It matters not to me to visit the same place again because obviously, memories and experiences will be different. On my 5th trip to Singapore last October 12-14, 2013, I visited Gardens by the Bay again and thankfully, I was privileged to play tour guide to my mom and aunt. Despite our limited travel budget, and the fact that the three of us endured a 9-hour-bus-trip over night from Penang to Johor Bahru and a more-or-less-an-hour-Immigration-proceedings and bus transfers at the borders of Malaysia and Singapore the following day, plus another 45 minutes MRT and taxi rides to our hotel, we’re grateful as we’re blessed with a fine weather that afternoon and we’re able to bring our feet to appreciate those man-made Supertrees and Mother Nature’s flower power!
During my first visit to Gardens by the bay last year, I was toured by Gina, a Filipino good friend who’s more like the sister-I-never-had, based in Singapore. She’s generous to voluntarily treat me to Flower Dome & Cloud Forest; then we had late lunch at Marina Bay Sands after. So when I got the chance, I didn’t hesitate to pay it forward to my relatives. After all, they’re the ones who were there in Penang who helped me for a month with their own hands, to pack 3 years of my life. Touring them to one of Lion City’s must-visit places was nothing compared to the love, concern and understanding they showed, in spite and despite of.
It’s nice to visit a place the second time around, you’ll be able to see improvements and changes. Immediately after crossing the pedestrian bridge from Marina Bay Sands, we rode the shuttle for Sg$2 (US$ 1.60) per pax, roundtrip (although we only rode it once as service was only until 5PM and we stayed longer), to save the feet of my geriatric guests from walking. The shuttle ride took us to the ticketing booth of Gardens by the bay.
Tickets for foreigners for both Flower Dome & Cloud Forest still cost the same as last year’s; Sg$ 28 (US$22.50) per pax. I first brought them to Flower Dome.
In 2012, I mentioned in my blog post on this site and in my review at Tripadvisor that it’s practical and sufficient enough to pay entrance fee to just one of the airconditioned domes and it’s better to choose Flower Dome over Cloud Forest. I’m taking that all back. Having seen Gardens by the bay for the second time proved to me that they have themes every season, or perhaps every month that could instantly make a returning tourist marvel once more. It’s all worth it, I think.
On our recent visit, the theme was all about Indian’s Festival of Light, Deepavali or Diwali.
The Flower Dome was filled with Malaysian mums, pompoms and other blooms appropriate for Diwali.
I cannot express into words how my family wonder in awe, particularly my mom who’s always in love with flowers of any size and color. They found every corner, every petal, every spot a photo-opportunity! Really, the display was amazing!
Aside from the Deepavali-inspired flowers, there were the staples, like the roses and among them, this variegated species of white & red rose really caught my eye!
Flowers, flowers, and more flowers…
After enjoying our time from 3PM-5PM at Flower Dome, we felt the need to load our tummies. So prior going to the next-door-dome, the Cloud Forest, we went out to look for something to eat. We found comfort at Texas Chicken fast food inside the Supertree Grove Restaurants.
Grabbing bites from huge servings of crispy fried chicken from Texas Chicken brought back memories from my lunch breaks of my college years. I wondered whatever happened to Texas Chicken (and A&W) that they had to terminate business in Manila; good thing that neighboring Southeast Asian countries still keep them. I digress. Anyway, after we became satiated with delicious fastfood meals, we went back and admired the other garden dome that I usually describe as Avatar-ish, Cloud Forest.
Stepping inside the cool-moist-conservatory, visitors will be delighted to the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, misty atmosphere and lush biodiversity that showcase pitcher plants, orchids, begonias, bromeliads, ferns, even crystals and many more. There are lifts to take tourists to various levels of that man-made-mountain forest.
The child in me instantly noticed the addition of a wonderful forest village with railway stations and mobile choo choo train! I only wished my son, Gabby had enjoyed it with me. Perhaps, in the near future visits, who knows.
Of all people, I was a fool to deny the fact that my mom and aunt have lesser stamina and horsepower to tolerate miles of walking that afternoon. I indirectly and unintentionally tortured their calf muscles and feet and deliberately tested their temper in walking several miles back to Marina Bay Sands via its basement walkway. My goal : for all of us to eat dinner at Rasapura Food court that’s located at the terminal end of MBS’ ground floor and walk back to MRT to our hotel in Orchard Road. Fatigue, muscle aches, haywire moods and a perception that ‘Singapore is all about walking’ dawned upon them. Everything was charged to their first-time-experience in the Lion City. I bet they enjoyed nonetheless!
RASAPURA FOODCOURT, MARINA BAY SANDS
We traveled far via bus from Penang and we’re about to go home to Manila in a couple of weeks, and considering I had an option to let them sample Hainanese Chicken Rice and Singapore Laksa, we all gave in to our Filipino stomachs’ cravings. Kare-kare, Pork Barbecue, Pakbet, Pancit Bihon, Sour Broth Soup from Gerry’s Grill and ice cold Coke were definitely satisfying!
The entire afternoon of seeing the Lord’s most colorful creations, inside the world’s most beautiful man-made garden domes with my mom and aunt was truly an experience of a lifetime for the three of us! I never imagined that I could bring them to Singapore, but opportunity presented itself and we could only be grateful for everything!
I already experienced traveling and touring alone and admittedly, it offered self-discoveries and a lot other opportunities. However, bringing other feet to other places, particularly new to them; knowing that you could share the good times and bad times with them as well, is a must do for everyone whenever possible.
Their smiles say it all!
*This NOT a sponsored blog post.
My visit to Gardens by the bay in 2012 blogged here : http://docgelo.com/2012/08/08/infinite-dose-of-spring-gardens-by-the-bay/
Gardens by the bay | 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953 | website : www.gardensbythebay.com.sg
How to get to Gardens by the bay (sourced from their website).
Via the Circle Line:
- Alight at Bayfront MRT Station (CE1)
- Take Exit B and follow the underground linkway
- Exit and cross the Dragonfly Bridge or Meadow Bridge into Gardens by the Bay
Via the North South / Circle Line:
- Alight at Marina Bay MRT Station (NS27/CE2)
- Take Exit A and hop onto bus service 400
- Alight 4 stops later at the bus stop along Marina Gardens Drive