Friday, July 4, 2008

Singapore - Day 5 - Museum, Orchids, and Night Safari

(By Jim. Warning, lots of pictures.)

We took breakfast in the hotel's restaurant, as it was included with the room. They did a good job with breakfast there, typical western style fare with eggs, potatoes, sausages (with German mustard), and bacon. Coffee was out of an instant grind and brew machine. However, we weren't there to eat at a hotel, so we headed out to check out the Asian Civilisations Museum. We spent two and a half hours going through it, and it is the quality of a Smithsonian.
Edged weapons of southeast Asia

Bronze Age Drum

Buddhist Artifacts

Enormous footprint of the Buddha

Barbara having fun with the hats in the childrens area

Hindu costumes (I think)

Southeast Asian masks and helmets for theater

Jim has horns

Display of jewelry

This jewelry case shows where they were worn with a light-up display

A cannon with a dragon's mouth

Arch to one of the Hindu exhibits

We then had lunch on the terrace of the Museum, overlooking the river through the city, then took a walk.
Singapore Supreme Court

Singapore Parliament House

As we were walking around outside, near the Parliament House, we saw the Singapore Airlines Hop on Hop off trolley come by. It stopped at a stop light, and after a short debate we decided to hop on and see the city. We had wanted to do one of these, and this was just too convenient. Not to mention, I think this is the better value of the two in Singapore.

We went by the Singapore Botanic Gardens, another thing we were wanting to do (to see the orchid garden) so we hopped off. We walked up from the entrance to the Ginger garden to start out.
Various members of the ginger family

Then we went into the National Orchid Garden, which had more orchids than I've ever seen before. Too many orchids! Orchid overload. They even have a garden of orchid hybrids developed at the Orchid Garden which they have named after visiting dignitaries, including the former Irish taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.
Rare mountain orchid, only one that is really blue

Jade Vine from the Philippines

On the way back, I cut through the rainforest walk. You know it's humid when the rope handrail has mushrooms growing on it.
Pavilion at the Botanical Gardens

After we had worn ourselves out walking around the gardens, we headed back to the pavilion at the front of the gardens to wait for our bus. We enjoyed the ride, but after all of the walking we were tired and didn't want to get off anywhere else. Unfortunately, the closest bus stop to our hotel was about a mile away. On the bright side, though, this stop was a Lau Pa Sat food center so we stopped for a beer and more snacks at a hawker center. Then a long walk to the room, and collapse in room.
Big pork buns, little shrimp dumplings

But we couldn't leave well enough alone and wallow in de agony of de feet, so after a couple of hours of relaxing and stretching out, we took a taxi (S$35 to there, S$25 back because of lower tolls at night) to the Night Safari. At the restaurant there, food mediocre (Jim's lamb burger) to awful (Barbara's Mrs. Pauls superannuated fish and chips).
Night Safari had a cool show with Southeast Asian traditional blowgun displays, then a stage show with nocturnal animals.
Blowdarts and balloons

Pole dancing?

Think you're a tough guy? Here, hold this snake.

Recycling otters

Good evening, ocelot (actually a cervil)

After the stage show, we were then led to a tram that took us through the park. None of the pictures I took there turned out. It was just too dark out. Some of the animals, like flying foxes, were true nocturnal animals, but others like elephants and giraffes, were more daytime animals that they trained to be night feeders, or just had a sleep disorder. Our time there ended around 10:30, and we took a taxi back to the hotel. I went out to get us some snacks at the 7-11 nearby, and then we crashed.

Tomorrow we leave Singapore, head back to Johor Bahru and fly out to Kuching on the island of Borneo and perhaps our favorite part of the entire trip.


aggie94 said...

I found your Malaysia/Singapore blog through a link on Joe's (Culinary in the Desert/Country)blog. We have a 24-hour stopover in Singapore next month (on our way to Thailand from Hong Kong) and had planned to hit the orchid garden during that time. Do you think it's worth it? Right now, it's a toss-up between that and the zoo. I would love to do both but don't think we have enough time.

Barbara said...

Oh, no-brainer, do the orchid garden. It was absolutely spectacular. Enjoy your trip!

aggie94 said...

Thanks for the feedback! Glad to hear it's worth the visit. We will definitely hit the orchid garden first and, if time permits, we'll try to make it by the zoo. Thanks again!