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Published on December 22, 2019

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.)