Gardens by the Bay – the City in a Garden
On the southern-end of Marina Bay sits the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore’s 21st-century botanic garden. As part of the plan to transform Singapore into a ‘City in a Garden’ and raise the quality of life with enhanced the greenery, the Gardens by the Bay is a S$1billion, 101-hectare fantasy land of space-age bio-domes, high-tech Supertrees, and eccentric sculptures. It’s intended to be Singapore’s premier urban outdoor recreation space, and a national icon.
The most iconic feature of the gardens are the Avatar-like Supertrees – futuristic vertical gardens between 25-50 meters high that work as environmental engines for the gardens. The Supertrees are fitted with environmental technologies that mimic the actual ecological function of trees – Photovoltaic cells harness solar energy which can then be used for some of the functions of the Supertrees, such as lighting, just like how trees photosynthesize. At the same time, they are used to collect rainwater for use in the irrigation systems and fountain displays, exactly like how trees absorb rainwater for growth. And lastly, they also serve air intake and exhaust functions as part of the flower dome and cloud forest cooling systems.
And of course they’re a major tourist attraction because they’re, well, just really, really awesome. The OCBC skyway connects two of the larger Supertrees providing fantastic panoramic views of the gardens, city skyline, and South China Sea. Accompanied by monthly-changing music, each night they come alive in a glittering light display called the Garden Rhapsody.
The Flower Dome & Cloud Forest
The Gardens by the Bay also features two conservatories, a flower dome and cloud forest. As the largest glass greenhouse in the world, the Flower Dome replicates the cool-dry climate of the Mediterranean and other semi-arid climates around the world while the Cloud Forest replicates the cool and moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions between 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) and 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) above sea level, found in South-East Asia, Middle- and South America. the Cloud Forest boasts the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, tropical plants, and a 35-meter-tall mountain covered in lush vegetation.
The construction of the glasshouses aims strongly at minimizing the environmental footprint. Rainwater is collected from the surface and circulated in the cooling system which is connected to the Supertrees. The Supertrees are used both to vent hot air and to cool circulated water.
I still look back at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore as one of my all-time travel highlights. It was just such a beautiful, unique, and peaceful spot that I just wandered around for hours on-end. My biggest regret was just not getting there earlier in the day – I think I walked every single pathway there is (10-miles total), but I didn’t leave myself enough time before sunset to get in to either one of the conservatories.