During our travels we often come across places we later realized we lingered too long around – Baku’s Yanar Dag comes to mind – which tend to evaporate quickly from our memories. Occasionally however, the opposite happens, realizing your mistake as soon as you walk up the lonely path from the Bayfront metro station in Singapore, to set your eyes upon a sight like Gardens By The Bay.
Recommended to me by reader Dave, whom I sent to Dubai back in 2010, Gardens By The Bay is Singapore’s answer to urban sprawl within a nation that is smaller than 76% of the world’s countries. On the very last night of my visit, several hours before departing to Sydney, Australia, I hastily showed up around 8pm…immediately regretting the limited time I had allotted myself and camera.
The entire 1.01 million square meters that comprises Gardens By The Bay is actually 3 separate garden complexes, Bay Central Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay South Garden which houses these ~50 meter “Supertrees”.
It is hardly all neon lights and steel however, the Supertrees and the surrounding parks are interwoven with hundreds of species of indigenous and exotic plants. Although it’s not entirely evident from my travel photos, there is greenery – bushes, trees, vines, and flowers absolutely everywhere.
Planned in 2006, Gardens By The Bay is the creative work of two British firms, Grant Associates and Gustafson Porter. Bay South Garden (designed by Grant Associates) was completed in 2012, Bay East Garden’s first phase finished in 2011 (Gustafson Porter), and Bay Central Garden is currently in the planning stages. Above are the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome (reminiscent of Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences), housing plants from tropical and Mediterranean climates, respectively.
Most of Gardens By The Bay’s outdoor areas are free of admission and open from 5am until 2am everyday of the week. Fortunately for your wallet it’s a cheap visit but it won’t do you any good if you cheat yourself on time. Set aside a leisurely few hours, bring along a tripod, and welcome to the jungle in the world’s richest city-state.