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Singapore Botanic Gardens in 360°
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a 74-hectare (183-acre) botanical garden in Singapore measuring half the size of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew or around one-fifth the size of Central Park in New York.
1. What to see
The first short-lived "Botanical and Experimental Garden" in Singapore was established in 1822 at Fort Canning by Sir Stamford Raffles, father of Singapore. Its main task was to evaluate for cultivation crops and it soon got closed just after 7 years of operation. The present botanic garden was established 30 years later in 1859 when the Agri Horticultural Society was granted 32 hectares of land by the colonial government. The virgin rainforest was turned into a garden by landscape designer Laurence Niven.
It was Mad Ridley, director of the gardens in 1888 who realised the significance of natural rubber and convinced planters across the Malay Peninsula to adopt his methods of rubber cultivation. Thus became Malaysia the leading producer of natural rubber in the world.
The list of famous directors of the garden include Professor Eric Holttum (1925-1949), who achieved significant results in orchid hybridisation. His techniques led to Singapore becoming one of the world's top centres of commercial orchid growing.
Situated at the highest point of the National Orchid Garden, Burkill Hall is a fine example of colonial architecture built in 1866. It housed several directors of the gardens, including Humphrey Morrison Burkill, after whom this place is named. Isaac and Humphrey Burkill were the only father and son pair to hold the post of Director of Singapore Botanic Gardens. The colonial house has been restored to capture the romance of a bygone era and it became a perfect and exclusive setting for wedding ceremonies and celebrations.
The VIP Orchid Garden showcases orchid hybrids that were named after visiting State dignitaries, celebrities and important personalities. Notable ones include Dendrobium Margaret Thatcher, Renantanda Akihito, Dendrobium Masako Kotaishi Hidenka, Dendrobium Elizabeth and Vanda Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Tan Hoon Siang Mist House is a must-see highlight of the orchid garden with its collection of rare orchids from different parts of the world set against a backdrop of amidst lush greenery.
2. When to see
It is the only botanic garden in the world that opens from 5 a.m. to 12 midnight every single day of the year, and does not charge an admission fee, except for the National Orchid Garden which is open daily 8.30 am to 7 pm.
4. How to get there
Most tourists visit Singapore on a package tour that allows them to spend 2-3 days in the city. Since this monument is located far away from downtown area, it is recommended to take a cab to get there.
5. Where to stay
There are plenty of hotels to stay in Singapore, the best ones are located either at the city center or at the Island of Sentosa.