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Corner House in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Photo courtesy of Darren Soh / Singapore Tourism Board.

Singapore Botanic Gardens is a venerable landmark in more ways than one.
Founded in 1859, it is Southeast Asia’s oldest garden and only one of three gardens in the world — the only tropical garden, at that — to earn the title of World Heritage Site from UNESCO in 2015. To date, it is Singapore’s first and only World Heritage Site.

At 74 hectares, the gardens are home to over 10,000 species of flora curated across a mosaic of interconnecting smaller gardens, each of which features a particular theme or set of flora. The National Orchid Garden has the most expansive collection yet, a true pioneer in the study of orchids with 1,200 species and 2,000 hybrids under its care.
The gardens set out to entertain and educate in the same stroke. The Heritage Museum and CDL Green Gallery offer interactive and multimedia exhibits about botany and the garden’s heritage. The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden is also a top attraction. Tricked out with treehouses, slides, a hedge maze, a water park, and more interactive exhibitions that kids can learn from, it’s a mandatory pitstop for visiting families and their tykes.

Open from 5 a.m. to 12 m.n., the gardens have free admission as well as free themed guided tours on the first to the fourth Saturday of every month. Visitors can also delight in free weekend concerts at the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage, an outdoor performance venue. Simply go to www.sbg.org.sg to peruse the gardens’ schedule of tours, shows, activities and events.

A family playing with bubbles in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Photo courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board.
Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage at the Symphony Lake in Botanic Gardens, Singapore. Photo courtesy of Marklin Ang / Singapore Tourism Board.

Similar Southeast Asia Experiences
There’s no shortage of gardens around Southeast Asia – Singapore Botanical Gardens can be found right on Singapore, and you’ll also find Botanic Gardens in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia across the border.
If you want wilder nature experiences, try trekking through the jungles between Makassar and the Tana Toraja heartland in Indonesia; Ulu Temburong in Brunei; and national parks in eastern Malaysia.