Singapore's 74-hectare botanic wonderland is a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the city's most arresting attractions. Established in 1860, it's a tropical Valhalla peppered with glassy lakes, rolling lawns and themed gardens. The site is home to the National Orchid Garden, as well as a rare patch of dense primeval rainforest, the latter home to over 300 species of vegetation, over half of which are now (sadly) considered rare in Singapore. Look up to see trees reaching 50m high, growing here even before the modern founding of Singapore.
The National Orchid Garden itself is the legacy of an orchid-breeding program that began in 1928, and its 3 hectares house over 1000 species and 2000 hybrids. Of these, around 600 are on display – the largest showcase of tropical orchids on Earth.
Located next to the National Orchid Garden is the 1-hectare Ginger Garden, with over 250 members of the Zingiberaceae family. The garden's newest addition, the 8-hectare Gallop Extension, includes the OCBC Arboretum that showcases a living library of trees and the ridge-top trail culminating at the garden's highest point (approximately 40m above sea level). More Gallop Extension attractions are slated to open in 2020, including a 200m barrier-free canopy link to join the extension to the Learning Forest.
Children will love exploring the interactive Jacob Ballas Children's Garden, complete with water-play feature and forest adventure playground. Enjoy swan spotting at Swan Lake, where along with the large bronze swan sculpture you might also see the real mute white swans imported all the way from the Netherlands. Free, themed guided tours of the Botanic Gardens run on Saturday, while the Symphony Lake makes a romantic setting for seasonal opera performances – check the website.