Singapore’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site is also the first and only tropical botanic garden on the vulnerable list.
British colonists carved out 60 acres of land from a fallow plantation in 1859 to create the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Today, it offers a relaxing retreat from Singapore’s hectic pace, despite its short distance from the Orchard shopping district and easy access via its namesake MRT station.
The Gardens retain a fragment of the original tropical rainforest, surrounded by human-made attractions like a lake populated by black Australian swans, Singapore’s National Orchid Garden holding the world’s most extensive collection of orchids; and a newly-opened ridge-top hiking trail.
Symphony Lake hosts tai-chi sessions for seniors in the mornings, outdoor concerts on weekends, and picnics when the weather permits. (Limit your visits to early mornings and late afternoons/evenings—the sun can be wicked hot at noontime.)