The Gardens by the Bay in Singapore: Bit Like Avatar

Just as I was beginning to despair at Singapore my feelings towards it were saved when I bought a ticket to the Cloud Forest and teh Flower Room at the Gardens by the Bay. Not something that would normally be on my agenda you might be thinking but ever since I saw the Gardens by the Bay ‘trees’ at a work event a few years ago they’ve always been on my radar as something weird, and possibly wonderful.

I had 24 hours in Singapore and after a dramatic and expensive morning (don’t mention chilli crabs to me) I toddled off to see how many more of my Singapore dollars I could spend before getting back to the airport.

Exploring Cloud Forest

Singapore Gardens of the Bay
As soon as I entered the Cloud Forest they had me at the huge waterfall showering down over a huge pillar (aka Cloud Mountain) of colourful flowers at the entrance. It was spectacular. And that’s not a word I use. After gathering with all the other awestruck visitors to take a few inevitable selfies and help out a few folks after a new family portrait I made my way round the walkway. Slowly. Now I know nothing about plants – I can just about point out a pansy or a poinsettia – but I couldn’t help stop and snap the colourful flowers peeping out at me in every direction.

Singapore Gardens of the Bay

The flowers come from around the world and have been carefully grown in the special conditions. The whole project has been created to bring a taste of the rainforest to the Singapore concrete jungle.

“Our mountain has been densely planted with a mixture of fascinating orchids, delicate ferns, colourful bromeliads, dazzling begonias and menacing carnivorous pitcher plants.” – gardensbythebay.com

Gardens of the BayThe whole site is 101 hectares (1,010,000 m2) and as well as the two conservatories there are many restaurants to choose from, plenty of recreation space and you can take guided tours around the three different areas. There’s a whole exhibition in there to see how they designed and created it all and a video to accompany the project’s work and the plans for the future.

Cloud Forest Gardens by the Bay

You could climb up to the top of Cloud Mountain (via a lift) and work your way round the pillar along the slippery walkway back down again. I teetered in my flip flops, a random flash of fear after slipping slightly had made me slow down. It also meant I could take all these photos though.

At the end of the Cloud walkway there were more relics to discover – a huge lion carefully carved from just one trunk of wood, a doorway shaped like a lion’s mouth in roar that was just begging to be stepped through, and a family of foot-high snails made from stone. Everywhere you looked was something new, in fact. Once I finally exited I managed to persuade them to let me back in again for round two.

Enjoying the Flower Garden

Gardens of the BayIn between trips to the Cloud Forest I went into the Flower Garden. In there was a Baobab Garden, a Mediterranean Garden and a bar which on the day I visited had a private function. I couldn’t help but wish I was invited to sip on the Champagne I could see through the arches. Would they notice a flip flopped backpacker through the slinky dresses and sharp suits? Yes.

More things to see at Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay aquarium

Unfortunately the skywalk had been closed thanks to the weather. On good days you can walk between two of the trees along 128m suspended 22m above the ground.

Gardens by the Bay cactus

I went to explore what the rest of the Gardens by the Bay had to offer. The kids area looked great with huge flowers I’d seen squirting water earlier on from the window but as it was after 7 they lay quiet. I found the Victoria Lily Pond, a huge tank filled with huge fish I’d never seen before – apparently bought in from South America to sample life in Asia – and a Cactus Garden too.

Time to see the Supertrees

Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

supertrees in Gardens by the Bay

Night was starting to set in so I went to watch the Supertrees light up. It was mesmerising, watching the colour slowly work it’s way up the trunk. I walked over to the main garden and joined the hundreds of people sitting around on the stone benches. I looked around and actually felt overwhelmed at how awesome it was to be surrounded by the magnificent trees that were so out there, the comparisons to Avatar have come thick and fast for Gardens by the Bay. I lay back for a different view and noticed out the corner of my eye everyone next to me doing the same, falling like dominoes. Another beautiful moment in this incredible trip I’m having.

“Ladies and gentleman…”

A booming voice came over the loudspeaker and music started up. My ears were pricked!

“… may we present the Gardens by the Bay Rhapsody Light Show.”

And with that the dramatic music came in louder, creating the tension it was intended to. For the next 15 minutes it was as if the trees were passing round the light. Sometimes it would start from the base of their trunks shooting up and out to the very tips of their leaves. Then it would go the other way, they’d pass it to each other while the music provided the backdrop.

Gardens by the Bay Light show

I started in my laid down position but soon got up for the better view just stood in the middle. Around me people were sprawled out on the floor, on the benches and they’d obviously opened the skywalk now the weather had improved.

It was absolutely incredible. Emotional, beautiful and totally unexpected, by me anyway. It was obviously what everyone else had been there waiting for, and from the announcement at the end I know now that it happens every night.

Light show Gardens by the Bay

As the lights stopped the crowd stood up in applause. I honestly think it was one of the most emotive things I’ve ever seen. And it might be the buzz talking but right now I’d say it’s worth visiting Singapore just to see the Supertrees nightly light show I didn’t actually even know existed.

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5 Comments

  1. by Penny on March 13, 2015  11:13 am Reply

    What a beautiful and amazing place this looks!

    I was already sitting there at the start thinking how beautiful it was with the waterfalls, and having a little double take at the SIZE of those Pitcher plants, blimey. By the time you reached the light show at the end though, I was hooked, it looks so unique and cool (and a bit magical Disney-ish).

    The fact you didn't know it was even going to happen just makes it all the better - sometimes it's little surprises like that, that stick with us as memories all our lives :)

    Generally speaking this isn't a part of the world I expect to ever travel to, but if I do, I know I'd go here. It's definitely 'my kind of thing'.

  2. by Becky | Adventure awaits us on March 14, 2015  7:44 pm Reply

    This sound like a great place to visit. The gardens look amazing - some of those plants don't even look real! I bet it was great to see the light show as well, we'll definitely have to check that out when we visit Singapore :)

    • by Vicky on March 15, 2015  4:26 am Reply

      Absolutely, definitely do! It was such a cool attraction, even for people who aren't that into plants and trees. :)

  3. by Leanne on March 16, 2015  1:08 pm Reply

    Wow this looks absolutely incredible, especially the light show. I bet it was amazing in person! x

    • by Vicky on March 17, 2015  2:24 am Reply

      It was SO good Leanne. I'd definitely urge anyone who can to go!

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