In October, we used our strategic geographic location to visit Singapore--an 8-hour flight that is considered a short flight, given the relative distance of Australia from pretty much everywhere. Singapore, a city-state, is comprised of 75% Chinese, 13% Malay, 9% Indians and 3% other minorities.
Gisela and I explored the city at 30 C combined with 90% humidity—the normal conditions in Singapore located only 137 km away from the equator.
We visited the Gardens by the Bay, with the Cloud Forest Flower Dome probably the most impressive plant display that we ever encountered anywhere. We were impressed by the lushness of the vegetation:
The Super Tree Grove is illuminated at night:
While walking between the domes, we spotted a Water Monitor Lizard in close proximity to our path:
The entrance of the Marina Bay, where the Gardens by the Bay are located, is guarded by the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel. "The complex is topped by a 340-metre-long (1,120 ft) SkyPark with a capacity of 3,900 people and a 150 m (490 ft) infinity swimming pool, set on top of the world's largest public cantilevered platform, which overhangs the north tower by 67 m (220 ft)."
Inside the Marina Bay Sands:
More pictures from the Gardens by the Bay here.
We used a hop-on-hop-off bus tour to learn more about Singapore and also to get around. We learned that the port manages 90,000 containers per day making it the largest trans-shipment container port in the world. Singapore has also a thriving medical tourism with half a million foreign patients per year. We also visited Chinatown which is a cultural centre of the city given the large proportion of citizens with Chinese background.
More Singapore pictures here.
Based on recommendation by our Faculty’s General Manager who is from Singapore, we had breakfast at Tiong Bahru and actually found something to eat from the thousands of different offerings. Our breakfast was delicious, but it was so much that we could not finish the SGD 3.50 meals.
More pictures from Tiong Bahru here.
On our last evening, we had dinner at the Salt grill & Sky bar on level 55 of ION Orchard in the heart of Singapore enjoying the stunning panoramic views of the city and sea. As we only left at 10 pm from Singapore flying overnight back to Sydney, we spent our last day at the Singapore Botanic Gardens with its National Orchid Garden that impressed us beyond comprehension. The variety and lushness of orchids seen here appeared to be unreal and we wondered several times if these are actually real plants or fake ones. Since 1859, orchids have been closely associated with the Gardens. The products of the Gardens' orchid breeding programme brings over 2000 hybrids to the Orchid Garden. Due to the high humidity, we speculated that the gardeners are mostly busy cutting back the overgrow, but pretty much everything else is taken care by the natural conditions in Singapore. We also learned that Singapore is the biggest orchid exporter in the world—we did not need to be convinced to believe this as orchids grow everywhere like weeds.
When leaving the Botanic Garden, we observed huge catfish, a water monitor lizard and turtles in a large pond:
More pictures from Singapore Botanic Garden here.