The beautiful island of Singapore has no shortage of incredible natural wonders to view and explore. One of the greatest spots to see lush plants and exotic flowers is Gardens by the Bay, a beautiful nature park next to the Marina Barrage. This park receives millions of tourists every year and is the perfect spot for family adventures or a romantic outing.
Introduction to Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a 101-hectare nature park which opened to the public in 2012. The park is maintained by a skilled team of landscapers, horticulturists, arborists, and other professionals who are committed to improving the island’s plant life. The gardens are made up of three sections: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay Central Garden.
Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden are public spaces and are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The outdoor gardens at Bay South Garden are open daily from 5 AM to 2 AM and also are free to explore. Most of the south garden’s conservatories and attractions, however, are only open from 9 AM to 9 PM. Admission to these special spots ranges from $8 to $28 SGD per person. Also available is an unlimited shuttle service for $3 SGD per person and an English audio tour for $8 SGD per person.
Bay South Garden
The largest and most popular of the three gardens is Bay South Garden, a 54-hectare green space with plenty of fun attractions. To see everything there is to see, plan to spend at least half a day exploring this garden.
Top 11 attractions at Bay South Garden
- Flower Dome is one of the garden’s two giant greenhouses. This innovative glass dome holds an incredible display of plants and flowers in all the colors of the rainbow. Within the greenhouse, there are also some unexpected surprises, like thousand-year-old olive trees. Flower Dome is known as the cool-dry conservatory.
- The second greenhouse, Cloud Forest, is known as the cool-moist conservatory. This misty greenhouse is home to thousands of rare tropical plants, many of which are threatened plant species. Walk through the conservatory, learn about the tropical plant life, and be sure to take a picture of the incredible indoor waterfall.
- The 12 colorful, tree-shaped structures in Supertree Grove stand between 25 and 50 feet tall. As impressive as they are during the day, the Supertrees are even more beautiful at night when their lights and sounds are active.
- Viewing Supertree Grove from the ground is a fun experience, but viewing the structures from OCBC Skyway is simply exhilarating. This aerial walkway curls around various Supertrees and also provides an incredible view of the rest of the gardens and the Singapore skyline.
- For families, there’s no better place in this nature park than the interactive Far East Organization Children’s Garden. This garden features a play area for toddlers (1 to 5 years old) with play equipment and a miniature waterpark. For older children (6 to 12 years old), there is a jungle play area complete with two tree houses and an expansive water play area.
- Inspired by classic Japanese Zen gardens, Serene Garden is a lovely green space that is calm and quiet. This attraction is free to explore and features a variety of plants and trees plus a central water feature with a miniature waterfall. Taking a walk through this tranquil space is a great way to feel connected with nature.
- Made up of four distinct garden sections, Floral Fantasy is one of the most unique and engaging tourist attractions in Gardens by the Bay. Each of the four different areas (Float, Dance, Waltz, and Drift) has different plants and flowers and features a special theme. The star of this attraction is Flight of the Dragonfly, a 4D ride that takes guests on a simulated journey as a dragonfly.
- History meets horticulture in Heritage Gardens, a free attraction which showcases the link between different plant life and the history and culture of Singapore. There are four different gardens to explore: Indian Garden, Chinese Garden, Malay Garden, and Colonial Garden.
- Take a trip to the desert without ever leaving Singapore by visiting Sun Pavilion, an area filled with hundreds of cacti and other desert plants. The walkways are lined with plants on either side and are covered by a stunning overhead structure made of glass and metal.
- Incredible aquatic plants and animals are on display at Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes, two lakes complete with lovely winding boardwalks for a relaxing stroll. Spot dragonflies flying near the water, listen for the croak of a frog, and take pictures of the whole harmonious ecosystem at work.
- Throughout Bay South Garden, tourists will come across various sculptures created by dozens of talented artists. Stop by and take a picture of some of the best sculptures like Planet, a seven-ton bronze sculpture of a baby, The Pamela Hat, a 16-foot tall sculpture featuring a wide-brimmed hat, and Floral Clock, a large clock featuring colorful flowers.
Check In to Marina Bay Sands, Step Out to Flower Dome
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Bay East Garden
The picturesque Bay East Garden is the second largest of the three gardens. It is close enough to the Downtown Core to have a great view of the city skyline, yet it’s far enough to be a tranquil spot for a quiet stroll. The peaceful walking paths are lined with trees and flowers which make a lovely background for tourist photographs. As the garden develops, aquatic plants and water-themed attractions will be added.
Check In to Carlton Hotel Singapore, Step Out to Gardens by the Bay
Bay Central Garden
Singapore’s Bay Central Garden may be the smallest section in the park, but it is still definitely worth a visit. This beautifully landscaped garden features a 3-kilometer waterfront trail with gorgeous views of the Singapore skyline. This garden is still being developed but soon will serve as a way to link the East and South Gardens.
