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Review: Gardens by the Bay Membership

Review: Gardens by the Bay Membership

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To date, I have been a paying member of Gardens by the Bay Membership program for 4 years. My first annual subscription was from mid 2015 to mid 2016. Back then, I signed up as a member because when I visited Flower Dome for the first time, I felt extremely happy, and I wanted to be able to visit Flower Dome frequently.

After that, we didn’t renew our membership because we were busy with other stuffs. In 2019, we signed up again because we have so many friends and family members visiting us in Singapore, and we wanted to bring them to Gardens by the Bay, hence it made more sense for us to get a membership rather than paying for single entry tickets.

And then the pandemic hit in 2020, which means we’re stuck in Singapore. Since Gardens by the Bay (GBTB) is one of our favorite places that we never get bored of visiting, we decided to renew our membership every year since then until now.

After being a member for so many years, I figured that it’s my responsibility as a blogger to share my honest review of Gardens by the Bay membership on this blog, to help you decide whether it’s worth signing up.

This is an independent review. All opinions are based on my own experience as a paying customer.

What is Friends of the Gardens?

Friends of the Gardens is the name of Gardens by the Bay’s membership program. There are 2 types of membership: individual membership and family membership (up to 5 people in the family).

The Friends of the Gardens membership program is only applicable for Singapore residents, including Singapore citizens, permanent residents and those living in Singapore, including holders of employment passes, work permits, dependent passes or student passes.

Friends of the Gardens Membership Price

Here are the prices of Friends of the Gardens membership:

  • Individual Membership
    • Adult (13 – 59 years old): $68
    • Child (3 – 12 years old): $34
    • Student (for full-time student): $34
    • Senior (60 years and above): $60
  • Family Membership
    • Family (2 adults/seniors and up to 3 children aged 3 to 12 y.o.): $180
    • Family Plus (5 members, no age restriction): $238

Gardens by the Bay Membership Promotion 2022

1. New Sign-Ups (Annual Membership)

As of now, there is no sign-up promotion for new member.

From 5 January 2022 to 4 April 2022, Gardens by the Bay is running a promotion for their Friends of the Gardens membership program. Here are the promotion prices:

  • Individual Membership
    • Adult (13 – 59 years old): $68 $42
    • Child (3 – 12 years old): $34 $22
    • Student (for full-time student): $34 $22
    • Senior (60 years and above): $60 $38
  • Family Membership
    • Family (2 adults/seniors and up to 3 children aged 3 to 12 y.o.): $180 $110
    • Family Plus (5 members, no age restriction): $238 $148

2. Renewal Promotion

From now until 31 December 2022, existing members can renew their membership at 50% discounts.

Members must renew their membership under the same membership category (except individual adult who renew to individual senior category). For Family/Family Plus membership, the main cardholder must remain unchanged.

Here are the promotion prices after 50% discount:

  • Individual Membership
    • Adult (13 – 59 years old): $68 $34
    • Child (3 – 12 years old): $34 $17
    • Student (for full-time student): $34 $17
    • Senior (60 years and above): $60 $30
  • Family Membership
    • Family (2 adults/seniors and up to 3 children aged 3 to 12 y.o.): $180 $90
    • Family Plus (5 members, no age restriction): $238 $118

What’s included in the Friends of the Gardens Membership?

The benefits of Friends of the Gardens Membership are:

  • Unlimited admission to Flower Dome conservatory
  • Unlimited admission to Cloud Forest conservatory
  • Unlimited admission to OCBC Skyway
  • Complimentary 2-hour Parking
  • Exclusive Dining and Shopping Privileges
  • Exclusive Members’ Events
Christmas in Singapore - Flower Dome Gardens by the Bay
Admission to Flower Dome is free for members
Weekend Itinerary for Budget Travellers in Singapore - Cloud Forest conservatory at Gardens by the Bay
Admission to Cloud Forest is free for members

What’s NOT included in the Friends of the Gardens Membership?

Many people (me included) had a wrong assumption that the membership includes unlimited admission to everything. The truth is, it’s not. Here are the things NOT included in the Friends of the Gardens Membership:

  • Admission to Floral Fantasy (sometimes, members can purchase the ticket at discounted rate but most of the time members have to pay the full price)
  • Admission to Supertree Observatory
  • Shuttle Service (nope, you have feet, you can walk)
  • Admission to ticketed Ad Hoc events, like Christmas Wonderland
How to Spend Christmas in Singapore 2021 - Gardens by the Bay Christmas Wonderland
Admission to Christmas Wonderland is NOT included in the membership
How to Spend Christmas in Singapore 2021 - Gardens by the Bay Christmas Wonderland
Admission to Supertree Observatory is NOT included in the membership

How to Use the Membership

In the past, FOTG (Friends of the Gardens) used to issue physical membership cards with member’s name and photo. Currently, due to digitalization, FOTG will only issue e-card, which can be accessed through Gardens by the Bay app or membership web portal.

