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Friday, 20 May 2016

Complete Guide to Singapore Botanic Gardens (Part 3)

Botanic Gardens is Singapore's one and only UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As mentioned in my previous posts, Botanic Gardens is divided in 3 sections -

Bukit Timah Core - Click HERE
Central Core - Click HERE
Tanglin Core - which is what this post is going to cover.

Botanic Gardens was established at Tanglin in 1859 and from there it extended to the Central and Bukit Timah Core over the years.  Being the oldest part the of Garden, Tanglin Core has plenty of historical landmarks.

Tanglin Core Attractions as follows:

* Main/Tanglin Gate
* CDL Green Gallery
* SBG Heritage Museum
* Botany Centre
* Swan Lake
* Tembusu Tree (S$5 note tree)
* Gazebo
* The Deli
* Curtain of Roots
* Bandstand
* Bonsai Garden
* Sun Garden
* Sundial Garden
* Frangipani Garden
* Plant House
*Prisoner-of-War Brick Steps
* Fernery
* Marsh Garden
*Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim (previously Vanda Miss Joaquim)

Main/Tanglin Gate
Cast-aluminium gate features Bauhinia Kockiana climber plant.  This exquisite entrance is one of the fav photo spot among tourists. 

Souvenir shop.

Interesting wood sculptures.

Some water plants.

Botanic Gardens is pet friendly but owners need to be responsible.

There is a cafe at the entrance, apparently quite popular among youngsters.

 No lift, only a flight of staircase to get down to this cafe.

It's causal dinning serving western food with a bit of asian fusion..

My order came in a big portion.

Steak & Sambal Potatoes S$26.00

It was well-done, sigh... Should had ordered chicken or fish instead, but I was craving for beef that day...
The sambal pototoes saved the plate though.

Grilled Beef Cheese Burger S$9.00
My companion had this, she said it was delicious.

Moving on.....

Thankful to the gardeners' hard work to maintain our beautiful Garden.

CDL Green Gallery  (#32 on the map)
It's an aircon area of 314sqm, it's an awesome escape from the heat heehee... At the same time, of course, learn a bit from botanical/greening related exhibits.
The most interesting part is that this little building has solar photovoltaic cladded roof panels which harvest all the electricity required within.  It is Singapore's first zero energy Green Gallery.

The exhibits changes every 6 to 9 months, so I am not sure if the following exhibits are still there.

Just the opposite of CDL Green Gallery is SBG Heritage Museum.

SBG Heritage Museum

This building is called the Holttum Hall which was once the office and laboratory of  Eric Holttum, who was Assistant Director of Singapore Botanic Gardens from 1922 to 1925.

Take note of the opening hours...

The Botany Centre serves as a visitor information centre for the southern end of the Gardens. Research facilities like the Singapore Herbarium, the Library of Botany & Horticulture and the Orchid Breeding and Micropropagation Laboratory are located here.

The library opens only on weekdays from 9am to 5pm.

Here a couple of pics of the laboratory.

This video shows why is the above called the Shaker Room lolxx...

Nearby Botany Centre,  saw this tree with enormous fruits which we thought were coconuts.  Upon reading the sign board, this is actually a palm tree called Double Coconut.
Fun fact - They are dioecious, in layman terms, the trees are either male or female.  This bear fruit one is obviously female.  The sad thing is, the male is at Palm Valley (near Symphony Lake).  So, in order to have "offsprings", they need hand-pollination lolxx....

Swan Lake (#3 on the map)
This is the oldest lake in Botanic Gardens.  The fun fact is, it had been drained dry twice!  Once to capture a crocodile in 1892, another time to capture 6 turtles which ate up the water lilies in 1961 lolxx....  Although this lake is not consider big, but I don't think draining it is an easy task, especially back in 1892, my gawd.......

Today, it's beautiful with swan sculptures as well as White Mute Swans from Amsterdam at this lake.

If you stayed long enough by the lake, you may spot many large fishes about 1 metre long in this lake.

Smaller ones are often seen swimming near, I am quite sure they were hoping that I would throw in some food lolxx..

See those greedy fearless creatures!  lolxx,,,

Snake Tree with fruits looking like curly long beans.  I did a bit of read up that they bear beautiful purple flowers like ballet tutu skirts.  But didn't get to see them.

There's a tiny little bridge across at the extreme right side of Swan Lake which not much people know it's existence.
I some how did not take a pic of the bridge, only this pic shows the left side of the lake from the bridge.

The right side of the bridge is a totally different look of Swan Lake.  There are water lilies and.....
a lonely swan living here, seemed forgotten.  Even Singapore Botanic Gardens' offical web-site mentioned that there are only a pair of swans in Swan Lake...

So, the fact is there are 3 swans in Swan Lake, not just 2.

And next to this forgotten section of Swan Lake is...

The Dell (#4 on the map)

It's full of thick growth of ferns.

Tembusu Tree ($5 Tree)
This heritage tree didn't look particularly special from far at the Main Gate Road near Swan Lake.

