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Singapore Botanic Gardens: Highlights, Tips & Tours

Singapore Botanic Gardens


May 26, 2022 · 12 mins read

The oldest green space, 161-year-old Singapore Botanic Gardens is the country’s 1st UNESCO Heritage site attracting huge outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers to their paradise. It features myriad varieties of wonderful plants, colourful flowers, and animals; therefore, it is a well-known and most visited botanical library with educational and recreational zones and is the distinctive harmony of English Landscape and tropical plants. Filled with allure, the gardens are there waiting for you to explore. Before packing your suitcase, there are some activities, highlights, tips, and tours that should be on your list.

Epic Points to Check Out in Singapore Botanic Gardens

  1. National Orchid Garden
  2. Ginger Garden
  3. Botanical Art Gallery
  4. Eco-Lake
  5. Palm Valley and Symphony Lake
  6. Learning Forest
  7. Evolution Garden
  8. Sundial Garden

National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden at Singapore Botanic Gardens
National Orchid Garden at Singapore Botanic Gardens @ Z. Jacobs | Adobe Stock

On the top of Singapore Botanic Gardens’ hill, located the National Orchid Garden, exhibits the world’s largest collection of tropical orchids with over 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids and hugs 300 acres. The uniqueness that you should not miss here is the beautiful design which parts the presentation of orchids into 4 different colour sections: winter including white and cool purple tones, autumn decorated in orange, red, yellow, and brown, summer with red and pink, spring filled with lively and light tones of yellow. Every corner is instagrammable since the colours have been elaborately paired.

Daily Open: 8.30 AM - 7.00 PM

Time Required: 1 - 2 hrs

Fee: $5 for adults / $0.75 for students and senior citizens

Ginger Garden

Ginger Garden
Ginger Garden @ Singapore Botanic Garden | nparks.gov.sg

Entering Singapore Botanic Gardens through the Tyersall Gallop Gate, you will experience the most romantic scenery. The Ginger Garden impresses visitors at first sight with a dazzling waterfall. Behind that scene, you will be surprised by its climax, a sparkling pool decorated with gigantic Amazon water lilies and more than 250 species of ginger and its relatives originated in Asia, Africa, the Pacific and Indochina zone. Under the romantic night light, stop being lovey-dovey for a moment and appreciate the quirky beauty of ginger’s leaves and flowers. Moreover, The Ginger Garden has been separated into special areas categorized by the origins.

Daily Open: 5 AM - 12 AM

Time Required: 1 - 2 hrs

Fee: Free

Botanical Art Gallery
Botanical Art Gallery @ Gallop Extension | nparks.gov.sg

Step through the Tyersall Gallop Gate to explore the Botanical Art Gallery which is an appealing part of the Gallop Extension. The Gallery housed within Gallop House No. 7 which was built 116 years ago presents botanical artworks over 2,000 pieces, sketches, photographs, and drawings as the country’s precious 1st permanent display of botanical art. It shines a spotlight on the magic of fine art playing an important part in scientific documentation in various forms. Furthermore, fine art encourages people to appreciate nature. The activities you shouldn’t miss here are sketching, composing layouts, and mixing colours in the room surrounded by wooded areas.

Daily Open: 9 AM - 6 PM (Closed last Thursdays of every month)

Time Required: 1 - 2 hrs

Fee: Free


Eco lake
Eco lake 9, Sep 06 @Sengkang | Wikimedia Commons

Eco-lake is the ideal place for animal spotting and discovering world’s significant plants. It is near the Bukit Timah entrance which is easily reached by MRT. All over the immense landscape, economic plants stand such as fruit trees, herbs, and spices. Accordingly, the ‘eco’ here refers to ecological and economic. Besides those plants, you shouldn’t miss the tranquil Eco-Lake, housing graceful Black Swans. This wonderful place is perfect for relaxation with a peaceful and soft atmosphere.

