Even if you know absolutely nothing about Singapore, there’s a good chance that mesmerizing Gardens by the Bay have somehow found their way into your life. The image of its dramatic supertree grove, dancing its vibrant colours in Singapore’s evening sky, is not one that many people can let go of easily!
More spectacular is, of course, to visit this star tourist attraction yourself and see its most breathtaking scenes come to life before your eyes. As you’ll quickly realize there’s far more to Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay than just its space-age good looks.
Ready for an unforgettable experience in Singapore? Plan your visit to this incredible park with this guide for what to do & see at Gardens by the Bay…
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What to expect at Gardens by the Bay
Thanks to popular media (and, especially, the blockbuster hit movie Crazy Rich Asians), nearly everyone on the planet has probably caught a glimpse of the Gardens by the Bay at least once by now. Like any tourist attraction that get this much attention, you’re bound to ask the obvious question: Is it worth the hype?
Well, in my own opinion, it’s simple: Yes, it sure is.
There’s no doubt that Gardens by the Bay is insanely popular. At times (such as during the evening light & sound show) maybe a little too popular for some tastes. But, whatever you do, don’t let that stop you from experiencing everything it has to offer.
In the travel industry, you’ll often hear a cliché thrown around that “There’s no place on earth quite like it.” This is one of the rare instances where it might actually be true—it may even be, on its own, one of the top reasons to visit Singapore!
What will amaze you about Gardens by the Bay is that it truly IS unique. From the supertree grove to its conservatories, this is truly an innovative place that has few parallels anywhere else in the world. That alone should be enough to get you to slide on over to the park, whether you have just 24 hours in Singapore or a more extended stay.
Stretching out over about 250 acres of reclaimed land in Marina Bay, Gardens by the Bay is hardly a typical urban park wedged into the corner of a city.
There’s plenty of space here, enough that you’ll have no problem getting off-the-beaten-path to indulge in some of the city’s quieter moments with little interference from the usual tourist crowds.
For all of its goodness (and considering it’s one of the best things to see & do in Singapore), admission to the park is, surprisingly, free. You’ll only pay if you wish to take on extra activities like visiting the conservatories or strolling the walkway in the supertree grove.
What to see & do at Gardens by the Bay
We’ve all met those over-hyped tourist attractions that are little more than a one-trick pony. That’s certainly not the case with the Gardens by the Bay.
Whether you visit during the day or at night, there are plenty of things to do here. In fact, exploring at a leisurely pace could take the better part of a day!
Supertree Grove & OCBC Skyway
The most famous section of Gardens by the Bay is, undoubtedly, the spectacular space-age Supertree Grove. Approaching the Supertree Grove via walkway from the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel will make you feel as if you’ve stepped onto another planet—especially if you happen to visit after sundown!
The main grove contains twelve supertrees of varying heights and sizes with 6 others spread out elsewhere in the gardens. Planted upon the trees, you’ll see over 200 species of different flower adding colour to the scene.
To get the most out of your visit, I’d recommend climbing up to the OCBC Skyway (S$8). This aerial walkway twists through the supertrees, suspended 22 metres from the ground, offering incredible bird’s-eye views of the park and grove.
PRO TIP: If you’re planning to also visit the Cloud Forest and Flower, you can save money on your OCBC Skyway admission and avoid the queue by purchasing your Gardens by the Bay ticket online!
As beautiful as the supertrees are by day, the best time to wander through the grove is after the sun goes down. Every evening at 7:45pm and 8:45pm, the Supertree Grove hosts the Garden Rhapsody, a spectacular light & sound show that springs the gardens to life.
If you’ve built up an appetite while visiting, you can pop into the Supertree Food Hall, a small food court serving up international favourites like Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese, Cantonese, and more…
Located between the Supertree Grove and conservatories, the Heritage Gardens are a relaxing walk through the history & culture of Singapore’s three main ethnic groups (Chinese, Indian, and Malay) as well as its colonial past.
Each garden showcases an aesthetic typical of the groups’ horticulture and landscaping design. You also find small exhibits that detail how certain plants and herbs are intertwined with spiritual, culinary, and medicinal traditions.
Need a break from Singapore’s heat? Step into the misty Cloud Forest, a domed conservatory mimicking the vegetation and geology of tropical highlands. As you walk throughout the Cloud Forest, you’ll spot a barrage of colourful flora and lush plants that’ll fill up your Instagram feed in no time!
The Cloud Forest spreads out over several levels, giving visitors a chance to catch its sights at varying altitudes. Strolling along the two walkways—the Cloud Walk and the Treetop Walk—offer the most spectacular views .
The highlight of the Cloud Forest is, undoubtedly, the central waterfall. At 30 metres high, it’s the world’s largest indoor waterfall. (Although as beautiful as it is, the new indoor waterfall at the Jewel in Changi Airport might give it a run for its money!)
PRO TIP: A combo ticket for the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome runs at S$28. I’d recommend, however, purchasing a Gardens by the Bay ticket online including the OCBC Skyway to skip-the-line and save money over buying each individually!
Like the neighbouring Cloud Forest, the Flower Dome is the perfect place to escape the city’s infamous humidity while brightening up your day with some lovely flora. This conservatory, one of the world’s largest greenhouses, emulates a Mediterranean climate and spreads out over 9 different exhibits spanning 5 continents.
Some of the highlights in the Flower Dome (at least for me!) include the wacky baobab trees, the quirky sculptures and cacti of the Succulent Garden, and the Dutch-inspired flower field.
PRO TIP: Save money and skip the queue by purchasing a Gardens by the Bay ticket online. This combo ticket includes entrance to both conservatories and the OCBC Skyway.
Satay by the Bay
As you’d expect of Singapore, any major tourist attraction here has gotta have a nice place to seriously chow down. And while Satay by the Bay can’t hold a candle to some of Singapore’s top hawker centres, the views alone should put it onto the radar if you get a little peckish while exploring Gardens by the Bay.
Despite the name, Satay by the Bay isn’t just about those oh-so-delicious juicy meat skewers. (Although, as you’d imagine by the name, that IS the signature dish here.) Whether you’re craving BBQ stingray, chili crab, roasted duck—or many of Singapore’s top dishes, for that matter!—you should have no problem finding it here.
The food stalls here start opening at about 11am, but try to visit in the evening to see the food court at its most atmospheric.
By MRT: As usual, the MRT is the best way to get to Gardens by the Bay. The park is connected to Bayfront MRT Station (Circle and Downtown Lines) via underground passageway.
To get to the Gardens’ further-flung attractions like the conservatories, there’s an option to catch a shuttle bus from the Bayfront park entrance if you’re not keen on walking.
Where to stay near Gardens by the Bay
If you’d love to stay close to this incredible attraction, I’d be remise not to throw the iconic Marina Bay Sands into the equation. Without a doubt, this 5-star luxury hotel is one of the absolute best hotels in Singapore—if not all of Asia!