Gardens at the Bay and Chinatown
08.01.2017 - 11.01.2017
Gardens at the Bay and Chinatown
From the MBS Hotel there is a walkway which leads you across the road and over the dragonfly lake to the Gardens in the Bay. There are photo opportunities all along the way with pretty much everyone stopping to take pictures of themselves with the iconic MBS or the Singapore Flyer behind them (Singapore's version of the London Eye). We took a leisurely stroll through the beautiful themed gardens and admired the many pieces of artwork and sculptures. It was so hot and humid that we took advantage of shaded gardens wherever possible. We headed for the domed areas of which there are two; the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest , well worth a visit, the flowers and plants are spectacular. If you like Orchids, you'll love the Cloud Forest.
We walked around the super tree grove and paid 20SGD each to take a lift 16 floors to the top of the tallest tree which basically gives you one of the supposedly best views of Singapore. The ticket price includes an alcoholic drink (12 SGD for a soft drink). IMHO we had better views from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the rooftop bar of The Indo China restaurant at the top of the tree was closed on the day we visited so had to have our drink inside, bit of a rip off really, shame we weren't told this at ground level. Also, I also think the super grove trees are more spectacular to view from a distance and at night when they are illuminated. Nonetheless, Gardens at the Bay are a credit to Singapore.
We returned to MBS around 3.30pm and collected our luggage, the Concierge called a taxi for us and loaded our luggage into the taxi. Just as an aside, the ground floor concourse of the MBS Hotel is almost like a shopping mall, it is vast and a buzz with activity. Outside, there is a constant stream of taxis arriving and departing so getting a taxi is a simple process. During the taxi ride to our next hotel, we learned that you can only be a taxi driver in Singapore if you come from Singapore and our driver told us that he works 7 days a week without a break, he said he had never been to the Gardens in the Bay but heard it is very nice; I shall try not to complain about my working hours again.
Our hotel on the Havelock Road was booked via Singapore Air as a stopover holiday. Hotel Miramar is surprisingly well located but I can't deny that after MBS It felt very second rate , pretty much like a travel lodge. However, credit where credit is due, it was clean and comfortable, value for money and had all the facilities you would need.
2017 is the Chinese year of the Rooster and New Year celebrations started on 8/1/2017. Since Chinatown in Singapore is literally a 10 minute walk from the Miramar Hotel that's where we headed for our second night. A colourful array of side streets with food stalls and market stalls selling all kinds of Chinese products (fluffy roosters aplenty). After walking many streets admiring the merchandise (tat) we sat at a table outside a restaurant (melamine tables, plastic chairs tiled floor, that sort of thing) for a beer while we pondered about where to eat. Some of the dishes pictured at the restaurant we were sitting at left me feeling a bit queasy; whole fish head soup, pigs entrails and pig trotters to name but a few. However, being the lazy items that we are we stayed put and took a table inside where we enjoyed a delicious meal of chicken with roasted chilli and peanuts and vegetables plus steamed and special fried rice. Together with our beers the meal was a bargain at SGD 56 around £20. Around 11pm we headed back to our hotel, exhausted from another busy day. Unfortunately, another sleep deprived night was waiting for me and so I Whiled away my time by writing entry number one of this blog and catching up with the boomerang kids back home via What's App. Every cloud .....