Thursday, 3 January 2019

18/11/18 Last long day in Singapore

On our last day in Singapore it was raining when we woke up.  We had heard the rain through the night, so weren't surprised.  When it comes down to it , it really doesn't make much difference if it rains- it is so humid anyway!!

We checked out and left our baggage at the hotel, before heading next door to the cafe for toast with ham, egg and cheese.

We headed back around to Marina Sands to have a look at the shopping centre and the plaza area where we had watched the second set of lights from the night before.

Then we headed across to Gardens by the Bay again to see more in the daylight.  The tree walk still wasn't open due to risk of storm, but we enjoyed some more of the gardens before finding ourselves some Biryani for lunch followed by soft serve.

We had a chance to look a bit more at the helix bridge and stadium on the water's edge before we caught the train out to the botanic gardens.

We had been told that the botanic gardens were good, and we saw only a part of them but were very impressed.  There were some amazing colours of foliage as well as the famous orchids, other flowers and spice plants.

We particularly enjoyed watching a squirrel obtaining palm nuts and eating them,

the monitors which wander the gardens

, the turtles which bob out of the water

, the beautiful water lilies

and the orchid displays.

And then there were all the other little delights that we found along the way... these are just a few of them. 

There were whole sections of the botanical gardens that we didn't manage to cover- we could easily have taken all day there. But we were out of time, so we headed back on the train, stopping at Chinatown for one last meal. 

We picked up our bags from the hotel, and boarded the train for the airport, arriving in plenty of time for our late flight home. Goodbye Singapore

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

17/11/18 Gardens By the Bay and night shows

Our new friends from the food tour had told us about how great Gardens by the Bay was and they had convinced us to go and take a look for ourselves, so after a bit of a rest after the food tour, we headed out again.

By now we were getting much more confident with the train /subway system, so  it was not so hard to find our way to the correct station and change where we needed to. All it needed was the map showing the different coloured lines of track and where they went. Trevor was better at figuring out which direction we were going by looking at the name of the station at the end of the line.

So we found our way to Bayfront station via Outram Park (from our local station which was Clarke Quay or Chinatown, depending on which way we walked from our hotel)

The station walkway underground at Bayfront

We had found out that there were two night shows of the lights on the "trees"at Gardens by the Bay, and then one at the marina as well, so we hoped to somehow be able to see inside the domes, do the treetop walk and see both of the light shows.  We had grossly underestimated the time it would take to do all of this.

There are two giant domes to see.  One contains the Cloud Forest and the other is the Flower Dome.
Even getting to the domes is an adventure, as you wander the paths through the beautifully landscaped gardens where different sections have different themes.

We had heard the the cloud forest dome was really lovely, so, after paying to see the domes we prioritised this one, and headed in there. The dome contains a mountain 35 metres high.  The humidity in the dome is always 80-90% and the temperature is always 23 to 25 degrees C.

The mountain has a waterfall which cascades from almost the top and is planted with greenery and flowers, which you discover as you walk on the mountain on specially built walkways. It really is quite spectacular.  The only thing not enjoyable was the crowds that were there.  It was Sunday and we had to queue to see the mountain.  Along with those of many other cultures we formed a line - but some people are not so keen to wait for their turn- which makes it a bit annoying.

As we made our way up the mountain it slowly got dark, so that we could really only concentrate on the views nearby.  This was still fine as they had made good use of lighting for highlighting.

walking towards the "trees" and domes

mountain and waterfall

some of the plantings

light shining through a leaf

By the time we emerged from the Cloud Forest it was well and truly dark and we had missed the first light show, so we continued on into the flower dome.  This dome would have been much better in the day time.  The areas of the dome are split into different geographical areas, so we could go and look at the Australian plants. We also marvelled at where some of the plants came from and also there were some incredible cacti on display.

An incredible Christmas display was also up already.

Lots of beautiful flowers

and quirky extras

we spotted Pooh and Piglet having a quiet moment

This was the Queen of hearts under a mushroom. 

Heading outside we had just a little bit of time before the light show was due, so we hot-footed it to try to find a spot to sit and found that there was a lovely grassed area with some space for us, so we bought some chicken and chips and sat ourselves down just in time for the start of it.

The free light and sound show was magnificent .  The tress all changed colours and light effect went in time to the music- which was pretty much all old favourites that we knew pretty well. We were quite blown away by it.

When this show finished we walked over to the Marina through the fancy hotel and shopping mall

And sat down on a stepped area to enjoy yet another free show.  This one involved fountains and light projections with the city lights as a background. Also quite impressive.

By the time all this was over we were ready for our beds again.  We caught the train back and headed for bed at about midnight.