The 13-arch bridge on tranquil waters.

Photo by Kar Kar Photography

At the entrance of Chinese Garden, you’ll find a pair of majestic stone lions guarding its gates. Statues of these proud creatures have traditionally stood in front of imperial palaces, tombs and temples in ancient China, and are said to possess a mythical ability to protect.

Indeed the 13.5-hectare garden feels like a slice of ancient China transplanted to the west of Singapore, complete with a series of stone bridges, pagodas and a tea house.

Designed by Taiwanese architect Prof. Yuen-chen Yu and built in 1975, the space is modelled after the northern Chinese imperial style of architecture and landscaping, particularly during the Sung dynasty period. The ‘Bai Hong Qiao’ bridge, for instance, follows the style of the 17-Arch Bridge at the Summer Palace in Beijing. Other highlights include a Bonsai Garden, which houses a collection of over a hundred beautifully-manicured bonsais imported from China, Japan and neighbouring countries like Malaysia.

Meanwhile, kids will delight at the Live Turtle And Tortoise Museum, which is home to more than 200 turtles and tortoises in over 60 different species.