The Singapore Botanic Gardens cover an impressive 82 hectares of land right in the heart of the city. A stone’s throw from the Orchard Road shopping belt, these gardens are home to over 10,000 species of flora not to mention a fair number of gigantic monitor lizards and other jungle creatures. In 2015, the Gardens became one of only three gardens to earn UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
The Botanic Gardens are divided into three major zones; Tanglin Core, Central Core and Bukit Timah Core . Considering the immense size of the gardens, a great way to see all of the attractions is to divide and conquer – maybe visit each section on three separate trips. However, if you are just passing through the region and do not have that much time, visit this page to download four different walking guides designed for different audiences and ranging from 40-90 minutes in duration. As with any predominantly outdoor activity in Singapore, make sure to always be carrying water bottles and stay well-hydrated.
The Tanglin Core is exciting from the get-go, as the Tanglin gate is a sight in itself. Highlights in this area are Swan Lake, the Sundial Garden, the Bandstand and the Bonsai Garden. Swan Lake is the oldest lake in the gardens, home to several graceful swans, try to find the slightly hidden, quieter side of it near Dell Lane to catch a glimpse of these swans as they glide through water lilies.
The Bandstand has become famous as the visual icon of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a white gazebo-like structure that was once used for musical performances and is now often the location for wedding shoots – or shelter if you get caught in one of Singapore’s infamous, no-warning torrential downpours (luckily they usually only last 15-20 minutes).
If you travel to the gardens via the MRT and get off at the Botanic Gardens stop on the Circle Line, you will exit the station and find yourself at the Bukit Timah gate, on the far east side of the park. This is the perfect location to access the Bukit Timah Core. Due to its proximity to the MRT, this is usually the busiest section of the park, especially on weekends. Some highlights are the Trellis Garden, Eco-Lake and the Foliage Garden. The trellis garden features climbing plants that are displayed in such a way that you can walk through them. Visit Eco-Lake to see Australian black swans and other waterfowl. The Foliage Garden has many exciting plants, but the best has to be the alienesque, red, carnivorous pitcher plants.
Finally, the Central Core is home to the garden’s most famous attraction; the Orchid Garden. Entrance to this is $5, but well worth it, as you can see almost 2,000 different species of Orchids. Other highlights are the Healing Garden (full of plants with medicinal properties and therefore not ones you would generally see out in the wild as easily) the Fragrance Garden and the Evolution Garden.
The park is open daily from 5:00am-00:00am, however, check their official website for information regarding specific gardens and exhibitions.
Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Rd, Singapore 259569