Step into a mysterious breath-taking world of lush and intriguing vegetation that will make anyone green with envy. Meet the elusive super Crazy Rich Plants of Singapore.
Tucked amidst the bustling city of Singapore lies a spectacular waterside park built on reclaimed land that features two giant glass conservatories that houses the most extraordinary collection of plants. The structures are a magnificent modern marvel for its grid shell glass roof supported by a series of ribs that stabilizes the glass and features no interior columns. Singapore's National Park's plan to transform the city from a 'Garden City' to a 'City in a Garden' is successful in elevating the quality of life of its inhabitants by enhancing greenery in the city.
Our first stop was to one of the domes called The Flower Dome which features plants from dry Mediterranean climates and semi-arid regions. Here you'll find a collection of succulents, Olive groves, and desert trees and plants. We whizzed past this greenhouse since we felt it was partially gimmicky due to its current Wizard of Oz exhibition complete with Dorothy and that damn lap dog. No witch unfortunately.
The next stop was our personal favorite, the Cloud Forest Dome. This mysterious 115 Foot man-made mountain veiled in mist and a shroud of diverse vegetation assaults you upon entering with a cold, wet powerful waterfall. It's a nice respite from the city's tropical heat.
The towering cloud mountain is all sorts of an alien plant world that feels like a biodome experiment with highly controlled conditions. It is studded with all sorts of tropical and epiphytic plants such as the Bird's nest fern, Maidenhair Fern, the Schefflera Umbrella plant or the Blue Star Fern. All plants that we definitely use as accompaniments to our bonsai at Dandy Farmer!
Every 2 hours the cloud generators turn on mist everywhere complete with temperature regulators and wind generators. It's mimicking the natural conditions of a cloud mountain. It felt so foreign and sci-fi and felt like at any moment a vine might wrap around us and turn us into plant food!
You can definitely climb up the cloud mountain through a series of elevated suspended walkways inside this glass house. It's a strange feeling indeed, almost like how an ant must feel walking along a tree branch through a forest. Inside the mountain is a crystal cave of course for those into crystal bathing. Perfect for the geologist crystal rock collector in you.
As you climb further up, we encountered a fun exhibition of carnivorous plants which I doubt is endemic to the very top of a cloud forest. It didn't help that they were partly made of lego.
So what is a cloud forest anyway and does it occur in real life apart from this Truman Show Biodome? Well yes, it is absolutely real. A cloud forest is a forest where cloud cover persists at the canopy level of the forest in a tropical or subtropical evergreen mountain. Currently there are only .14% remaining cloud forests on the planet. This is where you can literally walk on clouds without being judged as loopy. The higher you go, the plants get smaller and more dwarfed. It is a rare ecosystem with very unique climate conditions. They are home to a vast number of plant and animals species including the rarest and most delicate species on earth. Sadly the cloud forest is constantly threatened by climate change and deforestation.
The tag of this Begonia reads STATUS: POSSIBLY EXTINCT IN WILD
Visiting the Cloud Forest was the biggest highlight of our tour of Singapore, apart from the Michelin hawker stands and mingling with Crazy Rich Asians. (just kidding, we wish we got that close to Rachel and Nick, as we're obviously obsessed by the book and movie). We definitely got up close and personal with the alien plant life of Gardens By the Bay. We recommend to go first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds and purchase the self guided tour audio. We also recommend to get your hand stamped and come back in the evening to see the garden come alive in a different way.
The solar powered 'Super Trees' of Gardens by the Bay. There are approximately 18 of these artificial trees in the garden and they serve to generate solar power, collect rainwater and act as air ducts for the conservatory.