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The Singapore Flyer, the Asian cousin of the London Eye, has been stirring up excitement within the country since its inauguration in 2008. Towering close to 165 meters (541 feet) above the city, the Flyer bursts with metropolitan glitz as its multi-colored lights dot the edge of the city-center. This Ferris Wheel is ornamented with huge cabins from where visitors appreciate the cityscape. Touted to be one of the highest in the world, the Singapore Flyer affords a breathtaking aerial view of the Malay Archipelago, which offers incredible scenery that includes the tropical landscapes of nearby islands. Embodying the increasing cosmopolitan vigor of Singapore, the Flyer is a magnificent canopy bathed in substantial design and architectural excellence.
The first step of an ambitious plan to transform Singapore into the 'Garden City' or 'City in the Garden,' the Gardens by the Bay span a staggering 101 hectares (250 acres) of reclaimed land alongside the Marina Reservoir. From its grove of skyscraping Supertrees to the space-age biodomes, these waterfront gardens are anything but ordinary. Complete with its own waterfall, the Cloud Forest replicates a tropical paradise, while the Flower Dome encapsulates quintessentially Mediterranean climes. Even more fascinating is the Sun Pavilion with its collection of cacti and the topiaries of the World of Plants. Mesmerizing works of art are scattered across the three gardens - Bay East, Bay West and Bay Central - while the Heritage Gardens showcase Chinese, Malay and Indian culture through themed natural spaces. A magical world of wonders, Singapore's Gardens by the Bay are an awe-inspiring horticultural showcase of 21st-century design.
Featuring more than 700 species of orchids, the National Orchid Garden was opened in 1996 and boasts the largest orchid display in the world. The 2100 hybrids found here are the result of an orchid-breeding program, which began in 1928. Catch a glimpse of Singapore's national flower (Vanda Miss Joaquim) and the diverse breeds of its family in stunning orchid terraces. Publications, orchid plants and other orchid-related items are available at the Entrance Pavilion. Orchid jewelry, made by plating real orchids with gold, makes for great souvenirs and gift ideas.
Representing two cultures of contrasting architectures, Chinese & Japanese Gardens are set on adjacent islands in Jurong Lake linked by the Bridge of Double Beauty. The Chinese Garden is fashioned according to imperial Sung dynasty architecture with twin pagodas, pavilions, rockeries, a tea gallery and arched bridges. The Japanese Garden is laid out in contrasting simplicity, embracing classical Japanese motifs such as Zen rock gardens, traditional summer houses, stone lanterns and gilded arched bridges. Plain and serene, it is a conducive place for meditation, poetic inspiration or just a quiet picnic.