MYSIN Trip 3 - Singapore - 1

August is a good month to travel through South Asia. It is the in-between month. The South-West monsoon aka the Summer monsoon is at an end and the North East monsoon is yet to start. The in-between months are not hot and not wet as well. The weather is humid to rainy at times and if you can understand the vagaries of weather during this time, it is much more pleasanter to travel around.

Throughout our trip, we carried one umbrella. Though the monsoon was at an end, it still can bring surprise thunderstorms and rains at will. The umbrella (one for four of us) is just to make sure that the kids are not caught in the rain and depending on the strength of the rain fall, all of get to play a bit in it as well.

The forecast for Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore for all the days we traveled predicted rains in the evenings. Though we didn't see any in Kuala Lumpur, we did experience mild-strong rainfall in Penang and Singapore, in the nights and sometimes, drizzled in the mornings. We managed to get wet in couple of occasions as well.

So it was that while walking back to hotel after having dinner in Penang, the rain started. It was not heavy or even a thunderstorm. It was just a slow and silent fall of rain drops which makes you want to get wet. The sea deck in the lobby of the hotel was washed in the rain and was looking beautiful.

The next morning, when we boarded our plane in Penang for Singapore, I have caught a terrible cold. While I was happy that the kids managed to stay out of it, cold and the travel caused some terrible aches in the head. I was almost sure, the only thing I will manage to do that day would be to sleep.

Days 4-5

When we landed in Changi for the next leg of the trip, I was running a slight fever with cold. The only thing I wanted to do was to check-in and sleep.

After suffering through the hands of the taxi drivers of Penang, it was something of a surprise to see a metered taxi in Changi. All the taxi drivers we've got in Singapore (with the exception of one) exemplified what is good about this country. Talking to the drivers help in understanding what is going on, where to go and what to do easily.

As planned, after checking in and a quick lunch, I slept for an hour. Though not fully recovered, decided to do the MRT hops to get to the night safari.

Of all the places we went around in Singapore, the one place that disappointed everyone was the night safari. Not that it was bad, its just that the crowd that day, the wait for the trams, the fight with the queue-jumping idiots and the persistent sneezing and cold made me want to go to the hotel and sleep.
And above all, the endless procession of deers, peccary, buffaloes in the exhibit made me think of the Vandalur with a fondness I've never felt before. Except for the uniqueness of going around in the night, there is nothing worthwhile here. The 'creatures of the night' show was good but that is just trained animals running through the hoop. Overall, when we reached the room by midnight, I took in the tablets, the cough syrup etc and slept like a stone.

Next day I was feeling better and started for the S.E.A aquarium. I purchased all the tickets online beforehand to avoid standing in lines and felt that it was a good decision. We could focus on getting in and out of the attractions without waiting for the ticket queues. After a short hop in the MRT to Harbourfront, we decided to skip the mono rail and take the boardwalk.
Ibn-Battuta and Zheng He
The aquarium is probably worth spending your entire day on and we did spend about 4 hours. The exhibits are educative, the awesomeness it inspires in the kids is a sight to be seen and watching schools of fish swimming around brings a zen-like peace to the mind which is hard to get out of. There is a lot of history exhibits on the silk route and the trade through Singapore. A must-see place if there is one.

After a late lunch, we started for the Gardens by the bay. If there is something that can sustain the zen-like peach brought on by the fishes, it is the gardens. We didn't get into the paid areas, but walked around the excellent gardens in the other areas.
Mushroom Garden
 The super tree grove was the best (though it is only an exhibit of Ferns and the trees there are not actually trees!). I did manage to lose the wife and the son here, before long finding them again. The gardens become lovely when the lights come on and it was difficult to walk out.
Walked to the Singapore Flyer through the Helix bridge and the Singapore Flyer experience was only average. Probably because we were exhausted to see the sights and used the 20-minute ride as relaxing time.
View from the Flyer
After a quick dinner in the road side stalls of the Kitchener road, hit the bed by midnight.

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