Last updated on December 28th, 2017
How to get to the National Orchid Garden
The National Orchid Garden is one of the many attractions of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which is itself one of the main attractions in Singapore! The Botanic Gardens are a World Heritage Site that dates back to the 19th century and one of Singapore’s main urban parks.
The Orchid Garden is part of the central core of the Botanic and is accessible from the Nassim Gate (at the junction of Nassim and Cluny Roads), where the visitor centre is located.
What to see at the National Orchid Garden
The Singapore Botanic Gardens has historically played a major role in orchid breeding, which was started in 1928.
The Orchid Garden has more than 60,000 plants on display, consisting of 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids. It covers an area of roughly 3 hectares on the highest hill in the Botanic Gardens.
From 2017 to 2019, enhancement work is conducted at the Mist House, Bromeliad Collection and the Cool House, which means that they are closed for the interval. However, some of the plants have been transferred to other display within the Orchid Garden.
Burkill Hall: With cool, airy, high ceilings, the hall is a perfect example of traditional environmental architecture that makes the best of local climatic conditions. Designed as the residence of the director of the Botanic Gardens (no aircon at the time!), each of its wooden pillars consists of a single trunk of a Tempinis tree.
Tan Hoon Siang Misthouse: Superb collection of the gardens rarest and most prised specimens of orchids. Look out for the Papilionanda Mimi Palmer easily recognisable by its brown tessellated petals and jasmine like fragrance. Don’t miss the scented corner, where sweet and foul smelling orchids compete to attract flies for pollinating. Bulbophyllum specimens are to be approached with noses slightly pinched… Looking for something more appetising? The classic vanilla orchids, including climbing species, will bring back the sweet memories of desserts!
VIP Orchid Garden: Singapore is known for its orchid diplomacy. Since 1957, high ranking state visitors have been honoured by naming orchid hybrids after them. Nelson Mandela, Barrack and Michelle Obama, Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth, Margaret Thatcher, Joe and Jill Biden, William Catherine, Akihito, Ban Ki-Moon Yoo Soon-Taek and over 200 dignitaries have their very own orchids on display.
Celebrities Orchid Garden: This section of the garden displays orchid hybrids named after famous people too, usually actors, musicians, environmentalists and people who’ve contributed to society. Jacky Chan, Shah Rukh Khan, Jane Goodall and Andrea Bocelli are among the celebrities honoured.
Cool House: With its mist slowly and continuously rolling in, the Cool House mimics a tropical highland cloud forest, complete with rushing mountain torrent. Cool growing orchids from around the world have made their home here. Look out for the Bulbophyllum echinolabium, with its 30 cm long flower, native of Sulawesi and Borneo. Don’t get eaten by the carnivorous and pitcher plants on display, which provide a beastly counterpoint to the surrounding beauties.
Heritage Orchid Garden: The Singapore Botanic Gardens are at the origin of two of the most successful commercial plant species in Southeast Asia: rubber (introduced from Brazil) and orchids. This section of the garden has some of the most important species in the cut-flower trade and other internationally awarded species. The world’s first commercial hybrid orchid, Arachnis Maggie Oe, was created here. Learn how orchids are pollinated by hand, seedpods are germinated and orchid seedlings are lovingly cared for.
Yuen-Peng McNeice Bromeliad Collection: Bequeathed by Lady McNeice, a rich and varied collection of 200 species, including the most famous member of the family, the pineapple.
Opening Hours and Admissions
The National Orchid Garden is open daily from 8.30 am to 7.00 pm. The last entry is at 6.00 pm (you’ll have to rush through as an hour is barely enough to see the entire collection).
The admission fee is $5 for adults, free for children under 12 years old, $1 for students and $1 for senior citizens (above $60 years old). This is a real bargain for the chance to admire the world’s largest public collection of orchids!
Looking for more greenery, nature and biodiversity conservation activities? Check out our posts on fresh air and mighty old trees at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, and on nature hotspots in Singapore!