Photo: Z. Jacobs/Shutterstock

How You Can Experience Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, Home To the Tallest Indoor Waterfall in the World

Singapore Insider Guides
by Aisha Preece Jul 31, 2023

In 2012, the government of Singapore set out to create a “City in a Garden,” a futuristic botanical garden that would showcase the city-state’s embrace of the future and add to its already distinct skyline. Singapore is small — 274 square miles — yet it managed to fit Gardens by the Bay, an area containing several hundred acres of lush greenery, a waterfall, 1.5 million plants, and the largest glass greenhouse in the world into its tiny frame. Many visitors to Gardens by the Bay come for the iconic Supertrees, Cloud Forest, and Flower Dome, but there are a number of lesser-known exhibits to walk through on a day trip to the Gardens by the Bay.

Where is Gardens by the Bay located in Singapore?

Situated by the waterfront of Marina Bay, Gardens by the Bay consists of three parts. The Bay South Garden is the most popular section and home to the Supertrees, Flower Dome, and Cloud Forest.

The Bay East Garden is the second largest of the three but far less crowded than Bay South. This area is more like an actual park. It offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city with ample greenery and stunning views of the Singapore skyline, and is a perfect place to cycle, walk, and run.

The Bay Central Garden links the South and East gardens via a two-mile waterfront promenade. The city views are ideal here, and you can connect this promenade to the Marina Bay Sands resort and the heart of downtown.

How to get to Gardens by the Bay

The closest train station to the Gardens by the Bay is the Bayfront MRT, accessible by both the Downtown and Circle Lines. The park is less than a five-minute walk from the MRT station, and the specifics are as follows:

  • Arrive at Bayfront MRT and look for Station Exit B
  • Exit the station and follow the underground linkway
  • Cross the Dragonfly Bridge and arrive at the Malay Garden
  • Continue walking straight, and you will arrive at the Supertree Grove

Do you need tickets to visit Gardens by the Bay or is it free?

A large part of Gardens by the Bay, including Bay East Garden, the Supertree Grove, Heritage Gardens, Sun Pavilion, the Canyon, and more can be enjoyed for free. However, there is a fee to enter the Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest, and to access the Supertree Observatory and the OCBC Skyway. Timed-entry tickets must bought in advance online.

How long does it take to visit Gardens by the Bay?

Budget half a day (four hours) to explore Gardens by the Bay. There is a lot to see and there are several food and drinks options so you can stop for sustenance and then go back to walking around this immense futuristic garden.

At what time does Gardens by the Bay open?

The various areas of Gardens by the Bay and their attractions have different opening hours:

  • Bay East Garden opens is open 24/7 every day
  • The Serene Garden, Supertree Grove, Sun Pavillion, Heritage Gardens, World of Plants, Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes open at 5 AM daily
  • The Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, Supertree Observatory, and the OCBC Skyway open at 9 AM daily. These attractions are closed once per month for maintenance so make sure to look at the official website’s calendar before you set off.

At what time does Gardens by the Bay close?

The various areas of Gardens by the Bay and their attractions have different closing hours:

  • Bay East Garden opens is open 24/7 every day
  • The Supertree Grove, Sun Pavillion, Heritage Gardens, World of Plants, Serene Garden, and Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes close at 2 am daily
  • The Flower Dome, Supertree Observatory, and the OCBC Skyway close at 9 PM daily, but the last admission is at 8:30 PM.
  • The Cloud Forest closes at 9 PM, but the last admission is at 8:00 PM.

How many Supertrees are there in Gardens by the Bay?

@visit Gardens by the Bay in Singapore houses the largest glass greenhouse in the world 🌸 @Nathalie – Travel Blogger #GardensbytheBay #Singapore #singaporetravel #Singaporeaesthetic ♬ original sound – Visit

There are 18 Supertrees which function as vertical gardens. The tallest of these Supertrees is 164 feet tall and you can get to the top from where views of Marina Bay are striking. And while they look amazing during the day, the Supertrees will blow your mind come nighttime with their colorful illuminations. Accessing the Supertree Observatory costs $10.50 (14 SGD).

