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Cloud Forest, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Part 3 of the Gardens by the Bay series
The Singaporean government intends Gardens by the Bay to become the top outdoor recreation area in the middle of the city. As more and more locals and tourists discover the world of wonders in the gardens, it will hopefully become a national icon for Singapore. With the opening of the Bay South Gardens, the full implementation of the Bay East masterplan and the development of the Bay Central Gardens are next in the pipeline. You know, this is one of the things that I like about Singapore. Even if it’s a very small country, there’s always something new to look forward to for every visit.
Anyway, it’s time to explore the other Cooled Conservatory, the Cloud Forest. If the Flower Dome was more of a visual treat, this one’s a holistic treat to the senses.
As soon as the doors to Cloud Forest opened, we were literally and figuratively blown away. First, it was noticeably colder here than in the Flower Dome. The Cloud Forest recreates the atmosphere of its namesake, a cloud forest. The experience was really very immersive as we felt like we were exploring the highlands especially with plants from the cool-moist Tropical Montane region.
The Falls at Cloud Forest, Gardens by the Bay now holds the title, “Tallest Man-Made Waterfall in the World” at 35 meters, snatching it from the previous holder, Jurong Bird Park (30 meters). This area was refreshing. The cool wind blowing from the waterfalls and the sound of waterdrops, ahhh, life!
Everyone who entered the Cloud Forest were all giggly. It was really chilly cold inside, that we had to bring out and wear our jackets. LOL! A very, very cold respite from the typical hot and humid Singapore weather.
Orchids, pitcher plants and ferns dot the man-made mountain at the Cloud Forest.
Several times throughout the day (9am, 11am, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm), mist and fog machines make the exploration of the Cloud Forest more exciting.
Sunlight peeking through the misty Cloud Forest.
Fog envelopes the lush man-made mountain.
Trees from cloud forests all around the world.
A visitor photographs orchids from the Tree Top Walk.
This carved wooden attraction greeted us before we could access the elevator lobby.
Lovely orange flowers!
The Falls as seen from behind. Spending a moment at the cooling path behind the waterfall made us realize the importance of Mother Earth’s sources of fresh water. Cloud forests capture water droplets from mist and fog by means of their epiphyte-laden branches.
From the 3rd level, we went straight to the 7th level. The elevator stops at the 6th level and we had to take a flight of stairs to the 7th. Persons with disability can still climb up to the top level though through another elevator, strictly for PWDs and little children.
Welcome to the Lost World!
The Lost World is the highest point of the mountain. It replicates the cloud forest vegetation at around 2,000 meters above sea level.
Lots of delicate ferns and moss in the Lost World!
The Lost World is where fantastic views of the Marina Bay waterfront can be seen. It is also the starting point for the Cloud Walk.
The Cloud Walk
The Cloud Walk involves walking from the highest point of the man-made mountain down to the plateau below. It took us outside of the mountain for a closed-up view of the epiphytic plant species that clad the side of the mountain.
The Cloud Walk ends at The Cavern where we learned about the location, characteristics, unique species and specific life forms of cloud forests around the world. The various adaptations of epiphytes – plants that rely on the support of other plants and do not live on soil, were simply amazing!!
The Crystal Mountain.
Caves are a common occurrence inside mountains. Below The Cavern lies Crystal Mountain, where we were surrounded by the many interesting shapes of real stalactites and stalagmites. The interactive displays helped us learn about geology, how the continents formed, the age of the Earth, and the importance of fossils in understanding our planet’s past.
The mountain as seen from the Tree Top Walk.
Exiting the Crystal Mountain took us to the Tree Top Walk.
The Tree Top Walk.
The Cloud Walk as seen from the Tree Top Walk.
Another angle of the amazing megastructure!
The SuperTrees as seen from the Tree Top Walk.
As we approached the bottom of the mountain, the Tree Top Walk took us close to the forest canopy affording a spectacular bird’s eye view of the treetops.
As we reached the end of the Tree Top Walk, we dropped by a special lab where we found facts, figures and amazing statistics which gave us a unique view of the state of the earth today and the problems we are likely to face due to climate change and habitat loss. Mind-opening, really! Have you done an Earth Check?
From Earth Check, we went down another level through an escalator.
Inside +5 Degrees, we virtually experienced the effect of temperature increase around the planet. This interactive voyage through time and space allowed to see the world from a different perspective, unlocking a new dimension of visual experience. Gosh, extinction 100 years from now! We probably won’t be around by then but by all means, we should mitigate climate change so we can still reduce its impact on the next generation! It’s never too late!
After the short visual presentation, this model of the Gardens by the Bay caught our attention.
Gardens by the Bay model.
The Gardens by the Bay model was an interactive one on self-sustainability. Through the play of lights and sound, we learned about the many ecological functions of the Supertrees, such as capturing light and serving as exhausts, while supporting a green living skin. We discovered more about the energy used to cool the air in both conservatories, and how it comes from a biomass furnace that burns plant matter obtained from Singapore’s parks and gardens.
At this point, I was really caught speechless by the awesomeness of the gardens! They’re not only aesthetically-pleasing, they’re also rich in principles of environmental sustainability. I can tell that a lot of effort and consideration was made in the planning, implementation, construction and maintenance of the Gardens by the Bay!
As we exited +5 Degrees, we were nearing the end of our Cloud Forest journey.
Another waterfall at the foot of the mountain.
Snail’s eye view of the Cloud Forest. LOL
At the foot of the mountain is the Secret Garden. We went on a stroll through a gorge that took us close to plants that belong to families that were once growing in abundance on earth, yet are increasingly becoming rare today.
This orchid caught my attention.
As I type this, Bruno Mars’ It Will Rain played, just in time for this photo.
Looking up, I’m not sure if one of these trees is the Wollemi Pine, which is nearing extinction!
More rare plants and orchids.
Ferns, begonias, peperomias, pileas, fittonia and other moisture-loving plants covering the ground with their fascinating foliage.
And even more unique-looking orchids…
Awwwe! The Cloud Forest experience was truly mesmerizing! The magical sights and sounds will allow you to breathe your stresses away. Perfect for the whole family, couples, friends, or the soul-searching individual, basically everyone.
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On the next post, we’re exploring the rest of the Bay South Gardens.
(…to be continued)