Gardens by the Bay

We had a 7 hour stopover in Singapore between ot return flights, so we took a taxi into the city to visit the Gardens by the Bay. We arrived at the gardens approx. 06.30 so had the pleasure of seeing it in the dark with the glory of the tree lights. Gardens by the Bay is a park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir. The park consists of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. The largest of the three gardens is Bay South Garden, standing at 54 hectares. There are two cooled conservatories – the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest, both are very large (around 1 hectare (2.5 acres). The Flower Dome is the world's largest columnless glasshouse.

The Supertrees

The Supertrees are tree-like structures that dominate the Gardens' landscape with heights that range between 25 metres (82 ft) and 50 metres (160 ft). They are vertical gardens that perform a multitude of functions, which include planting, shading and working as environmental engines for the gardens. The Supertrees are home to enclaves of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids and also a vast collection of bromeliads such as Tillandsia, amongst other plants. They are fitted with environmental technologies that mimic the ecological function of trees – photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy which can be used for some of the functions of the Supertrees, such as lighting, just like how trees photosynthesize; and collection of rainwater for use in irrigation and fountain displays, exactly like how trees absorb rainwater for growth. The Supertrees also serve air intake and exhaust functions as part of the conservatories' cooling systems. There is an elevated walkway, the OCBC Skyway, between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a breathtaking aerial view of the Gardens. A food and beverage outlet is planned atop the 50-metre (160 ft) Supertree. At night, the Supertrees come alive with a light and music show called the OCBC Garden Rhapsody.

The Flower Dome

The larger of the two, and replicates a mild, dry climate featuring plants found in the Mediterranean and other semi- arid tropical regions. It is 38 metres (125 ft) high and maintains a temperature between 23 °C and 25 °C, slightly lower at night. It features 7 different "gardens" as well as an olive grove. A central changing display field has also been incorporated to enable flower shows and displays to be held within the conservatory.

The Cloud Forest Dome

The Cloud Forest is higher and replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions between 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) and 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) above sea level, found in South-East Asia, Middle- and South America. It features a 42-metre (138 ft) "Cloud Mountain", accessible by an elevator. Visitors descend the mountain via a circular path where a 35-metre (115 ft) waterfall provides refreshing cool air. The "cloud mountain" itself is an intricate structure completely clad in epiphytes such as orchids, ferns, peacock ferns, spike- and clubmosses, bromeliads and anthuriums.