Friday, July 20, 2012

Gardens by the Bay (Cloud Forest)

Occupying 101 hectares, Gardens by the Bay is part of the Government's efforts in transforming Singapore from a "Garden City" to a "City in a Garden". 

At 745 pm or 845 pm every night, you will be able to catch the OCBC Garden Rhapsody. Suffice to say, my friend cannot stand the sight of these trees of up to 16 stories in height because he insists that they are ugly structures. I don't find them as much an eyesore, but as they say, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. That said, it's amazing how more than 200 species of plants can be found on the Supertrees. 

Supertree Grove
The main focus of this post is the Cloud Forest. Although it was economically more sensible for us to get a ticket for both conservatories, both of us were glad that we didn't because we would not have had enough time to tour the other conservatory as last admission was at 830 pm.

This is one of the first attractions that will captivate you when you enter the cloud forest. The Waterfall is the tallest indoor waterfall- yet another attempt by Singapore to use a superlative! It's rather impressive, although be careful that the floor might be slightly slippery!

I haven't gone to the Cloud Forest in the morning/afternoon but my suspicion is that I might have preferred going when there's light penetrating the dome. At night, you can't really see the little boards with the plant names and many vegetation are just hiding in the dark. 

Of course, this is to be expected because this is supposed to be a night experience and I can't expect it to be fully lit. Nonetheless, I think the best solution would be to go there around 6 pm so that you can witness the Cloud Forest both when there's daylight and when night falls. 

There are seven levels in the Cloud Forest and you can take the lift, escalator or the walkways to visit each level. This is the Crystal Mountain where there are various explanations on how crystals are formed and the places you can spot different kinds of crystals/minerals.

This is the Secret Garden, so enigmatic, as though waiting for stories to unfold. 

Honestly, the Earth Check was quite anti-climatic. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for conserving resources and protecting the environment. But my logic is that if someone doesn't care about protecting the environment, putting this extra exhibit wouldn't make him switch that air con off when he's not in the room. Nonetheless, for parents or teachers seeking opportunities to educate our future generation, the various screens will capture the attention of the young ones.

This conservatory took us around 1.5h but I think it's deserving of more attention. I'll definitely be back to visit the other conservatory and to visit the rest of the Gardens. This place is beautiful, but as I remarked to my friend, it lacks the rustic, old colonial charm that Singapore Botanic Gardens possesses. In any case, our manmade parks, no matter how beautiful they may be, will never measure to the raw beauty of natural habitats of flora and fauna. But I'm not neglecting the fact that we should be grateful that we can enjoy so many green spaces in our concrete jungle. 

That said, here are the admission rates, which are also available on the website.

18 Marina Gardens Drive 
Singapore 018953 
Tel No: 6420 6848 


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