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The gardens of Singapore: Here’s how to get the most out of Asia’s greenest city

The first things that came to mind when I thought of Singapore were skyscrapers, a big city panorama and Raffles Hotel.

Before I arrived, I had no idea that Singapore is, in fact, Asia’s greenest city. It’s full of parks, green spaces, and has a strong commitment to reducing waste, planting trees and sustainability.

This became pretty apparent as soon as we landed and began our journey from the airport, to the city centre.

The roads are lined with palms, frangipani, ferns and orchids, and everywhere you look, you see green. Buildings are covered in flora, bridges have stunning plants draping from them; Singapore is undoubtedly green.

(Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

And it doesn’t stop there. The government has a strategy to transform Singapore from a ‘Garden City’ to a ‘city in a garden’ and raise the quality of life by enhancing greenery and flora.

So, on our trip we decided to explore the city’s parks, gardens and green spaces, as well as experiencing the city within this ‘garden’.

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Even getting to Singapore is now greener, we flew Norwegian – the most fuel-efficient transatlantic airline – in their extremely comfortable premium seats.

Gardens by the Bay’s panoramic walk way (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

First thing on our agenda was Gardens by the Bay.

Since it opened in 2012, pictures of this stunning park have covered Instagram and social media channels.

Gardens by the Bay is now one of the most popular attractions in Singapore and has received over 20 million visitors since its opening

There is no denying it’s an impressive and beautiful space. .

The 101-hectare park features lush gardens, two huge atriums with plants from across the globe, as well as the artistic ‘super trees’.

The many super trees in Gardens by the Bay (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

The latter tree-like structures range from 25 to 50 metres high, and display exotic vines, flowers, and ferns that grow up and down the ‘trunks’.

As well as being visually pleasing, they serve a function too; creating solar energy and collecting rainwater for use in other areas of the park.

Connecting two of these super trees is the OCBC Skyway, a walkway which offers spectacular views of the gardens and the striking Marina Bay Sands hotel next door.

Gardens by the Bay at night (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

Be sure to catch the evening light and music show, which takes place twice daily once the sun goes down.

Gardens by the bay costs £16 (SGD $28.00) per adult and £8.50 (SGD $15.00) per child (standard entry, including Flower Dome and Cloud Forest).

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Next up was the Botanic Gardens. This Unesco World Heritage site is older than Singapore!

Singapore Botanic Gardens (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

The 82-hectare gardens contains more than 10,000 species of flora, and is a tranquil oasis from the noise of the city.

A definite highlight is the National Orchid Garden. The Botanic Gardens began orchid breeding in 1928 and is now at the forefront of orchid studies.

The garden contains over 1,000 species of orchid and 2,000 hybrids, including those gifted to and named after celebrities, dignitaries and heads of state who have visited the gardens.

You’ll also see plenty of Vanda Miss Joaquim, a hybrid climbing orchid and Singapore’s national flower.

Entry to the Botanic Gardens is free, and entry to the National Orchid Garden is £3 (SGD $5).

One of the many orchids on display (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

On our final day, we headed to the Southern Ridges.

This is a 10km chain of green open spaces and trails. You can choose to walk all of it or just a section.

After a short drive out of the city centre, we ascended Mount Faber to our starting point: Henderson Waves.

Henderson Waves is a bridge connecting Mount Faber to Telok Blangah Hill Park and is Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge.

Its unusual design is eye-catching and offers a visual explanation to the name.

Henderson Waves (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

From here, we walked through forest, gardens and over an impressive raised walkway.

It did not feel like being in the city and we spotted beautiful wild birds, as well as stunning flowers and trees along the way.

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We ended our walk at another beautiful spot – Hort Park.

This isn’t your average park and is billed as the first one-stop gardening lifestyle hub in Asia.

As well as enjoying the beautiful landscaped gardens, you can take part in workshops, tours and talks to learn about all things gardening.

(Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

Even after five days, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the many green spaces in Singapore, which really is becoming a city in a garden.

Other things to do while in Singapore:

You can’t visit Singapore without eating at one of the many hawker centres.

The food is cheap and delicious, with a plethora of cuisines and options available.

You can even eat Michelin-starred hawker food at Hawker Chan, whose soy chicken and rice was awarded a star in 2016!

Hawker Chan (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

If budget isn’t an issue, splash out on a meal at a high-end Michelin-starred restaurant.

We went to Candlenut in Dempsey Hill, close to the Botanic Gardens.

This Peranakan restaurant offers a delicious tasting menu called ‘ah-ma-kase’, which features traditional Straits-Chinese cuisine with a contemporary twist. The ‘ah-ma-kase’ menu costs from £48.60 (SGD $88) per person.

Also wander around Kampong Glam, a beautiful district in the east of the city, with colourful houses and quirky bars and cafes.

Finally, take a city tour with a local guide who will show you the city’s landmarks and best hawker stalls to eat at.

Where to stay in Singapore and how to get there:

The gorgeous fan-shaped Mandarin Oriental hotel has one of Singapore’s most beautiful swimming pools and gorgeous suites. Double rooms start from £223 (SGD $399), including breakfast.

Also try the Oasia Hotel Downtown, a striking looking building covered in plants, with an incredible roof top pool.

A superior room here starts from £134 (SGD $240), including breakfast.

(Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet – Oasia Downtown Hotel)

Fly with Norwegian from London Gatwick to Singapore in Premium from only £559.90 one way, which includes more than one metre of legroom and lounge access.

Economy fares start from £159.90 one way.

(Top picture: Hayley Lewis)

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Hayley Lewis is a travel writer, blogger and producer. For more on food in Singapore head to alovelyplanet.com or follow Hayley on Instagram, YouTubeTwitter or Facebook.

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