A waterfall in the heart of a city | Sunday Observer

A waterfall in the heart of a city

It is not often that you see a waterfall in the middle of a busy city. But that is exactly what you will see if you go to Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. The next time mum and dad take you on a holiday to Singapore, tell them that you want to see Gardens by the Bay. If you spend just a couple of days in Singapore, make sure that one day is reserved for these amazing Gardens.

The Gardens by the Bay, located close to the architectural marvel of Marina Bay Sands, is a place that brings together plants from all over the world in a natural setting. Yes, that 35 metre-tall waterfall is man-made, but it is so well done that you feel you are in a tropical forest.

Flower Dome

There are two main domes or 'Cooled Conservatories' in the Gardens that house plants from around the world. The waterfall is the highlight of the Cloud Forest Dome, while the Flower Dome, located right next door, houses a collection of flowers from all temperate regions. Both are climate controlled to reflect the different regions where the plants grow naturally.

The Flower Dome, which is bigger than two football fields put together, replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy. At the time I visited, there was an exhibition of tulips from the Netherlands and some other Mediterranean countries along with a few 'flower portraits' of the famous artist Van Gogh. The Flower Dome is also a major engineering feat, with over 3,000 glass panels of 42 shapes and sizes. You will need about four hours to explore the Flower Dome.

Supertree Grove

The Cloud Forest showcases plant life from tropical highlands up to 2,000 metres above sea level. It features a 35-metre-tall mountain covered in lush vegetation, along with the world’s tallest indoor waterfall I described earlier. You can take the lift to the top of the 'mountain' to discover the unique biodiversity and geology of cloud forests, and then stroll along the walkway in the clouds for an aerial view of the canopy and mountainside below. You will feel you are in the Amazon. If you visit at certain times, you can see the plants covered in mist.

Once you are done with the two domes, just walk over to the Supertree Grove, a group of artificial trees that actually power and cool the two domes. If you look at the base of some of the trees, there are graphics that explain the process of photosynthesis. Here too, there is a walkway that links some of the trees, but you have to buy a separate ticket.

Cloud Forest Dome

There are several gardens organised under various themes within the complex that are open to everyone free of charge. Kids should check out the Far East Organisation Children’s Garden first. Among the other gardens are Bay East Garden, Heritage Garden, Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lake, World of Plants, Sun Pavillion, Silver Garden and the Canyon. There are several restaurants on-site, so you can spend an entire day here after a hearty lunch. Getting here is easy – take the MRT train to Bayfront Station and walk for about 300 metres. That walk will take you to an experience you will never forget.