I’m re-running a post from last year’s throughly successful visit to the Chinese Garden in Jurong. Yup it’s lantern festival time again.
This year though, the guys in charge of the decor at have gone decidedly off-piste: instead of all the pretty lanterns you might be forgiven for expecting to see, they have blown the budget on enormous moving, roaring…um…dinosaur models. A huge hit with the children but I have to say, visually, I much preferred it last year. And besides, what do dinosaurs have to do with the mid-Autumn festival?
Here’s a re-run of my lantern festival blog post from 2012:
I have been driving past the huge open space that is the Chinese Garden for about two years now. Considering the scale of it, together with the Japanese Garden which forms part of it, there is a rather surprising lack of entrances – only one – which I finally got around to finding on Friday afternoon when we were galvanized in to action by the lovely LR, who makes an annual pilgrimage to visit the lanterns on display here each and every mid-Autumn festival.
It’s absolutely worth making the effort to come during the month that the festival’s running – this year it’s 7th September to 7th October – either with or without children (I did once promise this wouldn’t be a blog about what to do with kids in Singapore and I intend to keep that promise). You bounce between regular garden fixtures such as sensible old Confucius, juxtaposed this year by a kitsch and fabulous re-enactment of the Princess and the Frog:
There are breathtaking glimpses of huge open spaces often only interrupted by something as tranquil and zen a shore-side temple or a ripple-less lake (be warned, it is airless here, perhaps that’s why it’s undeveloped and has remained as a park). The towering HDBs in the far distance are a reminder of the sheer size of this piece of parkland:
Not of course forgetting Swan Lake and the slightly less graceful but very impressive moving dragons and flying fish:
And my personal favourite, the arching and welcoming tulip-lined bridge:
The lights, which are different designs each year, are switched on at around 6.30pm daily. The best time to arrive is probably just before then so you have enough time to wander around. The lights actually look best at dusk; come at 7pm it’s properly dark, all the views and vistas are lost and Snow White looks much the same as any luminated creature, after a while, if her cutesy hideousness is not off-set by a beautifully sculpted bonzai or ancient pine behind her.
During the lantern festival, Jurong Chinese Garden is open daily from 9am (too early) to 11pm (too late). Entry includes a free lantern and costs $12 per adult, $6 per child.