Goodbye NZ, Hello Singapore – Part 2

And here is part 2 of the 4 days we spent in Singapore. If accommodation wasn’t so expensive (and you could legally stay at an Airbnb for less than 6 months in Singapore) we would have loved to have stayed longer to explore further. Originally we had planned to stay for a week but decided to shorten it so we could head to Legoland before the weekend (and we are so glad we did, but more on that later….)

Tuesday – another pretty big day for us on our feet (10 kms) today, but the boys weren’t too concerned as we were going to be heading to the children’s water garden at Gardens by the Bay. We had a bit of a slower morning as we planned our day, and to give the boys a bit of a breather in the morning, which meant we were a little later getting to the Lavender MRT Station and then Crawford Lane than we would have liked. This was to another foodie spot recommended by Yang (local and friend of Logan’s parents); Michelin Star awarded Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. We arrived pretty much right on midday and we had been advised by Yang to get there when they open at 9.30am to avoid the queue – and queue there was. Logan stood in line for 1 hour and 15 mins before we got food on our table.

Hill Street Mince Pork Noodle

During this wait I ordered noodles and dumplings from another stall (without a line) for the boys to get them fed and keep them happy. I purchased ice-cold drinks and BBQ pork buns to keep Logan happy while in the line. Then finally about an hour in he got to order, we decided to get both #2 and #3 at the $8 option so a total $16 SGD/NZD, and he could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel…. and then the food was really to consume.

Pork Mince Noodles

So was it worth the wait…. the presentation was amazing, it smelt so good, it was definitely very tasty with some interesting flavours (including vinegar and the stronger taste of the liver) and with a price that didn’t really equate to normal Michelin Star meals we decided it was worth it as it was probably something we’d only do once in our lifetime. Check the link above for some interesting history about this stall and note that they are closed the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month – so again, plan ahead if you wish to visit. While we were here, Logan noticed that the camera battery was getting very low (travel fail) and we were planning to go straight to Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay from here so this caused a bit of a dilemma. We called around a few camera shops (with our complimentary phone from the apartment), but the only one that had a battery for our camera wouldn’t have been charged anyway.  So we decided to head back to the apartment, charge the battery, let the kids have a swim and then head back out to just the gardens, as we were planning to stay on into the evening anyway to take in the light show at 7.45pm. The kids weren’t too impressed with the change of plans so we decided to taxi from our local MRT station back to the apartment instead of walking to help compensate. After a swim and nearly an hour of charging we headed back out; we decided to move the visit to Marina Bay Sands to the next day so we could get the most out of the gardens. After a couple of changes at some MRT stations from one line to another, we arrived at the Bayfront Station and the walk through the mirrored corridor up to the gardens.

Photo 9-05-17, 8 11 42 PM

We came across Dragonfly Lake and then headed over the bridge through some of the super trees and over to the children’s garden. The boys already had their togs on so they were straight into the water and cooling down.  Peter Rabbit had joined us this day but decided to stay out of the water.

Gardens

We got a bite to eat for the boys at the children’s cafe and then wandered over to the conservatories – the ‘Cloud Forest’ and the ‘Flower Dome’. As a non-local resident we couldn’t purchase tickets to just one of the conservatories, we had to purchase a combined ticket. A bit of a shame if you aren’t interested in seeing both or are short on time. I found on the apartment’s smart phone a discounted ticket rate, so we purchased tickets this way and headed to the ‘Cloud Forest’ first and the tallest indoor waterfall. The conservatory was amazing, with the ability to be on different levels within the forest and see some awesome views out over the gardens and city.

Cloud Forest

It was hard to capture on the camera the extent of it all. I can see why the gardens are the number 1 attraction in Singapore on Trip Advisor and reached 20 million visitors in 3 years (they are just celebrating their 5th anniversary) – truly outstanding. We spent a good hour and a half in the Cloud Forest and it was after 7pm when we exited, so we didn’t have time to go into the ‘Flower Dome’ as we wanted to head towards the Supertree Grove for the light show. These Supertrees look incredible during the day, but once lit up during the evening they are a whole other level – so spectacular.

