Friday, October 18th - Singapore

The suggestion has been that we had to try Singapore Chili Crab. After a bit of research we figured that “Jumbo Seafood” served some of the best in town (my restaurant review here).

Crossing the road from the hotel we walked down Hill Street along the side of Chijmes. An ornately decorated building on the other side turned out to be the “Singapore Chinese Chamber Of Commerce & Industry”. Along the way I spotted the “Singapore Philatelic Museum” along a side road, Coleman Street. Yes, a bit of a stamp collector (and a fan of air conditioning when it very hot, it has to be said) we paid this a visit for a few minutes. They had a shop selling a number of interesting items so I picked up a few first day covers (ask a collector). The museum itself is free for local people which I thought was a great thing to do.

The Singapore Philatelic Museum

Continuing along Hill Street we came across the Ministry of Communications & Information building which is quite distinctive as it is a big white building wrapping around a busy street corner (Hill Street and River Valley Road, beside the river) with different coloured shutters on each floor. As we passed by we noticed an art exhibit so we spent a few minutes walking around a small courtyard seeing what was there.

Clarke Quay

Continuing over the river we spotted our lunch destination just a short distance away along the river-walk.


We headed over to the restaurant which is open to the outdoors with tables spilling out onto the pavement. Noticing no one sitting we were told that they did not open until noon (it was 11:30) so we convinced them to let us have a seat and bring us some tea. We sat to soak up the view of the river flowing a short distance away from our table. It was good to relax for a few minutes, truth be told, we had not really had anything to eat yet so were hungry, hot and tired from the mile or so walk from the hotel. Eventually they decided to open so brought us a menu for us to have a look at. We knew what we wanted already but it was interesting to look at the wide assortment of food on offer with the emphasis being on, of course, seafood. We placed our order for chilli crab with some “Mau” buns. Sticking to our choices from Hong Kong we also had an order of gai lan (Chinese greens) served in a garlic sauce. First let me say the gai lan was incredible - Perfectly cooked, not bitter with a sauce to die for. But, it could not compare to the heaven of the crab. Second time for crab in a week so we had a bit of practice though Hong Kong seems a very long way away (ok, it is, but I mean culturally as well).

Mel - Before

Steve - Before

The crab came to the table in a very large bowl and is largely submerged in this most amazing sauce.

The Star of the Party

The carapace (head) of the crab shell was on top but under were the legs that were cut until pieces that allowed us to more easily eat them. The claws, of course, were much easier to eat and here they were full of meat. I used all implements given to us to pick the meat out of the legs which were far trickier. The Mau buns are slightly sweet, small, white and spongy which is perfect for tearing apart and soaking up the wonderful sauce. It was amazing, so tasty, but VERY time consuming with our finishing close to 1:30. At the end I could not bear to let the sauce to go to waste so helped myself to a bowl full of it (literally)…Of course, we had been given crab bibs to attempt a bit of decorum…this did not really help me with my continually wiping my hands on my bib though Mel had the better idea of not bothering. The staff going by did not appear to mind the mess I was making which is just as well. I suppose I could have been banned from not returning I suppose…“that dirty-eating Canadian, he is NOT welcome here…” Is there an easy and clean way to eat crab? Certainly the large amounts of sauce did not make it simpler.

Mel - After

Steve - After

Following the river towards the harbour we passed by many restaurants with seating on the pavement. Most have tanks with live seafood in them. We continued to be amazed by what was on offer with the massive crabs, fish, and huge lobsters.

"The First Generation"

Each bridge we passed had a pedestrian underpass with one of them covered with a very large mural that was very well done.

Mural information

Artwork on the Water-Front

More Art...

Just before we reached the harbour we had to return to the street to cross Fullerton Road (named after the famous hotel that sits on it) then over Esplanade Road to arrive at the Merlion Park where we stopped at a cafe and had a quick (but expensive) soft drink tucked just inside the door watching the tourists around the sculptures.

The Merlion

Crossing over the Esplanade Bridge we walked along the footpath following the north side of the harbour as it passed in front of the two bulges of the Esplanade Theatre then in front of the permanent grandstands used for public holiday events (with a large floating platform used as the stage) and (sorry) the Formula 1 grand prix - Yeah, we still got a kick out of walking on the track and looking through the tunnel that the multi-million dollar cars of racing go through.

Heading back across the harbour on the Helix (DNA) bridge we were at the Marina Bay Sands shopping centre so we went in to cool down. Walking inside we were amazed at the space with our coming in on the top level of something like 3 or 4 stories visible below us, with a skating rink, and a large glass dome ceiling above us. We were at the far eastern end of the shopping centre but we could see it stretching off to our right into the distance. It is a pleasing shape with the curved lines of the walkways and the building itself.

"The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands"

Spotting an ice cream shop down one level we made our way to the escalators…It was Cold Rock Ice Creamery (from Australia) where they had a frozen marble slab that they prepare their sundaes on. In my case I had the “Hazelnut Indulgence” which was Ferrero Rocher chocolates, hazelnuts, and ice cream that they chopped up on the marble and served in a ice cream sugar cone basket. Mel had the “Mint my Day” which was mint chocolate chip ice cream, crushed Oreos (?) and chocolate syrup also served in a basket. The interior was quite funky and fun as we sat down to enjoy our cool dessert. Very yummy with our both agreeing that mine was the better tasting…The suggestion being that if it had not been Oreos but mint chocolates it might have been perhaps better…

Ice Cream!

