Singapore National Orchid Garden: (Tropical beauty abounds)

(Last Updated On: July 7, 2022)

The stunningly gorgeous National Orchid Garden is part of the Singapore Botanic Gardens UNESCO World Heritage site. It is home to over 60,000 orchid plants and has one of the world’s largest tropical orchid displays.

photo of purple orchids in a garden with a fountain in the background

I love orchids. That means I was thrilled that my packaged tour to Bali and Singapore included a visit to the National Orchid Garden. Of course, I would have been even happier if I’d had a lot more time in the gardens!

What is Singapore’s National Orchid Garden?

Founded in 1859, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a sprawling UNESCO World Heritage site. Orchids are an important part of the Botanic Gardens, as they have been since the since the beginning.

The first building designed specifically to house the garden’s orchid collection was constructed in 1899. Over time that orchid house became the National Orchid Garden, with 3½ landscaped acres, state-of-the-art greenhouses, and 60,000 orchid plants.

photo of sign for the National Orchid Garden in Singapore with orchids

The National Orchid Garden wasn’t established as a separate entity within the Singapore Botanic Gardens until 1995. But this was already a large and important operation by that time, so there was a lot to see on my 2018 visit. And now there is even more to see, as new gardens and dramatically expanded greenhouses opened to the public in 2021.

Wandering Singapore’s most beautiful orchid gardens

I spent my time at the National Orchid Garden wandering through the outdoor orchid gardens, beginning at the Crane Fountain.

Photo of fountain with orchids and crane sculpture in a fountain

The Orchid Garden has winding paths lined with orchids and other tropical plants on both sides and, sometimes, overhead!

photo of a path with orchids

photo of tropical garden path with overhead arches of plants

These paths connect outdoor “rooms” centered around a waterfall, fountain, sculpture, or other structure.

photo of red orchids in front of a mossy fountain

photo of a small fountain or bird bath in a jungle garden

The orchid garden is arranged by colors that correspond to the four seasons. The spring section features yellows, golds, and creams; summer has lots for bright reds and pinks; fall has “matured shades” (I think they mean muted colors); and winter has lots of whites and violets.

I did notice the color change, but didn’t really get that it was supposed to represent the changing seasons until I got all the way to winter. There drifts of almost blindingly white orchids clearly said “snow!” But even before that, I did appreciate the pleasing – and sometimes very dramatic — color palettes.

lots of small purple and white orchids

Because this was a group tour where we were getting an introduction to everything in Singapore in one morning, we had less than 2 hours to explore the garden. During that time, I walked almost all of the paths in the Orchid Garden. However, I didn’t visit any of the greenhouses – a few of which didn’t seem to be fully open anyway because of the major renovation and expansion that opened last year was already underway. But I easily could have spent the whole morning right in the National Orchid Garden and adjoining Ginger Garden.

New features at the National Orchid Garden since 2018

I visited the National Orchid Garden late in 2018. I’d love to return, as the greatly expanded mist and cool houses are now incorporated into a mix of landscapes that take visitors through a wide variety of tropical orchid habitats. It looks absolutely amazing.

You can see a video of this reimagined part of the garden here.

Plan your visit to the National Orchid Garden

I visited the National Orchid Garden as part of a larger package tour. This is NOT the way to visit. We had about two hours to see the orchid garden and/or any other area of the Singapore Botanic Gardens we wanted to visit. That wasn’t enough time for someone who loves gardens to see everything in the National Orchid Garden, let alone the rest of this UNESCO World Heritage site!

Even if you aren’t an orchid or other garden fanatic, plan at least a half-day in the gardens. It really is spectacular and you’ll find plenty of spots to relax or enjoy a meal. However, if you really love plants, gardens, or just wandering through a beautiful landscape, plan a full day to visit the Orchid Garden as well as other gardens and exhibitions in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Other things to do at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

Sights and activity areas within the Botanic Gardens’ more than 200 acres include gardens of all types, native forests and arboretums, active recreation and play areas, greenhouses, art galleries, science exhibits, museums, a bandstand, and more. A variety of restaurants, from multi-course fine dining to refreshment stands, are available throughout the Botanic Gardens. You’ll also find a number of historic buildings and lots of sculpture.

You can learn more about all your options on the Singapore Botanic Gardens website, but here’s a quick look at what is available.

Want to know more?

Find out everything you need to know to plan your visit on the Singapore Botanic Gardens website.

Want to know more about the history of the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the National Orchid Garden?  A Walk Through History – A Guide to the Singapore Botanic Gardens takes readers from the gardens’ colonial beginnings to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. It seems to still be available, so check at the Gardens Shop when you visit or shop online.

Other gardens in Singapore

Singapore’s hot humid climate is ideal for lush tropical gardens. But giant state-of-the-art temperature-controlled greenhouses (to keep things cool) are also found in parks and shopping malls alike. They are a great way to enjoy lush greenery in comfort! So here are few more gardens and greenhouses to visit while in Singapore.

Gardens by the Bay

Despite its UNESCO World Heritage status, I suspect the Singapore Botanical Garden is NOT the most famous garden in Singapore. Instead, that title likely goes to the amazing Gardens by the Bay complex.

Best known for its grove of supertrees (metal structures up to 16 stories high with plants growing around and on them), Gardens by the Bay also has two impressive conservatories.

panoramic photo of supertrees and domed greenhouses

Sang Nila Utama Garden

Fort Canning Park includes nine historical gardens, including Sang Nila Utama Balinese Garden. It looks absolutely gorgeous, if not very large.

Jurong Lake Gardens

Jurong Lake Gardens are mostly restored natural areas with lots of great walking trails and a few basic gardens.  The exception is on the islands, where what looks to be very elaborate Japanese and Chinese gardens are located. But, at the moment, both of these are closed for renovation.

See photos from the National Orchid Garden at CindyCarlsson.com

photo of garden fountain and orchids with text "Singapore National Orchid Gardens UNESCO World Heritage Site"

 

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