SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENSNovember 04, 2014
If you are a self-confessed city slicker, there's a lot that you will love about Singapore. It's a sophisticated, modern city characterised by its immaculate cleanliness and efficiency. Despite the rapid development of built up areas, there are a number of luscious green spaces preserved within the city including its Botanic Gardens; meaning that it boasts the best of both worlds when it comes to green and grey.
Just a short distance from Singapore's concrete jungle is the real jungle. It's quite hard to believe that the tranquil, verdant grounds of the Botanic Gardens are just a stone's throw away from the city centre - it really feels more like a far flung tropical location. The Botanic Gardens are used in a number of ways by a whole range of people. In the morning locals practice Tai Chi and throughout the day Singaporeans and foreigners alike take walks, exercise and picnics within its bounds. The Botanic Gardens are the perfect place to go for a little getaway from Singapore's all-go city centre.
One thing that you may notice about Singapore is the fact that there are caution signs everywhere you look, some of them such as the above are pretty hilarious. They come as a reminder to Singapore's strict laws, with some of the harshest ones including the death penalty for doing drugs, the outlawing of chewing gum (which is considered to be a contraband item and gets seized at customs) and fines of up to $1,000 for littering. In fact there's a lot that could land you a hefty fine in Singapore which has resulted in it being referred to by some as the 'Fine City'. I would highly recommend familiarising yourself with the local laws if you are not already clued up as some of the things that you wouldn't think twice about doing at back at home are illegal in Singapore. Despite the nanny state society, Singapore must be doing something right as the city is clean and efficient and is renowned for its low levels of crime. Personally I've never felt safer in any other city.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens are over 150 years old and as a result the vibrant array of plants and flowers have become more and more diverse over the years. The National Orchid Garden is also located on its grounds and boasts thousands of colourful and unique species of orchids.
You can easily spend hours exploring the garden's 74 hectares by foot and if you work up an appetite in the process, rest assured that there are some great places to eat on site. I recommend checking out Food for Thought which is a quirky cafe selling artisan light bites. With its fitting mission statement to 'connect people with the pleasures of nature' the eco-friendly restaurant promotes care for the environment and sustainable living...and they food's pretty great too!
The Singapore Botanic Gardens are open from 5am though until midnight and there's no admission fee, except for the National Orchid Garden. The gardens are just a short bus journey from the city centre - for more details on how to get to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, check out their website.