Daily Open: 5 AM - 12 PM

Time Required: 1 hrs

Fee: Free

Palm Valley and Symphony Lake

Palm Valley
Palm Valley @ 玄史生 | Wikimedia Commons

Enter the Nassim Gate to explore the scenic hotspots, Palm Valley and Symphony Lake. The Palm collection with more than 220 species is formed in a herringbone pattern. Notice palms’ leaves from 6 sub-families: Arecoideae, Coryphoideae, Calamoideae, Ceroxyloideae, Phytelephantoideae, and Nypoideae would be fascinating because of their shapes and textures. Plus, music lovers may fall in love with the Symphony Lake where the Singapore Symphony Orchestra performs on a floating stage. This is the most visited garden where you should bring your family and a picnic basket to enjoy the beauty of sounds and nature.

Daily Open: 5 AM - 12 PM

Time Required: 1-3 hrs

Fee: Free

Learning Forest

Learning Forest
Learning Forest @ Tyersall Entrance | nparks.gov.sg

Head to the Learning Forest by Tyersall Gallop Gate. The highlights are Keppel Discovery Wetlands and SPH Walk of Giants. The first one houses endangered plant species of freshwater forest wetland and connects with the latter one with boardwalks and elevated walkways. Consequently, you will continuously learn from freshwater forest wetland to lowland rainforest where you feel so small because of the tallest trees in Southeast Asia like palms, climbers, and Canopy at SPH Walk of Giants. The other must-visit section is the collection of trees with special bark and forms. If you are a nature and learning enthusiast, the Learning Forest is perfect for you.

Daily Open: 5 AM - 12 PM

Time Required: 1-2 hrs

Fee: Free

Evolution Garden

Evolution Garden
Evolution Garden @ Sengkang | Wikimedia Commons

If you are a big fan of the epic films, Jurassic World, don’t miss the Evolution Garden! It is located near Symphony Lake. This peaceful 150-acres garden provides visitors a time machine to travel backward in time from the beginnings of our planet to the very first living organisms slowly evolving plant life on land. With splendid ferns, Cycads, and mystic man-made trees, the garden is designed for educational experiences. Another nearby spot is the Fragrant Garden serving heavenly sweet-scented experiences. These two spots are highly recommended to complete your serene afternoon.

Daily Open: 5 AM - 12 PM

Time Required: 1-2 and a half hrs

Fee: Free

Sundial Garden

Sundial Garden
Sundial Garden @ Basile Morin | Wikipedia

The solitary garden in the Botanic Gardens with classical design, Sundial Garden is located at the core of the Tanglin Gate. As its name declares, a sundial styled by Ursula Holttum, the wife of the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ director, Eric Holttum from a hundred years ago sits in the middle of this charming garden. The sundial is embraced by four ponds while hidden white female sculptures stand at all corners to enhance pleasantly classical vibes. If you want to be off the main paths and love the satisfying symmetry of details, don’t miss this garden.

Daily Open: 5 AM - 12 PM

Time Required: 1 hr

Fee: Free

How To Reach By Public Transportation

There are several ways to get to Singapore Botanic Gardens since it is located right in the middle of the city. However, the most preferred way for tourists is using Singapore's MRT network. This topic will provide you with a step-by-step guide you should follow.

Using Singapore’s massive MRT network allows you to take two separate MRT Lines: Downtown Line and Circle Line. Therefore, it is necessary to know which side of the city you are staying in beforehand. The Downtown Line displayed in Blue on the MRT map is a decent option if you are staying near Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, Chinatown, or Marina Bay. Make sure to look out for Stevens Station (which leads you right to the Gardens) in this case. Presented in Yellow on Singapore’s MRT map, the Circle Line is an alternative to reach Botanic Gardens Station as well. All you need is to search for Farrer Station; this will escort you to Melati Gate, the northwest entrance of Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Aside from Singapore’s MRT, the Botanic Gardens can also be reached via bus. Although catching a bus is not a tourist-friendly method since you probably have a hard time navigating the bus system, it is the most reasonable way to get to the gardens when the MRT is inaccessible. These are the nearest lines and routes: 106, 132, and 855. Additionally, Dempsey Hill and Treetops’ shuttle services are available for tourists at a reasonable cost.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Singapore is during the peak season as Singapore has more pleasant weather between June-July and November-December. Besides, traveling to Singapore between February and April grants you a turn-up for the books with several outdoor activities and festivals, including celebrating the Lunar New Year. No wonder this season is the prime time to spend your holidays with loved ones.

