SINGAPORE: Visitors to the Singapore Botanic Gardens can now walk on a ridge-top hiking trail which leads to the highest point in the gardens at around 40m above sea level.
Along the way, there are plants from habitats found in the tropical hills of Southeast Asia, including carnivorous plants like the Raffles' Pitcher Plant.
The new trail, called the Mingxin Foundation Rambler’s Ridge, opened on Saturday (Oct 19) as part of the 8ha Gallop extension at the botanic gardens.
"The Gallop Extension, located along Gallop Road, will strengthen the buffer for Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site against urban development," said the National Parks Board (NParks) in a media release.
Another new attraction which opened on Saturday is the OCBC Arboretum.
Described as a "living library of trees", the arboretum is touted as the first of its kind in Southeast Asia which houses more than 2,000 specimens of over 200 species of dipterocarps - giant forest trees that an grow up to 80m tall.
An Internet of Things system is used to remotely and continuously monitor the trees and their environment as they grow.
At the opening on Saturday, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong noted that when the Singapore Botanic Gardens was established 160 years ago, it had only 22ha of space.
With the Gallop extension, it will be almost four times larger at 82ha.
"I think all of us can be proud of how far the Gardens has come in the last 160 years," said Mr Wong. "It has grown into a world-class botanical garden and a premier institution for research, conservation, and botany."
More new features will open at the Gallop extension next year, including two conservation houses.
One of them is the Forest Discovery Centre, where visitors can learn about different forest habitats through exhibits, workshops, and activities on forest ecology.
The other is the Botanical Art Gallery, where visitors can browse rare books and art from the Gardens’ collection.
There will also be a nature-inspired play area for children, as well as a canopy link that was announced earlier this year.
NParks has planned a lineup of activities to mark the opening of the ridge and the arboretum.
Over this weekend and the next, there will be concerts, guided tours, a movie screening, children's craft activities, as well as talks and demonstrations by botanical artists.
Details can be found on NParks' website.