Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sight-seeing SG50 Style: #1 National Orchid Garden & Botanic Gardens

In keeping with Singapore’s celebration of 50 years of independence, I would like showcase some of the local attractions we’ve visited so far – some we have loved, some we were not so impressed with, some were worth revisiting.

Singapore may just be a small country but this little red dot has a lot of award-winning and world-renown attractions. We may be lived in this country for 15 years but we still have not seen so many places of interest. Come and join me and my family as we explore this country we call our home away from home. We hope to be able to visit, or revisit, about 50 Singapore attractions before the year is through. Now that’s a challenge – attraction-hopping-spree!

Let me begin with our visit to the National Orchid Garden last year. It was during the Children’s Day holiday. I wanted to bring the boys out and have a leisurely walk at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. I read about the National Orchid Garden and it seemed interesting enough for me and my boys to see. 

Our trip to the Orchid Garden was convenient enough. We could have taken the train using the Circle Line to the Botanic Gardens Station but since the Orchid Garden is located on the southwestern part of the Botanic Gardens we just took the train to Dhoby Ghaut Station and transferred to a bus along Penang Road (buses 7, 106, 174). We alighted at the stop after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along Holland Road which was 10 bus stops away, passing by the shopping district of Orchard Road. We walked from the bus stop and crossed the road to get to Tyersall Avenue which led us into the Botanic Gardens. I have to say that it was quite a walk, about 1 km! Good thing we brought along drinks and food so the boys were eating while walking and had taken the distance we had to walk out of their minds.

We entered the Botanic Gardens via the Singapore Garden Festival gateway passing by The Halia. That’s just about another 350m more to the National Orchid Garden. We had to take a breather and sit for a while just outside the Garden entrance/shop after that long walk.

At the entrance of the National Orchid Garden were a variety of orchids in full bloom. These were just samples of what we saw as we walked around the garden where about 600 species and hybrids or orchids on display. We had a lot of ground to cover (about 3 hectares of it) and so we started our nature walk with a quick photo stop at the famous Crane Fountain: 

The National Orchid Garden is divided into four color zones which are named according to seasons - spring zone with bright shades of yellow, gold and cream; summer zone with strong reds and pinks; autumn zone with matured shades , and winter zone with white and cool violet shades. Let us walk you through the National Orchid Garden and show you some of the interesting flowers we've captured: .


From the historic Burkill Hall, a colonial plantation style house which was built in 1868, we walked down a series of steps leading to the Orchidarium, VIP Orchid Garden, Celebrity Orchid Garden, Mist House and Cool House. We were in awe of the variety of orchids surrounding us. From the usual purple colored bigger breeds to the more colorful ones and even the smallest one we've seen which was as big as a finger.




The Celebrity Orchid Garden was were hybrids named after celebrities were displayed.


Here we were entering the Tan Hoong Siang Mist House....






After which we entered the Cool House which was an enclosed area depicting a high elevation tropical forest. Just what we needed after being under the sun for a while.


In the photo below, we were already making our way out of the National Orchid Garden grounds passing through the Golden Shower arches.


It was a feast for the eyes this National Orchid Garden. We got tired of walking around but it was worth the walk seeing these beautiful variety of orchids.

On our way home, we decided to take the train on the other side of the Singapore Botanic Gardens which meant walking for 2kms or so. At first, Ira was starting to complain about another long walk we were going to go thru but seeing some wildlife along the way - a big monitor lizard, some wild chickens, squirrels and this pitcher plant - the boys didn't expect to be entertained. In no time we were already at the other end of the Botanic Gardens and our nature learning journey has come to an end.

I'll definitely be bringing the boys back to the Botanic Gardens as there are still so many other places we have not explored. We will probably go back to the Orchid Gardens this school holidays, too. It's good to bring them out and appreciate nature from time to time.

Don’t miss the Garden’s school holiday promotion (free entry to students and accompanying adult) coming up. Check the link below for more details:

National Orchid Garden Fast Facts

Address; 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569
Phone: 6471-7361
How to get there:
·         By Bus
o    Tanglin Gate - Take bus number 7, 75, 77, 105, 106, 123, 174. Alight along Napier Road and take about a 15-minute walk to the Orchid Garden.
o    Bukit Timah Gate - Take bus number 48, 66, 67, 151, 153, 154, 156, 170, 171, 186 and alight along Bukit Timah Road. This will take you about 20-minute walk to the Orchid Garden.
·         By MRT – Botanic Gardens MRT Station (Circle Line) then walk to the Orchid Garden

Admission fees: $5 for adults, $1 for students, FREE for children below 12yrs old

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