James Cameron’s groundbreaking Avatar movies can now lay claim to not one but two of the 10 highest grossing films of all time. That’s right, not content with hogging pole position for well over a decade with the original movie, those big blue CGI dudes are now well on their way to claiming the number two spot with sequel Avatar: The Way of Water. Cinema-goers yet to see at least one of these billion-dollar blockbusters must now be as rare as unobtanium.
And, with great popularity comes great opportunity: for further movies, for merchandise and for tourist attractions inspired by the franchise, of which Avatar: The Experience in Singapore ranks among the very best. Read on for our guide to this unmissable interactive adventure.
Avatar in Singapore - A Guide to the Ultimate Experience
Avatar: The Experience is located within the Cloud Forest at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, perhaps best known for the iconic man-made tree structures that tower over Marina Bay. James Cameron himself has described the experience as “a window into the beauty of Pandora” and, well, if anyone is qualified to make that claim, it’s James Cameron!
He’s not wrong though: what better place to evoke the otherworldly flora and fauna of this fictional planet* than inside a vast durian-shaped tropical hothouse crammed with waterfalls, magnificent plant life and epic spiraling walkways? (*It's an exomoon, actually – ed.)
There’s plenty for Avatar fans to enjoy in this bioluminescent alien landscape where, as you enter, you’ll immediately encounter a fearsome Mountain Banshee crouching in the mist at the bottom of the waterfall. There are several more of these colorful aerial predators inside, including an epic full-scale animatronic version on the fourth floor. Heck, you can even have a go at becoming one yourself in a VR simulation where your movements control a Banshee’s flight over the Hallelujah Mountains. Kids will also absolutely love meeting the cute baby Banshee and Viperwolf pup.
Other highlights across the five zones include the opportunity to ‘Avatarize Yourself’ in the pods on the first floor. Step inside to have your face rendered as a Na’vi humanoid. Whether this is an improvement on the real thing is for you and your friends to decide afterwards: your Na’vi mugshot can be downloaded for free via the QR code provided. You’ll also come face to face with one of the Avatar universe's newest mythical creatures, namely the friendly Ilu, a massive marine monster in sculpture form.
Want to get a banshee’s-eye view of the whole experience? Take the elevator to the sixth floor, from where a stroll across the stunning Cloud Walk bridge brings you back down to the fourth, taking in panoramic views of the Pandora-esque Cloud Forest and out to Marina Bay. Afterwards, whiz back down to the first floor to meet the movie’s Sully family and explore the wild Pandoran flora. We’re talking deadly acid-oozing scorpion thistles, majestic Pandoran cycads and more. And, spread among them, further sci fi-looking plants that are, in fact, from our own planet: marvel at feathery blue-green peacock spikemoss, the red-veined trumpets of Sarracenia cultivars, otherworldly jade vines and other curiously alien vegetation.
Avatar: The Experience is an eye-popping immersive feast for the senses at the best of times, but if you get a chance to visit in the evening, you’ll get to see the whole Pandoran landscape illuminated in fluorescent light, just like in the films. A visit at this time of day also gives you the opportunity to catch the free sound-and-light shows that take place nightly in Supertree Grove and at the nearby Marina Bay Sands resort.
Know Before You Go
Getting There: Avatar: The Experience is at Gardens by the Bay in Marina Bay. It’s easy to reach via the Downtown and Circle lines on Singapore’s super-efficient MRT system. Alight at Bayfront station and take the underground linkway through exit B. You can then cross the Dragonfly Bridge or Meadow Bridge to reach Gardens by the Bay. Shuttle buses are also available from Tanjong Pagar station on the East-West MRT line.
Opening Hours: The experience runs until the end of March 2023. You can visit between 9AM and 9PM daily. Last admission is at 8PM.
Tickets: You can get tickets for Avatar: The Experience only, or upgrade to include entry to the Flower Dome in your package. With Go City, you get access to Avatar: the Experience, plus the Flower Dome, and save money on a whole host of other major Singapore attractions, such as the Sentosa cable car, Universal Studios, the National Museum and Singapore Zoo.
The Flower Dome
Considering opting for a ticket that adds entry to the Flower Dome but want to know more? Step right up: we’ve got the lowdown for you right here…
First up: this place is big. We’re talking Guinness World Record-holding big. That’s right, the Flower Dome is the planet’s largest greenhouse, with over 3,000 glass panels and an internal volume equivalent to a whopping 75 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Suffice it to say that there’s plenty to see and do in a space this size.
Inside, carpets of colorful blooms create intoxicating floral perfumes and a thousand-year-old olive tree stands sentinel, the stunning centerpiece of the tranquil olive grove. Explore plants from around the world across nine different zones, including eye-popping specimens from as far afield as Australia, South America and the Mediterranean and spend a few reflective moments in the weird world of the baobab forest.
Gardens by the Bay also offers stacks of free things to do. Stroll through outdoor areas including Bay East Garden, Heritage Garden and the aptly named Serene Garden, spotting unique sculptures and artful floral displays along the way. And visit the arid landscape of the Sun Pavilion, where you'll discover magnificent desert plants like the Turk’s cap and Mexican giant cactus that wouldn’t look at all out of place on Pandora.