Unless you’ve been living under a cave, you’re most probably aware that our very own Singapore Botanic Gardens was recently inscribed as Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. One super cool fact that few Singaporeans know is that our Botanic Gardens is only the third botanic gardens in the entire world to receive this accolade, after Kew Gardens in England and the Padua Gardens in Italy.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Festival happening from 30 June to 9 July this year aims to celebrate the rich heritage of the 159-year-old Singapore attraction, and boy are we in for a treat!
Here are some of the coolest activities you can look forward to!
1. Heritage Tour
It wouldn’t be a heritage festival without a kick-ass heritage tour would it? Highlights of the heritage tour include the Bandstand (did you know performances used to only happen on full moons?), the Heritage Trees (what has Nelson Mandela got to do with our Botanic Gardens?), and the Saraca Stream Walk.
Usually only held on the fourth Saturday of every month, the Heritage Tour will be specially conducted for both weekends of the festival. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis at the Visitor Services Counter. Registration opens 15 minutes before each tour.
2. Food For Thought Old School Mini Carnival & Heritage Set
Pop by the Old School Mini Carnival at Food For Thought, where the young ones (and the young at heart!) get to enjoy/relive a slice of Singapore in the good old days. Try out traditional games like Gobi and Chapteh, and have a taste of local snacks like kacang puteh, ice balls, and gula melaka cotton candy!
If all the traditional games are working up an appetite, sink your teeth into the Food For Thought Heritage Set, a modern twist to classic local favourites — cue the Nasi Lemak Risotto and Iced Cold Bandung Ice Cream Ripple. The Nasi Lemak Risotto is a combination of a crispy chilli chicken cutlet and a rich, creamy coconut risotto, served with a poached egg, ikan bills, peanuts, and of course, sambal. The drink was incredibly refreshing and perfect for our relentless sunny days! Now who knew raspberry ripple ice cream and bandung go so well together? 😍
3. National Orchid Garden Tour
Did you know that the Singapore Botanic Gardens started an orchid breeding programme way back in 1928? Experiments under this programme gave rise to the thriving cut flower industry and put Singapore on the world map for orchids.
Located on the highest hill in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the National Orchid Garden was opened on 20 October 1995. It houses the largest and most comprehensive permanent tropical orchid displays in Asia — its current collection stands at more than… wait for it… 2000 varieties of orchid hybrids and 1000 varieties of orchid species. It is also a ceremonial venue for the naming of orchids after foreign dignitaries and other distinguished guests, so keep a look out for “Jackie Chan”, “Princess Diana”, and of course, our very own “Stefanie Sun”!
In conjunction with the festival, Singapore citizens and PRs enjoy free entry into the National Orchid Garden from 1 to 9 July.
4. Open House at the Corner House
When renowned botanist and mycologist E.J.H Corner was Assistant Director of the Botanic Gardens from 1929 to 1945, he lived in this two-storey black and white bungalow, the Corner House.
During the festival, Corner House will be opening its doors to visitors to learn about the rich history of the building, as well as the life and works of E.J.H. Corner. Step back in time as you see for yourself several reproductions of original artworks done by Corner himself, such as the mycology collections which were samples he collected at the Botanic Gardens and Bukit Timah more than half a century ago.
Today, the Corner House is a one star Michelin restaurant. In celebration of the Botanic Gardens Heritage Festival, Chef Jason Tan conceptualised a special menu with Singapore influences — the Heritage Discovery Menu, which features a contemporary take on classic Singaporean dishes like the chicken rice and kaya toast.
5. Wine and dine at the Casa Verde
Casa Verde, which means “Green House” in Italian, is a casual trattoria nestled within the Botanic Gardens. A cafe by day and restaurant by night, Casa Verde serves up classic Italian dishes such as wholesome pastas, sandwiches, and wood-fired pizzas, as well as a number of local favourites like Bak Kut Teh, Fried Hokkien Mee, and Nanyang Laksa.
Check out their Asian-Italian fusion Beef Rendang Pizza during the festival!
Find out more details about the Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Festival here.
Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Festival
Date: 30 June 2017 – 9 July 2017
Time: 7.30am to 9pm
Venue: Singapore Botanic Gardens
Contact: 6471 7361