It’s that time again. That time where the holiday that I have been excited about for ages (like, really excited) is over in what feels like a very humid flash. Was there more I could have done? Sure. I could have done the Tree Top Walkway, the bird park or maybe popped over the border into Malaysia. Still, I can’t say that I didn’t pack this week in with as much as I could.
So let’s get started with the beginning of the day which was, because I am me, a last minute dart around the souvenir stalls of Chinatown in order to buy a small stuffed red dog. Why? Well, all the stores (and even the Temple of the Tooth) have these little New Years Dogs on display and I wanted one!
With that itch scratched it was breakfast time, and what could be better than dim sum for breakfast on your last day. The restaurant, called a Red Star, was in a bit of a weird place: the 7th floor of what looked like a bit of a neglected block building which has an entrance leading you though the kitchen.
Once we were in the main dining hall everything started to feel a little bit The Wedding Banquet, only with the waitresses carting trolleys piled high with steaming bamboo baskets full of dumplings. Truly this was some of the best dim sum that I have ever had and this now restaurant has properly ruined siu mei dumplings for me.
Now, the big thing left for me to see in Singapore is the shopping street of Orchard Road. Rather than just take the MRT there and just make things easy on our aching feet – we opted to walk there from Chinatown via Fort Canning Park… which is up a hill.
The walk up was, as with all the green spaces in Singapore, beautiful. One tree, a very old and large banyon tree caught my attention on the way up. Similar stories at the top of the hill with there being many interesting looking trees, a cacophony of insect noises and, thankfully, a vending machine full of cold drinks.
After a short rest and a welcome downhill stroll, we were on Orchard Road, which would be Singapore’s version of Oxford Street. Unlike Oxford Street, however, this is a place that I could see myself regularly visiting if I lived there. So many malls, each with their own character and array of shops. Truly, you must be able to buy pretty much anything that you could need here, and a lot of things you would never need.
As well as an extreme variety in the available goods, there is a variety of architecture to keep the eyes busy as you walk down the very wide streets. Some are modern looking with interesting window configurations or building quirks, whereas others look like very traditional builds – one even looked like an extremely large Chinese pavilion!
Lunch wasn’t at a fancy eatery, but at Mosburger – a Japanese burger chain that helped satisfy a late night hunger need when we were in Kyoto. Because of the extreme failure of the Grape Fanta last night, I played it a bit safe with my burger option – although I did get the Hokkaido hash brown thing. As always, Mosburger delivers on a really good fast food burger,
Having purchased some last minute souvenirs at an extremely low price (to the point that I am surprised at just how many Singaporean dollars we’re bringing back) we went back to an earlier favourite attraction because we had some unfinished business to attend to.
So once again we found ourselves at the Gardens by the Bay so that we could visit the Cloud Forest. What makes this so special? For starters it contains the worlds tallest indoor waterfall, which is cascading down a tower covered in a vast array of flowering plants. There is a bit of a log jam when you first enter because of this initial photo opportunity.
After this initial impression, the Cloud Forest keeps delivering with beautifully laid out gardens with interesting sculptures (including some Lego ones at the top) mixed in. We weren’t there at the time where they release mist, but I can only imagine just how impressive that would look, not that this really needed that much help.
So that was it really, from here we meandered back to the hotel via the Merlion Park and stuck to the shadows as much as possible seeing that the sun appeared to have upped its intensity for our final day.
We also passed a temporary thing on the Marina Front called ‘Art Zoo’ that consisted of a large number of bouncy castles in the shapes of different animals. I would have stayed a bit longer to take photos of each one, but there was no shade and it really started to feel like parts of my flesh was getting cooked.
Now, usually this is where I would end things – the flight home etc being a bit of a non-event, but this isn’t just any airport, this is Chengi Airport.
So yes, it would appear that extracting meat from a whole fish has become a bit of a running theme for this holiday. I’m not sure at what point in my life I became okay with things like this, but I see no reason to question it. The barramundi itself was delicious as was the garlic sauce that was slathered all over it. The flesh that was not flooded with sauce tasted a bit meaty for a white fish and, in part, reminded me of sea bass. Needless to say, I stripped off as much meat as possible and my side plate was piled high with fins bones (not the skin though, that was delicious).
This wasn’t the last thing that Chengi had to offer. Within the four linked terminals you can find a free cinema showing very recent releases, a huge variety of shops and restaurants and, amazingly, all manner of small gardens.
In our brief time there we ended up visiting three of the many gardens. Firstly we traveled between terminals to get to the Butterfly Garden, which is exactly what it sounds like. Despite it being dark and all the butterflies having gone to sleep, we turned this visit into a fun little butterfly hunt. We probably looked a bit simple. But it was fun.
We also visited the Water Lillies garden, but the one we spent the most time in was the rooftop cactus garden. I think we were sat in a bench in there for over half an hour, just relaxing and taking in the surroundings. It sounds odd, seeing how the calm was intermittently interrupted with plane noises, but I sat there with a bottle of water, with some live guitar music playing behind us, and looked at the sky which only had one stat out. It’s one of those perfect moments that you can’t manufacture, and it’s a fitting end to this voyage to Singapore.
So that’s it. As I write this I am on the plane getting ready to watch How to Marry A Millionaire before trying to realign my body clock. I live in nope that the stranger next to me won’t slowly encroach on my personal space as the flight progresses. But time will tell.
Goodbye Singapore. Thanks for everything.