‘Orchids of Angkor Wat’ stuns Singaporeans with treasures from Cambodia

The exhibition opened on May 17 as a collaboration between the Cambodian embassy in Singapore and Gardens by the Bay.

Hong Raksmey

Hong Raksmey

The Phnom Penh Post


The ‘Orchids of Angkor Wat’ exhibition in Singapore's famous Gardens by the Bay features a 3.5m tall replica of the Kingdom's famed Angkor Wat Temple. The sculpture is surrounded by a range of orchids, each of which is native to Cambodia. PHOTO: ROYAL EMBASSY OF CAMBODIA IN SINGAPORE/THE PHNOM PENH POST

May 23, 2024

SINGAPORE – Gardens by the Bay, one of the most well-known landmarks in Singapore, has become a vibrant tapestry of Cambodian heritage and horticulture with the unveiling of the “Orchids of Angkor Wat” display.

Central to the display is a 3.5-metre-tall recreation of Angkor Wat, surrounded by palm trees — Cambodia’s national tree — and an abundance of colourful orchids.

Visitors can also experience a glimpse of the gateway to Angkor Thom, with devas (gods) paving the walkway.

The stunning stone sculptures are complemented by a vibrant array of orchids. The replica sculptures, representing ancient Khmer architecture and culture, are surrounded by delicate white orchids with yellow and orange centres, creating a breathtaking contrast with the vibrant purple orchids in the background.

This harmonious blend of art and nature beautifully encapsulates the spirit of the Kingdom’s unique heritage.

The exhibition opened on May 17 as a collaboration between the Cambodian embassy in Singapore and Gardens by the Bay. It is supported by the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Australian government’s Department of Social Services.

Ambassador Sok Khoeun emphasised the event’s significance in promoting Cambodia and strengthening Cambodia-Singapore relations.

Khoeun was quoted by the culture ministry as saying that “this important event is designed to raise awareness of Cambodia and attract more international visitors”.

“It aims to recognise and promote the strengthening of Cambodia-Singapore relations and the people-to-people ties between the two countries,” he added.

Khoeun said at the inauguration that Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay are two of the most visited places in Southeast Asia, with Angkor Wat ranked first and Gardens by the Bay second.

The exhibition, open until September 8, features over 50 species and hybrids of Cambodian orchids, including exotic slipper orchids and the popular hybrid Vandachostylis.

The Dendrobium Adastra, with its drooping blooms resembling a “waterfall of flowers,” is another highlight, showcasing the rich biodiversity of Cambodia.

The orchids showcased at Orchids of Angkor Wat include species that are native to Cambodia, or hybrids that can trace their parentage back to orchids from the Kingdom of Cambodia, according to Gardens by the Bay’s media team.

Orchids were also revered as symbols of nobility and hallmarks of religious beliefs and are documented in carvings throughout the ancient city of Angkor.

Despite being home to such a rich diversity of orchids, it is thought that only slightly more than half of the 500 species in Cambodia have ever been documented.

The exhibition includes five stone replicas depicting scenes from significant Cambodian architecture, on loan from Artisans Angkor, showcasing people’s daily lives and the divinities of Cambodia during the Khmer Empire.

“The display showcases a stunning replica of the Angkor Wat Temple and sculptures representing Cambodia’s ancient Khmer architecture and culture,” said the Cambodian Embassy to Singapore.

“It also features sculptures of some of the diverse wildlife in Cambodia, including the Asian elephant and the Kouprey, a remarkably rare forest ox, adorned with exotic Cambodian orchids.”

“Angkor Wat is one of the most visited attractions in Asia, and we are honoured to partner with the embassy of Cambodia in Singapore to recreate this majestic landmark at Gardens by the Bay, while also introducing visitors to Cambodia’s rich orchid heritage,” he was quoted as saying by the media team.

The grand opening, which was attended by about 200 guests, featured many dignitaries including ambassador Khoeun, and Gardens by the Bay CEO Loh.

Eric Chua, senior parliamentary secretary at Singapore’s culture ministry, and representatives of the Australian social services department were also present, as guests of honour.

The spectacular opening ceremony featured Cambodian cultural performances, including the traditional Moni Mekhala dance and a performance which featured the Kingdom’s traditional musical instruments.

The “Orchids of Angkor Wat” display promises to be a major attraction, drawing visitors to Gardens by the Bay and inspiring many to explore the real Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

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