Accordingly, if you plan on getting to Singapore Botanic Gardens, visiting in the early morning, late afternoon, or early evening is the best option since the temperature at that time is more pleasant. But don’t forget to protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation with sunscreen, or if you want to take a night stroll, remember to apply insect repellent beforehand. This would prevent you from damaging your body unintentionally.

Best Restaurants You Shouldn’t Miss

Corner House

French-Asia Cuisine Storefront
French-Asia Cuisine Storefront @ Corner House | cornerhouse.com.sg

We suggest you drop by Corner House if you’d like to appreciate the taste of fine dining with a gastro-botanica feeling. This Michelin-starred restaurant presents alluring dishes inspired by the combination of Eastern and Western-style cuisine. Compatibly decorated with grayish-tone furniture, the restaurant has a distinct historical romance vibe suitable for spending a romantic moment on honeymoon and holding a family gathering.

Don’t miss out on the omakase-style gourmet meal filled with top-notch seasonal ingredients and the sentiment of the scenic interior at Corner House. If you come in a couple, a four-course meal set ($148) would be recommended. However, the seven-course chef’s menu is also the restaurant’s signature dish you should try once in your life ($258).

Location: Singapore Botanic Gardens, Nassim Gate, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore

Opening hours:
Tue-Sat (1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.) / (6:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m.)
Sun (11:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.) / (6:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m.)

The Garage

Botanico at The Garage
Botanico at The Garage @ The Garage | nparks.gov.sg

Don’t forget to swing by The Garage once you’re on an empty stomach. This breathtaking conservation building is located in the centre of Singapore Botanic Gardens. Decorated with Art Deco style furniture, the building serves multiple purposes as it presents tourists with a restaurant and a bar with distinctive style: Botanico and Bee’s Knees. Bee’s Knees, settled on the ground floor, is a perfect place for an afternoon hangout with a relaxed atmosphere. You can enjoy some light meals such as sandwiches, waffles, or pancakes with black coffee or whatever you want. But, if you crave to take things to a whole new level, we suggest you visit Botanico on the second floor.

At Botanico, you can experience mixed Asian-European-style dishes and cocktails which remind you of a unique botanica vibe. Featuring dishes produced by bistronomy, the contemporary-bistro style restaurant offers you several seasonal menus filled with natural and seasonal ingredients such as braised pork belly served with sherry sour sauce and lamb tartare.

Location: Singapore Botanic Gardens, Cluny Park Gate, 50 Cluny Park Road, Singapore

Opening hours:
Bee’s Knees - Mon-Sun (8:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.)
Botanico - Wed-Thu (6:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m.)
Fri (12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m) / (6:00 p.m-10.30 p.m.)
Sat-Sun (11:00 a.m-3:00 p.m) / (6:00 p.m-10.30 p.m.)

The Halia

 Halia Restaurant and The Villa
Halia Restaurant and The Villa @ The Halia | nparks.gov.sg

Nestled among the luxuriant greenery of the Ginger Garden, the Helia exudes a refreshing atmosphere of nature with Organic Modern interior design. The restaurant presents you with modern European cuisine with Asian inflections just like Botanica and Corner House. Settled within the UNESCO Heritage Site, The Helia has gained a reputation among locals and tourists since its first establishment in 2001. Drop by the Helia if you crave being surrounded by lush foliage and enjoying fusion dishes and drinks like Helia’s Singapore-style chili crab spaghettini ($26), raspberry yogurt pot ($8), and hot spice islands coffee ($6).

Location: Singapore Botanic Gardens, Ginger Garden, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore

Opening hours:
Mon-Thu (9:00 a.m.-9:30 p.m.)Fri (9:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.)
Sat (10:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.)
Sun (10:00 a.m.-9:30 p.m.)

