As we made progress down to Singapore we start to hear, it’s great, it’s horrible – which put it on the must see list for me.
We had thought that we might be able to catch a ferry from further north on the Malaysian Peninsula, to out destination Medan (Belawan), in Sumatra, but like so many ferries around the world many no longer run which sealed it, down to Singapore it was then.
I had read up and seen some images showing Singapore’s mega sky scrapers and futuristic buildings and was keen to see them first hand. I was not disappointed, Gid, however was less enthusiastic.
Beneath the surface of the brash super structures are the ancient streets of the old shop-houses, which still exist. China town and Little India nestle in amongst the towers with their splashes of colour, traditional cuisine, cultural essentials and tourist tack. Incense and Lord Shiva, Aarti tracks wafting out onto the streets transport us back to Varanasi.
Youngsters at our hostel enthused about Sentosa, at tiny island on the end of Singapore, saying it was totally synthetic but great fun. Even these words hadn’t prepared us for the over sized ‘theme’ park where every road road / lane lead to yet another glitzy ‘attraction’. We’d caught the tram to the southern end of the island by the beaches and intended meandering back through a couple of nature trails but had arrived too late and darkness was setting in. Our exasperation at trying to find our way off the island finally led us to the waters edge where we stumbled across the Crane Dance mentioned to us by the youngsters. It was truly amazing how mechanical engineering and electronic wizzardery could produce a moving light and water show that was so spectacular.
Following our Sentosa experience we were drawn to the more enlightening traditional appeal of the Botanical Gardens. Here we were not disappointed but spent several hours wandering around the beautifully laid out lakes, lawns, trees and plants. The Singapore orchid garden was a delight to be savoured with a wealth of splendid colours, sizes and at times intricate shapes that nature has produced. Especially good value for the over-60s – only $1S to get in (about 55p). Made up for by being charged $3S for a small Sprite when we wandered, foolishly, into a premium refreshment kiosk.
We saw a couple of mid-sized water monitors in the gardens, and unlike wild ones, they were pretty unfazed by people about. They didn’t sit still to pose, though!
Spurred on by the Botanical Gardens we went on to explore the quay side area with its futuristic buildings together with the Garden by the Bay. Which blends nature with technology as super trees tower above vegetation.
As darkness fell, the SuperTrees put on a Star Wars themed sound and light show. We were lucky to catch it, it was out last evening, and one of our few in Singapore where it didn’t rain.