After living in Singapore for several years, I finally got to visit Singapore Botanic Gardens this past weekend. For you who don't know, this garden is one of the attractions to visit if you're ever in Singapore. The garden is really huge and I don't think you could explore it in its entirety in a day. Because of its size, the garden has several entrances. You can reach the place by private car, taxi, bus, or more conveniently by MRT, just alight at Botanic Gardens station.
|Back of the house of Halia Restaurant|
I made a mistake of visiting the garden at 2pm - it was unbelievably hot! Also, always keep in mind that Singapore has high humidity so you'll be sweating like a pig. It's best to visit the park in the afternoon say around 4pm so it won't be so hot. Forget about makeup and heels unless you really wanna be a pain to your group. Also, don't forget these items to make your trip there more comfortable:
- Umbrella; and if you're a hat person (which I'm not), wide-brimmed hat
- Wet tissues
- Water bottle
- Hair clip for ladies (and gentlemen) with long hair. Keep your hair above your neck, it'll help with the hot weather
- Coins for buying drinks from vending machine
- And don't forget to slather on sunblock
|You can walk behind this waterfall|
Now, since the garden is very huge, if you're a tourist with a limited time I suggest to make it your mission to visit a few key places within the garden rather than just to wander aimlessly in and around it. Botanic Garden houses several attractions in it but in my opinion you should at the very least visit the National Orchid Garden and Casa Verde.
|National Orchid Garden's Main Building|
Once inside, you are free to explore the photogenic garden, get your camera at the ready! (Warning: photo spam ahead)
|This one is called 'White Fairy', they have it all throughout the park in bunches. It's very pretty, I feel like I'm in a wedding or something.|
|I used to have this plant in my backyard in red color. Didn't know they have the pink variety.|
|Orchid in soft blush color, very pretty.|
|Arches with tiny yellow flowers on them.|
|The Cool House|
|The architect is careful not to create any spacious nook inside, I guess it's to prevent people from lingering because the air inside the Cool House is very comfy.|
After you're finished with the Orchid Garden, head further to Casa Verde (about 10 minutes walk), one of the watering holes available in Botanic Garden. It's a casual eatery serving local and western food located near NParks building, the government body which deals with parks and greenery in Singapore. There's another shop as well selling home furnishings if you're so keen on it.
Now, the prices might seem steep at first glance but trust me, it's worth it. Their servings are generous and there's no service tax, not to mention you're eating in a lush surrounding. The downside is the place is usually packed if you visit during mealtimes, try to visit at odd hours to avoid disappointment.
I ordered their whole day gourmet breakfast (shared with my friend) which consists of juicy scrambled eggs (and it's creamy, too. You can really taste the milk), a toast, a bacon, a sausage, hash browns, grilled cherry tomatoes, juicy button mushrooms, and arugula salad. It cost me SGD 15.00.
|Whole Day Gourmet Breakfast, the juicy button mushrooms was the highlight for me!|
Presentation of dishes is good and more importantly they're tasty! Of all the dishes that I've ordered, I've yet to be disappointed. Can't say the same about the drinks though, which are so-so. I got watermelon juice which was freshly juiced right in front of me, no sugar added. My friend got a latte. They were disappointingly served in plastic cups.
|Semi al-fresco dining.|
There will usually be a line at the counter. You order, pay, and collect your drinks first and the food will be delivered to your table once ready. Do remember that because this is not a fast food joint, you'll usually need to wait for about 15 minutes for your food.
We then decided that it was time to go home. If you plan to take public transportation, you still need to walk to the nearest bus stop or MRT station because Casa Verde is located in the middle of nowhere. It is however, located near the taxi drop-off point. We walked for a good 15 minutes (great to work off all those food) to the MRT station, took several photos along the way.
|Overgrown bougainvilleae, so magical.|
|Never knew bougainvillaea could grow in such a vast manner.|
In lieu of a summary, I'd like to offer you an advice instead, drawn from my own experience of visiting the garden and I hope it can help giving you a better experience or at the very least, for your considerations. Here goes my advice of the day:
DON'T BUY WATER FROM ANY RESTAURANT OR REFRESHMENT KIOSK
Unless you absolutely have to. Or you want to. Granted they don't charge shockingly exorbitant amount, but still. Look for vending machine, instead - you can save almost half the price. Or better still, carry a water bottle. You can refill it at any drinking water fountain all over the park to your heart's content at no charge. Make the most of what the garden has to offer!