After our conference in Indonesia, we stayed overnight at the Carlton Hotel in Singapore. We checked in and then went to the nearby Raffles City mall. The peculiar thing I noticed in Singapore was that sunset came around 7:30PM. Anyway, around 8PM, Ed's former colleague in Kodak Singapore brought us at the East Coast Parkway for a sumptuous dinner feast of black pepper crab, chili crab, prawns and fish at the Red House seafood restaurant. After dinner, we had a joyride into the city and passed by Clarke Quay, the Merlion Park, CHIJMES, one of the routes for the upcoming F1 Grand Prix on Sept, etc.
We went to Ikea and shopped for home stuff. I wish I could furnish my bedroom and office space with Ikea stuff... their items are nice :)
After Ikea, we went back to the hotel and checked out. The others prepared for their flight back home while Vic and I proceeded to Hotel Royal at Newton Street to check in for an overnight stay. Our former officemate Melis who had just relocated to Singapore with her family met us for lunch. We ate lunch at Doc Green's at VivoCity. Shopped around and bought a pair of white sandals at Charles and Keith and a black Bossini top for office wear. We then ate an early dinner at the Food Republic atop VivoCity, where the wading pools were and where one could see the entrance to Sentosa.
wading pools full of children behind me...
Took some photos and then had my first MRT ride to Lavender station where we walked a bit to get to Melis' condo. Hung out there, had some beer/coffee and waited til her hubby and son arrived. Their smart and creative son Tod (aka Todzilla!) showed us his Paintbrush masterpieces of a variety of Godzilla stuff. Vic and I asked him to make us a Viczilla and Aileenzilla version (I told him to make mine colored violet and cute). We also took the opportunity to use the net for our KrisFlyer internet check-in (coz internet isn't free in the hotel!). Melis took us to the poolside and the rooftop... their place was sooo nice :)
Vic had her scheduled flight back home in the afternoon so we split for the day... She went to Sentosa while I went to the Singapore Zoo. I took an adventure and rode the MRT to the Ang Mo Kio MRT station to catch the Bus #138 to the zoo. I had no problem finding the Novena MRT station near our hotel. I just counted how many stops until the Ang Mo Kio station just to be sure I didn't miss it. What I had some trouble finding was the damned bus stop for Bus#138! I went outside the MRT station/mall at Ang Mo Kio and checked out 3 different Bus stops nearby and I didn't see the number 138 on all those bus stops. After about 25 minutes of walking around the area, I decided to go back inside the MRT station. Somehow, I found my way into an indoor bus station which was inside the same building where I got off the MRT and magically found the stop for Bus#138. I was able to use the same card I used for the MRT... so efficient! It was a long bus ride -- about an hour. I arrived at 9am at the Singapore Zoo and availed of my unlimited tram ride -- one of the Singapore Airlines boarding pass privileges that saved me SGD5/ride. And believe me, with the area size of the Singapore Zoo, you would want to hop on the tram once in awhile or you'd be so tired from walking!
I super enjoyed the Singapore Zoo coz it had an "open zoo" concept. Such an awesome experience for animal lovers (or even just plain animal-curious!). I specifically wanted to see the Singapore-born polar bear Inuka coz where else can you find a polar bear in tropical Asia?!? The second animal in my must-see list were the white tigers. I wandered around and took photos in the zoo for about 3.5hours.
See more of my Singapore Zoo photos here...
View videos of Inuka the (son of Sheeba) polar bear eating his favorite watermelon treat and swimming around; Sheeba the momma polar bear waving to everyone...
After eating lunch in one of the zoo's restaurant, I took a cab (faster travel time, just 30minutes) back to Hotel Royal to check out and then proceeded to my next hotel (a cheaper one since I had no one to share rooms with anymore) -- South East Asia Hotel. It was just beside the famous Kwan Im Chinese Temple and very near to the Sri Krishnan Hindu Temple. After resting my feet for a few minutes, I proceeded for gadget accessories shopping at Sim Lim Square -- the famous electronics mecca of Singapore. Six storeys worth of gadgets and accessories! Shopped for my dad's bilins: digicam batteries for his Canon DSLR and mom's Kodak digicam. Checked out the price of a certain Canon lens that my dad wanted. Went to the upper floors and bought laptop sleeves (only SGD21!), laptop vacuum cleaner (only SGD9!), 2GB Kingston SD card (only SGD15!) and some iPod accessories.
After a tiring shopping spree at Sim Lim Square, I dropped off my best buys at the hotel, rested a bit and then proceeded to the Bugis MRT station. Alighted at the City Hall MRT station to get to the CityLink Mall where I ate dinner at O'Brien's cafe. Got mom a watch in one of the stores and then proceeded to Suntec City Mall. I intended to take a photo of the famous Fountain of Wealth at Suntec but I got umm, "sidetracked" and ended up buying 3 pairs of sandals at Charles & Keith as the store was about to close. By the time I was done shopping, the sales lady said the Fountain of Wealth was already turned off :(
Using the map, I successfully found my way to the durian-shaped Esplanade Theatres and the Merlion park. Had no problem having my picture taken in those famous landmarks since there were always Filipino tourists around ;-) After traversing the long bridge from the Esplanade to the Merlion Park, I proceeded to walk towards Victoria Theatre where a statue of Sir Stamford Raffles (Singapore's founder) stood. At almost midnight, I was too tired to walk further on but regretted that I missed a spectacular photogenic sight of St. Andrew's Cathedral which I saw as my cab drove off a few meters away from Victoria Theatre. Anyway, I got back at the hotel around 1am, so thirsty and hungry. I went to a nearby 7-11 and an Indian-owned convenience store to buy bottled water and some food. They say that Singapore's tap water is potable but I was too squeamish to drink straight from the faucet. Made sure I filled up the GST refund vouchers before I went to sleep! (Needed to claim the refund at the airport before I check in...)
Woke up late coz I was so tired from the previous all-day all-night walkathon across the city. I wanted to catch a quick ride to the City Hall MRT station to take a photo of St. Andrew's Cathedral but I thought I would run out of time. Anyway, I just refunded the remaining value on my MRT/bus card. So I decided to explore Bugis Junction instead. Managed to buy another office top from there. On my way back to the hotel, I checked out the street vendors at Bugis Street. I spent my last few Singapore dollars on this cool vintage-look shirt with a camera print. At 11:30AM, I got back at the hotel, quickly took a bath and checked out. Sally, my colleague in Singapore, picked me up at the hotel and brought me to Changi Airport. She showed me around at the new Terminal 3. She treated me to lunch in one of the cafes at the 3-Top (I tasted the laksa she ordered... twas too spicy for me!). She then dropped me off at Terminal 2 so I could claim my GST refund, check-in and do some last-minute shopping.
I explored the Sunflower Garden and Koi Pond, rested at the entertainment deck for awhile and then went shopping for some chocolates for my nephew, Charles and Keith bag for my sis and sunglasses for me :)
More Uniquely Singapore sights here...
Yeah. Suffice it to say that I'll be out of moolah for the next coupla weeks after this Singapore vacation! :p