Singapore’s always been known as a “garden city,” even way back before Gardens by the Bay (GBTB) and its trademark domes were built. Now with GBTB, we have even more ways to appreciate nature without travelling out of our concrete jungle of a city.
Many locals might hesitate to visit costly ticketed areas but did you know there’s lots to see here with no need for entry fees? Here are five free things to do to connect with nature within the Lion City.
When images for the Supertrees were first released, everyone was quick to note their similarity to those glowing ones in the movie, Avatar. Our amazing Supertrees are very eco-friendly as they’re soil-less sites for plant growth and are equipped with solar panels to harvest clean energy.
While most people will head to the Supertree Grove to admire these half man-made, half organic beauties, you can avoid the crowd by detouring to Golden Garden or The Canyon to get a shot of them instead.
Each area offers something different in the background to complement your photo; in the case of Golden Garden, it’s the Singapore Flyer and one of GBTB’s domes.
You don’t have to visit the Succulent Gardens in the Flower Dome to connect with the kid in you who wanted to be a cowboy (or girl). At Sun Pavilion, a range of cute, but not cuddly, cacti await your exploration.
From some that grow across the floor instead of upwards, to a few that have stubby bumps instead of spines, and even a handful that’ll feed your cheeky creativity, you’ll be wowed and wishing you could bring some of them home by the time you’re done here.
Cactus flowers bloom for as short as a day, and the peak of their flowers’ beauty can last as little as a few hours. Seeing one of them here means it definitely won’t be around next time you’re there so I was lucky to catch this pretty blossom in person.
There’re many places for you to sea (ba dum tss) more than just plants at GBTB, starting with the Big Fish Aquarium, a hidden gem not on the map, right next to the Sun Pavilion. You’ll get to feast your eyes, but not your stomach, on gigantic red-tail catfish, alligator gars and a humongous black pacu.
The Big Fish Aquarium’s not the only place to get your fish fix; near the walkways surrounding Supertree Grove, there’re a couple of arowana aquariums set into the walls. You might have to examine the top of the tanks carefully as that’s where the arowanas will often swim.
Almost every nature reserve or park is described as being the home to excellent wildlife and while there’s no doubt about that, we usually only spot mynahs and sparrows more than anything else. This wasn’t the case at GBTB, surprisingly, and there were many beautiful flowers, too, that made great pictures.
One amazing encounter was with the White-throated Kingfisher, found between Bayfront station and the entrance. It was exceptionally unafraid of me when I drew near to photograph it.
When you visit, I hope you’ll see it too!
Okay, this isn’t exactly a way to connect with nature but just look at this photo opportunity. How else are you going to get a glimpse of what’s under the “ship” that sits atop the hotel?
These pictures were taken on the bridge which connects the hotel to the entrance of GBTB. It’s pretty prominent so you’ll have no problem finding your way there.
The bridge itself makes a very good spot for full-length shots of your #OOTD, if you’re lucky enough to get five seconds when it’s not crowded. It might take quite a bit of patience and a photographer who’s willing to kneel down to get the perfect angle.
Before you rush there in your eagerness to see more, here’s a map you can also download to use for planning your day in advance. From your starting point at Bayfront MRT station to restroom locations, they’ve got it all listed there.
With your map and your backpack, it’s time to start the journey like Dora the Explorer – let’s go, Vamonos!
Price: Free (non-ticketed areas)
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