Singapore Botanic Gardens guide


Opened in 1859, the Singapore Botanic Gardens has been around since the era of our grandparents – heck, even our great grandparents – rendering it one of those attractions that seem to have been around for forever

But if you think you’ve got the place all figured out, a visit today might change your mind as the park has been expanded several times in recent years. Explore SG’s largest garden anew with this 2021 guide which includes their new children’s playground, and lesser-known attractions like a Japan-esque bamboo grove:

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1. Nature-themed playground with giant fruit sculptures


Good news to all parents out there, there’s a new spot to bring your little ones. Como Adventure Grove Playgarden is one of the newest additions to the park, included during the recent opening of the Gallop Extension.

Singapore botanic gardens guide - Como Adventure Grove Playgarden
Image credit:
@playpointasia

Throw aside the stereotypical idea of a playground as this one here looks more like an art installation rather than the cartoony colour-pops we’re familiar with. With artificial branches and hanging swings and slides that blend right into the au-natural aesthetic, this is a #throwback to the kampung days where children used to monkey around amongst the trees.

Singapore botanic gardens guide - Como Adventure Grove Playgarden
Image credit: @playpointasia

Regular sized objects may look large to kids but things are elevated yet further with larger-than-life installations. There are huge saga seeds to bounce on and even a giant cempedak that kids can clamber up – y’know, for a fruitful day out.

Opening hours: 7AM-7PM, Daily

Nearest entrance: Tyersall Gallop Entrance


2. New art gallery and discovery centre in colonial bungalows


Singapore botanic gardens guide - Forest Discovery Centre
Image credit: @lawchang68

Another new addition to the park is the new Forest Discovery Centre. It’s housed within Gallop House No.5, which is actually the oldest surviving bungalow from the colonial era in Singapore. Built in 1898, the building has been preserved and turned into a stunning educational centre.

Singapore botanic gardens guide - Forest Discovery Centre
Image credit: NParks

For those who threw all their Geog knowledge out of the window the moment they graduated, this is a good place to start your day when you visit the park. Within, you’ll be able to fall in tune with the identification of forest wildlife, learn more about native trees and refresh your knowledge on mangrove and tropical forests.

Singapore botanic gardens guide - Botanical Art Gallery
Botanical Art Gallery
Image credit: @davidchein

There’s also the newly-added Botanical Art Gallery nearby, located with the 1900’s Gallop House No.7. Other than escaping the heat with the cool A/C here, you’ll find more than 2,000 botanical paintings alongside an activity room filled with drawing materials you’re free to use.

Opening hours (Forest Discovery Centre): 9AM-6PM, Daily
Opening hours (Botanical Art Gallery): 9AM-6PM, Daily

Nearest entrance: Tyersall Gallop Entrance


3. 350M ridge trail to the top of the botanical garden


Singapore botanic gardens guide - Mingxin Foundation Rambler’s Ridge
Image credit: NParks

We don’t have any mountains or many hills, so discovering a new walking trail to explore on our island is always good news. Immerse yourself in nature at the new Mingxin Foundation Rambler’s Ridge with rocky steps that lead you past endangered Spike Oak and Braided Chestnut trees.

A mini-Macritchie experience without the sweat, this short 350M route will take you to a 40M-high elevation – the highest point in the whole of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Opening hours: 7AM-7PM, Daily

Nearest entrance: Tyersall Gallop Entrance


4. Ginger garden with Bali-like waterfalls


Singapore botanic gardens guide - Ginger Garden

It’s easy to fall for waterfalls, especially when they’re as picturesque as the ones at the Ginger Garden. Find two waterfalls here, one with a cave you can enter to experience the waterfall from behind and snap a photo worthy of one of those IG travel accounts.

Singapore botanic gardens guide - Ginger Garden
Are we in Bali?

Waterfalls aside, there are gingers plants here – lots of them. The one-hectare garden is home to more than 250 species of the spicy medicinal root, sorted according to their region of origin. While you can’t see the ginger root itself, you’ll be able to spot the plant by its vibrant green leaves and flowers.

Singapore botanic gardens guide - Ginger Garden
Image credit: @singaporebotanicgardens

Nearest entrance: Tyersall Gallop Entrance


5. “Japanese” bamboo forest with > 30 species 


Bambusetum

Bamboo-zle your friends into thinking you’re in Japan’s iconic Arashiyama Forest at Bambusetum, featuring a dreamy lane of more than 30 species of bamboos. These grow up to 30M in height, creating that picture-perfect frame – no high-level photography moves needed.

Bambusetum
Image credit: @yohi.sheepdog

Drag your photographer friends here during golden hour for that soft glowy effect in your shots, or bring your furry pupper here for a scenic walk – dogs are more than welcome in this park!

Opening hours: 5AM-12AM, Daily

Nearest entrance: Tyersall Gallop Entrance


6. Giant trees and canopy nets 8M above the ground


Singapore botanic gardens guide - SPH Walk of the Giants

Henderson Waves and the HSBC Treetop Walk may get all the glory but little do most know that there’s an equivalent in the Singapore Botanic Gardens as well: the SPH Walk of the Giants. 260M-long, this elevated boardwalk brings you 8M above the ground, where you’ll be able to enjoy the view up in the canopy layer of the forest. 

SPH Walk of the Giants
Image credit: @bakencookwith3

True to its name, the walk takes visitors up close and personal to palms, epiphytes, climbers and giant century-old trees that can grow up to 20 storeys in height, rivalling many of our HDB blocks.

