When the weather is good, I like to go out.
Today we have such nice weather. It is windy and the sky is cloudy. This is the kind of day when you want to go out to see nature.
Visiting the Singapore Botanic Gardens
I visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Singapore Botanic Gardens is a favorite among the locals and the tourists.
The garden has a few wide open field, and many locals get together for morning exercise or Tai Chi exercise or other forms of group exercise.
Even though Singapore Botanic Gardens has a long history of more than 150 years, the garden does not give you a sense that you are entering a historical or rundown place.
It is very well maintained, and there are always new features there.
I have been visiting it on and off since childhood, but I do not bother to find out anything much about it until today.
The reason is that there are many tour groups and the tour leaders have to speak loudly so that everyone in the group can hear.
How to go there
I normally take a bus that reaches there. There are many buses going there because they are on the way to the famous shopping district, the Orchard Road in Singapore.
It is hard to imagine that just 3 bus stops away, you enter the hustle and bustle of a busy shopping and commercial area.
Many people take the MRT (Metro) right to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. You can either take the Circle Line or Downtown Line. You alight at Botanic Gardens MRT Station. If you take the Circle Line, you alight at station CC19. If you take the Downtown line, you alight at station DT9.
Actually both refer to the same station.
You can take a taxi there. Every taxi driver in Singapore knows this place. If you are living nearby, you can even cycle there.
Walking there is another option if you are staying in a hotel in Orchard Road.
Acting like a tourist in my own country
I tag along the largest tour group. This particular tour group comes from China.
The tour leader sounds very passionate about the garden. She highlights many international awards given to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, as well as the fact that it has obtained UNESCO World Heritage Site status in recent years.
As a Singaporean, I am ashamed that I am not aware of all these facts.
When the tourists wow and wah about it, I also wow and wah with them. I think I really blend in with this group of tourists. I am really like a tourist in my own country, discovering things that I have never learnt before.
I think the next time I visit a local attraction, I shall ask the tourists to tell me more about it. I am more ignorant that the well-informed tourists.
National Orchid Garden
Singapore Botanic Gardens has many sections. Most are free, but some required you to buy a ticket before you can enter.
The National Orchid Garden is a paid attraction.
You will not regret a visit to this wonderful orchid garden. You will think that you have entered heaven when you reach the Tan Hoon Siang Misthouse. This artificial misty environment is created for the benefits of orchids that grow in highland.
Singapore is always hot and humid. The highland orchids will die in this kind of weather. That is why the Misthouse is built just for the gardeners to grow the orchids.
The National Orchid Garden is a small place, but there are more than 2000 kinds of orchids! I am not a lover of orchids, so I really do not understand the craze for it.
I think I forget to mention that our national flower is an orchid known as Vanda 'Miss Joaquim'.
As I mention I am so ignorant about our national flower that I do not know how it looks like. If you give me 3 different choices, and only one is Vanda 'Miss Joaquim', I think I will fail the test.
I take a lot of pictures of the flowers, leaves and everything else.
My favorite place in the Garden
I like the rainforest more than any other part in the garden. In fact, it is the coolest place (natural coolness) in the garden.
The trees are tall and the foliage is thick. The forest is a primary forest. That means it has never been cut down and replant before.
Personally I think the rainforest is the most natural part of the garden. Except for the path that cuts through the rainforest, there is no sign of other human intervention.
The air is the freshest of all too. No pollution, no artificial scent.
I like the rainforest region for another reason. While walking through the area around the rainforest, I can see a few durian trees. I wonder who eat the durians!
I miss the open air performance
Singapore Botanic Gardens has an open air concert performance area. I miss the timing for the open air performance.
The performers must have prayed for good weather. While they will not get wet in a drizzle because there is a roof top covering the area, the audience are not so lucky.
They will get drenched unless they have a large umbrella.
Next time I have to check the timing for the open air performance. It will be nice to visit when the orchestra performs or a singer sings.
Visiting Singapore Botanic Garden at night
There was a time when I took up a Tai Chi lessons on weekdays after work.
The lesson started at 7 pm, and ended at 8.30 pm.
At that time I thought the garden opens 24 hours. Now that I check out its Facebook page, I realize that the opening hour is from 5 am to midnight.
It closes for just 5 hours every day.
The evening time is a great time to visit the garden.
The major attractions are closed, and the large groups of tourists have left.
That is the time when you can hear the sound of nature. I mean the bubbles of the fishes that come to the surface to breathe.
The sound of the crickets and insects, and the flowers release a kind of subtle fragrance.
The garden is dimly lit at night. You can still see the path, and yet you have the feeling that you have entered a mystical realm where fairies and angels come out to play.
(All pictures are taken by me)