Our last new country to visit on this trip.
02.02.2014 - 04.02.2014 28 °C
In the interests of saving money, we had booked a flight for 6am from Melbourne back up to Sydney. I can't remember how much we saved by not flying direct from Melbourne to Singapore, but I do hope it was a considerable amount. We got up at 2.45am and left our apartment at 3am to do the 2.5km walk across town to the bus station. Being a Saturday night, the streets were still relatively busy. The man selling the tickets for the 4am bus later turned out to be the driver too. We arrived in Sydney shortly after 7am, which meant a wait of nearly 7 hours before our next flight at 2pm. We landed in Singapore at 6.30pm local time, which being 3 hours behind Australia meant we had already been up nearly 20 hours. We arrived at our accommodation like tired hungry zombies, having barely eaten all day, had some dinner and went straight to bed.
Monday 3rd February
We decided that to make things easy and not have to plan what to do with our day before going to bed the night before, that we would spend the day at the zoo and work out a plan for Singapore the following day.
Singapore zoo is the best zoo we have ever been too. I still prefer Woburn Safari Park, but as zoos go, this is by far the best. The animals do have good sized and well equipped enclosures. They all look pretty happy, with none of them pacing around looking as though they have gone crazy. Most of the enclosures are not really enclosures at all with a moat separating you from the animals. The oragnutans have free roam around the park should they want it, with a massive area with ropes and platforms for them to swing between.
This zoo was very well stocked, with a lot of animals from Malaysia and Singapore of which we had never even heard of before. Also as you wandered around, there were various other creatures within the grounds. We saw a few lizards, one about a metre long, and a small snake.
Next to the zoo, there is another zoo called the Night Safari. You could get combined tickets for the zoo and the safari, which opened at dusk after the zoo had closed. At the Night Safari, there is a tram, which does a huge circuit around the animals as well as four trails, which allow you to visit the remainder of the animals on foot. We set off on the first trail to find we were the only people walking around the zoo, which was a welcome break from the hoards of noisy visitors with whom we had just spent the day.
We wandered through the wallaby enclosure, which was a path winding through the middle of a wooded area with wallabies behind a one foot wooden bar. If they wanted to join you, they could and they were more than happy just sitting at the edge of the path.
The night safari had a lot of the same animals as the zoo; however all the animals were a lot more lively after dark. A few of the big cats appeared to have gone out for the night, leaving their enclosures looking empty, but we managed to spot most of the other animals, which included some incredibly aptly named slow loris, a lot of otters, civits, a tiger, deer, lions and flying fox bats.
We caught the bus back to town at 10pm after spending 11 hours at the zoo. So much for a more relaxed day to recover from our long day travelling.
Tuesday 4th February
We ran out of time in Malaysia and didn't make it to Melaka, which is 4 hours from Singapore and so we booked a bus for 7pm this evening to spend a couple of nights there before returning to Singapore for the last couple of days before flying home.
First thing, we browsed one of the shopping centres next to Bugis metro station. Afterwards we wandered across to the National Museum, which had about five different exhibitions. One of the exhibitions looked at the history of Singapore through the medium of black and white photos. Some of these were fascinating, with the pictures giving you an insight into Singaporean life during the 20th century. Another exhibit looked at the significance of street food and hawker stalls in Singapore's history, particularly during the 19th century, when the male population outnumbered the female populations 10:1, creating a flourishing demand for cheap yet good fast food. Some of the best food we have had on this trip has been from street stalls.
The main part of the museum looked at the history of Singapore in a more traditional style museum. This section came with an audio guide, which if you listened to it all and followed the tour around all the exhibits, you could have easily filled a day. After introducing early Singapore, the majority of the museum focused on stories from the various different communities which migrated to Singapore during the 20th century.
There was an art gallery, which Chris and I whisked around and some nuclear energy exhibit, which we clearly missed the point of. The room was pitch black, yet on entering, you were given a thick booklet to read. Inside, there were about 30 luminous green chandeliers, which were various different sizes, each representing a country which uses nuclear power and how much. In the far corner were about 30 cardboard cut outs with people projected on to them, which just seemed to be milling around. They looked like if you went over to them, they'd speak to you or something but nothing happened. We quickly left, confused, returning the booklet.
After a cup of coffee, it was soon time to catch the bus to Melaka.