As well as being a convenient stopover on the NZ to UK route, Singapore is a gentle introduction to Asia. English is widely spoken and most signs are in English. The Singapore dollar is worth $1.05 NZD so currency conversion is straightforward too.
There is lots to see and do, but Singapore is expensive and if you want to do a lot of the well-known sites you can spend some serious cash. However there are also plenty of free or lower cost options to fill your time. We knew this would be an expensive part of the trip, so we booked 4 nights and planned to see as much as we could in this time. We are flying out of Singapore to London in April so we can spend an extra day or two here at the end of the trip if we want to.
Gardens by the Bay
We had been looking forward to visiting Gardens by the Bay ever since we booked flights to Singapore, the distinctive Supertree Grove and Cloud Forest were top of our must see list.
The nearest MTR station is Bayfront, providing easy access to both Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands. We headed straight to Supertree Grove and the OCBC Skyway, an aerial walkway 22 metres high between the Supertrees.
As well as impressive views over the gardens, the skywalk also offers fantastic views of the iconic Marina Bay Sands. The gardens are lit up beautifully at night and there is a light show in the evenings. Entry to the Skywalk was $26 SGD for the family which was fairly good value by Singapore standards.
Next we headed to the Cloud Forest, by this time the late morning sun was getting very hot, being only our second day we weren’t acclimatised to the heat yet. We were waylaid by signs for the children’s garden and discovered a fantastic and free, water play area for children. The Far East Organisation Children’s Garden was filled with local families and tourists. We didn’t have swimwear with us but that wasn’t going to stop L & S from going in the water. We resigned ourselves to them getting soaked and just let them get on with it, we figured the sun was hot enough to dry them off afterwards.
The garden also included an adventure playground / obstacle course and S was delighted to swing on some monkey bars, and do some climbing, she misses that part of school a lot. If you do visit these gardens I highly recommend you bring swimwear, it does make the rest of the day a bit more comfortable!
After that lengthy detour we were at the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome Conservatories. The Flower Dome is the largest glass greenhouse in the world and is cool and dry. The Cloud Forest is the cool, moist conservatory and has the world’s highest indoor waterfall (35 metres). We chose the cloud forest and arrived just in time for the 2 hourly misting, this would have been a welcoming, refreshing experience, if only L & S weren’t dripping wet already! Admission to both domes is $28 SGD for adults and $15 for kids. We were able to get a ticket for one dome because we knew after the Skywalk and water play, two domes wasn’t realistic for us, but it is much better value to buy a combined ticket. If you are keen to see all these gardens have to offer be sure to allow plenty of time.
The Cloud Forest is a mountain, showcasing plants that grow at different heights. At the top are plants that grow at around 2000 metres above sea level. The dome was educational with information about cloud forests around the world and rare plants and their disappearing environments. We spent over an hour in the dome admiring the many interesting plants.
Gardens by the Bay has so much more to offer but we had filled quite a few hours by this time and we were ready for a rest. I would definitely return to do the Flower Dome another time and explore more of the outdoor gardens which are all free to visit.
Read about the rest of our time in Singapore here.