Gardens by the Bay

One of the most iconic sights of Singapore is a relatively recent addition – The Gardens by the Bay.

In January 2006, an international master plan design competition was launched to seek design ideas for Gardens by the Bay.

It had more than 70 entries submitted from over 24 countries, including 35 from Singapore.

Work started on the gardens in 2007 and opened to the public in 2011.

There are 12 main sections to the gardens including the East Bay, floral pavilions and the most recognisable part – the Super Tree Grove!

It’s also a great place to survey another of Singapore’s iconic sights – the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

We’ll be heading up the top of that later for some panoramic views over the harbour.

Measuring between 25 and 50 metres tall, Gardens by the Bay’s Supertrees are designed with large canopies that provide shade in the day and come alive with an exhilarating display of lights and sounds at night.

Join the crowds standing and staring at these iconic giants and stroll along the 22-metre-high OCBC Skyway.

Sadly the weather was not good enough for the skyway to open so we couldn’t walk up there due to violent, sudden rainstorms!!

There are 18 Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay and 12 of them can be found at the Supertree Grove.

The tallest one measures up to 16 storeys in height and there is also a restaurant at the top of one of them.

This free attraction has to be on your Singapore itinerary. It’s an incredible engineering feat and the gardens could easily take up at least two days of your trip.

Over 158,000 plants made up of more than 700 species and varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers have been planted on the 18 Supertrees.

The Supertrees have different planting schemes in various colours ranging from warm tones like reds, browns, orange and yellows, to cooler hues like silver and pink.

As evening starts to close in, the trees start to light up – heralding the much anticipated light and sound show that takes place each evening. There will be LOTS of pictures of that . . . .

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks.

Close to Shinjuku Station, the park boasts spacious lawns, ambling little walkways and paths and peaceful scenery that provides a welcome green oasis of calm in the heart of the relentless city.

The garden has more than 20,000 trees, including approximately 1,500 cherry trees which bloom from late March to early April.

I imagine that is an incredible sight – another excuse to go back and see it for ourselves!

Shinjuku Gyoen is comprised of three very different types of gardens.

The oldest is a traditional Japanese landscape garden featuring large ponds dotted with islands and bridges. There is also a French style and English style garden too.

There’s a large greenhouse with lots of¬†tropical and subtropical flowers, cactus and other flora to admire.

Shinjuku Gyoen originated during the Edo Period (1603-1867) as a feudal lord’s Tokyo residence.

Later it was converted into a botanical garden before being transferred to the Imperial Family in 1903 who used used it for recreation and the entertainment of guests.

Of all the gardens it is naturally the traditional Japanese one that attracts us the most.

With its little bridges and stone pagodas it is the archetypal image of Japan that I had hoped to find.

Feeling refreshed and invigorated we head off to our next destination – the Shibuya Scramble crossroads! But not before I find a few ways to cool down!!