Singapore Botanic Gardens
Jungle, Orchids and a Children's Garden
The Singapore Botanic Gardens - what a great place to relax from those miles of malls on Orchard.
And free of charge, too! I am sure that bruised wallet will love you for that...
The gardens were 'created' 1859 and served as an ornamental garden, leisure garden and a test bed for harvesting rubber from trees. It also was and still is an orchid-breeding station and the mother garden for greening the urban Singapore landscape.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens are just around the corner - more or less - from the top end of Orchard Road.
Basically follow Tanglin Road once you leave Orchard Road and you'll find the entrance via the iconic gate across from the Gleneagles Hospital.
That walk takes about ten minutes...
I know, the heat. There are cafes along the way if it gets too unbearable.
View Singapore Botanic Gardens in a larger map
Bonsais, A Swiss Ball and Miss Joaquin
The first part of the Singapore Botanic Gardens is little bit low-key and humble but does features big heritage trees, with paths swinging around along a lake and grassy areas.
A few things you do have to see here: the cactus gardens, the bonsais, a 700 kg ball made by a Swiss artists for the garden, and Singapore's very own orchid and national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquin.
And what's a proper garden without a classic Victorian gazebo or a bandstand, right?
100 Million B.C and Orchids Galore
Head farther in to the Gardens and this is where it becomes very interesting.
Not only can you walk under a fragment of Singapore's original tropical rainforest and enjoy big trees, but there is a circular walk taking you through the rock and plant landscape of dinosaur times.
The smallish walk shows how it all started with humble lichen clinging to sulphurous rocks and developing into the lush fern and tree landscapes where the T-Rex roared.
Fool the kids by pointing out tracks in the pathways made by predators, heh, heh.
This is also the part of the Singapore Botanic Gardens where the truly worthwhile National Orchid Garden is housed.
I suspect you have seen an orchid or two in your life, and maybe even tried to raise one of these fickle little plants, but this is just a whole different magnitude of orchid gardening.
Walk around 400 different species, have a look at really rare ones in a mist house and go up a simulated mountainside and meet some of the carnivores - plants, that is.
The National Orchid Garden charges entrance fees, but it really is a worthwhile visit, even for the kids.
Coffee, Cocoa and the Kids
The final part of your stroll around the Botanic Gardens takes you towards the newly opened MRT station where you can head back downtown.
Before you go, though, check where coffee and cocoa come from, have a look at some very nice bamboos, and then get underwhelmed by the medicine plants.
They look so humble, right?
That little Tongkat Ali will stop mosquitos, kill microbes and get you in the mood for procreation, so say the Malays.
Finally, check out the Jacob Ballas Childrens' Garden with a sensory garden, potting garden, playground with tree house and small brook, and some old dead trees struck by lightning.
Jacob Ballas Children's Garden
Stars - Strolls - Sales
The Botanic Gardens also offer some top-end events once in a while, in an open-air setting.
Andrea Bocelli has sung here, Jane Goodall (she of chimpanzee fame) has lectured here and sometimes they have 150 couples getting married together - hmm, wonder if the chimps would do that.
You can also buy orchids, take tours or listen to scientists talk about climate change.
The Botanic Gardens features two upper end restaurants, Au Jardin
for French and Fusion under the palms.
Find maps and details on everything they offer at the
Singapore Botanic Gardens
My favorite place? Palm Valley.
A gradual slope with 220 species of palm trees - and you thought a palm tree was a palm tree....
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