Singapore’s forest in the clouds

by Joely Santiago
Wouldn’t it be wondrous to explore a forest in the clouds? Well, you can. Sort of. Cloud forests exist in humid tropical and sub-tropical areas that have persistent low-level clouds. There are only a few places in the world where you can experience them. In Singapore, the Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay is inside a glass dome. They’ve created an environment that mirrors what you would encounter if you were high in the mountains of the tropics, in the middle of the city.
As soon as you walk through the doors, the cold air and heavy mist make you feel like you’ve been transported to a different part of the Earth. Right in front of you, a mountain and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall (man-made, of course). It’s green and cold and beautiful. Inside the dome, you’ll find a huge variety of plant-life. Flowers and greenery line the path to the elevator that takes you to the top of the mountain. The line was a little long, and the dome a little crowded, which made getting a closer look at some things difficult (patience is key).
At the top of the mountain, there’s a stunning garden that reminded me of the movie Fern Gully (minus the fairy). It’s covered with flowers and moss, with a pond in the center. This is a very popular photo spot, so you’ll have to fight your way to edge for a picture if you want one. From there, you’ll begin your descent to the bottom through these incredible skyways that circle outside the mountain. The views are marvelous. Not only do you get to see the beauty of the plant-life on the sides of the mountain, but you get a complete view of the city through the dome’s glass. Pictures don’t do it justice. And even on a cloudy day, it’s breathtaking.
Inside the middle of the mountain, there’s a smallish mineral cave that displays a number of crystal formations. There’s also a video that shows how climate change and an increase in temperature could affect cloud forests and similar environments in the future.
Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay was a very fun place to visit. If you like nature and gardens, you won’t regret going. Adult tickets will cost you $28 (Singaporean dollars). Totally worth it!

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