25 March 2017 – Exploring Little India and Gardens by the Bay [SINGAPORE]
Our first Saturday of the trip was spent exploring the sights, smells and tastes of Little India, then the afternoon we checked out the domes at Gardens by the Bay, followed by a play in the Children’s Garden and a dinner at Satay by the Bay.
Despite the time change in Singapore, and the extremely late night the previous night, the kids were helpfully up by 6am after only 8 hours sleep. Used to this kind of caper at the start of a trip, we went down to breaky and enjoyed a hearty breakfast of noodles and much coffee for the adults (there might have also been fruitloops for kids who ate all their noodles!).
We were all really tired but decided that we needed to get out of the hotel and decided to head out to go out and explore Little India.
We had a good wander around, but given it was only a little after 8am there was not much open yet. We still found lots of stores with brightly coloured watches, souvenirs and cheap everything. The curry smells from lots of eating places were making us hungry again and the kids loved the random art installation pieces and the bright coloured buildings and temples.
After a couple of hours it was starting to warm up quite a lot so we walked back to the hotel and went for a quick swim. We enjoyed the pool for a bit but we were all shattered from the long day of travel the previous day, so it was up to our room for a nap by 11am…. without any complaints from the kids.
Once we were all up for the afternoon we decided we were hungry and wanted to eat, so it was back to Little India. Astrid had been fascinated by the chapati place she had seen earlier (she’d enjoyed watching a man making chapati by the dozens) and we had intended to go back for lunch. Just as we were leaving the hotel it started to rain, but being mid-30s it wasn’t really an issue. About 5 minutes later it started getting quite heavy and we had to duck out of the rain into the crowded shops. Another few minutes and it was torrential. We gave up any hope of walking down to the chapati place which was still a block or two down the street as we were getting soaked. We had smelt something tasty half a block back and headed back there. It turned out to be a good choice, yummy paneer for me, pepper chicken for Anto, tandoori chicken for kids and butter naan.
It was the best butter naan ever! The kids got to watch the obliging stall owners making tandoori chicken and naans and got their own lesson on naan making, which was a huge it. They were even presented with their own naan that they’d watched being cooked. It was pouring for over an hour,and there was no way we could leave without getting soaked but kids were well entertained.
Just before 3pm, it finally cleared and we headed to nearest MRT and out to Marina Bay via a couple of MRT’s. By the time we emerged into Marina Bay Sands shopping centre it looked like the storm had well and truly passed and the sun was shining. We walked through the shopping centre and saw the totally over the top canal with canal boat rides which excited the kids no end. We told them to hang out til Venice to get their ride though, on a real canal!
Once we emerged from the cool of the shopping centre it was very hot and humid outside, but not raining! We had a fun walk through the gardens towards the domes. We had decided we definitely wanted to visit the domes this time as we didn’t 3 years ago due to the kids being very little and it being stinking hot! The domes aren’t cheap to visit but we figured it was worth doing at least once, so we lined up for our tickets.
It was off to the flower dome first, which claims to be ‘perpetual Spring’. It is the largest glass greenhouse in the world. The dome had a very impressive array of flowers, and was absolutely enormous. It was lovely looking at all the plants, that were grouped into regions of the world. The downside was that 70% of the plants stuff we grow in our garden at home, albeit on a much smaller scale. It was certainly lovely and cool to walk around and the gardens were well laid out with lots of interesting sculptures. The fig tree dragon was very impressive, there is also currently a cherry blossom display that was popular. The domes were very cool, almost too cool and we were wishing we had our jumpers!
Next went to the cloud dome which was amazing, and our favourite. There is a big central vertical garden with a huge waterfall that cascades down from the top of the dome. We walked around the bottom level and then went up in lift to ‘the lost world’ and around the boardwalks on the cloud walk. I wasn’t a fan of being able to see down through the grates we were walking on right up at the top of the dome. Soren was happy to jump and down on them 7 storeys high. The kids also enjoyed crystal mountain exhibit with stalagmites and stalagtites.
While we were in cloud dome the heavens had well and truly opened again and we weren’t rushing to go out of the dome since it was actually cold (unlike the outside!). It looked like it was clearing, so we sat outside the dome eating some snacks and watching the world go by while waiting for it to finish raining.
We had promised kids a play in the water park at the children’s garden but it stops running during thunderstorms so we headed down to the Satay by the Bay to check what was on offer for dinner. It was still early but the satay cooking was well under way ……
The rain had finally stopped so we decided to let the kids play in the water park in the Children’s Garden before going back for dinner and the light show. We had a pleasant walk back through the gardens towards the water park, there are plenty of sculptures and water areas millions of plants to look at.
Just as we walked back down to the water park we heard them say it was about to reopen after the rain delay so the kids opted to go in rather than check out the special dinosaur exhibit also in the Children’s Garden. Astrid had adored the water park 3 years earlier, but Soren was only 4 months old at the time, so was mostly laying on me feeding in the hot, and missed out on the fun!
It was approaching sunset and all the kids had just been let back into the park and it was crazy. Astrid and Soren did hundreds of laps of the water and were dancing and frolicking. As we needed to get dinner and get to the light show we had to limit them to half an hour and there was a bit of a tantrum from Astrid about leaving despite lots of warnings but eventually recovered with the promise of satay.
All the activities in the Children’s Garden are free, so if you have kids it’s worth checking out. There are plenty of areas other than the water play, but several were closed while we were there, due to the thundertorm. Astrid had a ball there last visit though!
We had less than an hour to the supertree grove light show by the time we got back to Satay by the Bay and it was now packed with people. The kids decided to share a satay platter of chicken, mutton and prawns with Anto and I got an onion dosa, followed by my tradition Singapore fave of carrot cake (which has zero carrot or cake in it). Anto finally got his anniversary jug of beer, and I wasn’t sure how he thought we was going to walk after that! The satay stalls were was going off with the amount of people lined up, so it took ages to cook our satay, and we were looking like not getting to see the light show.
The kids devoured the prawns and chicken, but Soren thought there weren’t enough prawns! The kids also helped me eat my onion dosa and carrot cake….
We did get to watch sun set while eating and we saw the supertrees light up from a distance but we didn’tmake it to the show as dinner took a little long (lucky it was yummy!). Instead we decided to walk along the bay and try and catch the main laser show but only managed to see a few of the buildings light up as we walked along.
The kids were really tired (it was now after 8pm again) and there was a night running race on and earth hour activities so there were people everywhere, the Supertrees looked lovely all lit up, we’d previously only seen them during the day.
We made it back to Marina Bay sands and had an emergency toilet stop for Astrid that took awhile since the shopping centre was packed at 8:30pm on a Saturday night. The joys of small children! We eventually got back to the MRT and the 25 minute trip back to the hotel was painless. Public transport is generally very efficient in Singapore.
On the way back to the hotel we couldn’t figure out why it was so dark on the street and the hotel was hard to find (we’d been walking around the area after 9pm the previous night) and when we got into hotel realised it was earth hour and they had deliberately turned off lights, I think Anto and I needed more sleep! We’d been swearing under our breath about the poor street lighting!
After a huge day we eventually got the exhausted kids to bed after 9.30pm and were crossing our fingers that we all beat jet lag and slept in the next day!
Statistics for Saturday 25 March 2017 in Singapore – the temperature range was 26 to 32 degrees celsius with humidity at 100%. We ended up walking 13.75km total in the day!
Up next, our final day exploring Singapore and our journey to Helsinki, Finland!