Chinese Garden

Posted: November 27, 2009 in Uncategorized

Captain’s log                          Stardate: 63406.4 (Nov 27th, 2009)

Ever since the first time I opened my eyes to see the world, I had never visited the Chinese Garden. Well, as what people would say, its never too late to start journey into one. Places like this will never run away, and that its part of the heritage in the society we are living in. If you asked me, its not only because of exploring. But ever since my visit to both the National Museum of Singapore and Botanic Gardens, in regards to the reality game, I began to feel more attracted to the idea of exploring those interesting, not to mention, heritage places that also involves the wonders of the nature. There’s a lot of those parks in Singapore that I had never been. The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Labrador Nature Reserve, just to name a few. A colleague of mine once told me, that I might even ended up writing a book about my visit to these places. A collection of them and areas within it that was worth a visit. How I wished =D

Anyway, my visit to the Chinese Garden is not because of the reality game, Uncover Singapore. There’s no mission involved into this. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, I never been there. So why not take this opportunity to step into this 13-hectare ancient paradise and feel what is like in the ancient way of life. It is because, as what I came to found out:

“The design of the Chinese Garden was to provide a spiritual utopia for one to connect with nature, to come back to one’s inner heart, to come back to ancient idealism. Chinese Garden are a spiritual shelter for people, a place they could be far away from their real social lives, and close to the ancient way of life, their true selves, and nature.”

Well, I guess I’m about to find out =)

So 3 days ago, Tuesday, 23th, which is my off, I had began my destination. Taking the train from the East, and journey to the West side of the island. Based on research, the Garden was also commonly known as Jurong Gardens. As the name stated, it was located in Jurong. And there’s even the MRT station named after it, the Chinese Garden MRT station which was a five-minute walk to the garden. The garden was built in 1975, and designed by Professor Yuen-Chen Yu, who was a well-known architect from Taiwan. The garden’s concept is based on the Chinese gardening art, and the main characteristic is the integration of splendid architectural features that suits with the natural environment. Impressively, it was been landscape in such a way that it resemblances much of the northern Chinese imperial style of architecture and landscaping. No wonder it was been describe, “a place they could be far away from their real social lives, and close to the ancient way of life……” Hard to miss that point if you are here quite often =)

Furthermore, it was noted for Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations since the late 1980s. It was been a popular attraction during these festive periods. Understand that each year, visitors are been treated to splendid views of uniquely designed lanterns, which was brought in from different parts of China and that includes, cultural performances by Chinese cultural troupes. No doubt about it, since how the garden was well established.

Apart from that, newly couples also enjoy taking wedding photographs by the bridges and pagodas there. Looks like the Botanic Garden are not the only interesting places newly couples are attracted to.

I had noted some of the interesting spots within the garden I intend to check it out. Especially that 7-storey pagoda that can be seen from a distance. Its typical design does held the resemblances of the Ling Ku Temple Pagoda at Nanjing, China. There’s also a Japanese Garden, where you had to walk across a bridge to get to the other side.

Almost an hour, I reached my destination. Camera……check. Water bottle……check. Small towel……check. I check twice, for your info. Hah! =D

First wave of photos taken before I proceed along the path that leads towards the garden.

I walk across this red bridge, where I was greeted by two cloudy-grained marble stone lions on either side of the gate. Typically Chinese in style, and they guard the main gates of the garden. It is a Chinese belief that the lion is an animal representing authority and fealty. Apart from that, they are skillfully sculptured from Taiwan-imported marble statue.

I stumbled upon the layout map of the garden. Below, there’s two directions to indicate. Japanese Garden to the left and Chinese Garden to the right.

I choose the right side, where right next to it stood the majestic 7-storey Pagoda, which was also the focal point of the garden.

History records shows, that in ancient times, the pagoda, originally a simple tower located besides a temple, used to store human bones by Buddhists. Soon later, with improvements in architectural skills, that incorporated with the traditional art of building, the pagoda was developed into a structure of striking architectural beauty and streamlined

Inside, I followed a spiral staircase all the way up to the last level. Photos below are taken from the top that held a breathtaking view from above.

One look down, and I was struck with a tsunami of dizzyness….=S

Right next to the pagoda, was the Ixora Garden. A splendid shrubs that provide a majestic backdrop for the statues of the Eight Chinese Legendary Heroes. From information I’ve gathered, these eight statues had been commissioned by the National Parks Board in 1990, and had earlier been installed at Marina City Park’s Sculpture Garden. Then, on 15th January 2007, the statues were relocate to the Chinese Garden, and its plaque commemorates the unveiling of the statues by the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on 18 September 1991.

