Continuing our journey from day 1, we planned to visit the new in-door gardens in Singapore that just got recently opened: Gardens by The Bay. It is located in Marina Bay area and boasts not one, but two huge in-door gardens with each different themes. The place got heavily promoted as one of tourists’ destination and we managed to get discounted tickets from local travel agents. So we were very excited to visit and see the gardens ourselves.
But first, we got to fill our bellies to fuel the long walk ahead. We decided to eat breakfast at Bugis since we had seen several fast food chains there on our route back to hotel on the day before, and we were glad we did that!
Bugis Street, Haven for Singapore Souvenirs
Our original intention was only to eat breakfast at Bugis since we had to change to North-South MRT line at Bugis station anyway. I particularly had been eyeing for one meal in Burger King that included Turkish BBQ burger set meal that was nonexistent in the Indonesian franchise. Unfortunately, the meal was not included in their breakfast menu and would only be available after 11 a.m. I had to settle for a regular pancake set instead 🙁
We ate our meal, cleaned our table, and headed outside to Bugis MRT station. On our route, Wifey spotted a kiosk selling cheap wristwatches for as low as five dollar a piece. She had to buy souvenirs for her colleagues anyway, so we decided to stop for a bit and browse at the merchandise.
Though, the browsing didn’t stop just there..
Behind the kiosk, there is this alley that stretches further backwards. The alley is filled with similar kiosks on each side that sell various items. We could find kiosks that sell eyeglasses, t-shirts, tote bags, necklaces, or fridge magnets and even merlion miniatures inside. We just realized that Bugis is a haven to find affordable souvenirs in Singapore!
You can easily find anything with a big “SINGAPORE” written on it. T-shirts are sold at 3 pieces for ten dollars. Tote bags, wallets, and hats are sold around five to fifteen dollars a piece. If you are looking for a magnetic decorations or keychains, there are shops that sell a set of 10 pieces for only 1 dollar each. If you are looking for a twist, you can also easily find shops that sell dishes, miniature merlion, or even glow-in-the-dark shirts at affordable price!
Our biggest pleasant surprise was to find a shop that specialized in selling Japanese snacks at bargain price! The shop sold our favorite KitKat green tea bags for 3 bags per ten dollars. I also found unique Pocky flavors ranging from chocolate mint to milky vanilla inside the shop that were not produced outside Japan. Wifey ended buying some things as gifts to our closest people back home and our carry bags got suddenly multiplied from nonexistent to four plastic bags! We certainly glad that we had not bought anything at Lucky Plaza the day before as we managed to stop by at Bugis and found this place instead.
After an hour or so, Wifey tugged my hand and we headed out from the place. When I asked what was the hurry, Wifey said that if we had stayed longer at that place, she didn’t think that she could hold herself nor the contents of our wallet for much longer (^^’). So we headed to the MRT station and took our ride to Bayfront station to arrive at Garden by the Bay.
Huge in-door Gardens at Gardens by the Bay
We stepped out at Bayfront MRT and took the underground walkway to the west side entrance of the Garden. The walkway ends right between the famous Marina Bay Sands buliding and an artificial lake that is part of the Garden complex. We had to cross the lake via a suspension bridge erected above the lake. The view was simply breathtaking as we could see the famous Singapore flyer (that giant ferris wheel) and skyscrapers at one side and the vast sea on the other side. It was cloudy when we arrived there since the sky had just stopped raining, but the gloomy sky couldn’t stop us feeling excited after all.
Entrance to the Garden complex is completely free and easy. We just walked our way to the gate surrounded by various tropical plants with ease. The garden complex is quite huge and there are several themed mini garden inside the complex itself. We walked through Chinese garden and India garden where each is decorated with plants unique to the country themselves. There was actually shuttle buses that could transport visitors directly from the entrance gate to the in-door gardens, but they cost two dollars per passenger. Since Wifey and I were plain cheapskate tourists, we opted to walk instead.
Walking from the entrance gate to the in-door gardens took about fifteen minutes or so. There are two huge domes that serve as giant botanical gardens, the flower dome and the tropical forest dome. We decided to enter the flower garden first as we both are such suckers for beautiful flowers. As we got nearer to the entrance of the dome, I realized that our carry bags might become a bother inside and hinder our enjoyment to the flowers. Luckily, an employee pointed out that there are coin lockers for rent where we could store our bags safely during our visit there. The Lockers located just beside a stairway near the entrance gate. I just had to dropped one dollar coin to the slot and the locker is all mine to use. Bigger locker compartment cost just one dollar more expensive than the regular one, but the small ones could easily fit my bags anyway. After storing our bags, we headed into the first in-door garden, the flower dome.
The entrance of these indoor gardens are divided into two doors, the inner and outer doors. It was deliberately designed that way to control the temperature and moisture inside these gardens, so the environment will always be perfect for the plants inside. The alleyway between these doors was pretty dim with giant pictures of the plants plastered on both side. When we finally opened the inner door, we couldn’t help ourselves but feel amazed.
The garden inside was amazingly wonderful. We could see the glass so high above us surrounding the garden. Our skin could feel the pleasant warmth of the sun rays from outside. The air inside was cool and clean, thanks to the heavy air conditioning and I-could-not-imagine-what-other-gizmos that control the temperature and humidity. The walkway, the garden, and the arrangement of the plants that were grown inside were simply gorgeous. It was so calming and pleasant inside the flower garden that we both agreed we could spend an entire day inside just staring at the flowers.
And talking about the flowers, it was first time seeing flowers that were arranged so beautiful yet artistic on the same time. I’m not only talking about the vast variety here, but also the meticulous effort put by the artists that arrange these flowers into a depiction of lion, snake, elephant and even an amazing peacock with their magnificent tail feathers! Apparently the garden was holding an Indian-themed event hence the magical creatures were inside. Often we could not tell ourselves what flowers we were seeing due to our limited knowledge about plants in the first place. There actually is an audio tour rented at the place, but we opted to just enjoy the flowers anyway.
After feasting our eyes with the lovely flowers of flower dome. We stepped outside and headed to the second dome of tropical forest, dubbed cloud forest. I could feel the humidity inside the second dome was even greater than the first as we walked past the outer door. When we finally reached the inner door, we were literally surprised that we were greeted with a seven-storey waterfall inside an in-door garden! No wonder why it felt a bit wet ever since I brushed my way past the outer gate, as a bit of water splashed to the ground and formed a thin mist inside the dome.
Tour inside the cloud forest dome took us high above an artificial cliff as high as seven storey building. From top, we walked our way downward through suspension pathways, crystal caves, and even an educational theatres that taught us how tropical forests are threatened from deforestation and other hazards. We were able to see various plants from tropical climate which we had not recognized before. It was really exciting!
It was already four in the afternoon after we finished touring the garden. We decided to wrap up the day and head back to the hotel as we, again, almost could no longer feel our feet anymore. Overall, it was such an amazing trip to the gardens and beautiful places!