Gardens by the Bay is located in the shadow of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore and consists of a variety of man-made gardens within a single park. During my brief trip into Singapore, this was by far one of my favorite spots. I’m not sure that gardens are the correct word to use here – we’re not talking about a few flowers and some trees or a bush here and there. Rather, we’re talking about intricately constructed biomes showcasing plants native to specific climates across the world. It’s absolutely incredible. Bring your camera and come prepared to spend hours gazing at lush greenery, colorful blooms, and exotic plants.
Floral Fantasy is the newest attraction at Gardens by the Bay. It is a bit of a walk from everything else, but believe me when I say that it is WORTH IT. Limited tickets are available for this garden – if you buy a combination ticket like I did, make sure you check for your time slot for Floral Fantasy. I did not, and happened to get unbelievably lucky when I wandered over to this attraction on a whim at the correct time!
The layout of Floral Fantasy combines, of course, flowers, with artistry and technology to create a truly breathtaking atmosphere. Although the route is fluid, the attraction is actually comprised of four separate garden spaces: Dance, Float, Waltz, and Drift. At the end, you have the option to experience the 4D Ride called Flight of the Dragonfly. The most interesting thing about Floral Fantasy is that the exhibitions in the gardens can change slightly depending upon the season of your visit. Since I visited in the “winter,” there were still spruce trees and cotton buds visible, presumably from Christmas.
Several of the floral installations immediately upon entering Floral Fantasy.
This first garden landscape greets you immediately after you cross the threshold. You may have seen pictures of some fantastical attraction in Singapore where flowers hang from the ceiling – this is that attraction, where you’ll walk into a lush, diverse collection of flowers lining the walls and ceiling. Why call this garden “dance?” As you move and disturb the air around you, the flowers, and everything else, will gently move and sway in a mesmerizing “dance.” If you’re like me and appreciate the atmosphere inside florist and flower shops, you’ll appreciate the heady floral scent that greets you here.
The mesmerizing flowers from the ceiling in “Dance,” the first landscape.
As the first garden blends into the second, you’ll notice a pleasant landscape of flowers, benches, and bubbling brooks. Flower baskets and orbs gently float up and down, suspended by fishing line and hooks, from the ceiling. Don’t worry – you shouldn’t be in danger of hitting your head as these . I think that this landscape was my favorite of the four included in Floral Fantasy.
The third garden landscape incorporates tropical foliage into a lush rainforest scene. Besides waterfalls of flowers, there are actual waterfalls here, and even some rare tropical amphibians in contained terrariums.
There are an assortment of beautiful orchids in a rainbow of colors spread throughout the garden.
The final garden is truly cave-like, with a dimly-lighted feel and rock formations covered in vines and mosses. This space is semi-enclosed, while the previous three gardens benefit from natural lighting. This garden is less about the flowers and more about the atmosphere.
Flight of the Dragonfly
Flight of the Dragonfly is an adorable 4D experience where viewers “fly” through Gardens by the Bay on the back of a dragonfly. If Floral Fantasy is one of your last stops (like it was for me), you’ll revisit many of the gardens and groves that you saw earlier in the day. If you’re starting out at Floral Fantasy and have additional stops afterward, this short film will be a preview of the wonders to come. The animation isn’t top-notch, but it’s still a cute experience.
If you visit nothing else in Gardens by the Bay, visit the Cloud Forest. This attraction is great for people of all ages and is wheelchair accessible, so fear not! The entire conservatory was built to model a cloud forest, one of the world’s most diverse and endangered habitats. Cloud forests tend to be tropical or subtropical evergreen with a persistent low-level cloud cover. This cloud cover contributes to frequent heavy rainfall and omnipresent condensation. You’ll notice that the Cloud Forest, even in the conservatory, feels a bit damp and humid to mimic the actual cloud forests of the world.
The waterfall at the entrance of the Cloud Garden.
You’ll enter the conservatory by the impressive, 35-m, man-made waterfall spilling over a lush mountain of greenery. You WILL be misted, especially if you enter during one of the garden mistings that occur every two hours! The entrance can get a bit congested with everyone stopping to take pictures in from of this gorgeous backdrop, but once you move further into the garden people tend to be dispersed more freely. Wander around at ground level before ascending to The Lost World, which is the garden landscape at the very top of the mountain structure.
This section of the conservatory is focused on vegetation in cloud forests found at elevations of 2000 m or higher. The plants here include the famous, carnivorous Venus flytrap and pitcher plant as well as delicate ferns and mosses. From the Lost World, you can continue to wall along the ramp, called the Cloud Walk, to view the conservatory from above and enter The Cavern, a semi-enclosed space in the center of the mountain. On the way down, you have an opportunity to stand on the Waterfall Platform and view the waterfall from above the ground.
Some of the statues scattered amongst the plants, as well as a view of one of the elevated walkways in the Cloud Forest.
Take the elevator/escalator down to Crystal Mountain, still semi-enclosed within the mountain structure, and discover stalagmites and stalactites. This landscape takes a step back from gardens and focuses for a moment on geology and fossilization as a window to Earth’s past. Next, take the Treetop Walk to explore the forest canopy before you return to ground-level. When you do reach the ground, you’ll end your visit by passing through the Secret Garden. There are an impressive 135 species housed here, mainly from the endangered environment of the limestone forest.
The Flower Dome
The Flower Dome may not be as intricate or “exotic” as the Cloud Forest, but it houses an impressive collection of unique plants in the largest glass greenhouse in the world! There are exotic species from five continents displayed in nine distinct gardens. There is also a rotating flower exhibit that changes depending upon the season or date of you visit; during my visit on February 1, the theme was Chinese New Year.
