Gardener's worldie

Published date24 April 2022
Publication titleDaily Star (England)
While it serves a purpose for pit stops and petrolheads, the world's only island city state is certainly worthy of a substantial stopover. With its melting pot of traditional cultures, spirited street life and mind-boggling eco-credentials, Singapore has a spark all of its own, making it a city to savour

After arriving in Changi Airport, we met a chirpy tour guide who introduced himself as Toon-he.

"Cartoon and laugh, hehe," was the way he described it, with a grin.

For him, this was something special too - we were his first tour group since before COVID. Like so many, it had turned his life upside down.

Toon-he was quick to show us that Singapore isn't just its skyscrapers.

Anyone who does a Google Images search of the place will be met with a raft of shiny super towers and fancy high-rise hotels.

But this is a metropolis now regenerating itself and it is trying to do it as greenly as possible. Thousands of trees grow from the roofs of its buildings providing eco-systems in the sky. Crops grow in warehouses. Its water supply is recycled and pumped back into the taps of the five million residents occupying the 283 square miles that make up this city-state.

This urban nature concept is maximised at the Parkroyal Collection Pickering hotel, where I'm staying.

Plants in its tiered gardens cover twice the hotel's floor area.

Open-sided corridors mean air-con is not necessary. The slender nature of the building allows natural light to

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31 flood in. The hotel was also the first in Singapore to use recycled plastic as a building material to reduce the use of concrete. The combination of glass and greenery in buildings is all over the skyline and it's all part of a bigger plan towards its "city in a garden" dream.

One of Singapore's most iconic buildings actually helps to make it the more eco-friendly destination it is today. At Gardens by the Bay, in the shadow of the famous triple-towered Marina Bay Sands hotel, you can see a huge collection of unusual plants from all around the globe.

The largest greenhouse in the world, the Flower Dome, encases a mass of varieties. Next door is the Cloud Forest, featuring the world's second tallest indoor waterfall.

Engineering wizardry enables the greenhouses to collect rainwater which flows through a cooling system connected to the "Supertrees". Stretching up to 164ft, these giants at Supertree Grove are designed to provide shade in the day, disperse heat and harvest solar energy.

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