Travelers on a budget will appreciate the Singapore Botanic Gardens as most of the gardens are free; there is only a charge for the National Orchid Garden, the most visited section of the garden. The garden contains more than 60,000 species of plants and animals, and is home to the world’s first children’s garden. Past visitors rave about the tropical greenery of the gardens.
The National Orchid Garden, within the main gardens, is at the forefront of orchid studies and a pioneer in the cultivation of hybrids, complementing the nation’s status as a major exporter of cut orchids. Aided by the equatorial climate, it houses the largest orchid collection of 1,200 species and 2,000 hybrids.
The Botanic Gardens was founded at its present site in 1859 by an agri-horticultural society. It played a pivotal role in the region’s rubber trade boom in the early twentieth century, when its first scientific director Henry Nicholas Ridley, headed research into the plant’s cultivation. By perfecting the technique of rubber extraction, still in use today, and promoting its economic value to planters in the region, rubber output expanded rapidly. At its height in the 1920s, the Malayan peninsula cornered half of the global latex production.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a 161-year-old tropical garden located at the fringe of Singapore’s Orchard Road shopping district. It is one of three gardens, and the only tropical garden, to be honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Botanic Gardens has been ranked Asia’s top park attraction since 2013, by TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. It was declared the inaugural Garden of the Year, International Garden Tourism Awards in 2012, and received Michelin’s three-star rating in 2008.