Sunday, October 23, 2016

Australian Cruise: Singapore Stopover – Day 15 and 16

Written: Sunday, 23rd October

Day 15 - Saturday

So it’s goodbye to Celebrity Solstice and hello to dry land in Singapore. We’re here for two days before we fly home on Sunday. It’s our fifth visit and we love the place! We first came here 30 years ago (or thereabouts) so we thought we’d revisit some of the places we first went to, back in the 80s.

It was either going to be Jurong Bird Park or Singapore Zoo, and although there wasn’t much in it in terms of distance from our Hotel, we decided on the former.

But first we had to blag our way into an early check-in at our hotel – Park Royal on Pickering (official check-in time is 2pm, and we arrived at 11am!) – but as things turned out, it wasn’t a problem, and we were soon on our way to Room 1237 – a room about half the size of Corby!


 


Room 1237

After a quick study of the map (for Singapore, not the room!), we headed for the nearest MRT station – China Town – and purchased a two-day tourist ticket that covered all modes of transport – $52 Singapore dollars (that included a $20 refund on return of the ticket) – great value!


After a change of line and a shortish bus journey (the ‘194’), we were at the Bird Park – and it had changed quite a bit! Certainly a lot bigger than we remember it.


Jurong Bird Park

But before all that, who could resist the attraction of Bongo Burgers?! – the on-site eatery.



…well, certainly not us!


And then it was off to look round the expanded version of the Park – and what a treat for the eyes and ears it was. The place was filled with birds so colourful…and so musical, it was simply gorgeous!






Some of the Colourful Guests of Jurong Bird Park

We finished our visit by watching a live bird show. Wow! Fantastic! Especially the part where a bird sang ‘Happy Birthday’ (really!)




What a Show!

We thought parts of Australia was humid at 95%, but Singapore today, was boasting 97%! – and after wandering around the Bird Park, it certainly felt like it! Yuk! The wet season had certainly arrived in certain parts of my clothing!!! (sorry!)


We were therefore pleased that we’d left the AC running, and by the time we got into the room, it felt WONDERFUL! A quick feet-up, a bit of minor unpacking/ironing plus some major Blog uploading - and by 7pm we were ready to explore the local area of China Town.



A Little Bit of China

..and it didn’t take long to find it – just round the corner in fact! And this WAS authentic China Town, because when we eventually found somewhere to eat: the poetically titled Chang Hang Bian Shang, we quickly discovered they didn’t speak a word of English (but they had a colourful picture-based menu system AND they took MasterCard, so we were sorted!). The food was excellent and delivered in the order in which the Chef cooked it, NOT in the order you’d necessarily eat it –  but who wants rice with their main-course, that’s soooo predictable!!! In spite of the sequence, it all went own a treat, and within an hour, we were stuffed (I feel a diet coming on when we’re back!)



The Poetic ‘Chang Hang Bian Shang’ Restaurant

It was now 9pm and as humid as Hell! We quickened our pace, neatly zig-zagging through the crowds enjoying a (very) busy Saturday night on the streets of Singapore. Ten minutes later, we were back in the air-conditioned comfort of 1237! Phew!

Last day here tomorrow and we plan to take a trip out to the Singapore’s Botanical Gardens 

Day 16 – Sunday

We slept reasonably well – I say reasonably, because in spite of my tech-nerdiness, even I couldn’t master the lighting/air conditioning control. The result? at 4am, all the lights came on without any interference from me together with the AC thinking it was an amplifier turned up to 11. It didn’t much matter in the grand scheme of things, and we eventually dropped-off, sleeping through until just after 7am.


We had to be out of the room by 2pm, so we had a quick breakfast in nearby McD’s before jumping on the MRT at China Town and heading for the Botanical Gardens taking advantage of the very temporary nature of the slightly cooler weather.

Within about 45 minutes we’d arrived. We were last here around 20 years ago, and I don’t know where I was on that day, but I don’t recall any of it!

It was another of those venues that just took your breath away






Scenes from the Botanical Gardens

…especially when we got to look around the National Orchid Garden.






Orchids are Us!

..and there’s plenty more where these pics came from – I’ll post a link when we’re back in Blighty!

Then it was back on the Bus by way of the famous Orchard Road – think London West End shops on steroids! – before taking our final MRT journey back to China Town. Then a quick shower, change of clothes (again) before waiting in the Hotel’s rather swanky Lounge for our pickup to the airport.


Final View of Singapore 2016!

We’re off - next stop is Dubai, then Birmingham, then HOME on Monday morning!