81 days travelling and I was wrong yesterday, today is the most sleep deprived we’ve felt to date.
14th December 2018
We had crashed into bed around 9pm the night before completely exhausted, more than ready for a good nights sleep to revitalise us for the even busier day we had planned tomorrow. Unfortunately for us, it wasn’t meant to be and we had another bad nights sleep due to being woken up continuously by some of the girls we were sharing our room with. This meant the our second day in Singapore was going to be done on not much more sleep than the day before – more coffee was the order of the day.
We set off for breakfast slightly later than planned due to be physically unable to wake up to our alarms and found a lovely little cafe – fittingly called Cafe Awesome – a short walk away from our hostel. A strong coffee and a large serving of peanut butter on toast later, we were off for the day.
First things first was to visit the Gardens By the Bay, a beautiful 101 hectare park built on reclaimed land right next to Marina Bay. It was a quick ride on the metro to the gardens and it wasn’t long before we saw the magnificent super grove trees looming in the distance, which range from 25-50 metres high. These tree like structures are made from metal and covered in plants – a very distinctive sight on the Singapore skyline. Overlooking the gardens was the spectacular Marina Bay Sands Hotel, famous for its rooftop infinity swimming pool with panoramic views across the city (and pricey hotel rooms – we can dream). Buzzing with excitement, we made our way into the garden and were advised that we should immediately go up to the super grove tree skywalk as poor weather forecast meant it could be closed later in the day. Taking her advice, we made a beeline for the skywalk, which was a short walkway around 20 metres high through the super grove trees and the perfect place to take in views of the gardens.
In addition to vast open bodies of water, I absolutely despise heights – which is odd as I also love being up high, go figure. 20 metres is hardly what I would consider as high either, but for some reason as soon as we exited the lifts and my feet touched the platform I froze, with a slight wobble in my legs. Not wanting to be outdone by the nearby children and refusing to be the guy who had to use the entrance elevator as an exit one, I quickly pulled myself together and powered through. There was only one accidental squeak that slipped out when I leaned a little too far over the banister, but I think it went unnoticed.
After descending safely back on to solid ground, we turned our attention to the two large glass conservatories – the flower dome and the cloud forest. We decided to start in the cloud forest and were immediately greeted with the highest indoor waterfall in the world, cascading down the side of a mountain of flowers and plants stretching up to the ceiling of the dome. Dodging the hundreds of school children there on day trips, we took a lift up to the very top of the waterfall and meandered down the gradual walkways that wound in and out of the structure as you descended. We passed through caves, a rainforest and even a secret garden at the base of the mountain. We even saw a couple of gardeners attached to harnesses scaling the side of the structure – not your average gardening job.
We then made our way over to the flower dome, which was slightly underwhelming due to the fact it had been taken over by some Disney themed Christmas display, replacing the usual flower meadow that was the centrepiece for the dome. We spent much less time in this dome, but enjoyed the cactus section and spotting various wooden animal sculptures throughout the displays. We almost ended up not going to see the orchards at the botanical gardens as there was supposed to be an impressive flower display, featuring orchids, at the dome. We were really glad we didn’t pass it up in the end. Thanks for ruining our flower display, Disney.
Narrowly avoiding a large Mickey Mouse as we left, we decided it was time for some lunch and headed over to Satay by the Bay – another highly recommended Hawker court conveniently located in the grounds of the garden. Given the Hawker courts namesake, satay skewers were on the menu again for us, this time with a side of pork belly and shrimps.
Pleasantly full, we turned our attention to the next activity for the day – the ArtScience Museum. Located just a short walk away from the Gardens by the Bay, the museum is designed to showcase art influenced by science and technology and is the first of its kind in the world. We paid to enter the Future World exhibition and were immersed in interactive hands on art, including a section where pictures you coloured in were scanned to appear on a huge interactive town projected on the wall. There was also a crystal light maze designed to mimic space. While the exhibition was definitely aimed more at people with children in tow, we really enjoyed the experience and was unlike any art gallery we had been to before. Maybe we are both just big children at heart.
With lack of sleep catching up with us yet again, we decided to head back to one of the coffee shops near our hostel for a quick pick me up. A scone and Santa hat shaped macaroon later, we were back on our way to Orchard Road for one last attempt at finding some of the essentials we had said we’d try to pick up in Singapore. However, as time wore on it became clear we weren’t going to find what we needed – it was just too expensive and we were far too tired to put much energy into shopping (this may have possibly been cut short by a slight strop that I threw). Reluctantly calling it a day (for my wife more than me), we decided to head to Clarke Quay to find some dinner.
Clarke Quay has a reputation for great nightlife and a wide selection of restaurants. We ended up choosing a popular seafood restaurant overlooking the river and ordered some king prawns fried in salt and pepper with seafood fried rice, which was absolutely delicious.
Our final stop for the evening was Raffles Hotel to sample the famous Singapore Slings cocktail, which were invented at the hotel more than a 100 years prior. Knowing Raffles high end reputation and expecting a potentially stuffy crowd, we were amused to see the entire floor of the bar was covered in peanut shells. Large bags of peanuts stood at the centre of each table, with people munching away and simply throwing the shells on the floor next to them. We really didn’t expect it and it put us at immediately at ease – we definitely got through our fair share of free peanuts and the Slings weren’t half bad either.
Until next time.
P.S. Despite the hectic schedule and lack of sleep, Singapore was probably our favourite destination so far. Maybe it was because it reminded us of home?