5 things to do at Singapore Botanic Gardens

Not just a treasure trove for plant and nature lovers, it also the ideal place for many fun-filled activities. 

5 things to do at Singapore Botanic Gardens
5 things to do at Singapore Botanic Gardens
06 Jul 2015

5 things to do at Singapore Botanic Gardens

Singapore received one of the best Jubilee year gifts when the Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The 156-year-old garden was inscribed at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany, on Saturday (July 4).

Occupying an area of 74 hectares (or about 138 football fields), the SBG has been described as an "exceptional example of a British tropical colonial botanic garden in Southeast Asia". However, the Gardens is not just a treasure trove for plant and nature lovers, it also the ideal place for many fun-filled activities. Here are five that we recommend.


Meet “Jackie Chan” and “Stefanie Sun”
Meet “Jackie Chan” and “Stefanie Sun”
06 Jul 2015

Meet “Jackie Chan” and “Stefanie Sun”


Orchids named after them, that is! The National Orchid Garden is home to over 1,000 orchid species and 2,000 hybrids, including those named after dignitaries and celebrities such as Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan, the the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Singapore songbird Stefanie Sun.

Orchid naming is a way to welcome important guests to Singapore and the practice has been in place for decades, with the first christened in 1957 after Anne Black, the wife of London's high commissioner to Singapore at the time. To date, more than 200 orchid hybrids have been named after visiting heads of state and equivalent VIPs.

If you are keen to have one named after you, you can sign up for the orchid growing workshop and learn how to cultivate your own orchids.

Photos: Singapore Botanic Gardens

Learn to tell the time at the Sundial Garden
Learn to tell the time at the Sundial Garden
06 Jul 2015

Learn to tell the time at the Sundial Garden

Step back in time at the Sundial Garden and see how the folks of yesteryears used sundials to tell time. You’ll be impressed by how accurate it is! Designed by the late wife of English botanist and former Director of the SBG, Eric Holttum, the sundial, which was installed in 1929, still retains its original glory and charm.

Apart from the Sundial Garden, a pair of sundials presented to the Gardens in 1995, can also be found inside the National Orchid Garden. Just make sure the sun’s out when you head there! 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Michael Coghlan

Take a photo with the iconic Tembusu tree
Take a photo with the iconic Tembusu tree
06 Jul 2015

Take a photo with the iconic Tembusu tree

This Tembusu tree (Cyrtophyllum fragrans) which is situated on the lawn overlooking Swan Lake, is no ordinary tree. Estimated to be about 170 years old, the tree is one of over 40 heritage trees at the Gardens and is even depicted in Singapore’s $5 notes.

A popular backdrop for family portraits and wedding photos, the majestic tree was fenced up in December 2013 to minimise damage to its roots. Its low-hanging branch is supported by a dynamic support system designed to prop up the branch without restricting its growth. Nevertheless, it is still a sight to behold, especially during flowering season in May and October.

Photo: Lam Shushan

Enjoy free concerts and movie screenings
Enjoy free concerts and movie screenings
06 Jul 2015

Enjoy free concerts and movie screenings

You can enjoy a picnic anywhere at the Singapore Botanic Gardens but our favourite spot has got to be around the Symphony Lake where free open-air concerts are held throughout the year. But be sure to get there early to chope a good spot as previous concerts here have pulled in big crowds. If it’s movies you enjoy, you can relive the magic of movie under the stars which takes place quite regularly at the Gardens.

The SBG has also lined up a series of events over the National Day long weekend as part of the NParks’ SG50 Concert Series in the Park. There will be a carnival, movie screenings, concerts and Singaporeans are even encouraged to gather there to watch the live telecast of the National Day Parade. More details here.

Photo: NParks

Embark on the rain forest walking trail
Embark on the rain forest walking trail
06 Jul 2015

Embark on the rain forest walking trail

Bet you didn’t know we had a rainforest in the heart of the city. The SBG’s rain forest is not only one of the last remaining primary forests of Singapore, it is also part of the original site of the Botanic Gardens founded in 1859. The 6.2 hectare forest is home to more than 300 species of flora, and if you get lucky, you might also spot colourful birds and squirrels. The SBG organises free guided tours on every second Saturday of the month or you can download a DIY walking trail guide from NParks website.

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