Fat raindrops splatter down on the hot paved walking trail, turning into steam twizzles.
We’ve just started our walk through the Singapore Botanic Gardens – and this doesn’t bode well for our visit. We huddle together under a big tree’s leafy canopy, hoping the sudden downpour will be short-lived.
And then we notice the warning sign on the trunk. It says something like: “Do NOT visit the gardens if it rains. Take shelter immediately.”
Well, we might get soaked. But there’s no lightning and this isn’t a thunderstorm. What dire consequences could there be if caught in the rain?
Have we taken refuge under a poisonous manchineel tree?
Caustic liquid dripping from this tree will blister your skin if you stand beneath it during rain. Doesn’t look like this is a manchineel tree though…
Or will the gutters flood so ferociously that we risk being washed away? Don’t think so.
So, wise and experienced travelers that we are, we shrug and do nothing – we just bide our time under the tree until the rainstorm passes, as suddenly as it started. Phew!
Then it’s time to continue with our planned visit.
Visiting the Singapore Botanic Gardens
One of the best botanical gardens in the world, the Singapore Botanic Gardens should be high on your list of Singapore tourist attractions to visit.
They’re mature – with a history dating back over 150 years. They’re big – over 183 acres and about to get bigger soon. And they’re splendid – they’ve been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Singapore Botanical Garden facts (some strange!)
Types of plants:
The gardens feature more than 10,000 types of tropical plants, including orchids, ginger, palm trees, vines – even carnivorous plants that eat insects.
What gardens will you see?
There’s a bonsai garden and a sun garden with cacti and yuccas.
And a healing garden has 400+ varieties of medicinal plants.
There’s also a ginger garden and a fragrant garden (with sweet-scented flowers).
And of course, there’s the National Orchid Garden.
Number of orchids:
The National Orchid Garden has the largest display of orchids in the world, with over 60,000 orchids.
Some orchids are named after celebrities, royalty and other famous folk, such as Elton John, Jackie Chan, Nelson Mandela and Princess Diana.
Recently, a new white-and-purple free-flowering orchid hybrid (the Vanda William Catherine) was named after Prince William and Kate Middleton.
In 1890, an escaped crocodile (a British colonel’s pet) found its way into Swan Lake. After the croc attacked a gardener, the lake was drained to find it, but by then, the croc had disappeared.
Photo credits: 1, 4, 5, 6 and 10 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | 7, 8 and 11 to 13 Singapore Botanic Gardens