This post is dedicated to grandmother Joanne and to the memory of my grandmother Lucy for their great love of all different kinds of flowers and growing things. 🙂
Sunday I was tired from the adventures of the previous day so I slept in a little later til about 8:30 and then convinced myself to get up and enjoy the day.
I planned to go to the Singapore National Botanic Gardens, because they’re free! 🙂 I also intended to mail some post cards and one of the few post offices open Sundays was, incidentally, very near the bus stop I planned to use to reach the gardens.
The gardens are near Orchard Ion shopping plaza. Now, in case you’re not familiar with Orchard Road, it is an absolutely stunning stretch of every material good one could possibly want. If you had the funds for it you could probably spend weeks there. I had the funds for about an hour, if we were to measure it that way, so I didn’t buy much!
This is Ion Orchard, and it houses all the top brands and fashion houses of the world – you know, the ones with huge stores with only, like, four things in the whole place, low lights and beautiful salespeople. My personal take on it is that the farther apart things are spaced in a shop the less likely I’ll be able to afford anything there. Cause those Chanel bags, I guess maybe they only need to sell one a day because they’re so expensive.
Here’s a picture of some gelato, just for fun. I got there right as the place opened so the huge mountains of gelato were perfectly intact. 🙂
I actually ended up wandering around Ion for a lot longer than I intended, meandering in slack-jawed awe at ‘deals’ advertised such as ‘spend $5,000 in a single day and get a free limo ride to the airport!’. I kid you not. Part of the wandering was that I got lost in the mall more than once, and part of it was that outside was REALLY hot and inside Ion was icy cold, exactly the way I like it.
Anyway, I had a coffee at Dunkin Donuts. Every single other restaurant was either 5-star style dining or casual but upscale cafes, where was found the $20 scrambled eggs. To be fair, the eggs were cooked in white truffle oil, so…I guess that’s worth it? Anyway, I did not indulge in rich person eggs partly out of principle but also out of the fast-shriveling sensation happening in my wallet. Dunkin Donuts is good enough for me for now 🙂
I went to the concierge and asked for directions to the bus stop and from there, to the gardens, and she provided hand-written instructions on the location of the bus stop from where we were and which bus to take, etc. Bus rides in Singapore are $2 each no matter the destination or duration.
It was a 10 minute walk from the bus stop to the gardens, but in the sweltering heat and thick humidity, it felt much longer. My feet dragged and I wondered if I wasn’t better off inside Ion, even if I couldn’t afford to buy anything or eat anything. At least the air was free. And the AC, which seemed at least as important as air at that point.
Anyway I kept going because I had written on my post cards on Saturday that that was Sunday’s plan, and I didn’t want to have to tell people that I was too wimpy if they asked why I didn’t go. If you ever suspect you might wimp out of something you should never tell people about it ahead of time so they can’t bring it up later.
Just to preemptively squash any skepticism, here is a photo of me at the special orchid section of the gardens, to prove that I sucked it up, braved the heat, went to the gardens and did not just pull photos off the Internet.
The orchid garden cost $5 for entry which I paid happily – these were some fantastic flowers! Plus they had a section mimicking a mountainous climate, aka it was air-conditioned. I lingered in there a lot longer than I needed to look at the flowers.
After that I returned to the hostel for a few hours, took a shower, changed clothes etc., and then went out again. By that time it was nearly dark and had cooled down to tolerable temperatures.
Now you might have seen this picture before (stolen shamelessly from Google – not mine):
That’s at this hotel (this photo IS mine):
This is Marina Bay Sands, and boy is it pretty! Unfortunately, you must be a guest at the hotel to use to the pool, so maybe another time I’ll be able to do that, but for now, I was impressed enough just by the hotel itself. If you’re wondering, rooms at this hotel start at $300 or so for your regular room and climb steadily upwards to several thousand dollars per night. There are also a few suites that you can’t even reserve, you have to be invited, which is how you know you’re in a nice place, if you literally can’t even buy your way in. Actually, $300 a night isn’t too bad by luxury hotel costs – there are lots of resorts just along St. Pete Beach that cost that much, too. Still, it’s more than my budget at the moment, so I just took some pictures from the park below. Marina Bay Sands also has a casino and its own shopping mall and SkyPark with bar, etc.
The real reason I was in this part of town was to see the Supertree Grove!
I went up on the walkway for $5, which was pretty great! I don’t really know exactly how to explain the Supertrees – they’re exactly what they look like, metal structures created to look like huge trees, also with plants growing in and around them. They harvest solar energy, apparently, and use it at night when they put on a lights show with music, so their energy use cancels itself out and costs the earth nothing.
This is what the inside of the trees looks like, if you were curious. I took the elevator up but stairs down so I could take a photo of the metal/organic structure. Not too attractive from the inside, I guess. 🙂
Here’s a final photo, the best night shot I was able to get without a tripod necessary for those long exposure shots.
The ferris wheel is called the Singapore Flyer, which I guess is Singapore’s response to the London Eye. Tickets are $25 or so and I didn’t go because I didn’t think it would be much fun to go alone, but I had fun seeing it all lit up from afar!
This was a great day also although as you’ve probably gathered the heat really struck me hard, more than on Saturday. Oh well! Late that night I went to Changi Airport and slept there because I had an early flight back to Vietnam. I should add that immigration at Singapore is the fastest I have EVER gone through – it literally look less than a minute. So far it’s second only to Japan, which was an average of 2-3 minutes on the 4 times I’ve been through immigration there. I guess maybe that’s a bit of a nerdy thing to point out but you start to sort of document these things in your head when you travel internationally a lot.
Of course as always thanks for reading! 🙂