Gardens By The Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive (subway station Bayfront)
The unusual architectural and landscape complex that comprises the Gardens By The Bay is one of the newest and certainly the most original of Singapore's sights. This futuristic botanical garden combines both naturalness and modern technologies and was opened on the Marina Bay coast, back in the summer of 2012. Its huge area, 101 hectares in total, has several themed gardens complete with waterfalls and pools, two technological greenhouses for exotic plants and artificial super-trees.
The first thing that catches the eye when looking into the Gardens By The Bay, are the two cosmic hothouse seashells that adorn bay’s coast. The special eco-technologies installed there sustain a special microclimate, which is needed for the growing of over 200 thousand plants and trees from every continent on earth. One of them – the 58-meter-high Cloud Forest – has a humid equatorial climate and features a handmade, 35-meter-high hill, which is covered with rare tropical plants and waterfalls. The second hothouse – the 38-meter-high Flower Dome – has a drier Mediterranean climate and features some rare plants from the Southern European and Northern African coasts.
However, the most impressive installations at the Gardens By The Bay complex are the 18 gigantic super-trees, which are between 25 and 50 meters in height. Each of them is a metallic construction covered with live plants: ferns, orchids and other plants that grow into the air, coming together to form so called vertical gardens. The super-trees are the most original part of the complex, yet they also have an additional ecological function. Solar batteries, located in their crowns, accumulate energy from the suns rays while special reservoirs, placed in their "trunks", collect rain water. Moreover, the gigantic artificial trees restrain strong winds that can be disastrous for some of the plants.
The two highest trees are connected with the 128-meter-long telpherage Skyway, allowing admires to view the ‘forest’ and the bay from a height of 20 meters. The gallery leads to the restaurant, which is situated on the top of the highest super-tree. Soft illumination is turned on during the evenings, as the trees turn into a sparkling, multicolored grove.
The rest of the park is covered with thematic gardens, including the Heritage Gardens – a complex consisting of four enclosures: Indian, Malay, Colonial and Chinese – and the World of Plants – consisting of six gardens: World of Palms, Fruits and Flowers, Secret Life of the Trees, Garden of Discoveries, Underbrush, and the Net of Life. The lattermost demonstrates the sheer richness of flora and the evolution of plants on our planet. Additionally, two lakes, playgrounds and concert area - on which a variety of events are carried out - are located in the complex’s grounds.
One can discover the Gardens By The Bay either on foot, or via the special Garden Cruiser tram (5 SGD), which makes a 20-minute round trip around the park; the trip is accompanied by the stories of the plants that grow under the park’s care.