Night Safari

On Tuesday night we headed over to the “Night Safari”, which is part of the Singapore Mandai Zoo complex. It’s specifically set up only as a night zoo and opens at 6:30pm

There is a normal zoo next door, so in theory you could do the zoo in the morning and night zoo in the evening. The setup is excellent, I would recommend getting there before 7, then head straight for the show and register for that (it starts at 7:30pm). Once the show is over most people head for the tram, but don’t do that, it’s a long queue.

Instead, after the show head for the cafe and have some dinner. The food is next level. I was expecting basic “event / attraction” style quality but the food was excellent. I had an Indian chicken tikka curry.

Once you have had dinner, take the tram around the park, then do some of the walks. It’s still quite humid but at least at night it’s a little cooler.

Some of the food on offer
Didn’t expect this quality of food in the Zoo

The worst part of the experience is getting there. It’s to the north (closer to Malaysia), whereas most people will be staying closer to the city. There is public transport but it involves a train and a bus. It would be much better if there was an MTR station there. It will take over an hour each way from downtown

I’m not really a fan of any trip that involves a bus, so we just took a taxi, direct, took 45 minutes and cost about $50. Return was a little cheaper and quicker.

No petting this kitty

The displays are excellent and the animals were very active. If you are in Singapore and have a spare evening this is really worth doing. One of the best Zoo experiences I’ve had.

Goon Bag Coffee

Breakfast is something I’ve struggled with here in Singapore, early breakfast just really isn’t a thing. Sure there are a few places that do a proper breakfast, but they are not everywhere. You have to hunt them down. There is a particular lack of them around Marina Bay Sands (about my only gripe with the area). Of course decent breakfast can be had directly in the hotel for a price.

A quick search found this place called “ToastBox” which is part of some chain store and in the “Shoppes” mall. The food was decidedly average with very little choice. I had a ham and cheese toasted sandwich, which back home would have been sent straight back, cheese wasn’t melted and toast was cold. I tried a Pandan cake which was ok. The coffee was traditional Singaporean Kopi (filter/drip coffee with sweetened condensed milk).

Most interesting thing is you can get the coffee served in what looks like a goon bag

Donkey Coffee Haji Lane

We spent a while looking around the Kampong Glam area, which incidentally is a bit more glamours than the little India area we did the day before. This is more as I imagined it would be, not with Bollywood dancers of course but lots more colour and shops selling more than basic wares and vegetables. Haji lane is probably the most interesting street, I found a place called “Donkey Coffee”, much better than most of the coffee I’ve been having here. Served in very interesting and colourful cups.

Tanjong Beach Club and Cable car

After checking out the gardens, we had a booking down at the Tanjong beach club for the afternoon. The way this place works is they have a pool, a bar, a restaurant and some daybeds, tables and cabanas. You can have the space for free for a few hours as long as you spend a minimum of $100 ($200 on weekends). Being Singapore, you will hit that with a couple of drinks easily.

Pool at the club

We were lucky our seating was mostly in the shade as at midday the sun was punishing. Not all the cabanas had shade that was working. Go later in the afternoon or evening to avoid the sun.

Interesting place, looking out over Singapore straight you can see all the ships queued into the port. It’s a bit like visiting a beach club at Kurnell. We spent most of the time in the pool. I had expected the club to have showers but unfortunately only had change rooms. Towels could be hired for $8 for the day.

The simplest way to the club would have been a taxi, but we decided to take the cable car across to Sentosa. To do that we took a cab up to mount Faber, got the cable car and then once across got a cab to the club. Cable car isn’t exactly cheap, $35 for a ticket but you can use it all day. Great views, it’s worth doing at least once.

On the cable car to Sentosa

I think the best part of the club was the Pina Colada in a frozen pineapple. My theory is you are not on a beach holiday until someone hands you a drink in a pineapple.

Holiday goal achieved

Gardens by the Bay

Earlier this week and also today we visited the Gardens by the Bay. It’s a massive botanical complex that has a number of different free walks or paid displays, most of them require a seperate ticket. Strolling through the gardens is free, but you will have to pay to :-

Ride on the shuttle

Walk on the skyway between the giant steel trees (OCBC Skyway)

Go up inside one of the steel trees to the observation deck (super tree observatory)

Visit the flower dome

Visit the cloud forest.

Sometimes you can get combined tickets or do them individually. When we visited on the first day the cloud forest was closed for maintenance which is why we came twice. We will likely visit a third time just to see the garden lit up at night. Both times when we came there were not a lot of people, but it can get crowded and when that happens you will only have a few minutes on the OCBC skyway.

Walking along the skyway

The shuttle will take you around the park, in a hop on hoo off style, and three dollars will buy you one round trip. We did the OCBC skyway, then the Sky-tree lookout then the Flower dome.

The Sky-tree gives a better vantage view than the skyway, although you will have to navigate around dozens of people trying to get that Instagram perfect shot. The top of the Sky-tree has a small cafe selling coffee and cold drinks. Nothing spectacular but ok. It seems a little hidden but the lift only takes you to the second floor, to get to the roof is one more small flight of steps. Do this, the view is worth it as you can get pics without any obstructions.

View from the Skydome

I loved the flower gardens, it’s split into different zones from different geographic areas of the world. Both the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest are air conditioned which is a welcome respite from Singapores humidity. I specifically loved the Dahlia display in the flower dome since I’ve been growing some at home.

Inside The Flowerdome
Just a few of the thousands of flowers

Today we did the Cloud Forest which has a spectacular indoor waterfall and towering tropical style cloud garden. Every hour the mist spray comes on creating this amazing indoor cloud / mist everywhere. Whilst we were here there was an Avatar movie tie in with all these fake plants and animals about. Personally I thought it was a distraction and the garden would be better off without it.

View from the top of the Cloud Garden
View from ground level

Overall the gardens are excellent. Don’t miss them if you come to Singapore