It is a park located in Jurong East. The Chinese Gardens adapts the northern chinese imperial style of architecture and landscaping.The park consist of many magnificent structures which includes the Stone Lion, Pagoda, Bonsai Garden, Garden of Abundance...
The place is surprisingly serene enough to echo reticence. It is definitely a welcomed change from the commercialized parks in Singapore, especially with the difference in plantations and vibe that it sends. It is very rare for a person like me to appreciate the chinese culture and history in depth despite my ethnicity. However, this garden managed to construe mundane antiquities into a kind of charm I could not resist. So for an entire afternoon, I busked with the bamboo trees and calligraphic walls. Moreover the pavilions make good resting spots and a great setting for photo shoots as well.
A definite gem I discovered at the park would surely be the live turtle and tortoise museum! Initially I was hesitant to pay $5 for the entry because firstly I'm not a lover of turtles and secondly, the place honestly did not look inviting. How wrong I was to have judged the book by its cover. The mini museum is nothing like the air-conditioned buildings you would usually visit. Instead it is an open-air habitat to the hundreds of turtles in diverse species. Upon entry I was given a bunch of fresh vegetables to feed the roaming turtles, and that was really something that I enjoyed! I could go on about how fascinating it is to discover so many types of turtles I never thought could exist, but it is really best that you explore this hidden asset yourself!
That aside, the spacious garden also caters to joggers and cyclist with very well paved tracks. In fact I love how secluded this garden feels even though it is just situated beside the MRT. It was as though I was transported to another land, away from this bustling city.
Its peace is truly golden.
If you like solitude, it will be an ideal place for a weekday walk or cycle. Just enjoy the peaceful surroundings and get away from the bustling city life.
However, if you prefer to have activities, Chinese Garden is not for you as I am sure that you WILL get bored of it very fast. So, don't waste your time but go to other more happening parks like East Coast park and West Coast park.
The gardens are actually two islands in the park with a few uninspiring Chinese and Japanese style pavilions. The main pagoda, all seven storeys of it, gives you the chance to take in the view such as it is. There are a few mediocre examples of penjing (Chinese bonsai) in the garden, but apart form that, ho hum. The bridges? Stone boat? Tea House? They are not without merit, but once again, ho hum as a must see tourist destination.
As a centre for surrounding residents to exercise in green surroundings, the Chinese Garden is fine but as a destination it just doesn't excite the visitor. The so called attraction, the tortoise house and the pagodas are OK, but I got the impression that these are afterthoughts. The potential for a fascinating cultural experience such as is implied in the title of the garden is immense.
It is not attained.
As for the turtle and tortoise museum, think twice. Don’t shell out your money.
If there is one place to not bother with in Singapore it is this place. I may be biased. I don't like zoos. I don't like caged animals. Mind you, I suppose that at least the animals in such places will live longer than most left in the wild given the rate at which humans are destroying them.
I grant you, Singapore zoos are great. They let you almost feel and touch the animals. I exaggerate of course.
‘Here you! Come stroke this little kitty’.
‘But that is a tiger!’
‘Oh, sorry! Yes. Did you really need that hand?’
But the turtle and tortoise museum? This is a totally depressing place. Granted, there are parts of the building and its gardens which are quite impressive, beautiful even. Is it a temple? Is it a museum? The garden is passable with its turtles and tortoises in various reasonably well-maintained ponds, but inside the building with turtles nudging the walls of their glass prisons? No thanks. As the creatures bob about trying to get out, are they wondering why they can’t cross the Indian Ocean?
Mind you, the kids liked it. The turtles blinked back blearily at them as they tried to stuff turtle food down their throats (the turtle’s throats, not the kids).
And the museum claims to have almost 1,000 of these creatures. In captivity.
Not a place I would recommend, but then neither are the gardens in which they are set. The authorities could do so much more with the Chinese and Japanese gardens. Maybe, as they do with Nusa Dua in Bali, they are keeping the tourists out of such minimally funded heartland recreation areas, so they don’t encourage people to come here.
If this is the sort of thing that is meant to attract tourists, it won't.
Honestly speaking, I am not a big fan of this area because i feel it is too big. I prefer a smaller park which offers much more coziness and greenery. Chinese Gardens is rather sparse with trees and there are only a few monuments and special buidlings that relates to the chinese architectural concepts. It is usually way too hot without a canopy to block the sunlight. And the humidity here is constantly bad. I have no idea way but I never get the cooling sense from this area in all my 6 years of being here.
Furthermore, this place is too ulu. You have to walk quite a distance from the MRT for, really, not much of a reason at all, which is why I don't recmmend this area to be one of high interest.
The Mandarin gardens embody all that in one physical location. Located at a corner of Singapore I almost never go to, I find it befits my disposition towards the language. But occasionally, when I do find an excuse to go there, I admire the tranquility and peace that's so predominant in the asian culture. Going there reminds me that while I travel and gain different experiences around the world, I should never forget to look back, to see the gardens I came from.
However, it could be very hot on very sunny days. I think it is best visited on early mornings or late afternoons. Children can play and run around to their heart's content while older ones can just sit under a tree for reading and relaxation. The Fish Paradise and Live Turtle Museum are added attractions too.
This place is indeed for a whole day family picnic. Just be sure to bring enough food and drinks as there is not much to buy. After all, eating a basketful of home made or take away food is what makes picnic a little more fun.
If you ask me, I feel that life’s best decisions are made when your mind is at its calmest state. Here is where you can do that without actually being in a place of worship.
Personal thoughts aside, the Chinese architecture here is remarkably authentic and beautiful to look at. If you want a glimpse of china’s beauty without actually taking a flight there, than this is a relatively close enough replica of the original.
I went there once on a school trip, and most other visitors are above 40 years of age. Some were having their morning exercise, others strolling along the small paths lined with flower bushes, listening to the sound of the breeze and the chirping of the cicadas. Some of the more spiritual folks were even meditating, clearly at ease and peace of mind. There is even a shop there which sells Buddhist talismans and ornaments.
In fact, the calming effect there is so great that it even quieted the group of small children I was there with. There are pavilions by the lake, so we stopped under one of the larger ones and had a picnic there while enjoying the lake view as well as the koi fishes swimming in there. The whole picture looks like it could have been out of one of those dramas about ancient China. As I said earlier, there are also small towers, and we climbed up them (the staircase spirals up the inner wall of the tower, and there are small windows to see the scenary outside), finally reaching the top where a beautiful view of the area awaited us.
Now, Chinese Gardens has definitely lost some of its hype. Once a vibrant place during the Mid Autumn Festival, it's hard to even spot crowds in here, even on weekends or public holidays. The annual lantern celebrations that used to take place there has seemingly faded out, since I no longer hear of any news of such events. Perhaps there still are such celebrations going on, but the minimal hype about them is almost pitiful.
The place has also gone through significant wear and tear, perhaps due to negligent maintenance, but there is a certain captivating beauty about the place that would probably make for a romantic stroll.
The architecture there is gorgeous as well, and is an amazing variant from the countless rows of CBD buildings that line our city. Although Chinese Gardens is a little out of the way, but I have no doubt that the natural beauty that surrounds the place will not disappoint.
Come on, Chinese Gardens really needs more love.
The place is really quiet and peaceful, no screaming, shouting or crowds, this is the ideal place to spend a quiet afternoon with your partner. I used to go there for my weekly morning jog every sunday, and run round the paths while enjoying the crisp morning air and breeze while seeing birds circle the air. Occasionally, i would make my way up the pagoda and take in the breathtaking sight of the whole area of the chinese garden.