Thursday, May 31, 2012

6 Best Rooftop Gardens to Visit in Singapore (VIDEO) (UPDATE)


UPDATE: SUNTEC CITY SKY GARDEN AT LEVEL 3 HAS CLOSED DOWN DUE TO THE MALL'S RENOVATION WORKS

When you see the words, 'Rooftop Garden', I am sure you will immediately recognise one of the most iconic rooftop garden in Singapore which is the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark right? Marina Bay Sands isn't the only place with a nice rooftop garden but there are also other places in Singapore where you can visit very nice rooftop gardens with lots of greenery, a water play area, a playground, outdoor shops and so much more. In this article, I'm going to show which are the best rooftop gardens in Singapore in my opinion. Do note that the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark isn't featured because all the rooftop gardens I featured here are free to access.

 

6. NEX KidzPlay at  Level 4R



A rooftop garden with a water play area is certainly a great addition to a shopping mall. The rooftop garden at NEX Shopping Mall has lots of colourful and beautiful water fixtures for kids to play and get wet. It even has this giant bucket of water which will keep filling until full and when it's full, all the water in the bucket will splash onto the ground. The purpose of that is to make you stand on the splash zone and get extremely wet. Other water features include a wet playground, smaller buckets of water that will spill water to the person standing underneath it, water spray fixtures and water guns.




As you can see, the whole water play area at the rooftop garden at NEX is kid-friendly and colourful. So long as you open up your shoes and bring extra clothes, there will not be a problem. If you're into playing at the kids play area, you can keep an eye out for your kids and sit down comfortably at the benches along the sides. Or, you can shop at the outdoor shops available at the level and visit the public library which is just right beside the toilets and escalators. 

5. Marina Bay Sands Rooftop Gardens at Level 5



Although Marina Bay Sands has the SkyPark, there's also a much lower rooftop garden at the top most level of the The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. It has nice views of the Marina Bay area (although slightly obstructed) and there were plenty of outdoor seating. You are also permitted to come here and eat but I suggest you to not litter. What I don't like about the rooftop garden is that the view of the Marina Bay area is slightly blocked by some of the 'lines' that support the canopy.




The Marina Bay Sands rooftop garden also has a nice view of the ArtScience Museum and you can get an up close and personal view of the 'lotus' of the museum. If you go to the other side of the rooftop garden, you can get a nice view of the Singapore Flyer, the Bayfront Bridge and the Benjamin Sheares Bridge along the ECP. Sure, it may not be as nice as the SkyPark in which you can see nice views of Singapore and neighbouring countries but the rooftop garden is a free and relatively quiet alternative. All you have to do is just take the lift or escalator to the Garden Bay Bridge which is at level 5 from The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. 

4. National Library The Retreat at Level 5 and The Courtyard at Level 10
 


In my previous article, which was about the National Library at Victoria Street, I talked about the wonderful things that can be found at the National Library. One of them was about the rooftop garden. Technically, the ones at the National Library are not located on the rooftop of the library. However, I still consider them as 'rooftop gardens' because of its location at a high level. Both The Courtyard and The Retreat have beautiful and lush trees and plantations. One of them has audio and visual equipment which can be used as an outdoor events space whereas the other has a foot reflexology path which can be used to relax one's feet.




Both rooftop gardens has nice views of the Bugis area. If you check out my previous article, I took several pictures of the Bugis area and you can see the neighbouring shopping malls, HDB flats and hotels. It's a very nice and interesting view and it's just relaxing soak in the peaceful green environment at the National Library rooftop gardens.

3. Suntec City Sky Garden at Level 3


 
Another interesting rooftop garden is the Sky Garden at Suntec City. It's kind of similar to the rooftop gardens at the National Library as there are lots of greenery and a nice view of neighbouring buildings (which are mostly other Suntec City towers). You can also see the Fountain of Wealth in a distance which is neat. The Sky Garden at Suntec City is totally nature-oriented and lots of greenery can be found here. There's one particular feature at the Sky Garden is the ring of stone seats surrounded by a small fountain with big rocks around it. On the roof, there are several plantations around it. You can see it from the photo which is just right above.




The Sky Garden is very similar to the rooftop gardens found at the National Library although some things like tall trees and tall plantations are not found here. There are plenty of stone seats and instead of a proper shelter, you get protected by a bed of plantations and leaves. Although, there isn't that much protection when it rained. There's also a children's playground near the entrance although I don't see any children playing on it and there were 2 vending machines right beside the playground. I do recommend you to come here to relax when Suntec City's crowded. 

