Singapore and Bali: Fish and Flowers

Final instalment in this long line of posts! My last two days in Singapore were jam packed full of sightseeing before a horrific 22 hour trip back home to cold, wet England.

Day Thirteen – SEAside

At this point, it felt like we had been on Sentosa for most of the holiday, but we found ourselves heading back once more to visit the South East Asia Aquarium (or S.E.A. for short). We had lunch at a little Swiss market styled restaurant on the roof of Vivo beforehand, where you are given a little card and pick your food from deli counters. They add your choice to your card, you eat, and then you hand over your card to pay at the end, which I suppose really cuts down on staff! We wandered around a little souvenir shop afterwards where I picked up some gifts for back home.
Gifts bought, we then wended our way across the boardwalk and paid $1 with the MRT cards we picked up on our first day in Singapore to gain access to Sentosa. Then we grabbed tickets for the aquarium, which also houses an Asian Maritime museum. It was nice to be able to compare it to the one in Greenwich briefly, before we headed down into the aquarium itself.
Now, if you’re anyone other than me, the route down into the aquarium is the best entrance to fishtanks on the planet. It starts with an animated story of a captain agreeing to take a precious gift from Asia to the Middle East and consulting an astrologer to see if the skies will be clear for their trip, which, uh, sure, of course they’ll be, maybe. Viewers are then herded into a 4D auditorium where you’re ‘on the ship’ for a huge storm. All very fun and exciting but if you have a pretty awful fear of anything vaguely related to roller coasters and theme park rides (which I do), you’re gonna have a freak out (which I almost did). Before everything kicked off, I slipped to the back and sat with my eyes shut and occasionally got pelted with water which made it slightly more bearable than being right at the front, even if I was sat on top of a subwoofer. The story had the ship sink in the storm however, so we descended into the ocean and exited through a door to explore the underwater world…

Still partially freaked out, I found solace in the my camera and exploring the many different tanks and it didn’t take long for us to find the pièce de resistance – the largest oceanarium in the world! The tank spanned the entire room and was massive. Ambient music played and we sat down to watch the fish and rays swim for a bit.
I saw my very first dolphin not long after that, which was a pretty big deal for me! I used to be obsessed with them as a kid but instead of flapping about like I would have done then, I really wanted to try out putting a mirror or even an iPad with the front camera up to try out the self-recognition test. I was seriously impressed with the entire aquarium, even if it almost gave me a panic attack!

Sentosa, being the extreme tourist trap it is, drew us in with an enormous sweet shop called Candylicious with chocolates and sweets from all over the world and Carolyn was proposed to afterwards by four guys competing in an amazing race.

We MRT’d it back in time to see Murray play Federer in the Australian Open and meet a friend of the family’s. That day, the condo had received a card from a local restaurant called Roundhouse so we went to try it out. It was on the grounds of a horse stables and all the surrounding buildings were horse themed. There were stray cats everywhere, and Kate made the mistake of feeding a tiny skinny one from the table and it of course wouldn’t leave us alone for the rest of our meal!

Day Fourteen – Marina Bay

Last day in Asia! Carolyn took us to the Marina Bay for the day to see the a huge greenhouse called the flower dome and a cloud forest. The flower dome was very peculiar to visit. Just as we have tropical plants in the temperate house in Kew Gardens, Singapore has all our trees and flowers in their greenhouses! I even came across a sign that explained the four seasons! It was a very pleasant change in temperature from the humid air outside though and nice to experience a very real difference in such a westernised city.

Once again, Singapore claimed another ‘in the world’ title as we entered the cloud forest – the tallest man-made waterfall! The surrounding structure was covered in rainforest plants and had the most orchids I had ever seen at one time. All the plants were beautifully kept.

You’re able to go up into the middle of the structure and see the ‘Lost World’ on top of the ‘mountain’ and then make your way down using ramps that swing out around the waterfall. There was a large exhibition in the middle section on stalactites and stalagmites that we visited and messed around in, all the while getting sprayed by the waterfall and being given a great view of the freshwater marina.
Just across the way was the Marina Bay Sands, a ludicrous looking hotel. Carolyn explained that there was a lot of controversy about whether to allow a casino to be built with it. It went ahead but a permit is needed for residents looking to gain entrance and family members can cut off your access if they think it’s getting out of hand. This, however, doesn’t extend to rich Chinese businessmen staying at the hotel who fall prey to the casino’s exclusivity and end up pouring piles of money into the business. The casino made enough money in one year to pay for the entire building.
So with such a fancy building so close, we got nosey and went inside to look around the lobby… It was as suitably extravagant as you’d expect. The obligatory statue of a horse was present and there was even a string quartet playing. Satisfied with the lobby, we then decided to have cocktails on the ‘ship’. It was unexpectedly windy up at the top but we got an incredible view of the city. The cocktails were painfully expensive ($23 each!) but we figured that we could push the boat out as it was our last day in the country!

They went to our heads pretty quickly so once we had finished and paid, we went down to the attached mall (because what doesn’t this place have?) and got food at the food court. I had noodles for the first and only time in Asia, shockingly enough, and it was down and through the gardens by the bay to the marina front. We caught a river taxi back to Clarke Quay for just $3 and then grabbed a taxi back to the condo so we could finish packing.

Our last meal was at an Indian place called Mr. Prata near the university, where I tried prata for the first time. I ate quickly because I was anxious for when we’d leave for the airport but we made it with ample time to spare.

I was dreading the two flights home and sure enough, 15 hours later as we flew over Germany, I had officially had enough and became stir crazy. The only worthwhile things about the flights that stopped me attempting to hijack the plane back to Singapore were the fact that I greatly missed non-humid and cold air (as well as jumpers!) and that as we flew over India, I happened to wake up from a nap and look outside. I have never seen so many stars in all my life. The Milky Way was so vivid that I must have spent an hour watching the stars before nodding off again. It was the cherry on top to an incredible two weeks.

Singapore and Bali
Day One: All The Pretty Lights Day Eight: The Perils of Bali Belly
Day Two: Dinosaurs, Chickens and Hawkers Day Nine: So How About That Airline Food?
Day Three: Monkeys and Cocktails Day Ten: Recovery
Day Four: A Taste of Real Asia Day Eleven: A Cleaner Beach
Day Five: Get Up, We’re Climbing A Volcano Day Twelve: Goin’ to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo
Day Six: An Elephant Never Forgets Day Thirteen: SEAside
Day Seven: To The Beach Day Fourteen: Marina Bay

Thank you very much for following my adventure out in Singapore and Bali! I had a fantastic January!

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