A 16-day adventure by Darren and Janet
  • Day5

    Palau Ubin by boat and bike

    February 19, 2020 in Singapore ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    We headed north today to Changi Village, about 1 hour by bus. After lunch in the hawker centre, we caught a bumboat to Palau Ubin, an island off the north coast of Singapore (10 min boat ride, $3 each - there's no timetable, just wait at the ferry terminal until a full boatload is ready, 12 people).

    During World War Two, Palau Ubin was a landing point for Japanese troops, which drew a huge influx of Allied troops to defend Singapore. This was a decoy move by the Japanese who then invaded the west of Singapore with ease.
    Previously home to a granite mine employing 2000 people, Palau Ubin is now one of the few undeveloped areas of Singapore, and home to just 38 residents.

    On arrival in Palau Ubin there are bike hire places lining the main street, so competition is keen. All day bike hire is $8 each. We got our bikes and spent a very pleasant 4 hours riding and walking the hills and dirt tracks of the island, collecting a number of caches on the way. We saw wild boars and monkeys close up, but only spotted otters and hornbill from a distance (much to Oliver's disappointment).

    We caught the bus and MRT back to the city and had dinner on the riverfront at Clarke Quay, followed by a walk around the area, and our first ice cream wafer from a street vendor.
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  • Day4

    Big fountain and Little India

    February 18, 2020 in Singapore ⋅ 🌧 29 °C

    With 80% chance of rain today, we had a plan up our sleeve to do some indoors activities, but as the morning looked promising, we caught the local bus to the Fountain of Wealth.

    The fountain is built among five tower blocks which represent the fingers and thumb of a left hand emerging from the ground, and the fountain is the palm of the hand. With an area of 1680 square metres, it was the largest fountain in the world until 1999. During certain periods of the day, the fountain is turned off and visitors are able to walk around a mini fountain at the centre of the fountain's base, three times for good luck. We were there during one of these downtimes, so did our laps.

    Next stop was Raffles Hotel, home of the Singapore Sling. They quite often have a queue out the door of punters keen to hand over $44 for one drink, but at 11am on a Tuesday you could choose your seat. We wandered in for a look, but didn't partake (a local beer was $28 if you prefer!)

    The rain still hadn't arrived, so after lunch and a quick look around the National Library, we headed to Little India, an eclectic mix of restaurants, temples, churches and mosques. We caught the bus back to our accommodation and had a swim, before tea at the local outdoor cafe again.
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    Traveler

    So the peanut shells on the floor were scarce by the look of the crowd?!

    2/19/20Reply
     
  • Day3

    Day by the bay

    February 17, 2020 in Singapore ⋅ ☁️ 30 °C

    With fine weather forecast today we decided to walk around the bay area. We caught the bus to Marina Bay Sands, passed the obligatory temperature check (most public buildings undertake temperature checks when entering) and headed to the rooftop observation deck for spectacular views of the bay area. Most of the people up there were cruise passengers from one of the few cruise ships still plying Asian ports.

    We then headed into Gardens by the Bay, had lunch at Satay by the Bay (but had falafals instead of satay), and walked a circuitous route following the caches, visiting the waterfront, drinks at the Fullerton Bay Hotel, the Merlion and National Gallery of Singapore.

    On the walk back to Orchard Road we detoured via Fort Canning Park. The park is the highest point in the city centre (48m elevation) and was formerly home to a Christian cemetery. The cemetery continued to be used until 1865 when it was declared full and closed, but by the 1970s it was in such a state of disrepair, the cemetery was exhumed and many of the surviving tombstones were embedded in the surviving walls.

    Dinner was at a 24 hour outdoor eatery near our apartment.
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    John Kalaitzis

    That is a stunning building!

    2/17/20Reply
    John Kalaitzis

    So at least two "big" things in Singapore

    2/17/20Reply
    John Kalaitzis

    I can see an Atlas Obscura entry if one doesn't already exist?

    2/17/20Reply
     
  • Day2

    Caching and the Botanic Gardens

    February 16, 2020 in Singapore ⋅ ☁️ 29 °C

    First activity for Sunday morning was a caching event we were hosting in a park across the road from our accommodation. Given there's so few tourists here, and only about 6 active cachers in Singapore, we weren't expecting a big turnout, so 1 person was ok!

    After a bit of a chat with ZacharyKZH, a local cacher with 130 hides, he offered to accompany us to a few caches, and we ended up having lunch with him and caching until 2pm. He led us down some shortcuts and backroads we would never have found by ourselves.

    After lunch we ventured into the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the most visited botanic gardens in the world (5 million visitors a year), which also has the world's largest display of orchids (1,000 species) and 250 species of ginger on display.

    It turned very humid late afternoon so we caught the bus back to our apartment and had a dip in the pool, before a thunderstorm rolled in.

    Dinner was at a small hawker centre on Orchard Road, with only a handful of other diners.
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  • Day1

    Hot transfer and humid Singapore

    February 15, 2020 in Singapore ⋅ 🌙 28 °C

    We had a delayed flight from Adelaide to Kuala Lumpur, so our already tight 1 hour transfer window was squeezed to less than 30 minutes. Luckily we made arrangements on board and were moved to the front row of economy so we could be first off the plane.
    We were met at the gate by an airport official to escort us to the next gate... they were holding the flight for us, so he took off running! We jogged halfway across the airport, caught a shuttle train to the other terminal, and made it to the gate 10 mins before take-off. Good service Malaysian Airlines 🙂

    We arrived in Singapore and had some caches to find at the airport before we headed to our hotel - one was at Jewel, a $1.7bn entertainment and retail complex between the terminals, and home to the world's tallest indoor waterfall, the Rain Vortex.

    The train into the city must be the best value airport transfer anywhere - $1.87 each! When we got to the hotel we were temperature checked before we could go in (and every subsequent time we enter), then wandered down Orchard Road for dinner and supplies. There's still plenty of people on the street after dark, with the temperature still around 30 degrees , and rather humid.
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    John Kalaitzis

    Spectacular

    2/17/20Reply
    John Kalaitzis

    That is very cool

    2/17/20Reply
    John Kalaitzis

    Oookayyy?

    2/17/20Reply
    Traveler

    Wow! Amazed they held the flight for you guys, too!!!

    3/24/20Reply