At what time is the light show at Gardens by the Bay?

Make sure you don’t miss the free light show that takes place at the Supertrees. At 7:45 and 8:45 PM, the trees come alive with a spectacular show of beautiful colored lights and music. Prepare to be enthralled for 15 minutes. To get a little closer to the Supertrees, instead of gazing at them for free from afar, take a stroll above on the OCBC Skyway (for which you need to purchase a ticket.) This 420-foot-long walkway among the Supertrees was constructed to give visitors the sensation that they are floating off the ground — 72 feet off the ground to be exact. Tickets to the OCBC Skyway cost $9 (12 SGD) for adults and $6 (8 SGD) for children. It is recommended to purchase your ticket online in advance.

What to see and do at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore?

The Supertrees

Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

Photo: Z. Jacobs/Shutterstock

The most popular attraction at Gardens by the Bay is the Supertrees. These sci-fi trees look straight out of Avatar as they emit glowing light. Measuring between 82 and 164 feet in height, the 18 trees were designed to mirror the form and function of mature trees. In line with their eco-friendly theme, some of the trees have photovoltaic cells that harvest solar energy to light up the Supertrees at night. The Supertrees also collect rainwater used in the running and cooling of the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.

For a sans-crowds experience, head to the Silver Garden located behind the Flower Dome. This viewing point is far less busy and allows you to take photos without random people in every shot. Also worth a visit is the Web of Life, located just south of the Supertree Grove, with animal-inspired art in the form of an Orangutan, Hornbill, Pangolin, and others.

The Cloud Forest

The Cloud Forest in Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

Photo: Doranobi/Shutterstock

The Cloud Forest is a dense, humid, and tropical dome, much like a tropical botanical garden — but, because this is Singapore, it’s presented as an amusement experience. You will first be confronted by a 115-foot-tall waterfall, reputedly the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, and if you stand close enough you can let the mist from the fall gently kiss your face to cool off. From there, follow a walking path called the Cloud Walk up a multi-story green “mountain” within the dome.

At the top of the Cloud Mountain you can enter the Lost World, which displays vegetation generally found at 6,500 feet above sea level. From here, take in the superb views of the rest of the Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Sands beyond the dome. Alternatively, you can explore the Crystal Mountain Cave, which houses a variety of stalagmites and stalactites, or the Cloud Forest theater, which showcases a film on natural conservation and sustainability measures.

The Flower Dome

The Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

Photo: Hit1912/Shutterstock

Once you’ve had your tropical fix, make your way to the Flower Dome across the plaza. This is the largest glass greenhouse in the world, packed with exquisite flowers and plants divided into different gardens — including a Mediterranean garden, a South American garden, and a South African garden. The flower dome also has a French Mediterranean restaurant named Pollen. Located in between an olive grove, this restaurant focuses on dishes with seasonal produce and herbs grown from their in-house garden.

The Floral Fantasy, Heritage Gardens, and Sun Pavilion

Floral Fantasy area in Gardens by the bay in Singapore

Photo: DerekTeo/Shutterstock

The Floral Fantasy is the newest addition to Gardens by the Bay. The exhibit comprises four diverse garden landscapes, each with a differing concept — Dance, Waltz, Float, and Drift. It also has a “4D” ride called “Flight of the Dragonfly,” which takes visitors on a journey through Gardens by the Bay from the perspective of a dragonfly. Admission runs $15 (20 SGD) for adults and $9 (12 SGD) for children.

The Heritage Gardens pay homage to Singapore’s diverse and multicultural history. The Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Colonial gardens have plants and art features intricately linked to the culture in each group. For example, in the Chinese garden, there is a smiling statue of Buddha, which sits under a medicinal tree. Meanwhile, the Indian garden is laid out in the shape of a kolam, a traditional Indian folk art design. The exhibit is open from 5:00 AM to 2:00 am, and admission is free.

