Monday, September 10, 2012

Gardens By The Bay Review - Plan Your Visit To Avoid Disappointment

gardens by the bay review
Gardens By The Bay : Nice to see at night but don't come the wrong time.

We recently brought the kids to Gardens By The Bay at Marina Bay Sands at 9.00pm as we thought it will be beautiful with the lights on the supertrees closed up. We were sorely disappointed as the area was dimly lit, everything was closed (the conservatories and skywalk that is)except for the cafes and we were totally lost. It was tiring walking round and round the dimly lit garden which was supposed to stay open until 2.00 am. I find it totally ridiculous as to why they stay open till 2.00 am if there is absolutely nothing to do at the garden by 9.00pm? 

Had we find out more about the gardens by the bay before our visit, we would have come before 7.30pm so that we could have bought the tickets and at least go up on the supertrees bridge (OCBC Skywalk) but well, at least the kids got to let off some steam running around the huge expanse of the gardens. 

gardens by the bay singapore
The Super Trees at Gardens By The Bay : Went home disappointed as it was already closed

We returned again the next week, this time during the day. It really didn't matter what time of the day that you visit the gardens should you intend to visit the conservatories as both conservatories are imitating a climate that is very much unlike Singapore. So no worries about the humid weather, all is cool and comfortable both in the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. If you are bringing a senior or you can't walk around too much, it is then advisable for you to ride the garden cruiser (tickets at $5) but the current service runs till 2.00pm only (if my memory serves me right) in which case you should visit the gardens in the earlier part of the day. Otherwise, strollers and wheelchairs are available for hire at the Visitor Information Centres at the Visitor Centre, The Canopy and Malay Garden.

marina bay gardens
Gardens By The Bay Review: The Fall at Cloud Forest

The Cloud Forest houses plants that grow high up in the mountains, not many flowering plants here and since I neglected to get the Audio guide (only available at the Visitor Centre at The Canopy) I am just left bewildered looking at the plants by myself. Nothing much here unless you are a real green buff, the main attraction is the falls just at the entrance and if you decide to explore the top part of the conservatory called the Lost World, please make sure that you are not scared of heights like lil me who found out too late and instead of looking at the sides, just focused on walking out of there and get back on the ground as fast as she can! Cloud Forest aims to raise awareness on the effect of global warming and there is a dedicated screening area called +6 degrees to show how our world will change if global temperature increases just by 6 degrees. Very eye opening but a bit draggy and scary for the lil ones. My 4 year old actually did not enjoy Cloud Forest at all as he is afraid of the background music that they play (in tune with the theme "The Lost World") and wanted out in 5 minutes. So, hubby took him out to the Flower Dome first, while I explored Cloud Forest with my 2.5 yo. 

bay garden singapore
Gardens By The Bay Singapore: More Plants - Don't forget to take the Audio Tour Guide at The Visitor Centre!

At the Flower Dome, the mood instantly changes.. feels like romance is in the air.. like you are suddenly transported to a different country. The work put in to creating the Flower Dome conservatory is truly amazing. It felt like you don't have enough time to even explore the whole area. Where else can you get to see such amazing plants that you have never laid eyes on? I felt so ignorant especially when my 4 year old who is extremely keen on knowing names of plants asked me "What is this, mommy?" and "What is that?" Again, I regret not taking the Audio Guide.. it is of course not practical while lugging around 2 small kids, I should have taken the self guided trail map (also only at Visitor Centre, The Canopy). That would have been great. 

garden by the bay
Gardens By The Bay @ The Flower Dome

We spent about 2 hours at Gardens by The Bay and had to go out since we have not performed our Asr prayers, tried asking a malay staff there whether there is any prayer area but he didn't know. So, the OCBC Skywalk has to wait another day.

Gardens By The Bay @ The Flower Dome

Gardens By The Bay @ The Flower Dome

If you are not driving or taking a cab there, brace yourself for a long walk. Forget about taking public transportation it if you are bringing kids and your kids have stroller-phobia and always ask to be carried like mine, your legs will be like jelly even before reaching the Visitor Information Counter. 

Muslim visitors also please take note that there is no Halal-certified food joints at Gardens by The Bay at the moment. 

Gardens by The Bay: Another interesting-looking tree at the Bay Gardens