We left our hotel this morning by descending down four floors (storeys) to the main entrance. . Throughout the lower floors a number of bird cages are placed each morning by the hotel’s “bird keeper”.. These contain a variety of songbirds that can be heard all through the breakfast area and beyond. They make you feel as if you are in a real rainforest with the bird’s melodic and variety of sounds. At one stage, I thought that that could have been pre-recorded, but not so, these were actually live bird songs.
We took a taxi across the bridge to the Gardens by the Bay. These are on an area of reclaimed land, about two kilometres away from the original shoreline.
One part of the gardens contains a cluster of 12 ‘Supertrees’. Rising up to 50 metres above ground, these giant structures provide shade in the day and come alive with an exhilarating light and musical show at night.
The Supertrees are home to enclaves of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids and also a vast collection of bromeliads, amongst other plants. They are fitted with environmental technologies that mimic the ecological function of real trees: photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy which can be used for some of the functions of the Supertrees (such as lighting), similar to how trees photosynthesize, and collection of rainwater for use in irrigation and fountain displays, similar to how trees absorb rainwater for growth. The Supertrees also serve as air intakes and exhaust functions as part of the conservatories’ cooling systems.
There is an elevated walkway between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a panoramic aerial view of the Gardens.
Moving on through the gardens, we then headed for the Flower Dome, one of the other major areas of these gardens. The gardens were established as part of Singapore’s plans to transform its “Garden City” to a “City in a Garden”. The aim was to raise the quality of life by enhancing greenery and flora in the city. First announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at Singapore’s National Day Rally in 2005, Gardens by the Bay was intended to be Singapore’s premier urban outdoor recreation space and a national icon.
The Flower Dome is the largest greenhouse in the world as listed in the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records at 1.2 hectares (3.0 acres). It replicates a cool-dry mediterranean climate. It features a changing display, the flower field, and eight other gardens, namely The Baobabs, Succulent Garden, Australian Garden, South African Garden, South American Garden, Olive Grove, California Garden and the Mediterranean Garden.
It was enormous and had some beautiful displays of plants – most of which we get to see every day in our area of the world. For Singaporeans though, these plants are quite different and special but I have to say that geraniums, lavender, pansies and daisies are everyday plants for us. However, some of the special displays were stunning.
Our next destination was another building known as the “Cloud Forest”. If the Flower Dome with its 3 acres of undercover space was impressive enough, the sight of a seven storey waterfall inside a building was truly impressive.
The Cloud Forest is higher but slightly smaller building at 0.8 hectares (2.0 acres). It replicates the cool and moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions in South-East Asia, Central and South America. It features a 42-metre high “Cloud Mountain”, accessible by an elevator, and visitors are able to descend the mountain via a circular path.
The “Cloud Mountain” itself is an intricate structure completely clad in epiphytes such as orchids, ferns, peacock ferns, spike- and clubmosses, bromeliads and anthuriums. The design was inspired by the Maiden Hair Fungus and consists of a number of levels, each with a different theme, including The Lost World, The Cavern, The Waterfall View, The Crystal Mountain, The Cloud Forest Gallery, The Cloud Forest Theatre and The Secret Garden.
This display of glass flowers is by Dale Chihuly, an American glass worker who we first encountered in a previous visit to Seattle. He has some superb works around the world and this display on the top level of the Cloud Mountain is one of them.
On a lower velvet of this space is a beautiful display of orchids. Even though we had seen many of them yesterday, they still made is say Oooh and AAhh with their beautiful colours.
After lunch in one of the cafe’s in the gardens, we made our way back to Marina Bay by following our noses. It wasn’t too hard with the giant Marina bay Sands Hotel as a landmark.
As a short-cut, we made our way through the Marian Bay Sands shopping mall. We had been here before and remembered the canal that runs through the building with its gondola like boats.
It didn’t rain today so we decided to walk the two kilometres back to hotel. It was quite humid, but not oppressive. Our walk took us over the Helix Bridge and then another short cut through the carpark of the shopping mall next our hotel.
At night, we had a wonderful view of the lightshow across the bay.until a very strong thunderstorm with vivid flashes of lightning rolled in.