It may be summer all year round in Singapore, but Yuletide spirits are in full swing in the island nation. In fact, its urban offerings rival that of any western city, with dazzling decorations, light extravaganza, and entertainment galore.
Positioned next to the equator, Christmas in Singapore is always green. There is neither snow nor reindeer on this tropical island. Yet it doesn’t stop Singaporeans to celebrate this festive season. On the contrary, Christmas in Lion City is as big as any celebration during the years. The city truly lights up during this season, with elaborate ornaments predominating the central districts.
Though Singapore has no shortage of stunning Christmas decorations, Garden by the Bay stands out from the rest. More specifically, its Christmas Wonderland is a sensational display of lights and sounds that can enthrall any visitor (including myself). Other facilities such as the Flower Dome or the Floral Fantasy are also worth visiting, with seasonal flowers and delightful Christmas spectacles.
A Brief Introduction of Gardens by the Bay
A marvelous combination between architecture and nature, Gardens by the Bay is an urban sanctuary at the heart of Singapore. It expands over 101 hectares and comprises three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay Central Garden. Since its opening in 2012, this lush oasis has won multiple accolades and become an integral part of the city’s skyline.
Among the gardens, Bay South Garden is the largest (54 hectares) and the most popular one. Through its various conservatories and landscapes, visitors can experience the best of horticulture and Singapore’s finest garden artistry. It’s without a doubt one of the most fascinating parks that I’ve visited.
1. Flower Dome
As its name implied, Flower Dome is home to exotic flowers and plants from semi-arid regions around the world. You can find numerous species – many are very rare – in eight distinct gardens, such as ancient olive trees, peculiar cactus, or towering baobabs. The dome also features a changing display of flowers. For example, a wide array of poinsettia was exhibited last Christmas. They were blended into a colorful landscape dotted with gnomes and Nordic landmarks.
Even if you are not into greenery, the futuristic design of the Flower Dome is reason enough to visit. Occupying an area of 1.3 hectares, this glass structure is the largest cooled conservatory in the world. It took the shape of a giant orchid petal rising from the lush landscape. The Flower Dome is also praised for its environmentally sustainable elements, including special glass which can reduce heat gain or smart cooling systems that focus on occupied zones.
2. Cloud Forest
Adjacent to the Flower Dome is the Cloud Forest – a mist-filled conservatory packed with colorful orchids, anthuriums, ferns, and mosses. It mimics the cool-moist ecology of the tropical highlands, found in South East Asia, Central- and South America.
The moment you enter the Cloud Forest, you will be amazed by a multi-story structure called the Cloud Mountain. At the height of 35-metre, it allows visitors to have a bird’s-eye view of the green carpet beneath, as well as the Marina Bay. The “mountain” itself is also part of this glass biome. It features a breath-taking indoor waterfall and is completely clouded with diverse vegetation.
3. Floral Fantasy
Though Flower Dome is one of the Gardens by the Bay’s most spectacular attractions, it’s far from the only floral paradise that you can visit. Located next to Bay Front Station, Floral Fantasy features four vibrant, dreamlike landscapes. Each takes inspiration from fairy tales, with waterfalls, cavernous spaces, and floral artworks.
The variety of plants on display and the creative ways in which they’re presented are truly fascinating. From live plants, fresh-cut to dried and preserved blooms, they all come together to add colors and scents to this beautiful place. It’s like a walk into the realm of fantasy, where your senses are enlivened. And depends on the season, the flowers change accordingly.
Aside from the floral artistry, there is a 4D multimedia ride simulating a dragonfly’s flight path. It flies over the bay, the gardens, the lakes, into the conservatories, and finally ends up at the Supertree Grove. This delightful journey gives visitors an overview of the entire Bay South Garden.
Floral Fantasy features four vibrant, dreamlike landscapes.
4. Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay
During the year-end holiday, Christmas Wonderland is, however, the pièce de résistance of Gardens by the Bay. Since its debut in 2014, this month-long event has brought joy to millions of visitors. It features extravagant light shows, astonishing decorations, and a wide range of Christmas activities. The wonderland takes place on a massive ground spanning the space of eight football fields.
It encompasses part of the Dragonfly Lake and the oft-photographed Supertree Grove. There are various stations where visitors can soak in the Yuletide spirit, with bright lights, soothing music, and cool drinks. Yet the sight to behold is the ethereal beauty of Spalliera Luminaire. Handcrafted by Italian craftsmen, this illuminated sculpture resembles a magnificent cathedral. Together with the faux blizzard that occurred every hour, it creates a truly magical scene.