Nearby Travel Attractions

National Museum of Singapore

National Museum, Singapore
National Museum, Singapore @ saiko3p | Adobe Stock

Home to Singapore’s countless motivational tales and stories, the National Museum of Singapore is the oldest existing museum you should visit if you’re into history and archaeography. With over 700 years of history, you can explore the origin and evolution of Singapore through captivating galleries and artifacts of immeasurable worth. Voices of Singapore Gallery, Glass Rotunda, Surviving Syonan Gallery, and Modern Colony Gallery are notable exhibits you shouldn’t overlook.

Fort Canning Park

Fort Canning Park, Singapore
top view of underground crossingl at Fort Canning Park, Singapore @ geargodz | Adobe Stock

Looking for somewhere to relax and hang out with families and friends? Fort Canning Park is the perfect spot for spending time with loved ones for its blessing environment among the nature. This lush-foliage-surrounded park allows you to appreciate soul-stirring live performances and classical-style concerts. Moreover, you can have a picnic at Fort Canning Park as well.

Mint Museum

The Mint Museum
Special Exhibition Discount Day @ The Mint Museum | Adobe Stock

If you’re into vintage things, take a look at Mint Museum. This dedicatedly-established museum serves its purpose well as it reserves rare and marvelous collections of old-fashioned toys at invaluable prices. Also, you can enjoy the delightful taste of various prestigious wines and appreciate the luxurious vibe at the museum’s boutique café.

Guided Tour Recommendations

Singapore Signature Guided Tour by Klook

For a small group of tourists, we recommend you take a look at the Singapore Signature Guided Tour by Klook. This 4-hour guided tour will take you on a relaxing and refreshing stroll among nature in Singapore Botanic Gardens. It’s a perfect opportunity for you to explore the stunning gardens and fulfill your culture geek desire in Chinatown and Little India. If you are craving a delightful taste of European-Asian-style dishes, the Maxwell Food Centre would definitely satisfy your hunger.

There are two types of Singapore Signature Guided Tour: private and join in. The private guided tour offers you an English-Mandarin speaking guide with years of experience and free transportation (as it should be). Meanwhile, the join-in one provides an additional guide with professional background for educational purposes. If you come here to learn about the gardens, the join-in tour will be the most suitable option.

Guided Tours by Volunteers

Once you arrive at Singapore Botanic Gardens, check out on free guided tours available every Saturday of each month. Conducted by volunteers, the walking tours offer a memorable and joyful experience along with educational facts and stories of each part of the gardens.

On the 1st Saturday of the month, Healing Garden, Rain Forest, and Gallop tours are cost-free and available at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. For morning-person-visitors, taking a tour in the greenery-surrounded atmosphere allows you to heal your reproductive system and gain knowledge about medical plants.

But if you are more like an adventurer, taking a stroll at Leaning Forest would be a perfect option for people who seek an adrenaline-charged journey. This volunteer tour is open on the 2nd Saturday of the month, together with a walking tour to Rain Forest. Moreover, you can’t overlook the scenic vision of the National Orchid Garden on the 3rd Saturday of the month. Escorted by free guided volunteers, you can overjoy the beauty of orchids in various species despite having admission fees. The National Orchid Garden tour is available for four periods: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and 4 a.m. The Gallop guided tour is also the one that you shouldn’t miss. Unfortunately, the tour to Nature Sketching in the Gardens is not available right now until further notice.

On the 4th Saturday of the Month, first-come-first-serve tours are open to visitors at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. You can take the Heritage Tour and Race Against Time to dive into the past of Singapore Botanic Gardens. If you missed the tour to Learning Forest the previous Saturday, you could have a chance to explore more about the greenery in the 4th one.

Satisfy your cravings for relaxing and intriguing vacation at Singapore Botanic Gardens. This UNESCO Heritage site offers varieties of medical plants and animals that serve educational and recreational purposes well. You can spend your wonderful holidays by taking a stroll during the day and at night; moreover, you can appreciate the unique style dishes and drink at restaurants and bistros in the gardens as well. If you are looking for a scenic and nature-oriented travel attraction, Singapore Botanic Gardens is a place where you should visit once in your lifetime.

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