Twice a night, 12 of the 18 vertical gardens at the Gardens by the Bay’s Supertree Grove come alive in a dazzling 15-minute light and sound display called “Garden Rhapsody”.
While Singapore isn’t your go-to place for stargazing, this colourful Gardens by the Bay light show matches up pretty well. And the best part about the Garden’s by the Bay Light Show – it’s 100% free! It’s definitely one of our top things to do in Singapore for first time visitors or couples looking for a bit of romance.
Read on to learn more about the Gardens by the Bay Light show including local tips and tricks to make your visit that much more satisfying. And don’t forget to save my complete guide to Gardens by the Bay.
What is Gardens by the Bay and the Supertree Grove
Before understanding all there is to know about the Gardens by the Bay Light Show, you probably want to learn about the place it is located in – the Supertree Grove in Gardens by the Bay.
History of Gardens by the Bay
Usually city planners want to create green spaces within an otherwise industrial area. Yet the aim here is flipped around to create a “City in a Garden”. So in 2006 an international competition was held to make this dream into a reality.
The winners, both from the UK, were Grant Associates (Bay South) and Gustafson Porter (Bay East). This was narrowed down from 170 firms from over 23 countries. After holding a public exhibition of the master plan concepts, there was only positive feedback with 85% saying they loved the design and 97% stating they would definitely visit.
After the announcement of the S$900 million construction research began where the National Parks Board acquired plants and tress from around the world. At HortPark, a S$7-million research facility was erected where six glasshouses simulated different climactic conditions. After testing, the first shipment of over 210,000 bromeliads, native to the Americas, was carried out.
The first phase of Bay East was opened to the public in October 2011 and the official opening of Bay South was on 29 June 2012. Bay East borders the Marina reservoir and has a total area of 32 hectares and a 2km walkway. It’s probably one of the best areas to watch the sunset and witness the miraculous Singapore skyline with the Singapore Flyer, ArtScience Museum and Marina Bay Sands in the distance.
Bay South is the largest of the gardens, expanding a total area of 54 hectares and has all the top attractions like the Conservatories, Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, Children’s Garden, and of course, the Supertree Grove.
Bay Central serves as a link between Bay South and Bay East. It’s a 3km waterfront promenade that is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll or a quick jog.
Since opening Gardens by the Bay has won many awards including the World Building of the Year in 2012, the President’s Design Award (Singapore) in 2013, the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Themed Entertainment Association in 2014, the Largest Glass Greenhouse (Flower Dome) in the Guinness World Records for 2015, and is always a top pick on Tripadvisor (currently at 4.5 stars in July 2019 with over 50k reviews).
There are constant and ever-changing programs available at Gardens by the Bay, so above the multitude of flowers and plants, you can expect festivals, music concerts and even outdoor movie screenings. But one of the fixtures is the nightly “Garden Rhapsody” that is open everyday without fail and happens within the Supertree Grove.
Interesting fact: The Gardens by the Bay Light Show happens every night. Shooting of the Hollywood movie Crazy Rich Asians was even stopped so that they could carry on with the show for the general public.
The Supertree Grove
The Supertrees, within the Supertee Grove are probably one of Singapore’s most recognisable attractions. They measure between 25 and 50 m in height and provide a sort of artificial canopy with the OCBC Skyway bridging the Supertrees at 22m.
While visiting the Supertree Grove is free, going up the OCBC Skyway does have a fee. You can book it in conjunction with a ticket to Gardens by the Bay advance while skipping sometimes very long queue and getting a discount on Klook.
Gardens by the Bay Light Show
As mentioned, every night without fail there is a free musical and lights show at the Supertree Grove but let’s talk about what the show is about and where the best seats in the house are.
The Light at the Gardens by the Bay Light Show
Standing at 25m to 50m tall, these iconic tree-like steel structures are bejeweled from top to bottom with colorful dotted lights. These lights blink on and off in time to the whimsical music playing across the garden.
Meanwhile, the huge cone-like structures at the top of each Supertree also glow in changing colours. When you’re looking up at all of the Supertrees’ moving displays against the night sky, you feel like you’re having a mystical, fantasy-like experience.
The best part?
These Supertrees are eco-friendly, using solar panels to harvest light energy to illuminate the trees at night. Taking an Insta-live of the show will not fail to please your followers as it is one of the most Instagram-worthy places to be in Singapore.
The Sound at the Gardens by the Bay Light Show
Produced by local music director and composer Philip Tan and lighting designer Gabriel Chan, the theme of “Garden Rhapsody” is “The Trees of Life” to celebrate the harmonious co-existence of Man and Garden. The eccentric, orchestral music actually features recordings of the sounds made by the trees, plants and creatures at Gardens by the Bay.
With over 162,900 plants planted on the Supertrees alone, you know you’re going to hear some some pretty exotic but delightful sounds.
The music comes out of 68 independent audio speakers hidden among the greenery in the area as if there are live musicians by your feet. This surround-sound experience wherever you’re standing in the Supertree Grove really hits home the show’s theme of harmony between Man and Garden.
It drives home the idea that even though Singapore is a bustling cosmopolitan city, we can still be surrounded by the wonders and sounds of nature.
But what we love the most about Gardens by the Bay Light Show is that the performance changes often. For example, during the Mid-Autumn Festival it was changed to a pan-Asian performance, and for National Day every year the show performs a version of Majulah Singapore, the national anthem.
Experiencing Gardens by the Bay Light Show
Take the opportunity of spending some time at Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove to bring a picnic mat and enjoy this night spectacle lying down.
Top tip: lie down on the seating area directly under the Supertrees for the best views in the house. Come at least 15mins before the show as this secret is becoming very well known (thousands of people read this article every month!) and space fills up quickly.
Later, you can head to the Satay by the Bay to continue your meal or go kite flying before at the Barrage.
No doubt, the best view is actually from above where you can immerse yourself in the show from the 22m-high OCBC Skyway, a walkway connecting three of the Supertrees which offers panoramic views of the show from up high. There is a S$5 fee to go up and last ticket sale is at 8pm so you will have to come here for the early Gardens by the Bay Light Show.
If you want to go up the OCBC Skyway we recommend you come early as queues can reach up to 50 mins during this time. Another thing to keep in mind is that you will only be allowed 15mins on the Skyway during peak times to time your visit wisely.
Make a special visit during Christmas, National Day and Chinese New Year for special editions of “Garden Rhapsody”, where the blinking lights are timed to the beat of popular holiday jingles. Then you can make your way to Chinatown for some more festivities, or stay on and visit the rest of Gardens by the Bay:
Gardens by the Bay Light Show time
Gardens by the Bay is located on 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953 and you can get here on the MRT, yellow line, or by taxi. There is a taxi stop a couple of minutes walk from the Supertree Grove, make sure to ask to be dropped there, the park is huge.
Show times of the gardens by the Bay Light Show are 7:45pm & 8:45pm daily with additional shows during holiday seasons. The show duration is 15 minutes and admission is free.