Searching for the green in this garden city

A Secret Bonsai Garden


A Secret Bonsai Garden

At the ninth hour the doors will unlock.


The official name of this bonsai garden is 蕴秀园(Yun Xiu Yuan) and it was opened by Dr. Goh Keng Swee on 22 June 1992. It’s located inside Chinese Gardens (part of Jurong Lake Gardens) and is open daily from 9am — 5pm. And as with anything tourist-related in Singapore, the garden is beautiful, pristine, and very well-maintained. You better get there early though, because no later than 9:05am, cosplayers and regular visitors will start swarming in.


When I first moved to Singapore, Jurong Lake Gardens didn’t seem as impressive as the Singapore Botanic Gardens (a Unesco World Heritage Site). But now that I’ve explored my neighbourhood a bit more, I have my favourite spots and no longer feel like I need to make a trip to the SBG in order to get some greenery.


a very comprehensive itinerary

Visit 蕴秀园 on a Saturday morning, a good one. Pack yourself breakfast in the morning before you head out (bread/pastry, a bit of fruit plus hot tea or water in a thermos👌) and plan to reach Chinese Gardens around 7 — 7:30am (latest 7:30am). Ignore the pagodas, you’ll have time to look at them afterwards. Make a beeline towards the boathouses and find a nice spot there to eat. I usually sit right at the edge of the boathouse, straddling the bench/boundary in a most graceful manner, and fish watch. Don’t drop your breakfast and DO NOT feed the fish or terrapins.


After breakfast, amble through the park for about an hour or so. Remember to breathe in all that fresh oxygen (as mother would say). Circle back to the mighty stone lions which guard the garden entrance at 8:55am. Once the entrance is unlocked at 9am, head in and savour a precious few minutes before everyone else starts pouring in. Enjoy the general splendour and the decorative, miniature trees and head back home by 10am before it gets too hot.

In case you don’t know what a mighty stone lion looks like, this is what one looks like.

In case you don’t know what a mighty stone lion looks like, this is what one looks like.


And leave the monitor lizards (they are all named Larry, by the by) alone!