When you enter the Flower Dome, you have the option to go left, right, or straight ahead. Definitely start left or right; they are both dead-ends that require you to come back to this very spot to continue your journey. To the right are the Succulent Garden and the Baobabs; to the left are the Australian, South African, South American, Californian, and Mediterranean Gardens, as well as the Olive Grove. Straight ahead is the Flower Field with the temporary flower exhibit.
Sights in the succulent garden: the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland and sample of a succulent.
The baobab is the largest tree in the Flower Dome and one of the most unique trees in the world. If you’ve never seen one before, don’t miss it! The succulent garden hosts an impressive collection of prickly plants, and you don’t need to brave the desert heat to view them. Here, you’ll see wavy aloes, spiny cacti, and crassulas. There are also sculptures scattered among the plants. The succulent garden (at least during my visit) presents some quirky characters from Alice in Wonderland, in an exhibit which is cleverly titled “Aloes in Wonderland.”
The Australian and South African gardens present flora in full bloom and explain how plants have adapted to survive in these dry environments. The South American gardens explores some of the exotic plants found in the rocky outcrops of the South American landscape, while the Californian garden showcases the “chaparral” landscape commonly found in California and the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean garden, instead of focusing again on chaparral, demonstrates the cash crops such as figs, wheat, and grapes that were and continue to be grown in one of the world’s earliest agricultural regions. The Olive Grove continues this theme and includes olives and pomegranates among other plants.
The Floral Field hosts a changing exhibit. During my visit, this exhibit was called “Dahlia Dreams” and included colorful dahlias and other flowers in a landscape modeled after a Chinese painting. Topiaries of the Chinese zodiacs were scattered throughout the exhibition in a show of mosaiculture (the art of composing a mosaic/image/motif using only plants). The original concept stems from Renaissance gardens in medieval Europe. To honor the Lunar New Year, this garden displayed the Chinese character fu, which means good fortune, blessing, and happiness. There was also a collection of life-sized red-crowned cranes, a symbol of longevity, nestled in the flowers.
Some of the Chinese New Year special topiaries in the Flower Dome.
The Supertree Grove
The Supertrees are an iconic fixture in Gardens by the Bay. Standing between 25 m and 50 m tall, they’re impossible to miss! They’re designed with canopies that provide shade in the daytime and an incredible light show at night. There are 12 Supertrees in this grove, although there are six additional supertrees in the garden park. The tallest of these trees is an impressive 16 stories tall!
Different perspectives of the Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay.
The Garden Rhapsody light show is an additional feature offered in the Supertree Grove nightly at 7:45 pm and 8:45 pm. During my visit, I was lucky enough to be up on the OCBC Skyway during the show, which I HIGHLY recommend. The concept of this show was created by lighting designer Adrian Tan and Singaporean composer Bang Wengfu.
The OCBC Skyway is a walkway located 22 m above the ground to give visitors the impression of floating between the trees. At 128 meters long, the skyway swings between two of the Supertrees across the grove. If the wind blows strongly enough, you may feel the walkway, which is suspended by wires between the trees, sway in the wind. While up on the walkway, you can take some captivating photos and get fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding bay. Tickets to the OCBC Skyway are sold in 20-minute blocks, so be sure to check the availability before you purchase your ticket!
The OCBC Skyway from below at nighttime.
The four attractions I mentioned above are the most popular in Gardens by the Bay, but they aren’t the only four located there. You can also see the Serene Garden, modeled after the simplistic Japanese zen garden; a whole slew of art installations scattered across the park; the Bay East Garden, which contains lawns, pavilions, and picturesque palms; the Sun Pavilion, which showcases desert landscapes; the Heritage Gardens, which tell the story of Singapore’s history and culture; the Canyon, featuring sculptural rocks; and the World of Plants, a realm of greenery.
There are a handful of cafes and restaurants scattered throughout Gardens by the Bay. Cuisine from across the world is available here. The Supertree Food Hall, located just across from the Supertree Grove, is a food court of sorts featuring a variety of options. I chose to eat there, at Pho Street, based upon the timing of my meal (just before I visited the OCBC Skyway) and my budget, but you can choose from fast food or sit-down dining options depending on what you’re looking for!
List of Dining Options
Cafe Crema – Italian-style cafe with gourmet coffee and sandwiches.
McDonald’s – fast food.
Bakerzin – French bakery with cakes, pastries, and breads.
Conservatory Cafe – ice creams, treats, and drinks.
Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant – seafood and Chinese cuisine.
Pollen – 2-in-1 restaurant within the Flower Dome.
Supertree Food Hall – assortment of 7 restaurants serving global cuisines.
Children’s Garden Cafe – light snacks and drinks.
Satay by the Bay – local delights.
Cafe Aster – hearty meals near the MRT.
Getting There and Away
Address: 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953
Two Conservatories: S$28
Floral Fantasy: S$20
OCBC Skyway: S$8
Supertree Observatory: S$14
Attraction Bundle: S$10
Child (3-12 Years)
Two Conservatories: S$15
Floral Fantasy: S$12
OCBC Skyway: S$5
Supertree Observatory: S$10
Attraction Bundle: S$25
There are discounted rates for Friends of the Garden, which is an annual membership. More information about this membership can be found on the Gardens by the Bay website.
Let your plant appreciation run wild. Stay safe, and happy exploring!