Day One 29th December
With a stop over in Melbourne, we arrived in Singapore about 15 hours after we left Sydney, we were very tired.
Flying into Singapore the clouds were like mountains.
We stayed at the Novotel Clarke Quay it was central, didn't cost the earth and had a swimming pool so we were happy.
View from our room
We basically checked in, went for a walk to the riverfront, had dinner and went to bed.
Day Two 30th December
On the first day we woke early and walked to the Duck Boat Ride at Suntec City Mall .Along the way the kids had their photo taken with a snake.
We saw a man in raggedy clothes, asleep in his rickshaw which surprised us.
Had a look behind all the fancy waterfront restaurants
View from the Duck boat
Ooh.... the wishing spheres. I had read about these and really wanted us to write our new years wishes on one but we arrived in Singapore to late. A lovely person on trip advisor forum offered to write our wishes for us, but I had decided to write our wishes on a ping pong ball and drop it amongst the spheres. We didn't get around to it, I regret the missing out on a wish!
I think the spheres looked wonderful.
After the Duck tour we started walking towards the Sim Lin centre. During our stay in Singapore we experienced sudden down pours of rain every day, this day was no exception. We walked to Raffles hotel and waited out the rain in their shop. I found my reciept, I spent $66.80 on three tins of tea!!
When the rain let up we started walking again, but didn't get far before a down pour stopped us. We don't mind getting a bit wet but this was a torrent of rain and we still had quite a way to walk. We stood under a tiny awning with fellow walkers for a few minutes, discussing whether or not to get a taxi, then we spotted some girls walking out of a 7-eleven with umbrellas. So we bought two umbrellas, one red and one white, hugging each other close we ventured back out onto the street.
We literally walked past one hotel and found this food court, all four of us liked the look of it. Nice gaudy bright yellow plastic chairs full of locals, what more could you want? Is this a food hawker place? I don't know what street it was(someone on trip advisor told me it's Victoria Street. I looked on a map and yes it was!) The food was some of the best we had on our month long trip, and it was cheap!
By the time we finished eating the rain had stopped:)
We walked past some markets, a warren of tiny shops, very hot and crowded not what we were after today.
Walking, walking, walking.... all the way to Little India.
Are we are lost! we ask someone "Do you know where the Sim Lim computer markets are?" he seemed to have no idea what I was asking. Actually I didn't really have a clue what I was asking, I hadn't written the name of the place down. Still we walked in the direction he pointed.
Firstly we found the building with all the electronics components, it was an experience. Tannalee bought a packet of pale blue cable ties for about 80 cents because she thought they were so pretty LOL
We had seen the bigger building on our walk and crossed over the road to this amazing computer shopping centre. It was as large as our local Westfiled but every shop only sold electronic/computer wares. I think we walked into every shop there, I must admit my legs were very tired and an odd chair here and there would of been nice.
Riley loved it but was a bit disappointed, firstly that it was not cheap and secondly that there was no new wonderful technology. Both these things had been pointed out to me on the travel forum when the centre was recommended, so he had been warned. Still he loved it and wished that we had something similar at home.
I've been told the name of the center is Sim Lim Square
Under the shops I found something I loved, yum!
I loved this building
We were exhausted by now so got a cab back to the hotel and went for a swim. Shock horror we then went to the shopping centre below the Novotel and had McDonalds for dinner. Ry did have a Samurai burger so we figured that sounded kind of Asian:)
Later we got a taxi again, this time to the Singapore Flyer. Or did we go to the Flyer and then have dinner really late? It was such a busy day I honestly don't remember!
The Singapore Flyer was pretty cool, I'm not terrified of heights but I have to say I didn't like the kids leaning up against the glass sliding doors while we are suspended who knows how high in the sky! Tanna thought my reaction quite funny so kept on walking over to the doors hmm....
The view was pretty special and those wishing spheres looked magical.
That night we all fell into a deep deep sleep!!
Day 3 December 31st
Ross had spent time in Singapore as a child, he actually had his 13th birthday there. One of his most vivid memories was of a place called "Tiger Balm Gardens" so he looked it up on the net and found out that it was now called " Haw Par Villa". Ross thought we would be able to make our way by train so we walked to the Clarke Quay MRT station and bought a ticket to Queenstown.
The MRT system really impressed us, trains in Sydney can be old and dirty .
It was completely new to us how the platforms are closed in with glass walls and sliding doors, no falling on the train tracks here!