Among the statues, were too most promising ones that could easily grab the attention of historians. One is the famous patriotic poet, named Qu Yuan, who had committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River due to despair when his Chu Kingdom was been conquered by the state of Qin in ancient China. That’s how the Chinese Boat Festival came about as to commemorate his death.

The other one, named Confucious, who was a Chinese thinker, as well as a social philosopher whereby his teachings and philosoply have deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese thoughts and life.

“Confucious says…….” =D

I took a 10-minute break by seating on a bench facing the lake. Once I’ve recharge, I resume my exploration.

I cross the lake by moving across large stones that were designed as its bridge. On the other side, stood the Bonsai Garden.

As history recorded, the Bonsai Garden here had cost an estimate $3.8 million to build, and was officially opened in June 1992. It was measured as a 5,800 sq meters, and dominated with Suzhou-style buildings. Therefore, it was also referred as Suzhoi-style Bonsai Garden. Its landscape houses a collection of over 2000 bonsais, which was imported from China and other parts of the world.

It was been stated, that the Bonsai Garden was given a fresh look after spending an estimate wholesome of another $500,000. Talk about a whole lot of renovation and revitalised! Not to mention, a beauty that must be seen to believed. I had seen a similar version of the Bonsai Garden when I was in the Botanics. But this one was truly magnificent, by the way it was arrange within its lush greenery and traditional appearance behind the Suzhou-style buildings. And one step into it, feels like traveling back in time into ancient China. What are the odds! =D

What a place! Meters after meters on every square inch was an impressive collection of beautifully manicured bonsais. And what I found out through comments been posted from one of its officially websites, that this part of the garden offers a perfect getaway from all the hustle and bustle of city life. Its truly freedom down here! =)

Now, this intrigues me. There’s even a small cave beneath this rock, and steps leading up to the traditional hut above it.

I seem to be going around in circles, as what I’ve noticed. Haha! =D It was indeed, a hidden paradise inside paradise itself =)

Adjacent to it, was the Garden of Abundance. It was known to be the newest addition to the Chinese Garden family. Down here, you will find a collection of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals stone sculptures. There’s the rat, dragon, monkey, rabbit – just to name a few. In the standard English Zodiac, I happened to fall under Pisces. And in the Chinese Zodiac, I was the rat. I wonder if that explains why some people claimed that my ears were big as a rat…

There’s even a sundial, stone bridges and planting of materials. The scenery down here was designed accordingly to Chinese tradition and folk culture. It presents, sincere wishes dedicated to the visitors.

Some of the few Chinese Zodiac animals I’ve taken. Just for you readers to catch a glimpse of them =)


Nearby, was the majestic Bridge of Double Beauty where it will lead you to the Japanese Garden. Or refer as “Seiwaen.”

Prior to info, in contrast to the visual appearance to that from the Chinese Garden, the Japanese Garden was designed to be more minimalist and abstract, with emphasis on simplicity which will leave you enchanted. Its based on its own gardening technique through ancient times. As what I noted, local plants were used to depict and create the same effect as traditional gardens in Japan. Interestingly, genuine stone lanterns and rocks, originated from Japan were brought to further enhance the general landscape of this paradise. Also, an arched bridges over ponds and traditional houses all add up to give a sense of a natural look of what its like in Japan! =)

Such a beauty here that lovers and nature lovers just can’t resist. This part of the garden were largely opened, and those spacious area was perfect for a family picnic. All peaceful here, all seems quiet, and feels like as though I was exploring a planet of paradise that lies no inhabitants of any kind =)

I followed down a stretch of path, that reaches out as what I thought it would be a better place “somewhere over the rainbow”, which was based on a popular fantasy movie, Wizard of Oz. What lies ahead was another magnificent bridge. Took me to realize that this is “Pai Hung Ch’iao”, meaning “white rainbow bridge.” It was a 13-Arch Bridge, which follows the style of the 17-Arch Bridge at the Summer Palace in Beijing. Up ahead, was the typical Chinese arch building which contains two courtyards and a fishpond. It was been said, that the main arch building is a favourite spot for photographers. Why wouldn’t? It was such a grand place here, and no visitors could resist every inch and every shot of this renowned and typical Chinese arch building =)

What lies beyond there…=D

Just magnificent. I’m glad that I had taken that opportunity to be here. To a place that I had never explore ever since I was born. haha! =D Now that I’m happy with it, and that my camera is fully loaded with amazing photos, I journey back home. But not before, taking the last stroll around the garden. Re-discover those interesting spots that has been discovered. The Japanese Garden…..Garden of Abundance…..Bonsai Garden…..Ixora Garden….and not forgetting. The majestic, striking and graceful standing tall Pagoda =)


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