Gardens by the Bay: One Place, Many Experiences
Marina Bay Sand's Gardens by the Bay has been quite a hyped up place ever since it premiered in 2012. Less than 3 years old, it is already touted to be one of the must visit tourist spots in Singapore. Even J, a friend of a friend from America who has just been in Singapore for 3 months, identifies Gardens by the Bay as one of Singapore's main attraction.
|if you're wondering what a supertree is, those are the supertrees|
I have always been curious of the place ever since seeing the huge "trees" (or called supertrees) of the Gardens from afar but due to the fact that I'm the only one spontaneous enough among the people that I know, I could hardly find anyone who was willing to explore the place with me (yes I am whining). But luckily for me, a pretty girl finally said yes to my request to pay the Gardens a visit and the day coincidentally bumped with the day that my friend Fickry was visiting Singapore from Indonesia.
|I met another friend too during my visit, but I forgot about his name|
Aside from the hot weather and the occasional mosquito bite, I find that the Gardens is actually a pretty decent place to hang out. The place itself is huge, spanning an area of 101 hectares according to Wikipedia which I have no idea how big it is, but I know it was enough to make my legs groan and protest halfway through my day at the place. And we didn't even cover the entire Gardens.
Me and my pretty friend Ee Chin, who reluctantly agreed to be my model for the day too, started our tour around 5.30pm in the evening and by the time we said goodbye to another of my friend Fickry who was visiting from Indonesia and his American friend J at 10pm, I think we didn't even finish half of the Gardens tour. It was that big. Huge. Humongous. You can play hide and seek there and no one could ever find you. Forever. Seriously.
|this is how big the park is if you look at it from the sky|
The park itself has several paid and permanent attractions aside from the ad hoc events that are organized in the park from time to time. When we visited today, there was an Mid Autumn Festival celebration that was going on together with a Pandora 3D Earth exhibition thingy, and both Ee Chin and I was able to catch a glimpse of this two events during the evening.
Visiting the Mid Autumn Festival itself reminded me of Jay Chou's movie Rooftop where he brought the girl to a colourful night market because of all the lights while the Pandora 3D exhibition reminded me of (what else?) Pandora in the movie Avatar at night.
|the view of the field from the mid autumn festival place|
|the carnival like feeling of the place itself|
|inside pandora 3D, without 3D glasses|
While I must admit it is quite cool to be able to visit those two places while you're walking around, I would say that the feeling of awesomeness is not as close as the one that you'll get from visiting the main attractions of the Gardens itself. There's 3 main attractions located in the Gardens, one being the OCBC Skyway which is like a tree top walk along the Supertrees while the remaining two are the two conservatories that somewhat look like some cool building from afar.
Of course, being the main attraction itself means you have to pay, but as there was a discount going on right now coupled with our local resident rate, eventually we only ended up paying 10 dollars plus for a 12 dollars ticket. We wanted to visit the Skyway at first (which is priced at 5 dollars) but due to the insanely long queue, we decided to visit one of the conservatories instead, which happened to be the Cloud Forest dome.
|cloud forest, one of the 2 conservatories in the gardens|
I don't know if it's our luck or what, but you have to trust me when I say you must visit the Cloud Forest dome at night, after the sun has set. The sight itself is breathtaking. The dome itself is built to model a cloud forest climate and environment itself with some elements of education added into it, where you are able to explore the various sights and features that make up a cloud forest during your tour.
You're taken through a journey to explore the flora that make up a cloud forest as well other elements such as rocks and minerals found in it. There's also a pseudo mountain climb incorporated in the tour. I don't know how the tour looks like in the day, but at night, the combination of the lights, flora and design itself makes a simply magnificent journey. Word of advise though, bring your jacket. Because the environment is built to resemble a forest up in the clouds, it can get pretty cold.
|there's an awesome waterfall to greet you at the start|
|there's this misty hazy feeling|
|some parts remind you of the avatar movie|
|if you have a pretty girl accompanying you you can take great pictures|
|the skywalks are pretty amazing|
|not forgetting some educational aspects|
|and there's a talk for the environmentally conscious too|
Due to time constraint we sadly did not have the chance to visit the other conservatory called the Flower Dome and the OCBC Skywalk, but I'm sure there's always a next time. Besides, I want to save enough money so I could try out one of the restaurants which is located in one of the supertrees. Oh, and another word of advice if you're visiting in the daytime, bring an umbrella. There's very little shade outside and it might get a little hot.
Other than that, getting to the Gardens can be a little confusing if you're visiting for the first time but generally you can access the Gardens using one of the three ways available. One is to come directly from Bayfront MRT (there is signboard pointing the way right after you exit), second is to go under the Helix Bridge and walk straight (near the mall area) and the last is to use the bridge, which is accessible via a lift outside of Marina Bay Sands near the road or through Level 4 in the Shoppes Mall, which is quite hot in the daytime, just saying. There is no direct route from inside Marina Bays Sand itself.
Anyways, other than a great place to chill and hang out, Gardens by the Bay also presents itself with numerous photo opportunities, from the ones which are close to nature to the more playful and funny ones, like toying with MBS Skypark.
|"I believe this is my plate"|
Of course, knowing the sun's position is important too. I must thank EusoffWorks though for teaching me a nifty trick for countering direct sunlight in your pictures using the camera's flash.
But other than that Gardens by the Bay is pretty cool. Do visit it if you have the chance.