I had another training in KL last Feb 2016 so I decided to make another stop in Singapore to see more of the country. I was there last May 2014 with Espie but given the short duration of our stay, we didn’t get a chance to see some of the attractions it had to offer. This time around, I was with friends and we planned our itinerary well in advance. It was again just a 3-day itinerary so we wanted to make the most out of it.
This time around, we stayed at the Hotel Grand Pacific. A 4-star hotel which is located in the Bencoolen area. Back in 2014, we stayed at the Ibis Hotel in the same area and I knew that it would be accessible to most of the attractions we planned to see.
On Day 1, we decided to visit the Gardens By The Bay since we hadn’t been there in our previous visits. We also planned to have dinner at the nearby mall and it was just across the street.
Gardens By the Bay has been in operation for about 6 years. Admission tickets for the two conservatories is S$28.00 (roughly PHP1000). We also decided to get the shuttle service for S$3.00 (PHP 100) since we were expecting a lot of walking and we were already dead tired from our flight the same day. We also wanted to see the OCBC Skyway but by the time we finished the other tours, it was already late and there was a long line. In case you are wondering, admission for the skyway is S$8.00. The rest of the attractions are free of charge.
The first conservatory we visited was the Cloud Forest. It’s a 35m tall man-made structure made to look like a mountain and showcases plant life from tropical highlands up to 2000m above sea level. I loved the climate inside the conservatory since it was very cool and a bit damp. Quite a contrast to the humid weather right outside the doors. There were multi-level bridge-ways that could get you to the different levels of the mountain. It was quite high up and a bit disorienting especially since you could see what was below you. Despite knowing it was man-made the sight was still pretty impressive. We knew it was artificially ventilated but the number of plant species we could see not to mention how they thrived belied the fact.
Here are some more photos from the Cloud Forest:
Our next stop was the Flower Dome conservatory which boasts of replicating the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions while housing a collection of plants from all over the world, including the desert. It also holds the record for being the largest greenhouse in the world.
In contrast to the Cloud, it was bright and sunny inside this conservatory. Although it was also artificially ventilated, it was a different feeling altogether. There was a section which showcased all types of desert cactus from all over the world. Flowers and plants from South America, California, Australia, South Africa and the Mediterranean were also featured.
There was definitely an amazing array of flowers and plants and it was the first time I’d seen them in one place. You couldn’t get this chance any other way. It was truly a photographer’s paradise.
Our next stop was the Supertree Grove which features stunning man-made trees up to 16 storeys tall. They are designed with large canopies that provide shade in the day and come alive with light and sound at night. You will also have access to the OCBC Skyway when you visit the grove. Unfortunately, we spent too much time at the other attractions that it was pretty late by the time we got to the OCBC Skyway. The line was very long and we decided to skip it. It was time for us to meet friends and have dinner at the nearby mall — Shoppes at the Marina Bay Sands.
There, we had a chance to dine at the famous Din Tai Fung, a Michelin star restaurant known for it’s xia long bao (steamed pork dumplings). There was quite a long line and we were lucky that our friends were already on the waiting list so we didn’t have to wait too long. They already have branches open in Manila but it was good to try it while in Singapore.
We also had time do to some shopping and got some good deals some of the shops we can also find in Manila like Victoria’s Secret, Pandora and Cath Kidston. It was pretty late by then and we were lucky that the shops closed late at around 11:30PM on Saturdays.
By then we were pretty tired. We had to do a lot of walking and all I could think of was that if we had my parents with us, they would have had a really hard time. Transportation is pretty efficient with the MRT, but it still involved a lot of walking. It was a good thing our hotel was strategically located near a train station. Just a piece of advise, if you are planning to go to Singapore for some sight-seeing, make sure you wear comfortable shoes or get ready to pay for a cab. It was time for some rest..