Travel

Singapore – First Day Out

I woke up late. Well, a lot later than I wanted to but I still wasn’t adjusted to the time. It’s also very hard when everyone you know and love is awake when you are supposed to be asleep.

I got myself ready, not yet knowing exactly where I was going to venture to. I had a look at my guide book while I ate breakfast and had my coffee.

I decided on Gardens By the Bay, it was a place that I was excited to see after seeing all the photos.

With a packed backpack I set off. The apartment complex has a side gate that leads to the main road. Thankfully Rich and I had used it so I knew where it was and how to use it – button out, security card on the way back, simples.

It’s not very far to the Metro station (Lakeside) and as I had my ‘oyster’ card I was able to go straight through, I may have even looked like I knew what I was doing😉 I even knew which train to get.

It was a good 30-40 mins to my first stop Raffles Place where I had to change – in my head I was convincing myself I could do this. It’s really quite simple, they even have the colour code above the doors on the platform and everyone speaks English!! All of the announcements are English too, makes life a lot easier. I think it would be a different story if they didn’t!!

After a couple of changes I found Marina Bay and made my way to the surface. I’d just missed a downpour by the looks of it. As soon as you come out of the station you can see the super trees. I just stood there and smiled – I’m used to the looks now🤪 it was quite surreal, to have seen them in photos and then to actually be stood there. I walked for a bit and ended up joining a queue I thought was for the entrance – it wasn’t 🙄it was to purchase tickets to the two domes/conservatories that were within the grounds – Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. At this point I wasn’t interested in going in these – I’m on a budget – so I left the queue and went and looked at the map, I took a photo (always do this wherever I go) just as an employee asked if I would like a map, there were some under the picture 🙄 I took the one offered and asked how I got in, she explained and off I went. Down the road, up some steps and over a footbridge. The views around were amazing, not only were there giant ‘trees’ there were also three very tall buildings……with a ship, yes folks, I said ship shape attachment, spanning across the top of the three buildings. It’s a hotel called Marina Bay Sands. The worlds largest infinity pool is up there, along with parks and jogging paths. Looks incredible, some people’s imagination knows no limits.

Anyway, with this building behind me I walked into the park. I didn’t know which way to look, there were so many trees, plants, shrubs, statues, pathways and the first thing I heard was some beautiful birdsong. I stopped to see if I could pinpoint where it was coming from. I did, I walked slowly towards it, trying not to trip over anything as I was videoing at the same time, and found them. Beautiful bright yellow birds (I’m not going to even attempt identification – they were yellow and they were birds😂) with a beautiful sound. Naturally I had a chat with them 🤪 I managed to video them too.

I continued walking, following the main path, not entirely sure what to expect but I didn’t mind, I was literally shooting the breeze and just going where my feet took me. I kept getting glimpses of the Super trees but each time there was a path towards them there was also a gate for the Winter Wonderland which required tickets – wasn’t going to happen. I eventually walked to what appeared to be the hub of the park, where the domes were and eateries and gift shops. I was now hungry, I was following a sign that said Satay by the lake – sounded good! Only I never actually found it! I did however come across the Golden Arches 😃 so I opted for that instead, sitting in a window seat watching a heavy downpour that materialised from nowhere. It had stopped by the time I ventured out again. I found some super trees. They are really quite amazing structures with plants growing up them, clinging on, they’ll be even more amazing when the structure is completely covered.

I wandered about for a bit, there were so many people, goodness knows how many photos I inadvertently photo bombed!😂 everywhere you looked a photo was being taken.

I walked back up to the hub and at that point decided I had to experience the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome so I purchased the tickets. I asked about the walkway that goes around the main Super Trees, I was told it was open but I would have to purchase a Winter Wonderland ticket alongside the walkway ticket. No, not happening, couldn’t put myself through it. So I stuck to just the domes.