Before visiting the conservatories and Skyway, members can book for a timeslot via the app. Upon arrival, just show the membership QR code on your app and the staff will be able to see your timeslot and grant you admission.

My hubby and I both hold individual membership. When we want to visit the conservatories or the skyway, one of us can book on behalf of the other person. But during admission, both of us must show our QR codes.

The dining and shopping privileges are stored inside our account and can be accessed via app or website. To use it, simply go to the app and look for the vouchers.

If you need any help, there is a Friends of the Gardens Centre on site, near Visitor Centre & Flower Dome, that provides assistance to members.

Membership Renewal

Active members can renew their membership at any time before their membership expiry date.

Sometimes, FOTG does run renewal promotion, so we always renew our membership during promotion.

It is possible to renew multiple years in advance, so if you have extra budget and you don’t know where to splurge it, then you can consider renewing multiple years in advance.

What I Like

Membership renewal discount. Friends of the Gardens is quite generous during their promotions, be it for new sign-ups or for renewals. Sometimes, the renewal discount can be up to 50% off. This is probably one of the main reasons I am a loyal paying customer all these years.

Unlimited admission to Flower Dome, Cloud Forest and OCBC Skyway. This is the main selling point of the FOTG membership, and it’s also what I really like from this membership. To be honest, I never get bored of visiting these 3 places all these times.

So many different floral displays in a year. I mean, no matter how much I like Flower Dome, if the floral display stays the same the entire year, the free unlimited admission will generate a diminishing return. I’m glad that Flower Dome has so many different floral displays over the months, I have a reason to keep going back to Flower Dome every month or two.

Certain Exclusive Members’ Events. In the past, there were several member exclusive events that I loved, such as free plants, early access for new floral display, and free shuttle service. However, there hasn’t been many exclusive events recently (probably due to safe distancing measures). Hopefully, FOTG will organize more fun and free events for members.

CNY 2022 Chinese New Year - Dahlia Dreams at Flower Dome Gardens by the Bay Singapore
CNY 2022 Chinese New Year - Dahlia Dreams at Flower Dome Gardens by the Bay Singapore

What I Don’t Like

Members don’t get free admission to Floral Fantasy and Supertree Observatory. Unfortunately, members need to fork out $12 (Adult, SG residents) for Floral Fantasy and $10 (Adult, SG residents) for Supertree Observatory.

Members don’t get free shuttle services. This is really a bummer! For people who use public transport, the distance between Bayfront MRT and Flower Dome is quite far especially during a hot afternoon. Oh well, I guess at least it helps me burn more calories and clock more steps. If you’re visiting with elderly or young children, I’d recommend you not to skimp on shuttle services, it’s only $3 per person for a 2-way ride.

Mobile app needs improvement. The mobile app is able to perform essential tasks well. BUT, it’s quite slow and the UX isn’t perfect (for example: on certain pages, if you tap on the back button, it brings you to the Home instead of the previous page). I think FOTG really need to improve the app’s UX.

Is it Worth Signing Up?

First, let’s do the math! For an Adult SG resident, the price of Flower Dome + Cloud Forest admission is $20, and the price of OCBC Skyway admission is $8, hence the total cost for admission to these 3 attractions is $28. An Individual Membership for Adult costs $68 per year. That means, you need to visit these 3 attractions at least 3 times a year to break even.

Next, it’s time to ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you like Gardens by the Bay so much that you see yourself visiting the garden more than 3 times a year?
  • Do you have enough leisure time to visit Gardens by the Bay at least 3 times a year?
  • Do you have enough entertainment budget to cover the membership fee?

If budget is an issue, but you really want to sign up for the membership, perhaps you should wait until they run a promotion.

If you have enough budget and leisure time, and you like GBTB, signing up for the FOTG membership is probably a good idea.

If you do not have enough leisure time because your work is too time-consuming or you’re too busy taking care of young kids or aged parents, probably you can consider getting 1-day tickets instead of membership.

If you’re a short-term visitor and not a Singapore resident, unfortunately you’re not eligible to sign up for this membership.

For me, I really like GBTB and I have enough leisure time to visit it at least 3 times a year. I am (still) never bored of visiting the place, so I personally feel that it’s worth renewing my membership year after year. But this is just me. Your situation might be different from me.

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