We decided to take it easy and even if we get to see only one major sight each day while we are in Singapore, we will be happy. It wasn’t raining this morning so, after breakfast, we set off in a taxi to Singapore’s Botanic Gardens. These are not the new gardens at Marina Bay, but the original ones near the top of Singapore’s famous shopping street, Orchard Road.
Thanks to the taxi drivers who helped me lift Jill’s little mobility scooter of me. They enabled us to get around and gave a good day.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a 163-year-old tropical garden and the only one of the three gardens in Singapore to be given the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gardens hold some of Singapore’s original rain forest jungle as well as some spectacular vistas across lawns and some small ponds. They are a place where it is difficult to stop taking photos of all the textures from the vast variety of plants.
I made a very expensive phone mistake this morning. I thought that the limited global roaming included in my phone plan was on and I activated it to download a map of the gardens. Instead, I had one application that I had forgotten was downloading a vey large map and it began to download as soon as I had activated the data connection. All of a sudden, I heard a ding when a text message arrived from Telstra telling me that I had just used $100 of data. From then, it dinged again and again (faster than a poker machine at the casino) and I had used $400 of data before I could deactivate the app and stop the download. A good 5G connection is very fast. I guess that I will just have to live with that cost and be more careful in the future!
The Botanic Gardens was founded at its present site in 1859 by the Singapore Agri-horticultural Society. It played a pivotal role in the region’s rubber trade boom in the early twentieth century, when its first scientific director Henry Nicholas Ridley, headed research into the plant’s cultivation. By perfecting the technique of rubber extraction, still in use today, and promoting its economic value to planters in the region, rubber output expanded rapidly. At its height in the 1920s, the Malayan peninsula cornered half of the global latex production.
Within the gardens is the National Orchid Garden. It is at the forefront of orchid studies and a pioneer in the cultivation of hybrids, complementing the nation’s status as a major exporter of cut orchids. Aided by the equatorial climate, it houses the largest orchid collection of 1,200 species and 2,000 hybrids. Singapore is famous for its orchids and most of them originate from these gardens.
We were tempted to stop and photograph every flower along the way. They were stunning. Here are just a few examples.
One of the things that grabbed my eye was this archway across the path. Clusters of little yellow orchid flowers were growing on each arch.
I saw some movement in the border along the path and out popped this lizard. I think it is a variety of water monitor. It was kind enough to stay still long enough for me to shoot off a couple of photos. It had a very long tail and its overall body length would have been around one metre.
We were back at our hotel for lunch. We had a long wait for a taxi as it wasn’t raining and everyone in town seemed to be out and about today. In the end, one of the visitor service people at the gardens was kind enough to hail one for us. Taxi’s are quite inexpensive here and the fare was only around $13.50 each way.,