Asia, Singapore

Singapore: Amidst the Cloud Forest

September 3, 2017
In the middle of our busy family schedule (see: multiple visitors in our home), I managed to convince my parents to accompany me to Singapore for a brief weekend trip.

We left on Friday afternoon and were supposed to be reaching the country in time for dinner, but the airline gods finally caught up to me and handed us a 2-hour delay. We arrived at 9 PM, opting to head straight to the hotel instead of to one of Singapore many malls for dinner. Thank goodness there is a hawker centre close to our hotel. So my dad and I went in search for dinner as soon as we dropped off our luggage and came back with Prawn noodles, oyster omelette, a huge pile of Nasi Goreng, and 2 tall glasses of sugar cane juice, all of which were consumed within the confines our hotel room.

The sugar cane juice was what transported me to my last visit to the country. This was the visit where I hit all the must-sees, from Merlion to Jurong Bird Park and everything in between (think Sentosa Island, Night Safari, and all the malls and shopping centres). This time, my destinations were messily scrawled in my journal and food recommendations were given to me via WhatsApp. I did not have an organized itinerary and I was more than happy to figure things out as we go.

We started the next morning with breakfast in Little India: rose almond milk, coffee, a crispy dosa and two plates of roti with dal, eaten in an open air food court where the humidity is stiffling and it’s almost humorous that we were drinking steaming cups of liquid. After breakfast we walked through the neighbourhoods, taking in the hustle and bustle of the market, the colorful threads of flowers, and the variety of vegetables on display.

Eggplants in Little India

Little India

We walked by a colourful house with instagrammers and fashion bloggers posed and groups of travelers crouched down for a selfie, or a “wefie” as Asians say these days.

The colourful house in LIttle India.

We made our way to the Marina Bay Sands complex, 3 apartments (hotels? I don’t really know) joined together at the roof with an infinity pool and a bar with no doubt the best view of the city. The building and the surrounding complex dramatically changed the look of Singapore skyline and was the biggest difference I noticed from my last visit.

Marina Bay Sands seen from the Gardens by the Bay.

We were told to go up to see the views but we didn’t. Instead we headed to the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest  at the Gardens by the Bay and spent our afternoon within its climate-controlled environments. To say it is an impressive engineering feat is an understatement: Massive greenhouses filled with all kinds of flowers and plants from all parts of the world, including a 35m (that’s approximately 115 ft.!) tall mountain covered in lush vegetation and waterfall trickling through it.

Flower Dome

All the orchids

Cloud Forest

At the bottom of the Cloud Forest

We spent our final night in the city in the midst of the blaring neon lights at the Newton Food Centre (which I later found out is one of the best hawker centres for sea food!) mainly because it’s close to our hotel and both my parents were exhausted by then. We ate kankung and squid, drank ice kacang, had a couple of beers, while we talked and observed all things Singaporean. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Squid rings braised in Sambal Terasi

Newton Food Centre at its finest hour.

Until next time,
Pauline

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