One thing that locals probably think nothing of but we found to be a huge oddity is how the carriages are not separated by walls. It was the weirdest sensation being able to see the curvature of the train from the inside as it went around bends, I felt like I was inside a snake!
When we changed trains we were walking along with crowds of people through the underground walkways. We all noticed how quite the people were, it was surreal how all we could hear were footfalls, no one was talking. I guess they didn't know each other, but for some reason it really stood out for us.
We had never seen a post office like this before
When we got off at Queenstown it turned out to be nowhere near Haw Par Villa so we got a taxi. We found the Taxi drivers in Singapore to be really friendly and chatty. The driver we had for this short trip acted like a tour guide. He pointed things out as we drove past, like where old fishing villages use to be. He also talked about the history of the area and Haw Par Villa.
So we arrive at the theme park, at first we only saw a couple of other people. The cafe was shut and the whole place felt like it had stopped in time. I wouldn't want to be there after dark, we might of ended up like the characters in the Studio Gibli film Spirited Away!
As we walk into the park, I think it is cute and quirky
I'm a little pig
Slowly things get weirder
....and slightly disturbing
Ok whats going on here?
Then we enter the 'ten courts of hell'
At each court there was a sign telling you what the punishment was and which sins would be dealt out this particular punishment.
After seeing this particular court Tannlee hugged Riley and said "I'm sorry for anytime I've being mean to you!!"
These statues were actually quite disturbing, just before entering the ten courts of hell there is a wishing well, as soon as we were out the building Tanna and Riley went back to the pond and made another wish:)
Things get no less strange as we walk around, but they are not nearly as gruesome or personal.
Tannlee and I being mermaids
Someone on trip advisor told me this scene is a re-enactment of the Oath of the Peach Garden and that Ross is participating in a scene from a classical historical novel !!
Wonder what other stories we were playing in?
How about a doughnut??
Pick the silly tourist
Ry didn't like the feel of the hair on his skin
This plant was growing around the park, when you touch the leaves they close up, then very very slowly they open again. My grandfather had them in pots and told me it was a 'bye bye plant', as a small child I would touch it and say "bye, bye". We saw this plant here at Haw Par Villa and later in our travels. In Cambodia our driver said they are called "See you later" and in Bali Putra told us, it is called "Shy princess".
After posting this blog on trip advisor quite a few people came back with other names for this plant. From Singapore and Sri Lanka 'touch me not' and from Malaysia 'the prayer plant'
Shock horror, but someone even suggested that it was considered a weed!!
I can remember arguing with my sisters over who got to touch it next and annoying each other by quickly touching it all over and making it close:)
It was a very hot day so we didn't try the train again, the trip back ended up cheaper by taxi anyway.
We went back to the hotel for a swim, then to the shops below Novotel to buy some munchies from the supermarket. Spent $52!! on lollies, chips and ice cream and just hung out in the room for a couple of hours trying to rest for the night ahead.
We hadn't planned anything for New Years Eve so we just wandered out the front door and crossed the river.
After walking around for a while and checking out different menus we ended up at the restaurant in the photo below, 'Haven Lobster and Seafood Restaurant'.
We chose it for two simple reasons, firstly the coloured lanterns were really pretty and secondly we could get a table on the waters edge.
The food was OK, nothing fantastic
After dinner we started walking towards Marina Bay Sands
More and more people were crowding along the river and the kids started to feel uncomfortable. We tried to find somewhere to sit but the grass was very wet and we had nothing to sit on. Ross lined up and bought some yummy ice creams from one of those carts and we kept on walking.
Ross wanted to stay in the thick of it but he was out voted, in the end we headed back upriver with no idea of what we were going to do.
To fill in some time we went on a bum boat ride, I must say it was a beautiful night.
By 11.30 pm wandering around aimlessly was getting annoying, so I made an executive decision to find a restaurant with a view, grab a seat, and watch the fire works.
Tanna picked the restaurant it was all white and very glam looking, we ordered dessert and a couple of drinks. I wanted to try my first Singapore Sling to bring in the New Year but their bar staff didn't know how to make one !??
It was a nice place to bring in the New Year the staff were running around spraying each other with silly string at midnight, we had a great view of the fire works.
They say that whatever you are doing at midnight on New Years Eve is an indication of what you will do during the year. Keeping this in mind, our midnight was one of compromises.
Ross wanted to stay in the thick of it, Riley wanted to go somewhere not busy and Tannalee was so exhausted she would of been happy in the hotel room. Me? well I'm the mum, so I just wanted to figure out a happy place for all of us.