Upon entering the Cloud Forest a sign said the wait for the lift was currently 30 mins, I had no clue why there was a lift – are you getting the picture here that I really do just shoot the breeze and take it as it comes?! – but I joined the queue none the less and looked around while I was waiting.

It was a ‘mountain’ within the conservatory dome, with all species of plants and many different orchids that were indigenous to various parts of the world. Every now and then cloudy mists were released into the atmosphere, quite refreshing. Eventually I came to the lift, it only allowed about 15 people in, the pathway down and around the dome and mountain had limits on the capacity it could handle at one time.

I exited the lift and immediately started taking photos, it was all very beautiful and the views were stunning too. As you entered the dome on the ground floor the first thing you come across is a man made giant waterfall, you get the spray as you walk past it. As you come out of the lift you are at the top of the waterfall and behind it! As you make you’re way around the winding path you come to a vantage point where you can take photos of it and stand right next to it.

The whole place is about biodiversity and sustainability. About finding new ways to protect and preserve our natural resources. About teaching the next generation and more importantly this one that it’s not too late to start acting. There is a theatre that you walk through that shows short films on a loop. I sat and watched one, it brought a tear to my eye, the destruction we cause, the suffering of people in different parts of our world. As Sir David Attenborough said in his speech to the UN on behalf of the people –

“Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years.

Climate Change.

If we don’t take action the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

“The world’s people have spoken. Their message is clear.

Time is running out.

They want you, the decision makers, to act now. They are behind you,

along with civil society represented here today.

Supporting you in making tough decisions but also willing to make sacrifices in their daily lives.”

I just hope all of the children running around this amazing place take something away with them and plant a tree or a whole garden, that they take away how important it all is to the future of our species and others on this beautiful planet of ours.

I made my way out, of course through the obligatory gift shop which I am pleased to report used paper bags and packaging where possible in their gifts.

By the time I came out, lights were being turned on, the sun was going down, Christmas lights were on, I was shattered. I had a sit down and people watched for a bit, taking stock. I decided it was time to make a move out of there. I thought I’d go a different way out, following a path that had a tunnel of trees, it was quite magical with lights on. I came across a domed hut by the side of the path that had small lit mushrooms, red with white spots, almost expected to see some pixies sat on them, sadly there weren’t. In the distance I could hear the Christmas music playing in the Winter Wonderland, I turned down another pathway that lead to another pathway that circled the main Super Trees. I went down some steps and you could look over the hedges to see all of the people and stalls of the Winter Wonderland that was all set up around the base of the trees. I’ll admit, it was very lovely.

I carried on walking looking for the way out, I ended up turning back to retrace my steps and go out the way I came in. There were some rocks next to the steps, I perched on one of them for a rest, it wasn’t long before more people joined me on either side, it was then that it dawned on me I had read about a light show in the evenings, I had stumbled across a vantage point to view it.

I patiently waited, having a quick read of my Eat, Pray, Love book I received from my friend Saz for Christmas (which I am thoroughly enjoying and identifying with!!)

It eventually started, the Christmas music came on and the lights on the trees began to flash in time to the music. It was all very pretty, gentle and lovely and I’m glad I was there to see it. Once it had finished I followed the path out of the park, eventually finding the same path I had entered on. As I had to walk past the domes again I decided to go in the flower dome. I didn’t linger, it was too dark really to fully appreciate the flowers and the main attraction in there had become the Christmas display – which was beautiful.

It was also a full moon. I’m a sucker for a full moon and a sunset. Unfortunately the iPhone struggles to take a decent photo of it but I still try. I was snapping photos the whole time, always looking for a photo opportunity.

I found the MRT station and made my way back to the apartment. It’s lovely to come back to, to sit on the balcony and reflect on the day at the same time as people watching from above.

I don’t have many plans, I booked the hop on hop off bus tour and a bike ride before I left, other than those two things I am just deciding what I fancy doing each morning when I get up.

I don’t even know what I’m doing when I’m actually doing it!!😂

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