The Singapore Botanic Gardens was the first stop we hopped off our Singapore tour (not counting Suntec City Mall). It is also the latest among UNESCO World Heritage Sites we’ve visited. OK, it actually wasn’t named a World Heritage Site — Singapore’s first — until after we visited. But I’m counting it.If we had more time in Singapore, and it wasn’t 100+ degrees with 99 percent humidity, we would have spent a lot more time at the Botanic Gardens. The gardens sprawl over 180 acres and include one of the world’s two rainforests within a city (the other one is in Rio de Janeiro). There’s also an orchid garden, a bonsai garden and tons of other themed gardens.The evening of the day we visited, the Singapore Botanic Gardens was also hosting a summer concert, and lots of people were arriving with picnics to stake out a spot and enjoy the music. Maybe if we lived there we’d be used to the heat and humidity but there was no way we were going to last more than a couple hours out there.The Singapore Botanic Gardens was established in 1859 by the Agri-Horticultural Society and designed in the English Garden style. It emerged into a regional center for plant science, research and conservation — not to mention a major tourist destination, drawing more than 4 million visits annually. I expect that number will increase with the gardens’ new designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.The botanic gardens also influenced Singapore’s modern “City in a Garden” vision. I noticed the slogan everywhere we went, along with a surprising amount of open green space for such a densely populated city. The Singapore Botanic Gardens — as well as Gardens by the Bay, which I’ll write about in a separate post — are really nice green refuges within an urban area.After walking around on our short self-guided tour, Kail and I hopped back onto our bus and continued our tour of the city.Have you ever visited a botanic garden?See more photos from Singapore.