It is impossible not to feel dwarfed by the immense Marina Sands hotel building on the left, as you walk from Bayfront MRT station to the entrance of Gardens by the Bay. It is when you turn your back to the building and look east that the gardens come into view. I walk by the Dragonfly Lake for a while, with giant metallic dragonflies and fountains, and what looks like a forest on the other side. Curious man-made towers stick out above the tree tops: the Supertrees. After crossing the Dragonfly bridge, I turn right, and walk towards the south of the gardens, where I find several sculptures on the lawn - in total, there are more than 40 scattered around the gardens. Planet, a white sculpture depicting the baby of the sculptor Mark Quinn, is the most remarkable, because it seems to be floating in the air.
Walking back on the boardwalk at the Dragonfly Lake, I am reminded I am in the middle of the city state of Singapore: part of the skyline lies right ahead. I turn east, as I am curious to see the Supertree Grove. Man-made trees with branches, reminding me of baobabs, tower high above me, and are covered by plants and flowers. I take an elevator up inside one of them, and walk the Skywalk, offering views all over the Gardens by the Bay, and beyond. It has the added advantage of a breeze, which is welcome in the hot and humid climate. Towards the north, I see two futuristic buildings: the Flower Dome and the Cloudforest. It is time to explore them, and I walk through the lush vegetation of the gardens to the white steel-and-glass buildings and buy the combined ticket.
Where the gardens were surprisingly quiet so far, I am surrounded by crowds as I enter the Cloudforest building. I now understand why it is much higher than the adjacent Flower Dome: I am at the foot of a 35m waterfall coming down from a man-made mountain, completely covered by bromeliads, vines, ferns, orchids, and other plants and flowers. i have come at the right time: a mist if produced, adding to the feeling that this is, indeed, a cloudforest. I walk around the base before taking the elevator up (unfortunately, it is not possible to walk). A small pond with an abundance of flowers, most natural but some made with Lego, is close to a balcony right next to the waterfall. The Cloudforest is a well-made, surprising experience, miimcking conditions of mountain vegetation and scenery at sea level. At the base of the building are exhibitions of flowers, but also videos about the environment, and the challenges we all face. My visit to the Cloudforest has taken more time than anticipated, and night is falling over the gardens as I enter the Flower Dome which has an abundance of plants, trees and flowers from many parts of the world. It is time to walk back to the Supertree Grove, where I enjoy the Garden Rhapsody, a show in which parts of famous operas are played accompanied by a light show in which the Supertrees are the main protagonists, turning purple, red, green, blue and yellow in rhythm with the music. After a quick bite in one of the restaurants, I see the show for a second time before walking the Dragonfly bridge again. It feels like walking back from the future to the present.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Gardens by the Bay (Singapore). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Gardens by the Bay.
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