Our last evening in Singapore was dedicated to the major tourist sites: Marina Bay area and Gardens by the Bay. Matthias already wrote about the other part of the areas, so now it is my turn to tell about our experiences in the Gardens.
They are very close to the center, right behind Marina Bay Sands hotel. There is pathway called OCBC Skyway starting from the luxury shopping mall The Shoppes, going through the huge Marina Bay Sands hotel and ending up in a viewing platform to the gardens. Grand, like so many other things in Singapore.
Outside areas of the Gardens are completely free. There are a few attractions you need to pay a fee, but you can enjoy the garden even without any extra expenses. Even eat for relatively cheap, since there is a Hawker Center.
Gardens by the Bay is something you would expect from an outdoor garden: plants and flowers in a beautiful settings, relaxing atmosphere and surroundings for a lovely day stroll. There are different kind of areas with their own themes, like Chinese garden or Colonial gardens. Even a Flower Dome greenhouse replicating different kind of climate for various flowers and plants.
But Gardens by the Bay also offers something you would not expect: Supertree grove with huge artificial trees and a small mountain of plants and a waterfalls inside a glass building. Since we did not have time to explore the whole area throughly, who knows what else we missed.
There are 16 Supertrees in the Gardens in the height of 25 to 50 meters. They are structures of concrete, steel and panels. The trees are covered with over 160 000 plants and more than 200 different species. Some of the trees have photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy to light up the Supertrees and other trees serve as air exhaust receptacles for the two glass domes.
It has to be admitted, that Matthias was more interested to see the glass domes than I was. He convinced me to enter the one called Cloud Forest and I am glad he did. Not every day you enter a greenhouse with a building covered in plants and waterfalls. You are able to climb up the whole building all the way to the top. There is a small pond and also a nice view outside to the Gardens. You get down from the top by using a narrow platform. It was pretty high, so it gave me a funny feeling in my stomach to walk on it.
After we were finished with Cloud Forest, it was already dusk. We knew that during the dark the Supertrees are light up, but it was still fascinating to see all the lights from the city, Marina Sands Bay and the garden. The Supertrees were beautiful as ever.
We happened to walk into the middle of the Supertrees just when the Garden Rhapsody began. The park itself describes the event as this: “Watch as the Supertrees come alive with a dazzling myriad of light displays bursting across the sky”. In more simple terms, there was music, the trees had sparkly lights that changed in the rhytmh of the music, and if you have an epilepsy, you should not go.
The extravagant light and music show was a mindblowing experience. It was something I have never experienced.
Already without any lights during the daytime, the supertrees are something I could not even imagine myself. They are out of a sci-fi fairytale world, and that must be part of the fascination: seeing something beyond imagination. With a dark sky in the background, a creative light show and familiar tunes, there is something that speaks to you. You can never capture the atmosphere on a picture or a video.
On a side note, I think the amount of electricity the Rhapsody must use feels a bit odd to me. It is a nature park meant to preserve, so a huge light and music show – twice per day, every day I may add – seems a bit counter-productive. Even if they had solar panels to provide energy for the events, it is a fact that power could be used in a more useful way too.
But still the Supertrees and the show makes you gasp.
I think it all comes down to innovation. It is marvellous that a group of people can think of something that has not been seen before. It is creative that those ideas can be created in the real life. It is inspiring. Innovation is good and it is the force that keeps us going.
It should be needless to say, that our last night in Singapore was delightful. But we were ready to move on to Sydney. We were ready for Australia.