2. VivoCity SkyPark at Level 3



VivoCity is a relatively popular shopping mall located in the southern part of Singapore. Opened in December 2006, it's also considered one of the biggest shopping malls in Singapore. It's close proximity with Sentosa Island and HarbourFront Cruise Terminal makes it an easy target for tourists. The VivoCity rooftop garden, known as the SkyPark, mostly consists of water. There are 2 big wading pools for children and grown-ups to remove their shoes and soak their feet into the comfortable water. Lots of children can be seen enjoying themselves around the wading pool. Lots of interesting sculptures can also be found around the SkyPark.




Apart from the wading pools and sculptures, the VivoCity SkyPark has wooden flooring and wooden seats scattered around. The SkyPark also has lovely views of the sea. In a distance, you can see the neighbouring Sentosa Island and the attractions found at the Resorts World Sentosa Integrated Resorts. You can also see the HarbourFront ferry terminal with cruise ships parked around. When I went there a few weeks ago, one of the most luxurious cruise ships in the world, Star Virgo, was seen parking at its dock. It's big and I've never seen a cruise ship that big before. Apart from that, the PSA ports can also be found in a distance. Looking out to the sea at the VivoCity SkyPark is certainly relaxing and you will definitely forget about your stress. 

And the best rooftop garden in Singapore according to me is...

1. Orchard Central Roof Garden at Levels 11 and 12



Yes, this is by far the best (free and open to the public) rooftop garden according to me. You may not agree but it's okay though because this rooftop garden's for everybody to visit. Orchard Central is a relatively new shopping mall which just opened in 2009 and it claims to be a vertical shopping mall. Most malls go according to how big the mall is whereas for Orchard Central, the mall goes according to how tall it is. The Roof Garden at Orchard Central has stunning views of the Orchard area and the Central Business District. Just like Suntec City's Sky Garden, Orchard Central's Roof Garden also has some plantations and greenery. There's also this fountain which spurts out water and a small water fountain can also be found.




Apart from the plants, there's a wide variety of sculptures that can be found at Orchard Central's Roof Garden as seen from the picture above. Here are some photos of the gorgeous view at the Roof Garden. The Roof Garden can be accessed using the outdoor escalators from the ground level which is located outside the mall's entrance. Just keep riding on the outdoor express escalators all the way to the top and you can find your way to the Roof Garden easily. Or you can take the Express Elevators all the way up to Level 11. Fine dining restaurants are also available at the Roof Garden if you don't mind spending money dining with a great view.

And there you have it, my write up of the 6 best rooftop gardens to visit in Singapore. I'm sure there are plenty of free and publicly accessible rooftop gardens in Singapore. All of the rooftop gardens featured here are found on top of shopping malls (except for one which is found at the National Library) and that they're free to access. Rooftop gardens are great places to take a seat and just relax from all the stress. Now it's your turn to tell me which is the best free and public rooftop gardens in Singapore in the comments. I'll be waiting for the responses.

Getting Here 

KidsPlay @ NEX

Bus services available: 22, 43, 53, 70, 70M, 81, 82, 315 (Bus stop along Serangoon Central outside Serangoon Stn)

Nearest MRT Station: NE12/CC13 Serangoon MRT Station (North East Line/Circle Line)

Website: www.nex.com.sg



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The Retreat and The Courtyard @ National Library

Bus services available: 2,12, 33, 130, 133, 960, NR7 (Bus stop along Victoria St outside Bras Basah Complex)

Nearest MRT Station: EW12 Bugis MRT Station (East West Line) 

Website: www.nl.sg 
 

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Rooftop Garden @ The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Bus services available: 97, 97e, 106, 133, NR1, NR6 (Bus stop along Bayfront Ave outside Marina Bay Sands MICE)

Nearest MRT Station: CE1 Bayfront MRT Station (Circle Line) 

Website: www.marinabaysands.com


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Sky Garden @ Suntec City Mall

Bus services available: 36, 70M, 97, 97e, 106, 111, 133, 162M, 502, 502A, 518, 518A, 531, 700A

Nearest MRT Station: CC4 Promenade MRT Station (Circle Line

Website: http://www.sunteccitymall.com/index.php


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SkyPark @ VivoCity 

Bus services available: 10, 30, 30e, 57, 61, 65, 80, 97, 97e, 100, 131, 143, 145, 166, 855 (Bus stop along Telok Blangah Road outside VivoCity)

Nearest MRT Station: NE1/CC29 HarbourFront MRT Station (North East Line/Circle Line)

Website: www.vivocity.com.sg


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Roof Garden @ Orchard Central

Bus services available: 1N, 2N, 3N, 4N, 5N, 6N, 7, 14, 14e, 16, 65, 106, 111, 123, 175 (Bus stop along Orchard Road outside Midpoint Orchard)

Nearest MRT Station: NS23 Somerset MRT Station (North South Line)

Website: www.orchardcentral.com.sg 


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