A Travellerspoint blog

Singapore

Singapore Part Two

The final destination

sunny 35 °C

Friday 7th February

We were not to be as lucky with our return bus journey from Melaka, which took an extra hour and had a twenty minute break two hours into the trip. We finally crossed the border into Singapore at about 6pm; just in time for rush hour. We found our hotel, part of the Singaporean Fragrance group chain, which is also known for its hourly rates. Judging by the area in which we were staying and the great big sign outside saying 'business hotel', I am sure our hotel would be more than obliging should you need a room for an hour or so, with one of the plenty of girls lining the street just outside.

In the evening, we headed down to the waterfront to see the tail end of a parade before walking around the bay, which had colourfully lit up fabric models of dragons and horses and Chinese displays for Chinese New Year.

The following day we decided to visit the resort island of Sentosa to visit Adventure Cove. Sentosa is a small island to the South of the main island of Singapore and is home to the various theme parks, attractions and resorts. Adventure Cove is a water park aquarium. There are a number of water slides, all of which you go down on either an inflatable ring or a float mat. These were good as you could get single or double ones, so Chris and I were able to go down together. Chris was somewhat put out that the heavier person always had to go at the back; however on one of the whirlpool slides we ended up facing the wrong way and so for the final section Chris got to lead.

There was a wave pool, which was actually fairly tame, as well as an assault course over four metre deep plunge pools. The assault course involved a balance beam, an tight rope with a lax rope above to help you balance and a cargo net. There was also a dive in and climb up the rope 5m or so to ring a bell at the top. I did not quite manage this one as the ropes really hurt my feet. (And probably having no upper body strength did not help either).

At this park, you can pay considerable amounts of money to go diving (£500) or swim with dolphins (£250); however included in the ticket is snorkelling with 20,000 fish in a huge fish tank. This tank was full of beautiful, colourful fish, a lot we had seen either diving or on snorkelling trips, as well as a lot of others we had not seen. Despite the slightly false feel of this and the lack of the thrill of discovering these fish hidden amongst the corals yourself, it was still pretty incredibly swimming amongst the schools of tropical fish. This attraction is definitely the highlight of the park.

The final attraction is a lazy river, which runs around the whole park, acting as both an attraction and a route around the park and to the slides. The first time we went round, it must have taken a good twenty minutes to complete the circuit on inflatable rubber rings. The second time, we decided to swim in the one metre deep water while wearing life jackets, which actually turned out to be more fun than the rings, particularly when you sit in them and allow yourself to float around.

Most of this circuit is various scenes with statues and music playing as you go around, but the last section takes you past a sting ray tank before going into a glass tunnel with fish swimming over the top. It had been a challenge to stop on the rings the first time to get a good look at the rays and fish, which is why we opted for doing the second half with the life jackets to return to the entrance.

Friday night was the last night of our trip and so we headed back down to the harbour front, where there are the gardens by the bay. Each evening at 7.45pm, there is a light show put on at the gardens. These gardens have your normal maintained flower beds with winding pathways in between, but what makes these gardens original are the giant trees which have been constructed out of metal frames. They tower far above so that you can see them from pretty much any point within the harbour. The circular metal frames, which make up the trunks of the trees, are completely covered with plants so that from a distance they almost look like very tall hedges. At the top of these towers, the metal branches splay out to create a funnel, inside of which lies a large upside down plain lampshade type object, which by night is lit up, creating a silhouette look with the branches. Between two of the tree towers runs a walkway, high off the ground, overlooking the gardens. As part of the light display, the trees and walkway are lit up in various different coloured and styles of light, which are accompanied by rainforest music.

In the centre, the highest tree tower has become a restaurant and tree top bar and so Chris and I took the lift up and enjoyed a couple of drinks overlooking the Singapore skyline by night. Chris had a Singapore Sling which he would describe as 'fruity'.

Saturday 8th February - The Final Day!

After checking out of our 'business' hotel, we returned to Senstosa Island to visit the S.E.A. Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world. This gave us a chance to take photos of the various fish we had seen snorkelling and diving, as well as seeing a lot of others we had not seen. This aquarium is home to the largest viewing panel, which was absolutely massive.

Although this aquarium is supposedly the largest, we still preferred the aquarium in Osaka, Japan as this had a greater selection of fish as well as other aquatic wildlife.

After lunch, we decided to go on the Luge, which was like tobogganing down a road. To reach the top of the run, there is a chairlift, which offers great views back over Singapore as you climb the hill to the top. From the top, you are given a quick lesson on using the brakes on your sledge before you set off down the 700m course. One of the routes had quite a few twists and turns, but on the other path, you could travel much faster to the point where your toboggan would lift off on one side. We had three runs on this before heading back to the mainland of Singapore, if you can call it that?

We spent the last couple of hours browsing the shops, where Christopher bought himself a new coat, which I am going to be very jealous of when we land in Gatwick at 6.30am tomorrow morning. After a cup of coffee it was time to leave, pick up our bags from the hotel and head to the airport.

How did we get to the end of our magnificent trip?

Posted by Roaming Rolts 12:30 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Singapore, Singapore - Part One

Our last new country to visit on this trip.

sunny 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.

Posted by Roaming Rolts 07:33 Archived in Singapore Tagged history zoo museum safari Comments (0)

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