I had visited Jurong Bird Park 25 years earlier and loved it, I wanted to return to see if the passing of time had romanticised my memories. Sadly, some of the birds were in enclosures that I would say have not been updated for years and had wire meshing that made it hard to clearly see the birds. I did enjoy the visit but I don't think I will be going back again.
Stepping through the amazing flora of the botanic gardens that most of us have only seen before in greenhouses
The concept of a national garden in Singapore started in 1822 when Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore and a keen naturalist, developed the first ‘Botanical and Experimental Garden’ at Fort Canning. It moved to its current location in 1859. In 2015 the Gardens were awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is the first and only tropical botanic garden on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Arriving in Singapore I was still very sore from breaking my ribs a few days earlier but I was determined to see some of the sights of Singapore. On a previous visit to this island country, I had visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the image of these amazing verdant gardens had stuck with me over many years.
The grounds of the botanic gardens are huge, covering 82-hectares with dense, lush foliage. As the climate of Singapore is tropical plants grow naturally there that would be in a house or a greenhouse in other parts of the world. It was amazing to see how many plants we recognized from our visits to the local home improvement stores and garden centres.
We walked, albeit slowly through the gardens passing through areas of jungle, open spaces surrounding lakes and some very private and intimate spots.
After walking for 3 miles I was in serious need of a rest and some revitalisation, so I was very happy when we stumbled upon the main cafe and gift shop. Refreshed, we carried on our tour of the Gardens. Close to the cafe were some ponds with the most amazing giant water lilies; although not in flower they were still stunning.
The National Orchid Garden
To finish off our tour we decided to visit the National Orchid Garden. The weather had not improved, indeed it was worsening and the storm clouds were building. Despite the gloom, the orchids were fabulous. I was amazed by the range of shapes, colours and sizes of these orchids. Eventually, the heavens did open so we sought shelter in one of the gazebos in the Orchid Garden. This gave me some time to reflect on the last few days and for Karen to engage in conversation with a very nice lady doctor who was visiting from England.
The Botanical Gardens are well worth a visit, even when the weather is slightly inclement.
Planning your visit to the Botanic Gardens
Undoubtedly the best way to reach the Botanic Gardens (and most other places in Singapore) is by public transport.
The Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) has two stations close to the Botanic Gardens.
- Orchard Road MRT Station
- North-South Line [Red]Transfer to bus services and alight at Napier Road required
- Botanic Gardens MRT Station
- Circle Line [Yellow] & Downtown Line [Blue]Bukit Timah Entrance
|Location:||1 Cluny Rd, Singapore 259569|
|Hours:||5 am to 12 midnight daily|
|Admission Fees:||Free. The entrance fees to the orchid garden are Adults SD$15, Seniors (60 years plus) and Students SD$3 and children under 12 years are free.|
The best time to visit Singapore
Although Singapore is a year-round destination, the best time to visit Singapore is from December to June. The months of February to April fall within Singapore’s dry season and is typically when the country has the least amount of rain, the lowest humidity, and the most sunshine. Singapore has fairly consistent weather and welcoming enough for travellers all year round for sightseeing. However, if you wish to avoid any crowds flocking the places, the best time to visit Singapore is from July to November.
Monsoons prevail from December to March in Singapore, with December recording the highest rainfall. The weather is generally windy, cloudy with low sunshine and humid. There are chances of thunderstorms during these months.
Where to stay?
1. LLOYDS INN
During our last stay in Singapore, we stayed at the Llyods Inn. Our stay was quite short but we found to staff welcoming and the facilities were great. The decor was clutter-free and the design contemporary, with industrial-chic concrete walls and muted pallets and plenty of white – which Karen loved – yet it was also very comfortable. There is a roof terrace, modern garden deck and dipping pool surrounded by greenery.
Located off Killiney Road in a quiet residential area, Lloyd’s Inn is a short walk to the heart of Orchard Road. Somerset MRT Station, 313@Somerset, Orchard Gateway and Orchard Central shopping malls are within a 10-minute walk away.
2. WANDERLUST HOTEL
A couple of years back we stayed in the Wanderlust Hotel, which is housed in a historic 1920s Art Deco building (very cool!) At that time each of the rooms was individually decorated in quirk ways. Since then the hotel has been sold and bought and been remodelled so we can’t really comment on what the rooms look like now but the pictures look good!
What we can say is the hotel is located in a fabulous position to access the MRT. It is also in heart of Little India and all that it has to offer (did I mention we love Indian food). For these two reasons alone we would recommend the Wanderlust Hotel.
3. THE SCARLET SINGAPORE
We have not stayed in The Scarlet Singapore yet but it is on our shortlist for a future trip!
This luxury boutique hotel can be found in the heart of Singapore’s Chinatown (we also like Chinese food!). The hotel is one of the oldest conservation buildings in Singapore and comprises a row of 13 1868 shops and a 1924 Art Deco building (see why we are interested in this). The exteriors are historic the interiors are bang up to date. If you want to use Chinatown as your base in Singapore this is a great place to stay. Scarlet Hotel is less than a 10-minute walk from Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar MRT Stations.