SINGAPORE, Sentosa Island,
10-12 April 2013
Hop On Hop Off bus booked for 2 days, covered Raffles Hotel, Sentosa Island & the Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore 10-12 Apr 2013, Hop on Hop Off (HOHO) bus for 2 days, Raffles & Sentosa, plus Mass Rapid Transport System (MRT) to Singapore's wonderful and exotic Botanic Gardens, covering amongst others 172 selective slideshow images, MRT stations Aljunied, Dhoby Ghaut and Botanic gardens, Cluny Park Road with mega posh houses, Raffles hotel long room bar, courtyard, peanuts, tiffin, billiard room, Singapore slings, SunTec City Mall, palm valley, Sentosa island, resort world, hard rock café, Coach to Sentosa, 48 hour travel passes, Singapore port area, mist house, ginger area, shaw foundation symphony stage, lake with turtles swimming in it, water lilies, orchids, hire car JB, Sat Nav, Toll booths on Malaysian motorways, cannon ball tree, ancient clock, silosa beach, cable cars, buses, trams, sun, rain, humidity, bananas, Geylang east and community swimming pool, prep for trip to Malacca
Wednesday April 10th 2013
Summary, Hop on Hop off bus day 2 including Raffles Hotel & Sentosa Island
We used the MRT to go back into the city centre from Aljunied station to Dhoby Ghaut. We were using day 2 of our ticket for the hop on hop off bus. This time rather than going all the way around, as we now know the route, we got off at the famous Raffles Hotel. We wandered around downstairs and in the courtyards but only guests are allowed upstairs. It is a very old colonial hotel and as it is on Beach Road was literally that once before reclaimed land from the coast moved it somewhat inland.
We bought some gifts and a tea towel for us in the Raffles Shop. We then went to the famous Long Bar and had a Singapore Sling $26 (£13.50 in 2013 prices, £16 by 2022) and a fruit punch $14. We shared both, that’s what love is. Very expensive for a cocktail but lovely and you just have to do it don’t you.
We had fish and chips and lamb satay for lunch there in the Long Bar. Peanuts (monkey nuts in shells) on the tables, traditionally people break them open and nonchalantly drop the discarded shells on the floor. You get that distinctive crunch as you walk around the bar, ha-ha. You also , and this wasn’t hygienic, had birds who flew into the open bar, fans on ceilings and the cool breeze of open windows, to peck at both shells and nut pieces.
The service in the bar was poor, speed wise, but the atmosphere was great. There were lots of tourists there and large groups of American businessmen drinking Singapore Slings all afternoon, obviously on company expenses, tee-hee.
We then returned to Suntec city Mall on the bus and then got a different coach to Sentosa Island which was all part of our 48-hour voucher. The coach went past the Singapore port area, thousands of containers piled 8 or 9 high. Singapore is a very busy port as witnessed by the number of ships moored of Sentosa / East Coast Park.
Sentosa was a themed purpose-built tourist island reclaimed from the sea. Full of mainly Chinese tourists, there are a huge number of casinos on the island which culturally is a huge draw for the Chinese nation. Witness the island of Macau.
There were lots of rides and activities all of which cost money. Fountains everywhere, it was extremely hot and sunny today so dipping one’s hands in the colling fountain waters was a true delight.
Not surprisingly Keef bought a T-shirt in the islands Hard Rock café shop. We walked around a bit and decided not to go into Universal studios, we are getting on a bit now, tee-hee, white knuckle isn’t what it used to be.
We then took the free tram to the man-made beach and paddled in the sea with the background of container ships moored up off the coast. Bit weird.
We then returned to the coach and the driver dropped us off in the wrong place on the way back to Suntec city, so we had to walk ½ mile back to the MRT station near Suntec city. We bought a sandwich on the way back to the flat. Yummy as hungry by then.
Thursday April 11th 2013
Summary, Geylang and Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Did laundry in the morning and then got the MRT and bus combo to the Botanic Gardens. It free to go in, we had lunch there in the café and then wandered around, it is a well-kept and stocked garden, everything is very tropical and very green. The lake in the centre has turtles swimming around. Just lovely.
We then visited both the Ginger and Orchids gardens; they were both spectacular with amazingly exotic plants. We saw a turmeric tree, the spice comes from the root of the tree, it looked a bit like a banana palm. It was hot and humid in both these gardens which is what the plants love to thrive.
We must have walked about 2 ½ to 3 miles around the Botanic gardens as we were there some 4 ½ hours. We then walked back to the MRT along Cluny Park Road with very posh houses and the French Embassy and ambassadors’ houses for many nations. It is clearly an exclusive area but well worth the stroll along despite our tiredness.
We then got the MRT back to Geylang East to avoid the 5 p.m. rush hour but still packed with people and school kids, Singapore seems to always be mega busy.
When D&P got home from work, we went swimming at the local pool at 8.30 p.m. It is an Olympic sized pool. Doug did 20 lengths, we pottered around doing widths in the medium sized pool. There was also a kids play pool with water apparatus. We then all ate in the nearby Hawker centre. Then we went to the supermarket to buy chicken and provisions for the trip to Malacca at the weekend, so looking forward to that. The supermarket was busy even at 10.30 p.m.
Friday April 12th 2013
Summary, Geylang, Singapore to Melaka, Malaysia
Did more laundry including D&Ps in ethe morning. Clothes get very sweaty here in Singapore, but they do dry on those poles hung out of the flat windows very quickly.
We went swimming again early in the afternoon at the Geylang East community pool. We love this place and at 50 cents a go how could you not, the best place we know to cool off apart from maybe air-conditioned libraries. The sun was very intense today so lots of waterproof suntan lotion liberally applied.
We returned to the flat after lunch at our new favourite Thai restaurant near the pool. Keef cooked black pepper marinated chicken pieces and added to salad for our evening meal this evening before swimming. Then after swimming he cooked a whole chicken and baked yam for D&P in their rotisserie oven. All the cooking made the kitchen unbearably hot; K was cooking in just shorts, no top.
Phoenix had management meetings 2-5.30 at work but then rushed home after that. Doug got home before her and then we all sorted out our stuff to the weekend trip away to Melaka in Malaysia.
After eating and a swim we caught a taxi to border control to cross over to Malaysia at Woodlands on the Singapore side and Johor Bharu (JB) on the Malaysian side. There was passport control on both sides with a ridge in between where we had to get a packed bus to get across it. It was totally grid locked with people everywhere, workers trying to get home for the weekend to see family, and it was hot and sweaty and just generally very unpleasant but worth it for our weekend away with D&P.
Hot, humid, noisy, and packed buses and even though it was crammed with people we all managed somehow to get a seat, luxury. Then we got a taxi to the lady’s house Phoenix had been negotiating with to pick up the hire car.
Keef drove the car using our Sat Nav to the guest house in Melaka which we finally reached at 1 a.m. There had been quite a hold up at the car hire stuff. Our Sat Nav helped on the motorway and with which turning to come off at as we headed north out of JB towards Melaka. There were entrance and exit toll booths on the motorway as travel on them we had to pay for, it wasn’t very expensive however and good raid surfaces.
Because it took so long at the border crossing and picking up the hire car it was very late at night when we finally arrived but the Tea House owner, the very kind Mr. Li, had stayed up for us. Exhausted we all had showers and flopped into bed.