Singapore’s very own Avatar

Singapore resulted in quite a few posts on my blog – and this post is the last one in the series. Gardens by the Bay is a pretty unique complex which is still being finalised and is being opened to the public in stages. It is so new that is is not even mentioned in the most recent Lonely Planet. We noticed it from the 55th floor of Marina Bay Sands. Later a number of fellow travellers gushed to me about its wonders, so on my last full day in Singapore I set off to explore what all the fuzz was about.

You can reach the Gardens from the Marina on foot. At first as you enter the park, you are a bit at a loss as to what there is to visit. The fist two large objects you notice are the two glasshouses – resembling glass mountains – the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. On the day of my visit the first of these was closed, so I went the Cloud Forest. And was immediately impressed by this waterfall right by the entrance!

Inside the glasshouse a manmade mountain has been constructed. The mountains reproduces the climatic conditions of the cloud forest, which is a technical term for wet tropical jungle that grow at various altitudes. Different levels of the mountain correspond to the various microclimates found in the cloud forests, which give rise to numerous endemic species of plants and animals.

This is how it looks from below:

Like a scene from a Japanese anime movie:

You climb to the top of the mountain using an elevator and then slowly work your way down. The top level looks thus:

The myst creates a magical feeling:

You remark the already familiar carnivorous plants:

The original carved statues grace the forest. This one comes from the Indonesian part of Timor.

More interesting plants:

I continue around the mountain:

From the path I can see these plants:

Breathtaking to look down:

The late afternoon sun draws out the Marina Bay Sands:

And this is the waterfall by the entrance. On one of the top levels there is a small viewing platform that allows you practically to touch the waterfall:

The route leads you down inside the man-made mountain, through various exhibitions. This one speaks about the creation and evolution of caves:

And this movie lays down the dangers awaiting the Earth as the temperatures rise in line with the global warming. Sitting on a bench, you touch the floor with moving images with your feet.

I found this glasshouse an incredible success in terms of design and construction. The original and novel way to showcase the unique ecosystems threatened by the global warming while creating a truly exciting visitor attraction – genius! It was a pity I couldn’t visit the Flower Dome, but the miracles of the Gardens by the Bay were by no means over! As I was exploring the Cloud Forest, the darkness fell, and I headed towards the centre of the park. This is what I saw:

I was in awe. Of course you can’t help remembering Avatar, but it is truly fantastic to see Avatar in real life. The complex is called the Supertrees Grove. The Supertrees are 25 to 50 metres tall and host a whole range of rare and exotic plants – ferns, orchids, bromeliads. They also fulfil a number of technical functions: gathering water, lighting the park, regulating heat and air and others.

Supertrees are connected by the Skywalk, a connecting path which you can visit for a small amount.

Of course, another amazing view awaits. I got up there right at the time of the sound and light show, during which all the Supertrees start flashing for 15 minutes.

You can descend using an elevator or a round staircase inside one of the Supertrees. I opted for the latter:

And the last look at the Supertrees Grove. Singapore is unforgettable!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *