SINGAPORE | How I Dragged my Wife to the Singapore Botanic Gardens

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Singapore Botanic Gardens Gate

I’ve been nagging my travel partner, like forever, for us to visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens every time we take a trip to the Lion City. She would say yes, but that would be it. We would always skip it on the itinerary. One time, she ‘fessed up, “what the heck are we gonna do there?” She exasperatedly asked me. Well. I really have no idea, I just wanted to see it since it’s the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Singapore. Honestly, I just wanted to cross it off my list of World Heritage Sites to visit, lol.

Singapore Botanic Gardens
VISITING THE SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDEN, AT LONG LAST

So, after much more nagging, we finally went to the gardens, the oldest of its kind in Singapore, like 158 year-old old. This garden is older than my grandma’s rheumatic grandma. I was readying for a good belting of I-told-you-so, after our visit.

Singapore Botanic Gardens Pathways
PATHWAYS AROUND THE PARK

Right after checking in at YOTEL Singapore along Orchard Road, we took the easy way by taking the train (Botanic Gardens MRT Station)—we could’ve walked, but we’ve had enough of walking in East Timor. And finally, after years and years of wanting to see the garden we’re finally here! And it looked extremely boring (told you so was echoing in the background).

Singapore Botanic Gardens Restaurant
RESTAURANTS INSIDE THE GARDEN

Singapore Botanic Gardens
OKAY, I HAVE TO ADMIT, IT REALLY DOESN’T SPARK JOY

The Singapore Botanic Gardens started out from a disused plantation that has been converted into a huge public park—like 82 hectares huge—with 10,000 species of flora along its grounds. I can hear C from one corner silently muttering, boooooring.

Singapore Botanic Gardens Foliage Garden
THE FOLIAGE GARDEN, ONE OF THE MANY AREAS INSIDE THE PARK

It is one of only three gardens in the world to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, the other two (or three, depending where you read) being the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, the Padua Botanical Garden, and the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape in South Africa. The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens in Melbourne which we visited a few months back isn’t included on any lists I saw.

Singapore Botanic Gardens Orchids
DETAILS OF AN ORCHID PLANT

The Singapore Botanic Gardens is huge, the distance from its northern edge, where we started our walk, to its southern part is around two and a half kilometer long. And I was trying very hard to cheer on C as we trudged our way through its many pathways. The extremely warm and sticky weather wasn’t helping at all. A massive frown was starting to form from her lips. “Look! An orchid garden!” I feigned excitement. She could care less about an orchid garden.

Singapore Botanic Gardens Orchids
THE NATIONAL ORCHID GARDEN HOLDS THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF ORCHIDS IN THE WORLD

The National Orchid Garden was a recent addition to the park, opening only in 1995. It has, however, the largest orchid collection in world, with over 1,200 species and 2,000 hybrids in its keep. But entering requires a ticket fee (SGD 5.00). And orchids doesn’t really make C jump with joy. Well, okay, I share her sentiments on this one. Skip this. C skipped with joy.

Singapore Botanic Gardens Waterfalls
AN ARTIFICIAL WATERFALLS, PERHAPS?

“Oh, a rainforest!” I exclaimed, seeing a path trail upwards to a densely wooded area six hectares large. C locked her gaze with mine, her eyes razor sharp, saying don’t you dare. Dare, I did not. We happily moved on the next area, hands locked within hands.

Singapore Botanic Gardens Birds
THE SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS IS GOOD FOR BIRDING ENTHUSIASTS

We passed the Ginger Garden, a one-hectare area filled with nothing but Zingiberaceae. Okay, I don’t know what a Zingiberaceae is. According to Google, it is a ginger family of flowering plants. Ginger? Flower? Alright. Next.

Jacob Ballas Children's Garden. Asia’s first children's garden. It does not spark joy. Next.

Singapore Botanic Gardens Swan Lake
A COLONIAL-ERA GAZEBO ALONG THE LAKE

Swan Lake. Now, were talkin’! C’s eyes lit up when she saw two mute swans from Amsterdam (hmmm, didn’t know that swans can actually be mute) lazily gliding across the serene waters of the lake. The park actually has three lakes, I wanted to tell her, but we’d need to do a lot more walking to see those other two. And that would actually ruin my partner’s slightly uplifted mood. I shut my trap.

Singapore Botanic Gardens Swan LakeSingapore Botanic Gardens Swan Lake
STONE SWANS VS. A REAL SWAN

Singapore Botanic Gardens Swan Lake
YES, ACHIEVED!

Off one side of the lake is a colonial-era gazebo, and surrounding the waters are benches. We sat on one, watching fishes watch us in return from the murky waters, relieved that we’re finally done with Singapore Botanic Gardens. Crossing it off my list! Whew!

 

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Singapore Botanic Gardens
Address: 1 Cluny Road, Singapore
Contact Number: +65 6471-7138
Email: nparks_sbg_visitor_services@nparks.gov.sg
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Opening Hours: 5:00 AM to 12:00 MN, Daily
Entrance Fee: None
GPS Coordinates Map: 1.314097, 103.815356 

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