With its open spaces, and perfect infrastructure, Singapore is a pleasure to walk around. We spotted August Rodin’s The Thinker at the OUE Bayfront building by Marina Bay.
Whilst some cities are getting into problems with statues of their heroic or dubious past (dependent on your world-view), here in Singapore it’s all about fresh contemporary images. Below are a few examples of the public art we enjoyed.
With Singapore positioned as a Garden City, it’s entirely fitting that a whole swathe of the reclaimed land beyond Marina Bay became the Gardens by the Bay.
Opened in 2012, it’s the number 1 tourist attraction in Singapore and deservedly so. Gardens by the Bay is a showpiece of horticulture and garden artistry, presenting worldwide plants in both an educating and entertaining way. Key features are two massive glass conservatories (so much larger than the ones at Britain’s Eden Project), displaying plants from cloud forests and mediterranean regions, and the collection of 18 iconic Supertrees.
Designed by landscape architects from Bath (England), these steel framed structures covered in vertical gardens of tropical plants with lots of added environmental features, are up to 16 stories high and strangely ethereal and captivating.
And at dusk the Supertrees turn into a wonderland of lights and moods that ‘perform’ to music, in our case a medley of golden oldies themed around the ‘moon’. They are a fantastic creative achievement and a must see.
If you plan to do this Allow a good few hours to fully enjoy the Flower and Cloud Forest Domes. And be sure to see the evening Supertrees light show. We found the best view was from the raised bank on the east side of the Supertrees Grove – this gets you away from the noisy crowds, and enables you to see the top of the Supertrees without getting neck ache.
We would definitely put Singapore into our top three city experiences of the gap year, alongside Vancouver and Sydney. After an incredible programme of land reclamation and development, the compulsory stop-on-the-route-to-Australia is now a city destination in its own right, with some of the world’s most distinctive attractions.
The Gardens by the Bay with its Supertrees (see our next blog) and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel (the building on the left in the photo above) have simply rebranded the city, giving it a new visual language for the Instagram age, and as tourists it’s initially hard to see beyond them.
But we were also interested to explore an earlier Singapore, the city of Raffles, the Japanese invasion and the birth in 1965 of an independent country. So we spent time walking up the Singapore River, through Fort Canning Park and loved the National Museum.
Singapore is without question a clean and green city, a clear reflection of an efficient, orderly and wealthy society. It has come on a ton since Hilary was here in 1987, when the river stank, there were still rows of squalid Chinese shanty houses and lots of spitting in the streets.