So will our year be full of compromises, a year where we have to consider each other and not just our own wants?.... maybe.
If so it will be a good year, a year of growing.
Day 4 January 1st
Our last day! We still have so much to do and already know we will be back. I have always done whatever I could to avoid stop overs in Singapore in the past, now I will actually be looking for flights that stop here.
Ry is talking about how he wants to live here. I keep on reminding him that he will have to get a well paid job so he can afford an apartment with a spare room for my visitsJ
Leading up to our Singapore trip I had shown Riley photos of the Marina Bay Sands Sky Park knowing that he would be impressed. Unfortunately he fell in love with the concept and wanted to stay there! I did try but it just didn’t work out.
After breakfast we get a taxi to go and see the Sky Park, this was a taxi encounter with a difference.
We jumped into the taxi out the front of the hotel and asked to go to Marina Bay Sands, straight away he started asking us if we wanted to go shopping at the markets. I’m used to checking if taxis have their meter on in Asia, but it was a surprise when after a few minutes of hard sell I looked down to see his meter was turned off! He had been trying to get us to book him to go shopping later, when I pointed out that the meter wasn't on he seemed surprised and apologized, but I wonder if it was deliberate?
All the way to the MBS the driver was saying how Sky Park was a waste of money and telling Ross how for that much money he could take us out for a nice meal and feed us, instead of wasting his money on the Sky Park. It was a strange experience, the driver was very serious as if trying to teach us a lesson. He seemed genuinely concerned at us wasting our money, although he was quite happy to take us to the markets!! Poor Ross stuck in the front seat was getting in big trouble for wasting his money LOL.
Well we get to the MBS and go to buy our tickets, the whole process went smoothly and before we knew it we had spent our hard earned money to get to the top of Singapore!
Wow, we have never seen anything like it, sure we have been in buildings much higher than this but the whole concept is so unusual. The lines of the building are just beautiful and yes we will be back to swim in that pool!
The view... there are those wishing spheres again
Riley walking around, wishing we had stayed here.
Next was the Double Helix Bridge, to get there we walked through the shopping centre across the road from the MBS . Inside the shopping center there was a canal with boats and an ice skating rink.
Ry was going to go skating but then we noticed it wasn't actually ice.
Tannalee bought a small hanging treble clef from the shop 'The Wright Gift', this shop had some beautiful things among them were stained glass kaleidoscopes. I noted one that was $6,000, it was very similar to kaleidoscopes that I have made and sold in the past, so people my kaleidoscopes have just gone up!...LOL
We walked over the Double Helix Bridge towards the Merlion Fountain
Next we had planned to walk to China Town but it was to hot and we were exhausted. We walked up to the road and tried to get a taxi, the one we approached said he was booked and he pointed us to a taxi stand under a building, just as we walked under cover the sky opened up and the rain came down! so glad we didn't start to walk.
We were hungry and found Smith Street
Ginger soup was a sweet surprise, I thought it would be savoury like short soup.
Sweetcorn milk ice
Tasted much nicer than it looked
The rain didn't let up while we were in China town but it didn't really matter as there were so many awnings
I've never really collected anything but in China Town I bought a single brass bell and decided to start a collection. I already had one from Thailand at our front door. Now I have five and each time I visit a new country I'm going to buy a brass bell.
My bells, the longest one is from Singapore
We loved this shop and bought a few things
It's our last night and I never did get my Singapore Sling so we go looking for somewhere near the hotel to have one. We stop at The Connoisseur Concerto at $62.95 for four drinks and one dessert it was a last night treat!
My Singapore Sling
Chocolate Cookies Milkshake
Ross and I share a Chestnut Fairytale
After dessert we venture down to the shops under the Novotel again, the kids want to have one more custard fish
We all want to see the hamsters one last time. We don't have hamsters in Australia and they are so cute, we stand in the pet shop for ages wishing we could have one.
Up to our room to pack our bags and go to bed early as we have to be a taxi by 4am to get to the airport!
Leaving Singapore 2nd January
The front desk told us that getting a taxi at 4pm wouldn't be a problem so we didn't book one. What an eye opener to see the sights under the hotel at 4am, we were greeted by hoards of young drunk people! One young guy was totally passed out and was being pushed around on a trolley cart by his friends. I assume the clubs had just shut as there were people stumbling around everywhere. The poor door man was trying to attracted a cab for us while keeping the drunks out of the hotel, in the end he called security to watch the doors and went and found us a taxi.
Once again the taxi driver was lovely and chatty, we loved Singapore and will be back soon.