Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay in Singapore is a one place stop where every few steps you walk is a photo moment. The place has so many attractions one after other that it seems like a right fit for lazy people like me. Put me in one spot and too many sightseeing places off my checklist :D. The first attraction you encounter as soon as you enter the Gardens by the Bay, is the PLANET.
PLANET : A huge baby resting on one palm in the meadows near the entrance of Gardens by the Bay is quite a sight to see. The baby, known as “Planet” is conceived by Marc Quinn, a British Artist in 2008. The sculpture depicted his infant son as a sleeping baby. The structure is made of stainless steel painted with white bronze. The baby looks magnificent both during day and night. Resting beautifully on only the right palm and the remaining structure suspended in air, the baby faces the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The sculpture gives an impression of floating weightlessly, although it weighs 7 ton. The planet is a paradox giving an impression of overwhelmingly big but with an image of vulnerability drawing a reflection of lives of people living on the earth.
SUPERTREE GROVE : One of the brilliant designs in Singapore are the vertical gardens called SuperTree Grove. Designed in form of trees, these structures are nearly 25 to 50 meters tall. There are 12 supertrees in Gardens by the Bay with each of them made of reinforced concrete core with a steel frame trunk. Large canopies on the top portion resembling an inverted umbrella acts as temperature controller. It absorbs and dispenses heat and also provides shelter to the visitors. They are also fitted with solar photo-voltaic systems to convert sunlight into energy providing light to the two conservatories (Cloud Forest and Flower Dome) located within the attraction. It also plays a secondary role in biomass fuel plant which recycles much of the green refuse from the city. It also helps to collect and store the rainwater for irrigation and waterfall display within the conservatories. You can find varieties of ferns, bromeliads, tropical climbers planted on the exteriors of the supertree grove. The best time of visiting the supertree grove is at night when the entire grove dazzles creating a rhapsody. The views are enchanting when the supertree grove comes alive with the bursting lights changing its colors and dancing to the tune of music. There are programs in the evening played by the local bands.
OCBC SKYWAY : One of the best walks of Singapore and the best attraction of Gardens by the Bay is the OCBC Skyway. The skyway is 128 meter long and it connects the two 25 meter supertree grove. The maximum time you can spend on top enjoying the panoramic views of the garden with iconic landmarks like flyer, marina bay sands is 15 minutes. I visited the place both during the day and night to see the difference in the views. Though my favorite time to visit the supertree grove is at night when the tree dazzles with amazing colors, I would rather prefer the walk across the skyway during sunset. The city skyline and spiral curves across the skyway is best seen either during daytime or just before dark. I could see the views changing and getting better as I moved ahead. It was difficult for me to put my camera aside. OCBC skyway is indeed Singapore’s answer to Avatar! My only contention was the name giving to such a remarkable beauty. The name OCBC skyway does not do justice to this breathtaking structure 😦
FLYER VIEW and FLORAL CLOCK : On my way to the two observatories, the first thing I noticed is a huge floral clock. The clock was unveiled during Singapore’s 50th year of celebration. One of the best views of the flyer can be seen outside the cloud forest. At night the giant wheel illuminates in rainbow colors across its rim giving a contrast to its black background.
CLOUD FOREST : A huge gush of waterfall welcomes you when you enter the cloud forest. Standing near the falls with breezy drizzles and fresh air transports you to a hill station making you forget about the humid climate of Singapore. Both the observatories, cloud forest and flower dome are climate controlled green houses which hosts exotic plants and flowers from almost every continent of the world. The cloud forest replicates the cool climate found in tropical mountain regions. The dome also has a spiral walk across the mountain where you can go behind the falls. Before going up the mountain, you see different varieties of glowing pitcher plants. The best part of the cloud forest is walking down the cantilevered spiral mountain across the man made suspended bridges. I loved the way they designed those structures to build vertical gardens.
A level down the cloud walk was crystal mountain cave where several formations of stalactites and stalagmites were displayed.
After a walk around the mountain, you proceed to Earth Check where information about Earth as planet is displayed. They also have a video called +5 degrees which shows the effect of temperature increase and the impact on the planet. After the video you exit the cloud forest through the secret garden where one can notice amazing displays of ginger and heliconias.
FLOWER DOME : Flower dome replicates mild and dry climate featuring plants found in Mediterranean regions. This was the only conservatory I found less impressive compared to other sight seeing places within Gardens by the Bay.
DRAGONFLY AND KINGFISHER LAKE : After my visit to Flower Dome, I walked towards the nearest Bayshore MRT. On my way to the MRT, I came across two lakes dragonfly and kingfisher lakes. Surprisingly these lakes had excellent vantage points to view the Super tree groves. Huge metallic structures of dragonflies stood over one side of the lake. There is a boardwalk where one can peacefully stroll across the lake observing its rich aquatic life like fishes and dragonflies.
Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay gives a feel of a normal park turned into a surreal green oasis in the middle of busy heartland of Singapore. The Sky walk gives you a feel of entering into the world of Science fiction combined with Alice in the wonderland. Due to limited amount of time given on the sky walk, you leave the place longing for more!
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