It was only 7:30 am when I left the hotel to make my way to Singapore’s famous Botanic Gardens and it was already warm and humid outside, I figured it was better to go early than to try and go later in the day when the temperature and humidity are even more intense.
Arriving at the Tanglin Gate entrance I entered the gardens not quite knowing what to expect, very quickly the noise of the traffic faded away and I became used to my new surroundings. It is a tranquil and quite beautiful place deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage status.
The garden was established in 1859 and was designed by Lawrence Niven, whose work reflected the English garden style that influenced the creation of numerous English landscape gardens and public parks from the 18th century until this period. Even today the layout as well as historic buildings such as Burkhill Hall remain almost entirely intact.
I decided to just wander around with no particular agenda of what I wanted to see or do and just follow the paths to see where they took me, the first place I came across was Swan Lake.
Following the path around the lake I came across an area called The Dell, lots of narrow winding paths filled with beautiful tropical trees and plants.
From The Dell the paths led me to the Ginger Garden where there are more than 3000 species of plants belonging to the ginger (Zingiberailes) all of which are closely related to the common spice – ginger.
The Ginger Garden eventually leads out to Orchid Plaza which is where I found the National Orchid Garden. The garden costs $5 to enter and I can honestly say it’s worth every penny, there are over 1000 species and 2000 hybrids growing here. It houses the largest display of orchids in the world.
Inside the National Orchid Garden there are various attractions. Burkhill Hall was built in 1868 in colonial plantation style and is an excellent example of historic architecture.
There is a VIP Orchid Garden featuring orchid hybrids named after visiting state dignitaries such as Nelson Mandela and Prince William. The Celebrity Orchid Garden is of a similar theme.
The Tan Hoon Siang Mist House was an incredible place set against a backdrop of tropical foliage and cultural decor, it displays new orchid cultivars.
The Cool House encloses a montane tropical forest that provides a highly realistic representation of high elevation sites in the tropics. It’s also a lovely place to get some relief from the heat outside.
The orchid garden was my favourite part of the whole place, I just found it so quiet and relaxing although I’m sure it does get busy later on in the day but when I was there it was perfect.
From the National Orchid Garden I walked up past the rain forest and around to Symphony Lake, a beautiful spot where the lake is sort of set into a natural valley. Sat on the lake is the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage which I believe hosts concerts and cultural events. I just stopped for a while and imagined myself watching one of those concerts, such a beautiful setting.
I managed to walk as far as the main visitors centre before walking back to the Tanglin Gate. I’d only seen about half of the gardens but somehow had spent about four hours exploring, at some time in the future I would love to go back and see the half that I missed as I felt there was so much to discover.
Have you been to Singapore’s Botanic Gardens?
What did you think?
To see more photo’s of The Singapore Botanic Gardens please visit www.pinterest.com/mrbelltravels