I haven't visited Singapore for a while, then all of a sudden had to make 2 trips there in the past few months. It is always nice to visit our upmarket neighbour, except that the exchange rate can really put a big dent in the wallet. Singapore is now officially the most expensive city in the World - and if you check the hotel rates you would totally agree.
On the surface not much has changed since my last visit which was around 2 years back, but if you look closer you will see that the island is undergoing some deep transformations, both in positive and negative ways. On the positive side - lots of quirky shops, cafes, restaurants are popping up everywhere, and Singapore is beginning to see the emergence of creative cultural endeavours and alternative lifestyles which makes the city a more interesting place to visit. On the negative side - the island is just getting too crowded, and certain parts of the city are bursting at the seams, and others are beginning to show their rough edges.
One of the most exciting new additions on the island is the Gardens By The Bay. I missed it during the last visit, and this trip it was on the top of my list. The main attractions there are the supertrees and the flower domes. The supertrees are quite amazing to look at - it is a clever mix of high-technology and nature, and the colour scheme and design strangely reminded me of the movie Avatar.
There are 2 huge glass domes at Gardens By the Bay. Once is called the Flower Dome, the other the Cloud Forest. The Flower Dome is a cool-dry conservatory which replicates the climate of Mediterranean and semi-desert regions. It features plants from those regions including palm trees, olive groves, cacti, etc. In the middle of the dome is the Flower Field where the flower display change according to the season.
I found the Cloud Forest more interesting and impressive compared to the Flower Dome. The Cloud Forest features plants from tropical highlands up to 2,000 feet above sea level. Right in the middle of the dome is a huge cylindrical structure fully covered in plants, with a number of waterfalls at different heights. To visit the display you enter into the cylindal and make your way to the top, and a series of floating sky-walks take you round the vertical walls to view the beautiful display of plants. The suspended sky-walks are quite an experience in themselves - and definitely not for those who suffer from vertigo.
It cost SGD 28 to enter both the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest (locals pay only SGD 20) which is one of the best bargains you can get in Singapore nowadays.