Singapore: Insider Tip for the best view of Marina Bay
Would you quit your job and move to the other side of the world? We did!
Thirty years ago, we quit our jobs, sold our house and moved to Singapore with our two-year old son. We had a wonderful and exotic two-year Asian adventure. Now, I was passing through Singapore, with only two days to re-visit the city. I decided to see new areas of Singapore that did not exist 30 years ago. Land reclamation projects have increased Singapore’s land area by 25%, with plans for a further 20% increase by 2030. I took the subway to Marina Bay to the visit the Gardens by the Bay, a waterside park with three central gardens, constructed entirely on reclaimed land. The park is integral to the Singaporean government’s strategy to transform Singapore from a “Garden City” to a “City in a Garden.” I had done no research before going and had no expectations of what I would see. I paid the $28 admission fee for entry to both the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest.These spectacular colossal climate-controlled greenhouses offer a refreshing break from Singapore’s tropical climate.
I love the symmetry of the glass panels
When I entered the Flower Dome, I was awe-struck by the size and scale of the project. It is 3 acres, the largest greenhouse in the world, filled with thousands of plants, trees and flowers, typically found in mild, dry climates, such as the Mediterranean. I was happy to be on my own, setting my own extremely leisurely pace. I spent at least a couple of hours wandering around the seven different themed gardens.
This olive tree from Spain is over 1,000 years old
Olive trees were transplanted from a site in Spain that was slated for development. Staff gardeners began experimenting with temperatures in the Dome to simulate conditions that are necessary for flower production. Singaporeans were thrilled when one tree produced dainty flowers and fruit. Gardeners are now experimenting with fans to simulate wind-pollination. There is a lovely bistro close to the olive tree, where I enjoyed a welcome break and a light lunch in beautiful surroundings.
This is the tallest indoor waterfall in the world
In the afternoon, I strolled over to the Cloud Forest which showcases a Cloud Mountain covered with plants from tropical mountainous regions, all shrouded in a cool mist from the world’s tallest indoor waterfall
On the descent from the mountain, I was mesmerized by the Crystal Mountain Cave, featuring giant geodes, stalactites and stalagmites.
Giant mirrors are suspended from the Crystal Cave ceiling
I had lots of fun taking pictures of the reflections in the mirrors of the people wandering through the cave, creating my own Escher-like upside down world.
What’s for lunch?
I spent a least a couple of hours exploring every level of the Cloud. At the exit, I was delighted with Singapore’s version of garden gnomes: giant stone snails and a carved wooden crocodile. I got down low and angled my camera to get this playful shot of the croc getting set for lunch.
These Supertrees look like something Jurassic Park
These Supertrees are vertical gardens designed to mimic the ecological function of live trees: rainwater is collected for irrigation and fountains; solar cells harness solar energy that is used to light the trees at night; the air intake system assists in cooling the Domes. There is an elevated walkway between the two largest Supertrees, with aerial views of Singapore. A treetop restaurant is slated for future development. Take note of the number of cranes on the horizon. This is a snapshot of the pace of development in this Asian city-state.
This show-stopper multi-coloured bougainvillea is created with cutting from different vines
Outside the Cloud Forest, there is an idyllic tropical garden. It is free to wander through the garden. I came across this stunning bougainvillea, my favourite flower in Singapore. The orchid is Singapore’s nation flower, but I love the showy bougainvillea that decorates every highway overpass.
Would you swim in an infinity pool at the top of a 55-story building?
It is a short stroll across the Singapore River to the Marina Sands Hotel. The mouth of the river was changed under the reclamation project to empty into Marina Bay. The Marina Bay Sands dominates the ocean horizon in Singapore. The Sands is a 2,500 room resort hotel comprised of three 55-story towers, housing the world’s largest atrium casino. The three towers are topped by the Sands SkyPark terrace, with lush gardens, trees, flowers and open-air restaurants and bars, and the world’s longest elevated infinity swimming pool. It is quite an engineering feat to contain 376,000 gallons of water atop a 55-story tower that naturally sways in the wind and settles in the earth over time. I did not have to test my bravery, because only hotel guests have access to the pool. My destination was up 55 stories to the world’s largest cantilevered observation deck. However, I found the S$23 admission price a bit steep. A very kind hotel employee gave me a terrific bit of information. The Flight Bar and Lounge is one story above the observation deck, with its own dedicated elevator. There is no admission price for this elevator. After a full day of sightseeing, I was very happy to skip the observation deck and go directly to the bar for an icy cold beer for S$16. I had a beer and saved money!
The view of the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest and the Supertrees are miniaturized when seen from 55 floors above. This was a wonderful view of a wonderful day.