The Sun Pavilion will make you forget you’re even in Singapore. The exhibit has a number of desert-like landscapes with over 1,000 desert plants such as the Brazilian Turk’s Cap and the African Euphorbias. Admission is free and opening hours are from 5 AM to 2 AM. Situated right next to the Sun Pavilion is a hidden area with gigantic fish known as the Big Fish Aquarium. It’s not on the map, allowing you to ogle at huge black pacu, humongous catfish, alligator gars, and giant-sized Amazonian arapaima with only those savvy enough to find the aquarium.

The Serene Garden and Far East Organization Children’s Garden

Far East Organization Children’s Garden in Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

Photo: DerekTeo/Shutterstock

A short walk away from the Supertrees is the Serene Garden, a Japanese-inspired outdoor landscape. The setting encompasses five acres of tranquillity and peace, as well as scenic views of the city’s skyline. Stroll through bubbling creeks featuring Blue Niyodo rocks and Bukit Timah granite, and check out plants including Bismarckias (endemic to Madagascar), elegant bamboo, and junipers carefully pruned to look like typical bonsai trees in Japanese zen gardens.

If you are traveling with children, it’s worth bringing them to the Far East Organization Children’s Garden. A number of features such as a Fish Fountain, spray jets, and water tunnels guarantee a fun day out. Temperatures in Singapore can reach highs of 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s a perfect way to cool off and keep kids entertained. Make sure your child brings along swimwear, as they will most likely splash around and get wet.

Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes

Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes at Gardens by the By in Singapore

Photo: MOLPIX/Shutterstock

The Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes are full of rich aquatic life and lush foliage. Try to spot the glimmering dragonfly sculptures that weave between the plants and lakes. There is also a boardwalk through the Dragonfly Lake and a number of educational sculptures built to shed light on the ecosystem’s vulnerability to man’s actions.

If you want to spot some kingfishers, head towards the end of Kingfisher Lake close to the Marina Reservoir. You’ll see a tree on which they perch as they scan the lake for their next meal.

Hotels near Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

If you’d rather stay at a rental than a hotel while in Singapore, check out Matador’s selection of top-rated Airbnbs in Singapore’s coolest neighborhoods.

We hope you love the hotels we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

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Located only 10 minutes on foot from Gardens by the Bay, the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, is a five-star luxury property of 608 rooms and suites, all of which are tastefully decorated. The hotel is home to one of the largest contemporary art collections in Southeast Asia, with 4,200 art pieces displayed in the property. Beyond the great location in the heart of the sought-after Marina Bay neighborhood and the art collection, the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, has many other assets, including its award-winning spa, and its signature restaurants and cocktail bar. The property also has a fantastic outdoor swimming pool with free cabanas, sun loungers, and pool umbrellas, and a fitness center.

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The Fullerton Hotel Singapore

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The Fullerton Hotel Singapore is one of the most iconic buildings in Singapore and a National Monument since 2015. Built in 1928, the heritage building was used as Singapore’s General Post Office, the Exchange, Chamber of Commerce, and more. Today, it is a stunning five-star hotels of 400 elegant rooms. Less than a 20-minute walk to Gardens by the Bay, the property has everything you’d expect from a luxury hotel of this caliber: An award-wining spa, an outdoor infinity pool with views of the skyline, multiple gourmet dining options, and even a koi pond.

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If wish you could spend the night in Gardens by the Bay, the PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, Singapore, is the closest thing to it. Although the property is located 25 minute son foot from the actual gardens, it is so extensively covered in lush greenery (outside and out) that it’ll make up for the distance. The 367 rooms in this five-star hotel are all modern and extremely comfortable. Of course, there is a spa on site, as well as a rooftop outdoor pool with free cabanas and sun loungers, and several dining options including a venue dedicated to mouth-watering pastries.

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