Is it December already? We can practically hear the Sleigh Bells ringing as we come running full speed ahead into the busiest holiday season of all, as people plan holidays and shop for last minute gifts. Family time can be a nightmare if you plan on heading down to particularly crowded areas, but perhaps the key to that is to head on down to Christmas Wonderland 2017 at Gardens by the Bay.
Decorated completely in bright lights, blowup igloos and Chrismas trees, Gardens by the Bay has truly transformed into a winter playground this year (save for the oppressive heat). From the moment we stepped through the entrance near the visitor centre, we were greeted by a well-lit path that marked the way to the main carnival area at the Meadow.
And they weren’t just any ordinary lights showing the way – they were Luminaries, great big light sculptures specially flown in from Italy to illuminate the gardens. From giant Christmas trees to 22.5 metre tall castles, each step brings you closer to a new electrical wonder, each more instagrammable than the last.
Walk down a little more and you’ll find the Cassa Armonica gazebo, where artists will take to the stage and charm you with song. When we went down on Friday, we were treated to Christmas carols from the Pei Chun Primary School Choir, dressed adorably in Santa hats. But for the edgier ones amongst you, indie artists like Vandetta and STOPGAP will also be performing, usually in the later parts of the evening.
We also went around playing a couple of carnival games available, set up throughout the area. The usual suspects were around, from ring tosses, to ball throws, to even a fishing game. Most of the prizes up for grabs were of course, adorable festive stuffed toys. Besides winning these for the young ones, kids also have a plethora of activities to choose from, from the Christmas Train to attractions like the Spalliera spewing ‘snow’ at scheduled times through the night.
For fun for the whole family, parents and kids can head on down to the outdoor ice skating rink, where 30 minute sessions can be purchased. It’s a beautiful environment, where you’ll be skating under the stars gazing into your lover’s eyes or laughing out loud with your friends and family as you try not to fall.
Circus Abyssinia, the Ethiopian circus that made waves at Edinburgh Fringe Festival has also rolled into town, with brothers Bibi and Bichu having established the power of the African circus scene after wowing audiences at Edinburgh Fringe. You’ve got all your standard circus acts, from contortionists to high element acts, except with a uniquely African twist to make them stand out from the crowd. A joyous celebration of Africa in all its quirks and culture, a visit to Circus Abyssinia is a must do activity if you’re visiting Christmas Wonderland, and tickets can be purchased online or in person.
As foodies, one of the highlights for us was undoubtedly SAVOUR’s food market. Bringing together some of the best restaurants from around Singapore, there was holiday cheer in every morsel as we chowed our way through some truly festive dishes. From 1-Group’s Monti, we tried both the Crab Arancini with Arrabiata as well as Monti’s Crunchy Kurobuta Pork Belly with Potato Espuma and Mustard (just look at the crispy skin in the photo above!)
From Gardens By The Bay’s very own Pollen restaurant, we had a Beef Wellington that was absolutely bursting with flavour, juicy and with a crispy, buttery crust, while ROC’s Pulled Beef Rendang with Moroccan Buttered Rice provided a nice Eastern complement as a main course.
Finally, we also tried the Foie Gras Magnum from 1-Michelin starred Saint Pierre, a very different kind of dessert where the luscious foie gras was given a new, unique layer of texture when the salted caramel it was slathered in was coated with tasty crumble, making for a real luxurious dish.
A job well done to Blue Sky Events and Asia PR Werkz for having hosted yet another successful edition of one of the funnest activities to do in December, bringing the Winter holiday spirit to our sunny island. Whether it’s appreciating the many magnificent light structures, winning new toys to line the bed with, chowing down on yuletide food or enjoying spectacular, heartwarming live performances, you’ll never run out of things to do this Christmas season at Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay, sure to bring you, your family and friends closer together by the end of the night.
Christmas Wonderland takes place at Gardens by the Bay from 1st – 26th December, 4pm – 11pm daily. Tickets for entry and certain attractions priced separately and are available both onsite and from their website here. Each paying adult can bring in up to three children under 0.9m free of charge. A child above 0.9m requires a ticket.
A bundled ticket option that covers entry to both Christmas Wonderland and Gardens by the Bay’s conservatories at a discounted rate can be purchased online at www.gardensbythebay.com.sg. On-site sales for the bundled ticket option will start from 1 December for the purchase of actual-day bundled tickets.