Check In to Peninsula Excelsior Hotel, Step Out to Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay Tourist Guidelines
- Be respectful of the plants, flowers, and trees – no picking flowers and no climbing trees.
- Stay on the landscaped paths to avoid damaging delicate plants.
- Personal photography and videography are permitted but commercial photography requires special permission obtained in advance.
- Absolutely no smoking and no littering is permitted within the gardens. (In fact, littering is against the law in all of Singapore!)
- Picnics are allowed in most open sections of the gardens, but chairs and other picnic furniture items are not allowed.
- The last admission to Bay South Garden is one hour prior to closing, so arrive on time to avoid disappointment.
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Shopping and Dining at Gardens by the Bay
The various shopping and dining options offered at Gardens by the Bay are all located within Bay South Garden. Cafes, restaurants, gift shops and more can be found around this park near the many tourist attractions.
Where to Shop
There are four different gift shops on the garden grounds. Some, like Arrival Gift Shop, offer real succulents, orchids, and other plants which are grown at an on-site nursery. Others, like Canopy Gift Shop, are more traditional and offer souvenirs like t-shirts, magnets, snow globes, mugs, and picture frames. Also available are special guidebooks with beautiful, colored photographs and information about different plants found in the gardens.
5 unique souvenirs to pick up from Gardens by the Bay
- A paperweight or tea light holder featuring real preserved orchid blooms
- An adorable teddy bear dressed as a garden landscaper
- An ultra-soft bamboo fabric towel with a floral border
- An orchid necklace with gold plating and hanging crystals
- A handmade patterned coaster for hot or cold drinks
What to Eat
Tourists won’t have to go far to enjoy a quick snack, a refreshing beverage, or a full meal. Bay South Garden has over a dozen dining options throughout the grounds to suit every traveler. Enjoy a range of classic Singaporean dishes at Satay by the Bay or cool down with a big bowl of ice cream from Conservatory Cafe. A handful of different restaurants and cafes also are grouped together in Supertree Food Hall near Supertree Grove.
5 more cafes and restaurants at Bay South Garden
- Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant – Fresh seafood and lovely water views
- Pollen – European cuisine featuring fresh-from-the-garden herbs and vegetables
- Niigata Bento – Japanese bento boxes and other classic Japenese fare
- Bakerzin Garden Drive – Cakes, pastries, and other sweet treats
- Cafe Crema – Gourmet coffee and sandwiches
Check In to Marina Mandarin Singapore Hotel, Step Out to Supertree Grove
How to Get to Gardens by the Bay
Easy public transit access is one of the many features that make the gardens such a great Singapore tourist destination. The closest public transit station is the Bayfront MRT Station, a train station on the Downtown Line and the Circle Line. (In 2021, Gardens by the Bay MRT Station will replace Bayfront as the closest mass transit station.)
Currently, SBS Transit bus 400 also stops near the gardens.
For tourists who’ve rented a car at Changi Airport, there are five open-air parking lots at Gardens by the Bay. Most are located near Bay South Garden but one is located near Bay East Garden. Parking fees at these lots are capped at $25 SGD per day.
Check In to Grand Park City Hall Hotel, Step Out to Bayfront MRT Station
Hotels and Accommodations near Gardens by the Bay
Throughout the three gardens, there is so much beauty to see and so many things to do. Staying in a hotel near the gardens lets tourists experience these natural wonders day after day. Book luxury Singapore hotels in prime locations near the water and near many other Singapore tourist attractions.
Marina Bay Sands: Located at 10 Bayfront Avenue, this luxury five-star hotel is just minutes from the gardens. Marina Bay Sands is also within walking distance of other amazing Singapore tourist spots like Singapore Flyer and Merlion Park. Guests can relax in the rooftop infinity pool and enjoy incredible city views, try their luck at the hotel’s casino, or simply unwind in the clean and spacious guest rooms.
Carlton Hotel Singapore: This upscale hotel is also within walking distance of the gardens and the marina, at 76 Bras Basah Road. Each room at Carlton Hotel Singapore comes with free high-speed wi-fi plus a 4G smartphone to borrow while exploring the island. Other amenities, like an outdoor swimming pool, spa, and babysitting services add great value to any stay.
Peninsula Excelsior Hotel: Just minutes from public transit and many Singapore attractions, Peninsula Excelsior Hotel is a great hotel choice for couples or for families. Located at 5 Coleman Street, this top hotel features 600 guest rooms filled with contemporary and comfortable furniture. Tourists can also enjoy facilities like swimming pools, restaurants, and lounges.