Light show

The seats around the bottom of the trees were already full but we just found a spot on the ground as the light show covers a large area. The kids had an ice cream while we waited and then the magic began, we saw the Stars Wars edition of the light show due to the 40th anniversary and it was incredible. Check out our Facebook page for lots more photos and a small video – it was hard to capture how truly awesome this light show was but you should get some idea. We probably could have done another hour or two at the gardens because there is so much to see, but we weren’t too concerned as we didn’t think the boys would have been too interested in the ‘Flower Dome’ conservatory, but they may have. If you plan to visit the gardens, I would suggest checking their website first, as some days of the week some areas are closed for maintenance. We were planning to go on Monday, but then luckily we noticed that the children’s garden was closed on Mondays and that would have really annoyed the boys if they couldn’t have had fun in the water.  After the light show we left with the masses back to the MRT station, if the boys were older we might have stayed and looked around the gardens further at night as there is another light show again at 8.45pm. Once back at the apartment I got the boys showered and into bed while Logan went across the road to get us some takeaways, Singapore street food style ($13 SGD/NZD).

Takeaways

Wednesday – a lighter day on the feet today, just 5 kms of walking. We were heading back to the Bayfront MRT station today to check out the view from the top of Marina Bay Sands after it was culled from the day prior. Which was quite a good thing in the end because the gardens took up a good bit of time. Heading out the other side of the station this time we came to the hugely impressive, 3 towers and top deck of Marina Bay Sands. We paid our entry fee (no discounts on the smart phone for this one unfortunately) and proceeded to the top viewing platform. From here we got some amazing views across the city with information and history about different buildings and locations that we could see.  From the top deck we could also see the Merlion statue, which was next on our list for today, it was an extra hot day already so we decided to taxi, as we knew we were going to be walking from the Merlion to our next stop. There were quite a few people there even on a Wednesday, so we read up on the history of the statue, took a few photos and headed to our next stop for lunch and a refreshment; the ultra famous, Raffles Hotel. Along the way we passed the Singapore cricket club, a few different war memorials and some interesting buildings and architecture. Raffles totally blew our budget ($123 SGD/NZD) for a pint of Tiger, a Singapore Sling, two soft drinks (served in small carafes with a slice of lemon), some fries and squid rings. We knew this would be the case, but it’s just one of those things we wanted to tick off and the kids loved being able to throw the peanut shells on the floor. (See more photos here).

Wednesday

From Raffles it was a short walk to the City Hall MRT station and we headed back to the apartment for a swim and a bit of a chill out. This evening for dinner we met up with ‘Kiwis Fly The Coop’ – fellow New Zealand travellers who have packed up life in NZ as well and are out exploring the world (minus kids). Linda and Scotty had been on the road for 80 days the day we saw them and we ended up at our local, Beo Cresent Food Market. Another lot of great street food, discussing travel tips and fails, budgeting, and living on the road. (Photo credit below to Lincoln).

Dinner

After dinner it was back to the apartment to get packed up and ready for an early start – we had to be at the bus station by 8.30am to catch our bus to Malaysia and Legoland!!

So what were our thoughts on Singapore after our 4 days – so so many huge, huge buildings everywhere, but still a lot of green space and nice greenery.  Accommodation is more expensive than similar places in New Zealand but major tourist attractions are about the same as what you would expect elsewhere; however you can not get similar tasting, amazing street food in New Zealand like we did in Singapore (even with the exchange rate being pretty much dollar for dollar). Braxton was fascinated with all the “no” or “don’t do” signs and kept us all up-to-date of any new signs he spotted, so that kept us all in check. And Lincoln was concerned he might end up in jail or get a big fine, so was extra careful not to jaywalk, but did miss not being able to have chewing gum occasionally; luckily he managed to avoid those consequences.

For a review of our accommodation in Singapore – click here.

– Paula

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