Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Visit to Singapore's National Orchid Garden

On my last visit to Singapore, I made sure to take advantage of as many of the admission tickets that were included with my Singapore stopover as possible.  One such ticket was for Singapore's National Orchid Garden.  I had seen beautiful orchids (the national flower) sprinkled around Singapore, including a miniature orchid garden at Changi Airport, and was eager to see more, so my husband and I boarded the Hop-on Hop-off bus and had a leisurely ride to the garden.  Incidentally, the city's MRT subway now has a stop near the garden, which would have been an even more convenient way to get there had it been available at that time.

A view of Palm Valley, Symphony Lake, and the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage

The National Orchid Garden is part of the much larger Singapore Botanic Gardens, a beautiful setting that seems to attract many locals for jogging, rollerblading, and picnicking.  To get to the orchid gardens, we had a roundabout walk through most of the botanic gardens and up a gentle hill.  Back home this would have been a very easy walk, taking 15 minutes at the most, but Singapore's high humidity at the time of our visit made it seem more strenuous.

The Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage

En route to the orchid garden, we passed by Palm Valley and Symphony Lake (one of 3 lakes in the gardens).  The Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage was deserted at the time, but I could imagine enjoying a concert and a picnic there in the lush setting and tropical evening air.

The Crane Fountain

The National Orchid Garden is the only part of the Botanic Gardens that charges admission, but it is quite reasonable at $5 SGD for adults and $1 SGD for seniors.  Kids 12 and under are free.  

Ghost Orchid--(Photo credit: Mick Fournier, Pompano Beach, Florida) Creative Commons 3.0 License

Upon entering, we were amazed at the beauty and variety of orchids we saw throughout the garden.  There are an incredible 1,000 orchid species and 2,000 orchid hybrids in the garden's collection.  The amount of care this must take is astounding!  I was so impressed with how well maintained and beautiful everything was, particularly after I tried to take care of ONE single orchid in my home a few years ago and managed to kill it within a couple of weeks.

Why is there a giant, golden birdcage in the middle of the garden, and what am I doing inside of it?
 I have no good answer for either question.

There are so many gorgeous areas to explore in the Orchid Garden, and due to our late arrival we had to speed through them much more quickly than I would have liked. I realized after we left that I hadn't taken any close-up photos of the orchids, which is such a shame because their variety in color, size, and texture was truly stunning!

In addition to the many outdoor orchid exhibits, fountains, and waterfalls, there are also some indoor spaces that I would highly recommend checking out, including the Coolhouse (an indoor tropical forest and a welcome respite from the heat), the Misthouse (containing rare and award-winning orchid species), and the Bromeliad House.

What is your favorite garden to visit?  Please share!

Please visit Budget Traveler's Sandbox and R We There Yet Mom? for more travel photos and stories!