Singapore and Bali: The Coast, A New Year and Zoos

By Sunday, January 19, 2014

Back in Singapore, I didn't have long to recover from food poisoning before we were back out exploring the island...

Day Ten - Recovery

Thankfully my fever broke during the night, so by the next day I was lucid enough to be able to go places. We drove out to this little cafe on the coast which wasn't far from the airport. I stuck to a simple croissant, wary of risking anything heavier than that, and we watched people sail and capsize out on the water. We left at around two or three and lazed (or if you're me, felt ill) for the rest of the afternoon.

Carolyn suggested we head down to Sentosa to see the island's light show that evening. We took the MRT for the first time, which is Singapore's underground rail network. It was a stark difference from the tube I'm used to back in London, just in width alone. The MRT has strict rules which include not eating or drinking anything while aboard a carriage. If you don't follow them, you could be fined up to $400. As a consequence, they like the streets are very clean.

We got off at a big shopping mall called Vivo and walked down across the boardwalk towards the island. We stopped for drinks at Wine Connection overlooking the island instead of actually paying to get onto it. I played it safe and got myself a lime juice (it was becoming an addiction at this point).

From where we were sat, we could see the back of the light show, which was based around two great mechanical cranes that had water jets acting as wings. Lights were projected onto the wings and from what I gathered, a love story was being told. The birds rose to take flight and fireworks were released at the end (a huge deal in Singapore).

The way home was a quick reverse of the MRT and then jumping on a bus. Thankfully, all public transport has air conditioning so we didn't have to worry about melting when we got on!

Day Eleven - A Cleaner Beach

By this morning, I was feeling somewhat better but still a little shaky on my feet and in my stomach. We took a taxi down from the condo to East Coast Park. Despite the fact that it was my eleventh day in Asia, I still wasn't accustomed to seeing tropical trees that seem to belong in jungles just at the sides of roads. And the grass! Instead of the thin, light green blades I was used to back home, Singapore's grass had thick, waxy blades which have a texture that's a lot more similar to actual leaves. This is because it has to cope not only with intense heat but a large volume of water as well.

At East Coast Park, we rented out bikes for four hours for just $12, which equates to close to £6! 

We cycled along the coastal road for a short while to Singapore's first cable wakeboarding arena, which Carolyn had been to on multiple occasions. I gave the wakeboarding a miss not wanting to upset anything but got some cool (and in some cases, extremely funny) action shots of Carolyn and Kate on the water. Afterwards, we headed round to a newly renovated hawkers for some sweet and sour chicken and fried rice. I ate way too much.

Carolyn casually showing off...
A taxi took us back to the condo and we sat down to watch The Impossible which was incredible, but I'm so glad I saw it after I went to Bali. Watching a film based around the 2004 Tsunami and then heading out to the same area of the world on the Ring of Fire would have made me rather on edge, especially when we were around Seminyak. And when we climbed Mount Batur.

That evening, we went to Chinatown and parked in one of those really cool Japanese stacking car parks. We walked down to the main road where everything was decked out with horses. I had noticed this trend already, but most places simply had a few horses dotted around, in the same way a shop might put a christmas tree up back home.

This was probably equivalent to the giant spruce Norway sends to put in Trafalgar Square each year.

Before we got into Chinatown proper, we past an assortment of Chinese health shops and tiny fast food places. As we entered the street, we had to weave in and out of loads of people looking at stalls selling trinkets for the New Year celebrations with signs like 3 for $10, or in one case, 36 for $10.

The place we sat at for dinner (which I didn't partake in - still feeling pretty lousy...) had live crabs in cages and was extremely busy. Through flow was fast. We past a Tintin shop of all things on the way back to the car and then came round by a temple with an enormous tower. 

Day Twelve - Goin' to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo...

Zoos are one of my favourite things. Not only do I love animals but I also love getting to try out my wildlife photography! The entire day was spent around Singapore Zoo's 'compound', where we saw Asian otters doing flips out of the water, spider monkeys, orangutans, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, lions, a cheetah, leopard cats, tigers, sea lions, penguins, lemurs, bats and many more!

Here's an assortment of photos from the day! 

False Gharial
We walked across a wooden platform to get into the main part of the zoo and underneath were three or four of these guys

Cute little caterpillar on a sign

Pink Flamingo


Spider Monkey

Ball of Arctic Foxes

Orangutans roam freely in the zoo's treetops

White Rhino (with a bruise, by the looks of things)

Cheetah lounging around

Reticulated Giraffe

Asiatic Lion

I have no idea what kind of spider this is but it was just chilling out in a tree near an exhibit

Chevrotain or Lesser Mouse Deer 

Ring-Tailed Lemur

Fruit Bat

Infant Chimpanzee

False Gharial

Pygmy Hippo

White Tiger


Asian Elephant
Singapore Zoo is very big on their shows and we managed to see two while we were there. The first was around lunchtime, where 'The Rainforest Fights Back' was being performed. This involved otters dragging plastic bottles out of the pond at the front of the large stage that had been set up in an open air auditorium. Parrots flew overhead and agile animals tightrope walked from the back of the auditorium to the stage. The main message of the show was to help save the rainforest but sort of devolved into 'who wants to touch a royal python when we're done?'

After discovering the zoo's only tapir, we made our way to the elephant show which was packed. The elephants 'waved' with their trunks and their mahouts instructed them to perform actions like lifting logs, crushing coconuts and balancing on a log (admittedly, very impressive). They also sprayed the audience with water, so I was glad my camera and I were at the back! While everything they did was definitely exciting and I know they have strong bonds with their mahouts, it felt quite sad to watch. Especially knowing the intelligence they possess.

Not content with seeing the animals in the daylight, we were back again later that evening for the night safari. The night safari encompasses a whole other area of the zoo with far more animals and it's a very popular tourist attraction. Unfortunately, as it was dark, my camera wouldn't have been much use. It was extremely busy when we arrived so we set to the walks first to allow them to die down. We began the Fishing Cat trail and spotted leopard cats gazing into ponds for fish, chevrotains, otters and a load more little creatures. The trail eventually led on to hyaenas who eyed us with a predatorial gaze, a lion pride and a clouded leopard. We past civets, servals and flying foxes and as we made our way back to the trams, a small herd of bongos.

We ended up sat behind some Chinese tourists who didn't seem to understand or care that their cameras' flashes were switched on, so I was half expecting someone to be impaled on a gazelle but they gave up eventually when their pictures didn't come out in the darkness. The tour was seriously impressive though, and a lot longer than I had expected.

We got to see the animals in their most active state. The hyaenas eyed us up again as we drove by (too intelligent for their own good!) and we got an eyeful of some Asian cervids and very large bovine. Being sat on the far right of the tram seemed to be the best seat in the house. I never imagined I'd end up so close to a bull elephant!

Singapore and Bali
Day One: All The Pretty Lights Day Eight: The Perils of Bali Belly
Day Two: Dinosaurs, Chickens and Hawkers Day Nine: So How About That Airline Food?
Day Three: Monkeys and Cocktails Day Ten: Recovery
Day Four: A Taste of Real Asia Day Eleven: A Cleaner Beach
Day Five: Get Up, We're Climbing A Volcano Day Twelve: Goin' to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo
Day Six: An Elephant Never Forgets Day Thirteen: SEAside
Day Seven: To The Beach Day Fourteen: Marina Bay

P.S. Yet again, I apologise for the lateness! This time I have flu to blame. Luckily, there aren't too many days remaining to my trip, so normal service should be resumed shortly...

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