With over 30 million visitors to date, ranked in the Top 20 most checked into places on Facebook and being the number 1 tourist attraction in Singapore, visiting the Gardens By The Bay and its various attractions is an absolute must. In order to enhance the quality of life for the 3,5 million citizens who call Singapore home, the government ordered the build of a massive garden to bring more greenery and flora into the city. Today, Gardens By The Bay has turned the city into a living, breathing organism.
Probably the most recognizable part of the gardens is the Supertree Grove. Over 16 stories or 50 meters high, the 12 supertrees are fascinating vertical gardens covered in over 160 000 plants from 200 different species from all over the world. Walking underneath these beautiful mega-structures is one of the few free things to do in Singapore. However, the focus of this blog is specifically on one of the Garden’s other attractions – the Cloud Forest.
Built as a contemporary greenhouse, the Cloud Forest gives visitors a glimpse into the world of misty hills and crystal waterfalls. Acting as a botanical garden and modern conservatory, the Cloud Forest even has a massive 42 meter high artificial mountain with a walkway through and around it that dominates the glass dome.
My favourite part is the massive waterfall right at the entrance. At 35 meters high, it is the tallest indoor waterfall in the world and veils the forest in thin, cool mist in the same way it would a tropical forest high in the mountains.
Ecologically, the warm temperatures and high humidity of the tropics with persistent low-level clouds is recreated in the greenhouse to create the perfect habitat for the green, lush vegetation that covers every inch of the building. Moss, ferns, tropical flower climbers and orchids in their fascinating myriad of forms and colours grow in abundance in the misty climate. An entire section devoted to carnivorous plants is a big favourite under visitors, allowing for a closer look at Pitcher plants that attracts, kills and digests insects and small animals as well as hundreds of Venus Flytraps who contrary to their name, prefers beetles, ants and spiders for dinner. Only about 5% of the Flytrap’s diet is actually flies!
An important role of the Cloud Forest is to display the threat of global warming on these sensitive habitats and to show exactly what beauty we will lose if we don’t change our ways now. In addition to education and creating awareness about global warming, the garden is also focused on its own sustainability. Through innovative lake systems and ground braking solar technology, Gardens By The Bay has become the trend setter for tourist attractions, parks and even cities to take the greener and more sustainable route.
Getting to the Gardens By The Bay is very easy via train or by foot. It is right on the Marina Bay in the middle of the tourist area, and locals are very friendly and willing to give directions. It cost only S$12 (Singapore Dollar) to enter the Cloud Forest which is very reasonable for what you are getting. Even though Singapore is hot all year round, be sure to take a jumper with you as the Cloud Forest is between 23°C – 25°C but feels a lot colder due to the contrasting outside temperature. Also, if you are anything like me, take a headband and hair elastic with you as the humidity is always around the 90% mark.