Bay East Garden, Sun Pavilion, The Canyon, Heritage Gardens, World of Plants, Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes and Serene Lake.

As you stroll around, keep an eye out for some of the artworks on display – there are many!

It’s hard to believe that Gardens by the Bay is flourishing on land that was once sea, then sand and very wet soil. It only took 5 years for the gardens to emerge from previously barren reclaimed land to become one of the engineering and horticultural marvels in the world.

I’m looking forward to going back this year and look forward to seeing the sunflower show from September 24 to November 26 to celebrate the Andalusian landscape of Southern Spain.

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s a stack of things to see and do at Gardens by the Bay, with the big highlights being the Supertree Grove and the Garden Rhapsody show, both of which are free. To see everything would definitely take you a few days. Each of the domes could easily take 1.5 to 2 hours each. Check out my itineraries for ideas on how to incorporate them in your holiday.

Also, don’t forget that Singapore has many free beautiful national parks such as Singapore Botanic Gardens and Fort Canning Park.

Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr
Open: daily 5am-2am but individual attractions have specific times
Cost: For Gardens by the Bay tickets, see individual attractions above 
Getting there: Near Bayfront MRT (CE1/DT16), take Exit B and follow the underground linkway, then exit and cross the Dragonfly Bridge or Meadow Bridge into Gardens by the Bay; buses – from Tanjong Pagar MRT (EW15), take Exit C and head to International Plaza Anson Road to bus stop 03223. Take bus 400 and alight at bus stop 03371 along Marina Gardens Drive; on foot from Marina Bay Sands Hotel, cross the overhead bridge (Lions Bridge) open daily from 8am-11pm or walk through underground linkway via Bayfront MRT
More information: Gardens by the Bay

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