Now the close up...  this Tembusu Tree with an extremely low branch is more than 150 years old.

And, it's depicted at the back of our Singapore $5 note.

Gazebo (#2 on the map)
This beautiful vintage Victorian cast-iron shelter is nested near the Swan Lake.
The shelter was built in 1850s, originally located at Grange Road.  It was shifted into Singapore Botanic Gardens in 1969.

It's probably not as "famous" as the Bandstand, but I personally love this Gazebo much more for it's dainty-ness ^.^ 
Dainty little white flowers surrounding it making the Gazebo very fairy-tale looking.

A Curtain of Roots
Located near Botany Centre, these reddish-brown strands draped over the ceiling of the walkway like curtain.

They sway gently like maiden's hair as the wind blows.

These "hair" are actually aerial roots of Curtain Ivy plant on the shelter, pretty amazing plant isn't it.

Bandstand (#6 on the map)
As it's name suggested, this huge shelter was used for music performances by military bands in the past.
Now, it is a prominent landmark feature of the our UNESCO World Heritage Garden.

As you can see, Bandstand is surrounded by trees with little yellow flowers.   When the wind blows, the fragile flowers falls slowly like snow..... it was such a beautiful and romantic sight that I almost cried.  Why didn't I take a video of it, urrgg....

I was once stranded in Bandstand for more than 2 hours during an unexpected down pour.

Many of us seek shelter in Bandstand, including this wedding couple and their photographer.
Most benches were wet, most of us were either squatting or standing.  After about an hour plus, someone offered me his seat, I had to take it right away with a thank you as my legs were going to break already.

And at the same time, the wedding couple decided not to wait and brave through the rain with the photographer snapping candid shots non-stop.
This is going to be so memorable for them!

Do slow down your pace when you pass by.  If you are lucky, the wind may be bring down showers of flowers.

Or perhaps meet up with a rooster.

Bonsai Garden
Located near the Bandstand, the Bonsai Garden displays specimens of bonsai ranging from tropical to sub-tropical species and varieties.

This is how Bonsai Garden looks like with plenty of carp fish sculptures.

Sun Garden
Next to Bonsai Garden is a desert landscape with lots of poky cactus.

Penis look alike cactus never fails to amuse me lolxx....  Larger ones can be seen at Gardens By The Bay.

Ok, there's a large one catus.

Bandstand can be seen from here.

Sundial Garden
This is historical landmark is a quiet spot not explored by many.  I always enjoyed the tranquility alone here.

Frangipani Garden

It's quite enjoyable to sit on the swing and inhale the faint fragrance of frangipani if the weather is not too sunny.  If the sun is at it's prime, then the swing feels like BBQ hot plates lolxx..

"Lady In Pink" Apocynaceae

Hedychium Coronarium

Plant House (#15 on the map)
This is another beautiful and undisturbed plot of lush green, perfect for photoshots to me.

I had a great time capturing beauty out of urban.

Prisoner-of-War Brick Steps (#14 on the map)
The words on the introduction board is too small for you guys, so I typed it out word by word:

"These steps and bricks were made by prisoners of war (PoWs) during the Japanese occupation of Singapore (1942 - 1945).  As a sign of  defiance, the PoWs imprinted arrows on most of the bricks to indicate that they were "detained by the authorities".  In August 1995, at the 50th anniversary of the cessation of hostilities, eight former Australian prisoners of war (PoWs) visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens in order to observe their wartime workmanship and gleefully recounted that memory.

Fernery (#13 on the map)
Garden of ferns....

Marsh Garden (#1 on the map)

The area is low-lying and naturally waterlogged.  Previously used to be a pond but redeveloped into a marsh garden in 1969.

It's like a jungle, yet well kept with a nice pavement for us to walk on.

Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim  (#7 on the map)
(Previously known as Vanda Miss Joaquim)

Our national flower.

Covering 74 hectares, there are 7 entrances into Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) -

1) Bukit Timah Gate -
besides Botanic Gardens MRT

2) Tanglin Gate -
near bus stops with bus nos. 7, 75, 77, 105, 106, 123, 174.

3) Burkill Gate - along Tyersall Avenue, 2 parking plots available

4) Nassim Gate - at Nassim Road which leads into the Visitor Centre, with 1 multi-storey carpark and 2 open space parking plots

5) Melati Gate and 6) Cluny Park Gate - along Cluny Park Road, with 2 parking plots

7) Palm Valley Gate - along Cluny Park Road, no parking available.

There is another "non-official" entrance without a gate from Kheam Hock Road which leads to Jacab Ballas Children's Garden with parking lots.  And from there you are able to walk into the Gardens.

Didn't expect me to drag so long to compile this Complete Guide to Singapore Botanic Gardens.  Nevertheless, it's done and it's my way of loving my homeland.

Singapore Botanic Gardens
1 Cluny Road
Singapore 259569
Opening hours 5am - 12am


  1. Beautifully done and so comprehensive. I can see it was a true labour of love!