Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sneak Peek: Gardens By The Bay

Many of you may have heard of the Singapore Botanic Gardens at Bukit Timah. But, I bet a lot of you have never heard of Gardens By The Bay. Gardens By The Bay is Singapore's second botanic gardens in the Marina South area. Even though both are botanic gardens, they both have different appearances and different selection of plants, trees and flowers. When I first visited this place, it was still closed and trespassed the garden without permission.

Nah, I'm just kidding. It was open temporarily in the middle of November because of the World Orchid Conference. The World Orchid Conference is an annual show where they'll showcase some of the best species of orchids. I didn't attend the event as it was a paid event but the visit to the park itself is free. (The conference was held at the Flower Dome). The only parts of the garden which were temporarily open include Dragonfly Lake, Heritage Gardens, Flower Dome and Silver Garden. The rest were not opened as they were still undergoing construction. They'll fully open in June 2012.

Getting there was difficult. Since it did not open fully, I struggled to get into the garden. I can't go there by going under the ECP, I can't use the escalators to the rooftop garden from the Marina Bay Sands shopping mall and I can't use the escalator and pathway in the shopping mall to get to the garden. So I had to walk in and out of the mall just to find out how to get into the garden. After an hour of searching, I finally found a way. I had to cross the road from the mall to the hotel tower and take the lift up to the linking bridge. All those escalators and pathways will only open when Gardens By The Bay is fully opened.

The linking bridge has amazing views of Bayfront Avenue, the hotel's interior, the hotel's exterior and the East Coast Park Expressway. Such amazing views. It looks better at night. (Night view photos at the bottom). The linking bridge then led me to the gardens. I took tons of photos of the gardens. Everytime I walk a few metres, I quickly took out my phone and took a few snapshots of the gardens. 

When I visited the garden, it was split into different 'categories'. It was partially open as some parts were still undergoing construction. First of, there was the Silver Garden, which consists of a cluster of 'SuperTrees'. Supertrees are tall structures made of concrete made to look like actual trees with plants and flowers planted along the sides. Then there were heritage gardens split into different Singaporean races including Malay, Indian and Chinese along with Colonial. It was interesting as they discussed the different kinds of spices and plants the different races used in the olden days. So there's a bit of history being explained here too.

Here are some of the photos of the heritage gardens. And as you can see, there are plants, sculptures, and shelters that talk about the history of the races and what plants have played a role in the past. It was certainly interesting to learn more about all these. Below, are some of the construction work still going on. See those giant trees? Those are the Supertrees in the Supertree Grove

There is even a suspension aerial bridge which allows you to walk around the Supertrees and get a glimpse of the Supertrees up close and personal. Awesome right? Eating and retail establishments will also be located here such as popular American fast food chain Texas Chicken and the come back of the used-to-be-popular, Satay Club. Unfortunately, this part of the garden was still not open yet when I visited the place. I would certainly enjoy walking along the suspension bridge.

This is the Flower Dome. A conservatory which automatically adjusts to meet the temperature and climate to replicate the cool dry conditions for the plants inside the conservatory. This conservatory was where the World Orchid Conference was held. I wish I could enter and take some photos but no luck. Maybe when it officially opens in June 2012 then I'll enter. There is also another conservatory beside the Flower Dome which is known as the Cloud Forest. The Cloud Forest aims to replicate the conditions of mountainous regions without going to a mountain. So cool!

This is the Silver Garden which has nothing. Yet. Currently it only has three Supertrees and lots of regular trees. It's located along the sea and opposite is where the Singapore Flyer is located. The Silver Garden doesn't really have any grass yet but most likely we'll see grass fully grown by the time the garden officially opens in June 2012. After walking past here, you'll find a lot of flying dragonflies all around you. It's called the Dragonfly Lake which is a lake full of dragonflies. Don't have to be scared. They're harmless and won't bite. I passed by an area with a lot of dragonflies and none of them bit me. I'm just afraid they'll bump into me and hit me but that's a whole different story. Still, they're harmless.

The Dragonfly Lake is just gorgeous. When I visited the area, it was totally peaceful as there was no one here at all. The only sound you can hear are the small fountains at the side of the lake. There were also plenty of seats and resting areas for you to just sit down, relax and unwind. This is probably one of the areas in the city which is quiet and serene. With the sight of the dragonflies flying, this makes the lake even more beautiful.

It was going to be late and I had already explored most of the areas in the garden that was open to the public. So it was time for me to get back home. I went back home by using the link bridge from the garden all the way to the Marina Bay Sands hotel and Marina Bay Sands Mall. I also came across the rooftop garden of the Marina Bay Sands Mall. No, not the Skypark but the rooftop garden. And at night, the Marina Bay Sands is gorgeous.

The Gardens By The Bay is Singapore's second botanic gardens after the Singapore Botanic Gardens at Bukit Timah. It's not open yet but it'll open soon in June 2012. If you are reading this and it's already open, you can get there by taking the buses that pass by the Marina Bay Sands Hotel or board the MRT to Bayfront MRT Station on the Circle Line (Orange Line).

Getting Here

Bus services available: 97, 97e,106, 133, 502, 502A, 518, 518A (Bus stop outside Marina Bay Sands Hotel)

Nearest MRT Station: CE1 Bayfront MRT Station (Circle Line

Website: http://www.gardensbythebay.org.sg/

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