Before visiting Singapore, I read and read about “Gardens by the Bay” but, even after I arrived in Singapore, I was still confused as to what exactly they are (it is?) and why I needed to visit. Well, this post is here to tell you…
WHAT IS GARDENS BY THE BAY?
Gardens by the Bay is a spacious garden complex in Singapore that was created in 2012 reclaimed land. In short, its a very large, public park that would be very interesting for flower and plant enthusiasts. Its also popular with children, and a number of public events are held in Gardens by the Bay. Since its Singapore’s newest attraction, Gardens by the Bay receive a lot of press and you will most certainly hear about Gardens by the Bay in planning any trip to Singapore.
We visited Gardens by the Bay on our first and last afternoon in Singapore, and the garden complex is pretty grand and interesting, even for the non plant enthusiast. We basically walked around, viewing the various plants, got a snack, and eventually walked across the Skywalk. It was definitely a pleasant afternoon, but certainly not the craziest thing that we did on our honeymoon. That being said, most of Gardens by the Bay is free in pricey Singapore and it is a fun way to spend an hour or two, especially in nice weather.
The most well-known part of Gardens by the Bay is the Super Tree Grove, which are huge man made “trees” that offer an interesting light show at night and a sky walk between them during the day. There is also a restaurant and bar (and maybe a club at night) on top of the largest Super Tree.
Gardens by the Bay is located in Marina Bay, directly behind the Marina Bay Sands. You can enter Gardens by the Bay from the Marina Bay Sands via an above-ground walkway, or you can just walk right up to the entrance behind Marina Bay Sands. Since Gardens by the Bay is so close to Marina Bay Sands, visiting the two back to back makes sense and is recommended. Upon entering Gardens by the Bay, you will almost certainly see the Super Tree Grove, which is where the entrance to the Skywalk is located, as well as the ticket office. If you are interest in other activities, head toward the two large white circular buildings, which house the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome.
Gardens by the Bay are free to enter – you can literally walk right in. Access to the Cloud Forest, the Flower Dome, and the Skywalk are extra. Tickets can be purchased online or in Gardens by the Bay, and there can be lines. If you are really wanting to do one of these things, I recommend getting in line when you first arrive to ensure that you get your ticket. That being said, when we visited, we walked right up to purchase access to the Skywalk. A combination ticket to the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome is 28 Singaporean Dollars. A ticket to the Skywalk is 8 Singaporean Dollars.
HOW MUCH TIME
You can spend as little or as long as you want at Gardens by the Bay. If you are short on time or not really interested in Gardens by the Bay, you can walk through everything and do the Skywalk in a hour. Families and those really interested in plants, flowers, or events can spend a half-day. For planning purposes, I recommend visiting Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay on the same day. Do whichever first depending on the weather and whether you plan to do a lot of shopping in Marina Bay Sands (no one wants to carry those bags through Gardens by the Bay).
ATTRACTIONS IN GARDENS BY THE BAY
Gardens by the Bay has three main attractions – the Cloud Forest, the Skywalk in the Super Tree Grove, and the Flower Dome. The Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome are those two large white circular buildings that stand out in the park. We skipped both the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome, but a lot of people seemed to be enjoying them. Definitely plan to spend more than an hour if you want to do all three attractions.
We did do the Super Tree Grove and the Skywalk, which was actually really fun and recommended! Like it sounds, the Skywalk is an walkway in the sky between two of the Gardens by the Bay’s largest Super Trees. The walk offers cool views and can be a bit scary – not for those afraid of heights. The walkway also moves a bit, which can be downright frightening. You are only allowed to spend 15 minutes on the walkway, and you really do not need more time. Bring your camera, but be sure its strapped to you somehow to avoid dropping. Also, the Super Tree Grove puts on a light show with music every evening (confirm time when there). Its particularly pretty from Marina Bay Sands.
FOOD, DRINK, AND SHOPPING
Surprising to me, there are a lot of food vendors inside Gardens by the Bay. The food shops range from McDonalds, to sit down restaurants, to ice cream stands, to the the most amazing pork belly bun that cost only 2 Singaporean dollars each. BEST DEAL IN TOWN. Side note – these are not available everyday; I went back for more and the same vendor was selling a different snack.
One more fun thing to do is to have a meal or a drink on the tallest Super Tree in the park. Dan and I did this after walking the Skyway. Drinks and entrance are pricey, at 20 Singaporean Dollars a person, but that include one drink of your choice and the bar has great views of the Marina Bay Sands!
Gardens by the Bay is definitely a fun way to kill some time, but its not the most exciting thing in the world. If you do not have time to visit, skip it or wander in for about 30 minutes. Much cooler in Singapore, in my opinion, are the Hawker Centers, Chinatown, and the business district across from Marina Bay Sands.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Gardens by the Bay: Gardens by the Bay is generally open 5h – 2h (so all day), but the attractions are generally open 9h – 9h, with the last entrance at 9h. Tickets are: Skywalk $8/person, Cloud Forest and Flower Dome (joint ticket) $28/person. There are combo tickets available and discounts for children and Singaporean residents. Tickets can be purchased online in advance here.
ON A BUDGET
In expensive Singapore, free entrance to Gardens by the Bay makes a great budget activity. Hit up that pork bun stand for some delicious cheap eats!