The Singapore airport was all done up for Christmas with a Disney theme. It was quite amusing.
Even more amusing was what they called their moving sidewalks.
My friend and I went out to dinner then walked around Singapore people-watching. We started off at the Robertson’s Walk then wandered along the river in Clarke Quay.
Red trees had been staged around the city for the holidays.
We went to 1Altitude for a drink. Based on our observations, we think it was the highest place in Singapore.
Then we popped over to the Lantern Bar simply so we could look at the pool. It is part of a hotel and has a great view of the waterfront area.
Morning thunderstorms did not deter me from taking a bus up to the botanic gardens.
The grounds are extensive and cover 183 acres. It is open from 5:00am to 12:00 midnight and it is free!
I entered from the southwest entrance and meandered around until I reached Swan Lake, featuring actual swans of course! Nearby was also a wetlands area with walking paths.
Nearby was a bonsai garden, a ginger garden, a healing garden and so many other gardens!
A VIP orchid hall features orchid hybrids that are then named after famous visitors to Singapore (for instance Prince William and Princess Kate after their visit a few years ago).
A larger orchid center (this is the only place that you have to pay for in the whole park) feature an enormous amount of orchids. They colors, shapes, and sizes were breathtaking. I highly recommend it!
Also featured in the park was a rainforest walk, a cool house (for cooler climate plants), a mist house, and an outdoor concert hall.
One thing that was prevalent throughout my visit were the bugs. And not in the way you might think as they weren’t biting me. You could hear them everywhere! A constant buzz that drowned out any sounds of the city. It made me feel one with nature and my surroundings.
My friend recommended the Night Safari as a unique activity to do. I looked up the bus route and made my way out of the city.
The Night Safari is part of a multi-zoo complex that includes the Singapore Zoo, the River Safari, and the Night Safari. Night Safari claims to be the first wildlife park dedicated to nocturnal animals.
The Night Safari doesn’t open until late (7:30pm when I visited) since it showcases nocturnal animals. They have restaurants that open before so you are able to show up early and grab a bite to eat. There is also a fire and dance performance.
Animals in captivity is always controversial (more about that in an upcoming blog post) but there’s something so amazing about animals that is compelling.
The park had three main parts: a 30 minute live show, a tram that takes you through the park and animal enclosures, and walking trails through the exhibits.
Some notes from my visit:
– The tiger exhibit was sponsored by Tiger Balm.
– Some exhibits allows you to enter into netted enclosed habitats. My favorite was the bats! They caused a few shrieks from the human visitors as they flew around. But they were so intriguing.
– I watched a small-toothed palm civet stare down another civet who tried to cross the log that the first one was sitting on. You could just see the attitude in the stare.
– Pangolins are an animal I had never heard of until a few months ago when I saw a video online. They look like a mix of a sloth and an armadillo and are a species native to Singapore (and other places). They are very slow moving which can make them road kill. Unfortunately their skin and meat are used in traditional medicine so their future is in danger.
As I was getting ready to head back to the city (the park closes at 12:00 midnight), I debated my options – bus, cab, hitchhiking… When I discovered that the Night Safari sponsors a bus! It dropped me off right on Orchard Street and then it was a five minute walk to my friend.s house. So props to the Night Safari for sponsoring transportation options!
Unfortunately due to the nighttime nature of the park most of my photos are worthless but I do have this gem from the restroom.
This is definitely the cleanest city I have visited in SE Asia! It definitely has some interesting laws but they do keep the city clean and safe.
I have a friend in Singapore so I was excited to spend the weekend of Thai Father’s Day visiting him. He lives right off of Orchard Street which is a busy shopping street. Since it was Christmas time, there were lights, decorations, and Christmas music everywhere. It made me really feel the “Spirit of Christmas” even though I was so far away from home and the temperature was in the 90s instead of around freezing.
For most of the trip I just wandered. I had plans to meet up with them for dinner or lunch so was on my own to just explore the neighborhoods. I wandered through Clarke Quay and Chinatown then down to the waterfront. I grew up surrounded by water so any city on the water makes me feel at home.
The centerpiece of the waterfront is the Marina Bay Sands hotel. It consists of three towers with what almost looks like a boat on the top connecting all three. At the top is a 360° viewing platform, a Ku De Ta, and the hotel pool. My friend commended that I grab a drink at Ku De Ta (this is a chain restaurant/bar prevalent in SE Asia) rather than paying for the viewing platform as it was the same view and same price but one got you a drink and a nice place to sit.
Across the street was the Gardens by the Bay. Wow! Beautiful! It was an oasis within the city. There was a Christmas market setup in the center and it even “snowed” in the evenings. There is a sky bridge, a Flower Forest, and a Cloud Dome that you can pay to utilize. I simply walked around the gardens. I found a very random baby statue and other various garden spaces.