Gardens by the Bay | Explore Singapore

One of my favourite places to go in Singapore is Gardens by the Bay. Anyone who has been there at peak hours and on public holidays might say otherwise, because elbowing tourists for selfie space can quickly feel like the onset of an Armageddon. Instead, I love to go during the quiet hours, when it feels like I'm completely alone in the tropical oasis.

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Stepping into the Cloud Dome feels like entering another world. In true Singapore style, the temperature plummets so drastically that your hair nearly shoots off your arms from goosebumps. A cloud of mist hanging in the air shimmers as it catches the light, and every time I feel awed by the serene waterfall cascading from the heavens. The goosebumps intensify. 

the waterfall in the cloud dome

the waterfall in the cloud dome

After gaping up at the impossibly high ceiling and inhaling the fresh smell of plants until you nearly pass out from euphoria, you'd probably be quite happy to stay on the ground floor for the rest of your life. However, the path takes you up to the towering canopy, where the the walkway meanders down and around until you reach the ground again. 

From on high, the view is just as breathtaking as it is from the ground. The waterfall glides past open alcoves and suspended balconies with a magnificent ease. Plants fill every imaginable space, verdant and luscious, in a controlled chaos. It is the epitome of serenity. 

view from the top

view from the top

From beyond the glass panels, the city looks like it is miles away. The strong steel columns keep out the heat and humidity, and for a moment it feels like a crisp day in spring. After waiting for the huddle of old Chinese women, dressed more vibrant shades of pink than all the other flowers, I ran onto this ledge to take the iconic and obligatory photo. We do it for the 'gram, dahling.

half the world away

half the world away

After the splendour of the Cloud Dome, was the Flower Dome a bit underwhelming? Possibly. I would definitely advise going the other way around: Flower Dome first, Cloud Dome second. However, I still enjoyed myself tremendously. I squealed in delight when I saw a section of plants from Zimbabwe and South Africa. It's not that the plants themselves were absolutely astounding, but the mere fact that they were included made me feel all types 'o ways. Nothing makes me happier than plants and sunlight, so for me this is always the perfect Sunday.

A little peace of California

A little peace of California

mood.

mood.

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For more information on the gardens, google it. Just kidding, click here to find out more information and how to get there.

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Love,

Pepper & Söl

25 Things I've Learnt from Living in Singapore

1. If you're not East Asian, and you've never lived in East Asia before, you're probably holding your chopsticks wrong. Even if it works for you, it's wrong and you're a dork and there's a much less painless way to do it.

2. Where there is space, there will be a themed café.

3. Don't jaywalk somewhere unless you've seen an auntie do it before.

4.  Whenever you're in Singapore and you are black, you will get excited every time you see another black person. When you go to a European city with lots of black people, you might strangely find yourself excited to any type of Asian person. 

5. Sometimes people will stare at you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes they're bored, sometimes it is out of prejudice, sometimes it's a creepy old guy who assumes you're a prostitute (yup) and sometimes, once in a while, that's literally just their face.

6. You will endlessly be amazed by the numerous but very nuanced ways in which Asians are similar to Africans.

7. There will be days where you don't see a single non-Asian person.

8. Those will be surprisingly lonely days.

9. It is incredibly insensitive for a foreigner to tell a local how to behave in their own country. Whether that's how they chew, how they dress or what their beliefs are, it is not anyone's right to look down upon someone for doing something that is part of their culture when you are merely a guest in their country. However, it is ok, and highly encouraged, to tell fellow foreigners not to be d***s.

10. There is a particular brand of foreigner (*cough cough cough*) who is obsessed with being a Buddhist and says 'namaste' and possibly even writes poetry about the Sun. We all know one. Stay away from these people.

11. Asian Movies > Western Movies. Bollywood. Korean. Japanese. Hong Kongese. Just so good. 

12. Korean dramas are everything. So are the cosmetics.

13. It is nearly impossible to eat ban mian whilst reading a book.

14. Though the prices of drinks in Singapore are high, being a woman will often make them free. I like to think of it as a small reimbursement for the price of actually having to be a woman.

15. Western media will lose its collective mind about some moderately attractive viral-guy who is "shattering stereotypes about Asian men" and you will roll your eyes because you can name hundreds of more attractive men who have always existed and don't need to be fetishised in the name of 'progress,' or in order to make people feel less ignorant. 

16. Forget everything you think you know about Chinese food.

17. And Japanese food.

18. And Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean food, for that matter.

19. You will feel an eternal loss and blinding rage when you return home and eat "Asian" food. 

20. No one makes better fried chicken than Koreans.

21. K-pop is not only 'pop' but is actually incredibly diverse,and to be a Korean star requires an incredible amount of talent and hard work. Here's my article on what you should listen to. You're welcome.

22. The Chinese language is so thoroughly fascinating, difficult and awe-inspiring, yet many English-only speakers will make fun of Chinese people's accents and grasp of English. Stay away from these kinds of people too. They're the same people who think 'will Will Smith smith? Yes, Will Smith will smith' shows the marvellous complexity of English and yet there's a beautiful and long poem in Chinese entirely made up of different intonations of the word 'Shi' that you could never dream of pronouncing correctly.

23. It is advised to never say "I'm basically part-Asian," no matter how much you may love any Asian culture. Living in a culturally-rich country for six months or even a few years hardly gives you a true understanding of what it means to be from said country. If so many born and raised citizens cannot fully answer the question 'what does it mean to be [insert nationality here],' then, my dear Becky, what makes you think you can?

24. No white dude has ever sounded cool whilst attempting to say 'lah.

25. Most of your unexpectedly eye-opening memories of Singapore will come from having a meaningful friendship with someone who is actually from Singapore. Some like to pretend the expat bubble is not elitist and sterile, but it is often exactly that. My most heart-warming experiences have often come from the most obscure places in Singapore that I would never have known about without the incredible friends I've made along the way.

 

Pepper & Söl