Gardens by the Bay: Luminous Supertrees From the FutureOur guide to visiting the most famous trees in Singapore and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall
A very modern garden
In just a few years, the colourful science fiction trees of Gardens by the Bay have become iconic to Singapore. If you visit the city, this is one of – if not the – top attraction(s).
Like Singapore, the trees are both modern and environmentally friendly.
They serve as an excellent tourist attraction and motive for holiday pictures all while generating solar energy and collecting rainwater.
We were truly impressed by the engineering and audaciousness of the luminous trees when we visited Singapore in 2017.
Apart from the Supertrees, Gardens by the Bay also includes two gigantic glass greenhouses and an outdoor garden to stroll around.
In this article, we will provide the full low-down on the experience.
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Gardens by the Bay is part of the Singaporean government’s strategy to transform Singapore from a so-called garden city to a city in a garden.
The goal is to raise the living standard by improving the city’s green areas – and Gardens by the Bay is certainly a welcome result of this way of thinking!
The 101-hectare garden opened in 2012, and Gardens by the Bay has cost a total of about one billion dollars to build.
Yes, that’s billion with a b. 1,000,000,000 USD.
Then it just has to be good.
Fortunately, the venture seems to be successful. Millions of people visit every year.
We also personally enjoyed walking around the beautiful park with Singapore’s skyline in the background.
The main attraction in Gardens by the Bay is undoubtedly the luminous Supertrees of Supertree Grove.
But the incredible diversity of plants and flowers in Flower Dome, as well as the waterfall and indoor highlands of Cloud Forest, also left a big impression.
Even though we expected to see some rather tall trees, we were not at all aware how huge they actually are.
The 18 Supertrees measure between 25 and 50 metres in height, with 12 of them located in Supertree Grove. The remaining 6 are “planted” in the Golden Garden and Silver Garden.
The Supertrees are not real trees. Though in total more than 162,000 plants grow on them, representing over 200 different species of ferns, orchids and epiphytes.
The trees are made up of a core of reinforced concrete wrapped in a steel frame. On the frame, plant panels are fixed where the plants can grow.
Several of the Supertrees are equipped with solar panels so they can gather energy for the evening’s light shows, while some of the other trees are connected to the two large greenhouses, where they contribute to the cooling and venting.
Like real trees, they collect rainwater, which is used for irrigation and the park’s fountains.
Supertree Grove is free to visit and it’s open daily from 05:00 to 02:00.
When night falls, the Supertrees light up in a wide variety of colour.
At fixed times the light and sound show “OCBC Garden Rhapsody” starts – usually twice each night at 19:45 and 20:45.
When we visited Gardens by the Bay in November, the show had a special Christmas theme. It included classic Christmas hymns and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas”, which felt a bit tacky in our opinion.
Nevertheless, we recommend that you see the trees in both daylight and at night with the electric lights. It’s two rather different experiences and the colours are spellbinding.
For an entrance fee, you can get a new perspective on the Supertrees from the 128-metre-long OCBC Skyway that connects two Supertrees 22 metres above the ground.
If you want to go as high as you possibly can, also consider booking a table at the IndoChine restaurant, situated 50 metres up in the garden’s tallest Supertree.
Most of Gardens by the Bay, including access to all 18 Supertrees, is absolutely free to visit.
If you want to visit the two giant greenhouses, Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, the total price for both is 28 SGD per person (~ 20 USD).
For tight time schedules or budgets, a free visit will be fine for most.
However, both greenhouses offer quite unique experiences, and if you’re interested in plants, flowers and geology, a peep inside can easily be justified.
Flower Dome and Cloud Forest are open daily from 09:00 to 21:00.
Flower Dome is a world of perpetual spring with blooming plants from five different continents on display, divided into themes.
For example, you’ll find a large collection of cacti, tulips planted by replicas of Dutch houses, paradise flowers in the South African garden, 1000-year-old olive trees and the largest trees of the greenhouse, the mysterious African Baobab trees.
It was exciting to walk around among the many different types of flowers and plants, but if you’re forced to choose between Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, Cloud Forest must be declared the winner. However, the two greenhouses compliment each other nicely!
Inside Cloud Forest, the 42 metre tall Cloud Mountain takes up most of the room.
After taking a selfie with the world’s tallest indoor waterfall (and strike the perfect balance between getting wet and getting the perfect picture without other people in the background), the exhibition continues after an elevator takes you to the top of the mountain.
At the top of the mountain, you can experience vegetation typically found in the tropics 2,000 metres above sea level.
From here you continue through the mist-filled Cloud Walk and Treetop Walk down through several exhibitions and different types of vegetation.
Along the way, you’ll learn about the unique biodiversity found in tropical highlands as well as about some of the environmental threatsthat the forests face.
Although the whole trip felt a bit like being ushered through a nature amusement park, it was a lot of fun to walk around inside the greenhouse and get to see the special plants up close.
And even though “the world’s tallest indoor waterfall” may sound a bit silly, it was fascinating.
Gardens by the Bay is more than Supertrees and record-breaking greenhouses.
Among other things, there is peaceful scenery in large parts of the garden, small trails, a nice playground for children and a food hall where you can fuel up on energy for all your nature adventures.
It is easy to get to Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.
The main entrance is only a few hundred metres of walking from the marina.
Alternatively, you can get off at the MRT-stop Bayfront, which is on the blue and yellow lines.
There is no entry fee for Gardens by the Bay and the Supertrees, which is open daily from 05:00 in the morning to 02:00 at night.
The entrance to the two greenhouses, Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, costs 28 SGD per person (~ 20 USD) and they are open between 09:00 and 21:00.