The Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) was awarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What a wonderful news! One of my favorites places to walk around, have a picnic, just to relax in Singapore. SBG was established already 1859, but of course Sir Raffles had pointed out the idea of such garden already 1822. I am sure that since it was founded the gardens have been crowded. I visited first time at SBG in July 2013, when we were here on vacation.
When we moved to Singapore in October 2013, SBG was absolutely our most popular place to go. At first I had some hernias in my lower back and wasn’t able to walk properly, but it was easy to get onto SBG by MRT (or even easier by taxi), and because the area is so large there are so many different spots to investigate many, many times. We have had several picnics there, and we have taken all our visiting friends there too.
There are so many different gardens and places to spot, but I am not to describe all of them, just picking a couple of my favorites. Swan Lake of course is very obvious, but I do like the atmosphere and flora & fauna on it. Usually you can observe two swans swimming proudly, but delicately. Going very near to edge it is possible to see manifold fish and turtles. And several times we have also spotted quite a long monitor lizard gliding in the lake. What is sad, that you shouldn’t feed the lake animals, but it is really popular to do so. And that’s why it is easy to spot fish and turtles, because they react your reflection in the water.
Another favorite is absolutely Ginger Garden. Peculiar to say, but among my favorite spices ginger is very special and on TOP3 (garlic, chili, ginger – cannot pick the best). I hadn’t seen ginger flowering before I visited first time at SBG. Absolutely fabulous! SBG’s Ginger Garden is very lovely garden in the gardens. Hadn’t realized, how many different types of gingers really exist. And what’s marvelous, when walking to our nearest MRT station I can see hundreds of gingery flowers in our home park. Almost too sad to eat ginger though.
There are many surprises in SBG, one of them is Rain Forest. A little amazing forest in the middle of gardens. And it is real, and it is ancient. Singapore has been more or less a jungle ’til modern days, and in the Rain Forest you can imagine it – if you close your ears from traffic noise 🙂 Boardwalk through Rain Forest is lovely, quite short and it is accessible with ease. Especially in the rain forest animals are plenty, for instance plantain squirrels, many birds, macaques, lizards, insects. I don’t like spiders at all, and have been very fortunate not to see too many of them. And I haven’t ever spotted snakes at SBG, not even sure, if there are any. In Rain Forest there are several ancient trees, protected and saved for future generation. Many old trees wear lightning rod, luckily.
SBG is so abundant, and I could write a book of it to cover it sufficiently. I mention still National Orchid Garden, which is located in Central Core. SBG is virtually free, but there is tiny admission for Orchid Garden, this summer it was 5 SGD (adults). If you love flowers, especially orchids, Orchid Garden is the place to be and spend time. There are over 1000 species and also 2000 hybrids to see. Inside Orchid Garden is also VIP Orchid Garden, where you can find hybrids created to honor many celebrities and especially government principals and monarchs all over the world. Of course we tried to find any Finnish, and we found a hybrid to honor ex-PM Matti Vanhanen (Dendrobium Matti).
We have lived in Singapore over 20 months now and visited and wandered around at SBG at least a dozen of times. As so many other locals, but also tourists, we will return there over and over again. And if you visit in Singapore, it is the must for a visitor.
My recommendations of the week:
FOOD: mini blinis @ Raffles Hotel, brunch
BOOK: Audrey Magee: The Undertaking (2013)
PLACE: The Singapore Botanic Gardens
SOMETHING ELSE: To see selection of honorable hybrids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr44JnEoxJk (Dendrobium Matti 4:49)