My Photographs: Top 5 Singapore Botanical Gardens

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Singapore Botanical Gardens, May 2015. One of Singapore’s biggest draws is the incredible amount of greenery on offer, from leafy parks and meticulous urban gardens to the stunning hiking trails of The Southern Ridges. But the epicenter of this flowering majesty comes in the form of Singapore Botanical Gardens and its 60 acres of UNESCO Heritage parkland. Better still, it’s free to enter and open daily from 5am to midnight.  

Singapore Botanical Gardens, May 2015. Opening its doors back in 1859, the gardens played a key role in the city’s rubber trade boom and later became the venue for some Singapore’s most legendary political meetings and concerts. Today you can wander through the grounds free of charge and enjoy over a thousand species of flora. The park even has its own tropical rainforest (!), where squirrels and multicolored birds hop between the branches as you make your way along the boardwalk path.

Singapore Botanical Gardens, May 2015. The handsome shell-shaped Symphony Stage lies right in the heart of the gardens by Symphony Lake, just west of the visitor centre. People flock here on the weekends for free concerts from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, who perform Mozart and Tchaikovsky alongside John Williams’ rousing Indiana Jones score!

Singapore Botanical Gardens, May 2015. Don’t miss the National Orchid Garden, even if you do have to shell out a negligible 5SGD for the privilege (£2.70/$3.60). The scope of species on offer here is dizzying and there’s even a farm where a team of gardeners busy away cultivating the gorgeous Hybrid Climbing Orchid, Singapore’s national flower.

Singapore Botanical Gardens, May 2015. I finished up my afternoon’s explorations in the Ginger Garden, with its two hundred and fifty odd species of plants from the pungent Zingiberacae family. But fear not, if at this stage you feel like you’ve had your fill of plants and flowers, you can always do what I did and take a load off in the fancy Halia Restaurant. My drink of choice? A Ginger & Honey Sling of course!

My Photographs: Top 5 Ling Shang Restaurant Village – Yongjia County, China.

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Ling Shang Restaurant Village, November 2017. Having spent the afternoon hiking around the wonderful Yongjia Shu Yuan National Park, I had naturally built up quite an appetite. I could have just gone to a local hole-in-the-wall and filled up on cheerful cheapness. But then I’d have been missing out on this wondrous four hundred year old restaurant village, seemingly engraved into the side of a mountain overlooking a babbling brook.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Shu Yuan National Park – Yongjia County, China.

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Yongjia Shu Yuan National Park, November 2017. With winter finally starting to hit the southeast of China, I instinctively felt my annual hibernation period calling me after a busy few months of travel. Resolving to squeeze in one final trip before scuttling off to my man cave; I headed off to Yongjia County, a rural region in Zhejiang Province just fifteen kilometers north of the monster city Wenzhou. My first stop was this pretty national park, named after a famous Song Dynasty school.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Xu Ao Di Village – Taishun County, China.

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Xu Ao Di Village, November 2017. My visit to Taishun County was a major highlight of my travels across southern china in 2017. I saw an array of ancient bridges, an abandoned temple, a stunning reservoir and an equally awesome three-tiered waterfall set in a remote forest-mountain park. Driving back to my Sixi Town hotel on the last evening, I thought my explorations had come to an end when we suddenly happened upon this ancient village community. 

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My Photographs: Top 5 Nanpuxi Scenic Park – Taishun County, China.

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Nanpuxi Scenic Park, November 2017. I’d started to get a little concerned that we weren’t even going to find the park. The GPS was going crazy as we tackled turn after hairpin turn on the narrow mountain road. But we needn’t have worried, because in the end the road simply stopped altogether right at the edge of the park. The trail begins outside this amazing structure, which is actually just someone’s home. An old couple sat on opposite ends of the massive porch; he sittin’ doin’ nothin, she peeling potatoes.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Nanpuxi Reservoir – Taishun County, China.

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Nanpuxi Reservoir, November 2017. “Wow!” I exclaimed suddenly, as our little smart car turned a corner onto a narrow stone bridge. We’d been driving through the heart of Taishun County on the way to Nanpuxi Scenic Park when this majestic reservoir came into view. Needless to say we got out to have a look!

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My Photographs: Top 5 Wenxing Bridge – Taishun County, China.

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Wenxing Bridge, November 2017. The last of the six bridges I saw during my adventures around Taishun County was perhaps my favorite of them all! Located deep in the arse end of nowhere on the edge of Xiaochun Village, my travel buddy and I had inadvertently stumbled upon both Wenchong and Wenhong bridges while in the process of tracking it down. But then we finally found it, perched above Yu Stream, surrounded by gorgeous autumnal farmland.

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