One should really only attempt a serious visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens on a cloudy day, or in the evening. If the sun’s out, you’ll probably bake to death trying to get from one end to the other. That said, if you can find a cool day to pay your visit, you’ll find that it is well worth your while, especially if you like the colour green or have the patience to seek out and observe local wildlife.
Other than an abundance of nature, you will find no shortage of active old men with knobbly knees wearing fluorescent yellow trainers doing rounds like they’ve been born to run marathons, no shortage of cute Caucasian babies in prams being pushed around by stay-at-home expat mums, and definitely no shortage of speckled pigeons, noisy mynas, bushy squirrels and rainbow-feathered roosters flitting about the trees and shrubbery. You may very well chance upon a wild monitor lizard – can’t miss ’em, they’re big, lumbering, lazy things. There are also various themed gardens scattered around the sprawling grounds, as well as a trio of lakes. On weekends, you may be lucky enough to catch a live music performance at the Symphony Stage.
The National Orchid Garden
For just five bucks, you get to enter one of the most intriguing flower gardens you’ll probably ever see in your life: the National Orchid Garden. You come across various plants here, including various species of carnivorous pitcher plants, a huge collection of exotic bromeliads, lots of unusual air plants and, of course, dozens and dozens of different orchids. To be clear, the National Orchid Garden offers a permanent showcase of the largest display of orchids in the world. You’ll find over 1000 species and 2000 hybrids here thanks to the Garden’s orchid breeding program, launched way back in 1928.
Singapore’s national flower is an orchid (namely, the Vanda Miss Joaquim hybrid), hence the obsession. I mean, remember I blogged about that crazy orchid garden growing smack in the middle of Changi Airport? Yeah, this country loves its orchids. There’s also a fascinating climate controlled ‘cool house’ you can enter (to seek some respite from the sweltering weather) and a Celebrity and VIP garden where you can find orchid hybrids named after people like Nelson Mandela, Prince William, Jackie Chan and Andrea Bocelli to commemorate their visit.