Since we had first spotted the two giant biomes of Gardens by the Bay from across the harbour we knew we had to go and visit. As we walked along the south side of the harbour away from the shopping centre we entered into the park surrounding the domes.

Approaching Gardens by the Bay

The sight of the giant “Supertrees” poking up out of the surrounding greenery was quite spooky - Looking like something straight out of a science fiction film. Continuing along the water we passed the “Flower Dome” with massive supporting pillars curving above the path to support the massive glass dome on our right. Looking in we could see the gardens within.

Outside the Flower Dome

Between this dome and the next there were escalators taking us to the ticket booth so I picked up tickets.

Neat Sculptures Between the Domes

Gardens by the Bay Ticket

We decided to start with the Flower Dome that we had just passed. This was filled with plants from all around the world that simply could not grow outside in this heat (the domes are, believe it or not, cooled) including an amazing selection of baobab trees that I have never seen outside of Africa.


We made our way along the winding paths admiring the specimens. As we continued around we were amused to see plants that we consider commonplace in both Canada and Britain but, of course, they would be unusual here. There was a Diwali display of colourful plants and Indian motifs such as elephants…


The dome is on multiple levels with the baobabs on the topmost with a curving path around to the bottom levels where there is even an exhibition space below. It was nice to sit and enjoy the views for a few minutes.

Inside the Flower Dome

Very Pretty

It was beginning to get a bit dark so we realised that if we wanted to visit the Supertrees we would have to do this now. Oh, what is a Supertree? Oh, these are artificial trees are up to 16 stories high that have long slender trunks covered with plants that stretch up into a massive circular canopy at the top.

Supertree Grove and OCBC Skyway

We made our way south from the biomes into the Supertree grove and picked up a ticket to go on the “OCBC Skyway” which is a walkway 22m above the ground that goes from one of the Supertrees to another along a long curved path 128m long.

Skyway Ticket

Incredible. Amazing views of the trees around us and the ground a very long way down below us (with little separating us from it - only the cable railing of the path). We had been told that if the wind picked up we would have to come down straightaway (the grey clouds have been building all afternoon) which made a lot of sense with the path suspended by cables from the Supertrees around it. The path curves around a massive middle tree that has a restaurant at the top. That would be good to visit at some point…

Nice View

Looking back towards the harbour

We made our way down the elevator glad we did not have to cut short our visit due to the weather.

We made our way through the gardens back to the biomes. Across from the Flower Dome is the Cloud Forest and it is this we next visited. As we entered the dome the first thing we were faced with was a 4 story waterfall immediately in front of us with water misting all around.

The Waterfall

Did I mention it was hot outside?

Looking up we could see this “mountain” that the water was coming out of which was covered with plants including masses of rain forest flowers. As we arrived the entire interior was foggy with a mist everywhere though as we continued the mist dissipated leading me to think this was a periodic event they have where it “rains” for a short time.

Suspended walkways through the mist

We made our way around on the north side of the mountain and followed the path which took us to a lift that took us to the top of the mountain.

Plants on the Top of the Mountain...

The winding path down stretches out into the space around the mountain, often 10 m or more away from the surface of the mountain suspended in the middle of space. Amazing. The view of the dome above, the plantings on the mountain in front of you, other suspended walkways below and the view of the harbour outside the window on one side and the view of the Supertrees out the other…

Suspended Walkways

Looking Out the Massive Windows

Wow. By the time we arrived at the bottom it was getting dark. Inside the mountain there is a display on cave minerals as well as stalactites/stalagmites that we passed through quickly and visited the “Hidden Garden” in a lower floor. The fauna here is amazing. It is so convincing you feel very much like it is a rain forest. The flowers are incredible.


Sadly, this is our last day in Singapore. I am thinking we are only just getting to see it. The practicalities of leaving had been on our minds for several days now when we realised that even though we had not been picking up a lot of souvenirs our one piece of luggage would not be enough or, at least, not enough if we wanted to move about comfortably when we are in Hong Kong tomorrow (we do not have a hotel there so we will be checking our luggage in for our flight at night as soon as possible). So, we returned back along the harbour past the now lit biomes to the Marina Bay Sands shopping centre to look for some luggage. The shops here are a bit too high class with the only luggage being at Gucci…Not quite in our price range!

View of Singapore Flyer from Gardens by the Bay

We returned to the far side of the harbour over the now lit Helix bridge which looked amazing. A light show was just starting with lasers reaching into the sky from the various buildings.

Light Show in the Harbour

Following the street along the north side of the harbour we once again passed through the war memorial park (the same one as last night) then visited the Raffle’s City shopping centre near the hotel. This time we were in luck as Mel spotted a “Robinson’s” in the directory that she remembered being a department store. A bit of hunting and we found the store and, sure enough, a good selection of luggage! It was just before closing but for $100 we found a very nice piece that was a good size but still within the limits if we wanted to take it as a carry on. Bonus! Helpfully they also directed us to their customer service department as they indicated we could reclaim the tax we paid on it. A polite chat with the people there who were interested in our being Canadians then we headed out as proud owners of a new piece of luggage…

Back in the room we repacked everything which was a bit sad. At 10:00 it started to rain. REALLY rain. We stood for several minutes with the lights out in the window watching as the sheets of rain came down and flooded the streets below. Lightning as well! We know that we need to get to bed though because we will be getting up at 1:00 to get ready to leave! I think “tomorrow” is going to be a very, very long day. We are going to be tired though I am hoping that adrenaline will keep us going.

⇒ Continue to Saturday, October 19th - Singapore, but only temporarily...then Hong Kong