Saturday, 28 January 2012

Last Stop in Asia; Singapore

We arrived in Singapore around lunchtime, checked in and had the world's most expensive sandwiches in the local sandwich bar.  The cloud was low but the temperature and humidity were both very high so we decided to walk to Orchard Road in search of shops with air-con! We found them, selling exactly the same stuff that was on sale in KL for twice the price, but at least it was cool!

We started to walk the 3 miles to Marina Bay, but thankfully found an MTR to take us there instead!  When we arrived just as the sky started to get very black. We decided against a ride on the Singapore Flyer when the lightening started and the rain tried to crack the pavement.

We had some food and wandered back along the river to our hotel in Clarke Quay, a former warehouse district that has been conserved and converted into an entertainment and dining hub.

Thursday morning started as Wednesday night had finished - hot with 90% humidity - the perfect weather for a trip to the zoo!

It takes about an hour to get to the zoo from the city, and in that time the humidity decided to gather itself and form the kind of rain that hurts to walk in. Undeterred (well we had already paid $100 SD to get in!!) we bought 2 luminous green full body ponchos, pulled our hoods tight and went in search of animals.

It seems animals like the rain as much as humans who do not have luminous green full body ponchos, and had all buggered off indoors.
All of them apart from the otters, who were being bribed with food to stay out!
As soon as the otters had been fed, the rain stopped and the sun came out again. In 30 mins of rain about 3 inches fell!

Singapore zoo prides itself on having no fences, just carefully constructed enclosures.

This very commendable, until you realise that a few feet away from you are three very hungry white tigers, capable of jumping a long way!

Time for education!
What is this?

Nope - this is a warthog!

The one above is a Babirusa, a type of pig found in Indonesia, easily identified thanks to the upper canine penetrating the skin and growing upwards, whereas the Warthog's canines do not penetrate the skin. So there you go - just in case you are ever in Indonesia and need to identify one! 

Our day at the zoo was rounded off nicely by some playful Orang-Utans stopping by to say goodbye before scampering back up the trees!

After the zoo we went to the Night Safari - the world's only nocturnal zoo.  It is fully open air and is lit with specially designed lighting that closely resembles moonlight. We walked the three walking trails, watched a Disney style animal show then boarded a tram for a 40 minute narrated tour through the habitats. Awesome to see the usually sleeping animals awake!

It was dark but the human eye is very sensitive.  
Camera lenses are not so - grrrrr.

Night safari by night

The next day was much more comfortable at only 34c and 85% humidity, so we went to Sentosa Island - Singapore's party island.  Just a mile off the the mainland, it is a place of beaches, theme parks and attractions. 

We started at a coffee bar (not Starbucks but close!!) and headed to the most southerly point of continental Asia - only a 20 minute trek!

The man made beaches were quiet, so I  decided to make a sand castle. 

I should choose my battles more wisely, as Amy was in building mode! 

We found a luge track, and this time I knew I had to beat Amy to get some pride back.  I started my training.

Cameras were banned on the track - you'll have to remember the laws of gravity to figure out who won!

We wandered back to the monorail stop through the flower show, posed, and then beat the rain back to town.

In the evening we caught the 'Wonderful' Light show at Marina Bay, before heading back to Sentosa to watch the Crane Dance and the Lake of Dreams shows

MBS Light Show  - It really is Wonderful!

Still wonderful

Is it a Lion? Is it a Mermaid? Yep - both! Meet Singapore's Merlion at Marina Bay

The world's only animatronic crane show - go figure!

On our last day the weather was still v humid, so after a Starbucks (mmmmmmm) we headed to the outdoor Botanic Gardens!

Daft idea - we melted almost immediately, but persisted and walked a few miles around the healing garden and the discovery garden before the rain clouds rolled in. 

Too big
A spider the size of a hand and a bee bigger than a fist definitely signalled our time in the gardens was up, and being experts on spotting tropical storms, we decided the safest place to be was inside, so off to Raffles!

Wheeler sized insects

Raffles, the quintessential colonial hangout in Singapore. Well, yes it is if you have £500 per night for a room. We joined the other non-residents in the famous Long Bar, had our Singapore Slings and munched through a whole pot of monkey nuts (whilst throwing the shells on the floor - its tradition!!)

Be prepared to drink
these when we're back! 
Proper history


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