Singapore botanic gardens guide - SPH Walk of the Giants

Relax away from the hordes of insects you’d usually find on ground level on their suspended Canopy Webs that surround the giant trees while enjoying the shades provided by the top canopy. 

Opening hours: 7AM-7PM, Daily

Nearest entrance: Tyersall Gallop Entrance


7. Garden of tall Vanda Miss Joaquim flowers


Vanda Miss Joaquim

Any plant parent will know that it’s tough getting your own flowers to grow in Singapore. However, there’s really no need to go through all the hassle when you can just as easily enjoy gorgeous blooms at the Vanda Miss Joaquim display, a.k.a. Singapore’s national flower.

Singapore botanic gardens guide - Vanda Miss Joaquim

While not the largest field of flowers out there, this sure looks like it stretches on endlessly thanks to its towering 2M-height that keeps the rest of the park shrouded out of sight.

And of course, the flowers blooming at eye level make for the perfect backdrop for some dreamy shots – we hear it’s a good spot for pre-wedding photography.

Nearest entrance: Tanglin Entrance


8. National Orchid Garden with the world’s largest orchid display


Singapore botanic gardens guide - National Orchid Garden
Yellow orchids line the underside of each arch
Image credit: @manonlucci

The National Orchid Garden is the only paid attraction in the park but you can consider the nominal fee money well spent. The gated attraction will take you away from the crowds, where visitors can enjoy the world’s largest orchid display of more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids in some peace and quiet. 

Singapore botanic gardens guide - National Orchid Garden
Over 200 VIP orchids named after famous folk like Jackie Chan and Michael Kors
Image credit: @byyoursmile

No worries, you won’t be getting just flowers upon flowers upon yet more flowers – between the different sections of the garden is a mist garden, ethereal plant arches and floral-decorated fountains to break up the space.

Singapore botanic gardens guide - National Orchid Garden
Image credit: @byyoursmile

Price: $5/adult, $1/student and $1/senior citizen (above 60 years old). Free for children under 12.
Opening hours: 8.30AM-7PM, Daily

Nearest entrance: Tanglin Entrance


9. Children’s garden with treehouses & flying fox


Singapore botanic gardens guide - Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden
Image credit: @sebastienbruggerman

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden has an expansive play area for children to run around and explore the great outdoors. Your little ones can live their Tarzan dreams in the low-lying tree house surrounded by vines, or hop on a flying fox for a quick rush of adrenaline. 

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden
Image credit: @cherritan

Dotted around the area are also streams to wander along, balancing beams made of logs and gardening trails for aspiring urban gardeners to explore.

Opening hours: Tue – Sun 8AM-7PM (Closed on Mondays)

Nearest entrance: Bukit Timah Entrance


10. Swan Lake with waterfront pavilions


Swan Lake
Yes – you can find swans outside of the Jurong Bird Park.
Image credit: @cmezrbrt

For those who used to go crazy over Barbie, the Swan Lake at Singapore Botanic Gardens may bring to mind the franchise’s classic Swan Lake movie – both featuring a whimsical pond filled with graceful swans.

Singapore botanic gardens guide - Swan Lake
Image credit: @daisybunch

This historic lake is also known as Main Lake or First Lake, as it’s considered to be the oldest ornamental water feature in Singapore, having been around for more than 155 years. Take a leisurely 10-minute stroll along the looping path that wraps the lake or enjoy the ambience best by relaxing under one of the romantic waterfront pavilions. 

Nearest entrance: Tanglin Entrance


11. Free concerts and picnic ops by Symphony Lake


Symphony Stage
Image credit: @kebinvillar16

The most iconic spot within the Singapore Botanic Gardens is probably Symphony Lake, where you’ll find a majestic stage and spacious lawn surrounding it.

Palm valley
Image credit: @thehalia

While free concerts have been paused due to Covid-19, you can still enjoy this vast outdoor space by bringing along a picnic mat and some snacks for a chill evening out. For rinsing of fruits from your picnic basket – or a quick answer to nature’s call – there’s also a clean public washroom near the southern end of the lawn.

Nearest entrance: Nassim Entrance


12. Bali-like views to go with brunch at The Halia


Singapore botanic gardens guide - The Halia
Image credit: The Halia

Among the many things that Bali is known for, one thing that draws many of us up to its town of Ubud is the immersive, lush nature. There’s no need to feel sad over not being able to jet over though, as a brunch sesh at The Halia cuts pretty close. 

The Halia
Image adapted from: @thehalia

Order a Smashed Avocado on Sourdough ($13) paired with some fresh brews ($5) as you sit back in their rustic open-aired interior and gaze out into nature all around. Cafe by day, this also turns into a romantic setting for dinner with your boo during the evenings, with a fancier all-day menu featuring steaks (from $38) and Chilli Crab Spaghetti ($26).

Address: 1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore 259569
Opening hours: Mon – Thu 9AM-8.30PM | Fri 9AM-8.30PM | Sat & Sun 10AM-8.30PM
Telephone: 8444 1148

The Halia website

Nearest entrance: Tyersall Gallop Entrance


Spend a day out at the Singapore Botanic Gardens


If you’re tired of staring at your screens all day and night, plan a visit out to one of Singapore’s many nature spots such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens for a quick respite.

We’ve sifted out some of the best things you can do there, from short hikes to IG-worthy spots but for those who can spare a full day, there’s still much to be uncovered. Fun fact: the Singapore Botanic Gardens is three times larger than the Singapore Zoo, so it’s time to get cracking!

Read more park guides below:


Cover image adapted from: TheSmartLocal, @playpointasia, TheSmartLocal