A Travellerspoint blog

Singapore

Singapore 4 - and on to Heathrow

Last day in Singapore


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Friday was our last day in Singapore. The flight wasn't until midnight so we had time to do some more exploring. The Hotel was happy to store our bags for as long as we wanted so we checked out and hopped the MRT again to Marina Bay Sands to go up to the Sky Park.

The Sky Park was very disappointing. The views were awesome but I had expected (due to the name sky park) to have access to the garden on the top floor of the building. The observation deck only allows access to the very front part of the building (bow of the ship). Only hotel residents are allowed access to the pool, bar and gardens.

We wandered around the shops at Marina Bay - very expensive. There is a waterway in the middle of the shopping area, where you can get a sampan (like a gondola) ride - something a bit different.... We then went back to Raffles Place and walked to Boat Harbour for lunch. The restaurant hawkers along the river were very pushy, trying to get you to come into their shop for lunch and drinks (four dollar beer, four dollar beer)...

Mid afternoon we were foot sore and weary so decided to go back to the hotel and get our gear and head to the airport for an early check-in. The MRT to the airport as also good - not all underground this time. The MRT station is at Terminal 3 and we had to go to Terminal 1 so took the sky train (part of the airport) to our terminal. After waiting a while at the early check-in lounge we finally dropped our bags and then headed out to explore more of the airport. We found the rainforest waterfall that I had heard about - it is amazing. The airport is huge.

Then it was the waiting game again. Our flight was delayed and we took off at about 1am. What a long flight! 14 hours in the plane felt a lot longer. I'm glad we don't have to do this again for a while...

We arrived at Heathrow at about 7am, then waited in the long immigration queue to enter the UK. It was after 9:30am when we finally left the airport. We have a night at the Holiday Inn Wandsworth - to get some rest and prepare for the road trip and head out tomorrow to explore South-East England.

Marina Bay Sands - view from Sky Park:
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Marina Bay shops - Sampan:
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Gardens in the MRT
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Boat Harbour:
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Raffles Place:
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Tanah Merah:
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Changi Airport:
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Heathrow:
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Posted by snikpohks 06:56 Archived in Singapore Comments (1)

Singapore 3

Day 3 in Singapore - Big Bus, Jurong Bird Park, Gardens by the Bay light show,


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Day 3 in Singapore. We caught the Big Bus to Suntec then out to Jurong Bird Park. On the way there it poured with rain. All the motorcycles pulled off to the side of the road to wait for the rain to ease. Very tropical - even though it was raining, it was still hot and humid.

The Bird Park is a big place to walk around. Our tickets did include the little shuttle that goes around the park, but it was crowded so we walked instead. It worked out better anyway - we saw more by walking. Again there are a lot of pictures. There are some extremely large walk-in aviaries that Kevin drooled over, the largest would be the one with a 100 foot waterfall.

We arrived back at the hotel late afternoon for a short break (and a change of clothes) then headed out to the Gardens by the Bay for the light show (yep, more pictures below). This meant another trip on the MRT, which was not a problem. Trains come every 2 minutes so there's never a long wait! The stations are unusual - there are walls between the platform and the trains, with sliding glass doors that open when the train arrives and the train doors open. Very smooth and efficient...

Jurong Bird Park:
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Gardens by the Bay light show:
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MRT:
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Posted by snikpohks 07:45 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Singapore 2

Day 2 in Singapore - Big Bus, Botanic Gardens


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Day two in Singapore we decided to get tickets for a hop-on hop off bus - called the Big Bus. The open top buses have various routes around the city (with commentary) starting at Suntec Hub, and they stop at all the major attractions. We managed three different routes - one of which was to/from the Botanic Gardens. The humidity is extreme but we walked around the gardens and went into the Orchid House - which is spectacular.

Singapore has so many gardens. Most of the streets are lined with gardens, and there's even ivy growing on the concrete bridge pylons. It really makes the city so much nicer. And the city is very clean and tidy. Real estate is extremely expensive with apartments costing millions. The public housing system is cheaper with condo's from 300k (for 1 bedroom apartments), but the waiting list is extremely long.

The bus took us around the old parts of Singapore too - not quite as clean as the main city area, but very interesting. There are different areas for different cultures, eg little India, Malay, Chinatown... Most of the cars are fairly new (ie less than 10 years old), and there are a lot of luxury cars driving around. Apparently a permit is needed if you want to own a car and permits are restricted in numbers (so are very expensive) to limit the number of cars on the road. There is a huge import fee (>100%) to discourage cars coming in and the government has put a lot of money and effort into the public transport system to minimise the need to drive. There are a lot of bus lines and the train system (MRT) is excellent.
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Posted by snikpohks 07:36 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Singapore 1

Getting to Singapore and exploring day 1


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The flight to Singapore from Brisbane is about eight and a half hours. As we had to be at the airport at about 9:30am we decided to stay in Brisbane overnight. The Airport Clayfield Hotel offers long term car parking for $5 per day so we stayed overnight and caught the shuttle to the airport on Monday morning.

The flight boarded and left on time, and actually arrived 10 minutes early. I've heard of the term "cattle class", and now I've experienced it. I'm sure there's less room on international flights than there is on domestic flights. Very claustrophobic - but I handled it ok, and so did Kevin.

Arriving at Singapore we followed the crowd and lined up to go through security, which all went smoothly. After collecting our bags we headed to the shuttle buses, but couldn't get one to our hotel so opted for a taxi instead (door to door). The first thing we noticed going outdoors was the heat and humidity - it was after 7pm but hot enough to start sweating as soon as we left the air conditioning.

Check-in at the Ascott Raffles Place was quick and easy. The room is perfect for our stay, fully equipped with everything we need. We even had a complimentary platter of fruit and bottles of cold water. After checking out the room we dumped our bags and went in search of food. We quickly found a food court (which turned out to be in Chinatown) but there was little that Kevin felt up to attempting, so we ended up going back to the hotel restaurant. It's been a long day - we'll be more adventurous tomorrow....
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The next morning we explored more of our surrounds, found breakfast, then tackled the MRT (rail system) to go to Gardens by the Bay. There are two big domes with climate controlled environments - the temperature is 23-25 degrees (much nicer than the hot/humid temperate outside). The first is the dome of flowers, then the dome of clouds. We must have walked for miles around those dome, but it is very worthwhile - such beautiful gardens. In the dome of flowers there are different types of gardens at varying levels, with the warm climate plants near the top of the dome and the cooler climate plants near the bottom. The Dome of clouds is like a mountain of forest with a waterfall providing mist and moisture. The cloud walk and treetop walk provide a spectacular show of orchids, pitcher plants, ferns and other moist tropical plants.
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Artwork scattered throughout the gardens were also tastefully done - we were especially impressed with the driftwood sculptures (see some of the pics).
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Some other observations from day 1: It's always extremely humid, always; there are miles of walkways (links) underground (which are air conditioned); the trains are driverless, plentiful and clean; Visa is not always accepted, but we found an ATM and the cash (which is Singapore Dollars) is clearly marked and easy to use; everything is expensive.

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Posted by snikpohks 03:18 Archived in Singapore Tagged gardens singapore hotel the airport by bay brisbane mrt clayfield Comments (0)

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