There are so many things to love about botanic gardens. Obviously, the connection with plants and nature is up there, but there’s also the contrast – leaving behind the bustle of a big city to find yourself walking in acres of beautiful, and quite often very exotic parklands. Then there’s the healing benefit of them, the calming nature of… nature, not to mention – access to almost all botanic gardens is free. And they’re educational. AND they’re beautiful – did I already say that?
So for my first-time visit to Singapore, visiting some of the city’s outdoor spaces was top of my agenda. My grandmother had been to Singapore years before and recalled walking the stunning botanic gardens and hearing the vibrant birdsong.
Along with the luxurious and futuristic Gardens by the Bay, I knew I had to make a visit to see the landscapes and tropical flora of Singapore’s Botanic Gardens and here’s why you should too…
A Little Background
Opened in 1859, the gardens are the only tropical garden in the world to be labelled a UNESCO World Heritage Site (as of 2015) and apparently welcomes around 4.5 million visitors each year. With plenty of improvements in the 161 years since the initial opening of the gardens, they now stretch out to 82 hectares of land.
Highlights of the Gardens
National Orchid Garden
Quite possibly one of the prettiest features of Singapore Botanic Gardens is the National Orchid Garden. While entry to SBG is free, entry to the Orchid Garden will cost you $5 and is worth every cent. With orchids blooming in this particular section of the gardens since 1928, there are now 1000+ species as well as 2000 hybrids deeming the Garden the world’s largest public display of orchids.
It’s more than just orchids though. It’s beautiful design, it’s the combination of nature and sculptures, the walkways and arches framed in such brightly-coloured orchids with the most gorgeous fragrance following your every step. You will leave feeling simply lovely!
Other Themed Gardens
So because of their 82 hectares of land, why not create a garden within a garden, or several for that matter?! At SBG, along with the Orchid Garden there are at least 10 more themed gardens to explore.
Witness and learn about more than 400 types of medicinal plants as you wander around the Healing Garden. Smell floral aromas in the Fragrant Garden where it’s suggested to visit in mornings or evenings when the fragrance of the plants is at it’s best. Or take a stroll back in time through the Evolution Garden.
The Gardens are also home to not one, not two, but three lakes – just as beautiful as you’d imagine the rest of the grounds are. There’s Eco-Lake, Symphony Lake and Swan Lake, my favourite.
To be honest, when I approached Swan Lake, I had become a little lost… But sometimes, I find the best places are the one’s you just happen to stumble upon. I absolutely loved walking the edge of the lake, gazing at the sculpture in the centre – coupled with an island of such tall, blooming palm trees.
What else is there to see at the Gardens?
As well as multiple gardens and lakes and themed areas, there is also a rainforest to explore and an elevated boardwalk to follow around sections that overlook the gardens. Keep an eye out for more than 20 beautiful sculptures too!
There are wild Komodo Dragons roaming in the grounds, which can be quite the surprise to see rustling away in the leafy pathways! I’m not sure they’re known as the friendliest animals, so maybe don’t pick them up for a cuddle!
If you’re after a bite to eat, there are 10 cafes/restaurants scattered around the gardens, ranging from casual eats to fine-dining of both Asian and Western cuisines.
Singapore Botanic Gardens is also the home to many events taking place throughout the year and even offers places to hire for private functions and weddings. I can’t imagine a more stunning place to celebrate!
Getting to the Gardens
Due to the size of the gardens, there are several entry points. If you’re short on time or there are specific sections of the gardens that you’d love to visit, check out the Singapore Botanic Gardens website for a handy breakdown of areas and their most convenient transport routes/entrances.
If using Singapore’s MRT system, you could head to either Botanic Gardens MRT Station or Orchard MRT Station and walk a further 3 minutes to arrive at the gardens.
Another transport option? If staying in Singapore for a couple of days, purchase a 48-hour hop-on, hop-off bus ticket for one of the sightseeing buses. The bus will take you directly to the gardens and will return frequently for you to hop back on whenever you wish.
If you’d like to read more about how I spent 48 hours exploring Singapore (and how I was blown away by exactly how much there is to see in Singapore), then check out this post!