Saturday, April 19, 2014

And on to Singapore - even if they leave you behind at the border

Getting to the Malaysian/Singapore border from Melaka was a straight forward and comfortable 4 hour bus trip.  The Malaysian process was quickly completed and everyone got on the bus to drive over the causeway and to Singapore immigration.  Here, we had to take any luggage as there was customs control.  I managed to pick the slowest line in the entire hall and by the time I got through all the channels the bus had driven away without me.  Not happy!  On the bright side I was in Singapore, I had my bag, I had local cash and there were public buses which were heading toward my central city bus terminal.

Sadly I hadn’t realised one of the 1st bus stops had been an MRT underground station which would have got me to Sarah’s in about 15 minutes – but it was not much use to me as I only saw the signs after we drove away.  So instead I had 100 stops through the outskirts and suburbs of the city with my overnight bag perched on my lap.  Hot, sweaty and having wasted an hour I finally made it to Sarah’s apartment.

In my two days in Singapore I had 2 main destinations on the plan.  The 1st was the Gardens by the Bay, which Andrew had visited on a stopover back in October.  I too really enjoyed the experience.  In the garden dome there was a temporary exhibit on roses on billed as “War of the Roses” and the drift wood horses carrying the knights were really nice pieces of art.  (The roses and the display were a bit ho-hum)

Singapore gardens by the bay

I did prefer the Cloud Garden dome with it’s mountain waterfall and mist clouds – which meant you couldn’t see entirely from one side and dome to the other, and made it very atmospheric.
 
cloud mountain

Gardens 2

The outdoor gardens, which are free,  were a lot bigger than I had expected.  So after some wandering I had spent over 2.5 hours at the complex it was time to work out how to get to my 2nd destination of the day –the Singapore flyer - the big viewing ferris wheel.  I could see it over the river but couldn't work out how to get there.  It was lunch time so I headed to the Marina Bay Sands for some air-con time and some lunch - which was a very average Laksa.  I wandered out a side door of the mall to find directly in front of me the pedestrian bridge I was looking for!

Singapore Flyer

When I bought my tickets for the gardens there was a deal that you could add the flyer on for $10 – so I did.  At $33 for the normal admission to the flyer I would never have paid that much for the experience.  It was a good view, but only so interesting. Interesting yes, fantastic, no.

The size of the Marina Bay Sands hotel is huge and there was a good view back over the entire site of the Garden by the Bay, the multitude of ships sitting outside the harbour, and the layout of the city.

flyer

The second destination I had planned was the Asia Civilisation Museum.  It is a Pan-Asian museum with good collections of artifacts from Burma to Indonesia, that were all really well laid out.  I managed to spend nearly 2 hours quite happily there.

And apart from gardens and culture – a bit of eating went on.  One definite recommendation is the Wine Connection Tapas Bar & Bistro.  It was amazingly good value in a world where Singapore prices for alcohol are mighty scary.  The place was packed, the waiting staff friendly and the food was excellent.  
It was only 2 nights in Singapore, but I had such a nice relaxed time in the big city - thank you my kind hostess Sarah.  Returning to Kuala Lumpur I took the 40 minute flight and the next morning at 7:30am I was winging my way back to Vientiane – having confirmed that Andrew had made all the connections on his return flight and was happily ensconced back in the apartment.

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