Hi all! After leaving the Gardens by the bay without visiting the paid conservatories, we made a vow that we would be back ASAP to pay it another visit! And of course, when the attendant (whom I personally feel, is bloody business savvy) tempted me on the opening day by pointing out to the largest man-made waterfall in Singapore (surpassing the previous record holder at the Jurong Bird Park), I just can’t say more. And yes, we went back, and yes $20(for local Singaporeans entering 2 paid conservatories) was well worth the money if you ask me.
Look who’s grinning from ear to ear!
Ahhh, the roof of the Flower Dome, a pleasure to the eyes, and to the lens]
Our first stop was the Flower Dome, which is filled with such grandeur; it envelopes you the moment you step into the conservatory. Remember I mentioned that the Gardens by the Bay looks somewhat like Avatar at night? The plethora of flora, shrubs, and other plants really bring that out here, unlike the free area, which consists of mainly common shrubs and of course, the synthetic Supertrees, which have drawn a lot of flak online for being a smack in the face of conservationism, which the Gardens purports itself to be. Hokay, let’s not get into this controversial quagmire; today we will all enjoy the little pleasures of life, and what botany can bring to our concrete jungle.
The first thing that grabbed us when we entered was the whiff of air-conditioning. I felt that it was a rather ingenious little idea, given our warm tropical climate. This place is dubbed ‘Eternal Spring’, and the temperature is maintained at approximately 20 degrees celsius. So all the human polar bears, do not stay huddled in the shopping malls, this place is for you too! We’ll let the pictures do the talking for now!
Cacti family, how sweet!
Epitome of the word ‘Glass Ceiling’
Basically, the Flower Dome spans 2 storey high for us to walk. You start at the 2nd storey (which is actually the ground level), then exit at the first storey (basement). Here, XL is overlooking the first storey, which is heavily planted with more species of flowers than you can ever imagine.
Marriage of man-made and natural grandeur
Some handsome looking trees
Couple pic at last, god bless the service staff there!
If you’re really el cheapo, you can try plucking them and proposing to a girl on the spot. (‘course I’m kiddin)
Kindda interesting little bench I came across, and of course, a good rest for my legs!
which is more astonishing? XL’s big mouth or the pretty flowers?
Ehh, this place is really disabled friendly. The elderly woman here was basking in the glow of the garden!
The old and withered seems to be out of focus; let’s not let this happen to our society.
After spending almost an entire morning lazing around in the Flower Dome, we head on next to the Cloud Forest, somewhere I have always wanted to go ever since that business savvy attendant tempted me on the opening day of the Gardens. Basically, the structure of the entire Cloud Forest is centered on the waterfall. So yes, unlike the Flower Dome which covers a vast horizontal expanse of land, the Cloud Forest is more intimidating for those who do not prefer heights.
The moment we entered, a giant majestic waterfall greeted us. Wait a minute, not just the waterfall, but also a massive crowd gathered at the fall, all posing for pictures. A note of advice, if you’d like to snap a photo without any photo-bombs by others, it is wise to either (1) Act fast or (2) rush straight to the Cloud Forest when the Gardens begin operations at 9am. We suggest the latter because we really camped there for quite some time before getting this shot. Oh yes, those who have a severe fear of heights, you might want to avoid going all the way up the waterfall structure.
Finally, the waterfall is all ours!
Personally, I felt that this Cloud Forest attracts children more than the Flower Dome. For one, it is more gimmicky in the sense that, in place of diverse species of flora, you get elevated platforms to walk on, not unlike the ones seen in the giant bird cage of Jurassic Park 3.
Elevated walking platforms
Yes, there is a teeny weeny bit of resemblance. I totally felt that a pteranodon would swoop down on us anytime
Another reason I felt that the Cloud Forest gave a more ‘artificial’ feel because there is a lift inside the waterfall structure to take us right up to the last level! There isn’t much plants here, but you can see some Pitcher Plants on top though.
Le me, nursing a bad toothache.
We are now right at the pinnacle of the waterfall, amazing but fake.
Now walking on one of those elevated platforms
It is a big drop down, beware of your belongings falling overboard!
Walking along those elevated platforms are countless photo opportunities. If you enjoy taking photos with the backdrop of the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands or the CBD, this is the best part of the Cloud Forest. XL the cam-whore obviously enjoying her moment, posing beside the flowers.
Lots and lots of elevated platforms for photo opportunities, but in dire need for more flora!
Spotted a mirror near the crystal rocks (which look totally out of place) and cam whore moment for XL
The crystal rocks, you get what I meant.
The Cloud Forest is basically a walk down the waterfall structure. At the basement, there is this area which explains lots about environment conservation, because the Gardens by the Bay is an advocate of environmental conservation. Yes many have debated that the use of air-conditioning to cool the 2 conservatories are anti-conservation. But let me give you my take.
Firstly, to spread the word about conservation, the Gardens must first get a sizeable crowd to be interested. Given our tropical climate, it is more likely to see people huddled up in the comforts of air-conditioning. Hence, to attract those who are more inclined towards air-conditioning, we must first air-condition the conservatories. The next step is what the Gardens have done rather well, which is to air a video of how the temperature of the Earth will rise by 5 degrees celcius, and a frame by frame explanation of what happens each time the temperature rises by a certain quantum. The provoking video might eventually encourage more people to use less energy by weaning off their air conditioning at times, creating a multiplier effect. OK please don’t castigate me for coming out with this POV. I would be most interested to hear your views about this 🙂
This was the video I mentioned about. Quite awesomely done, though (could be) dramatised
Next up, we purchased a $5 ticket per pax to go up the OCBC Skyway, which is actually a rickety bridge connecting some of the super trees.
The queue for this attraction is MASSIVE, so do be prepared to queue for at least 15mins on weekends.
Up up and away!
Those who have fear for heights/motion sickness, be aware that the bridge would shake. It is not a fixed structure
Wonderful photo opportunity you get up there.
To be honest, we did not feel that the OCBC Skyway was worth the visit. At $5 a pop for a extremely short walk, it was more like a novelty experience than anything else. We will say that it is something you can afford to give a miss.
As we head for lunch, we couldn’t help but think about the possible controversies that this Gardens have brought about. Was there an over-zealous urge to showcase our tiny island state’s majesty, or was it a sincere attempt to bring about greater awareness for conservation. Regardless, it is an ideal place for one to bring a book, and bask in the the presence of pollen and nectar (you can actually smell the flowers inside the conservatories). So do not be too quick to put a ‘ – ‘ to this location if you feel that it might exceed your budget, or if you do not believe in its cause. $20 might be slightly on the high side if one were to think that locations like the Singapore Zoo (which can provide an entire day of entertainment) costs approximately the same price. If budget is a issue, go for the Flower Dome if you enjoy the simple pleasures of life, the peace, tranquility of chilling out with a book all day, admiring the flowers. Or go for the Cloud Forest if you intention is to be wowed by the magnificence of the waterfall, and would prefer more photo opportunities with the city’s skylines rather than macro closed up pictures of flowers. It is all dependent on your agenda really.
- Viewing a wide range of plants and floral in comfortable Spring environment (aircon)
- Suitable for family, couples, disabled and elderly. In short, all inclusive
- Novelty factor
- Kudos to the Flower Dome! 😀
- Can be considered pricey, even children aged 3 are charged admission rates
- Cloud Forest is rather artificial
- Controversy surrounding the relevance of the Garden.
- OCBC Skyway is a disappointment