The Marina Gardens (or Gardens by the Bay) have only been open since 2012 but already seem well established. They cover a fairly large area, with grass and a lake and also with various parts given over to small individual gardens, such as the Malay Garden.
The most outstanding feature (excluding the greenhouses) are several huge artificial trees – called the Supertrees – linked by an aerial walkway. These trees are covered by plants and illuminated spectacularly by lights at night when they can be seen from many miles away.
At one end of the garden, and adjacent to the river, are the shops, restaurants etc as well as two enormous greenhouses. Although entrance to the garden itself is free this is where the ticket office is situated and where you buy tickets for entry to these greenhouses and to the aerial walkway. It is definitely worth purchasing the ticket for the greenhouses – you can go in and out of them as often as you like on any given day if you have your hand stamped the first time you leave. Both of them have several levels so the plants can be viewed by walking amongst them and also by looking down on the overall vista.
One of the greenhouses, the Flower Dome, showcases temperate plants, including roses, it is a lovely temperature to wander around, with plenty of seating, and there is also a small restaurant set inside it where we had a pleasant coffee stop. The other, the Cloud Forest, is more of a tropical rainforest, including the world’s largest indoor waterfall. To keep this atmosphere moist sprays of water cover the plants regularly so often the air is misty. Both of these greenhouses have easy wide paths and the rainforest one has lifts and escalators to get to the top.
It decided to pour with rain about 2.00pm on our visit which was earlier than we had anticipated so we had lunch at one of the snack food restaurants and then revisited the greenhouses as they are well worth spending extra time inside. By the time we re-emerged the rain was over and we took the small commentated “road train” trip around the garden as we felt we had done enough walking (this did not operate during the rain). This is a relatively short tour but an easy way of seeing most of the extensive outside area.
We travelled to the garden by the efficient Singapore Metro getting off at Bayfront station and then walking along the tunnel signposted to the garden, up a flight of steps (the lift was out of action but repaired by the time we returned that afternoon) and across to the edge of the gardens where we could see a “road train” shuttle to the greenhouse area which we took. We returned the same way as it is probably about a 20 min walk in the hot sun otherwise.
Although the main Singapore Botanic Gardens are not to be missed on a trip to this country these gardens, and particularly the greenhouses, are well worth a visit and are also very conveniently situated close to many of the large hotels.