Falling in Love with Singapore, One Orchid at a Time
Singapore is centrally located in Southeast Asia, it serves as a major travel and business hub. City and the country in one, Singapore is very clean, safe, and efficient place to visit – which is evident in their transportation system. I would be amiss not to mention the multi-cultural aspect of Singapore, which shined through its amazing culinary culture from its hawker markets offering affordable ethnic cuisine to five-star seafood restaurants serving their famous chili crab. The Little India was amazing to shop and eat delectable Indian food.
The orchid is Singapore’s national flower. I love the delicate and elegant beauty of orchids. I was amazed at the abundance of the flower everywhere you looked: from the moment you land at the Singapore Changi airport, in parks, hotels and many public spaces. The most amazing display of orchids I ever saw was at the Gardens by the Bay – which quickly became my favorite place in Singapore.
Singapore is situated on a peninsula and surrounded by water. Rooftop bars have amazing views of the bay, especially from the Sky Park at the Marine Bay Sands – a unique local landmark, which towers over the city’s waterfront with its three towers topped with SkyPark.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a massive park with two conservatories called the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forrest, a grove of futuristic-looking Supertrees and plenty of green spaces. Both conservatories are a must to visit. I recommend allotting one whole day for visiting the gardens including a night music show in the Supertree Grove. Wear comfortable shoes and light clothes as the grounds are massive and it is hot and humid outside.
The world’s largest glass greenhouse, it lives up to the expectations. The most impressive thing about it is the variety of regional flora represented: the desert display of succulents, cool-dry Mediterranean, Australian bush, etc. The exhibits inside the dome are changed all the time. During my visit, the were installing Lunar New Year exhibit – the year of the Rooster.
Flower Dome Flower Dome Flower Dome
The Cloud Forest conservatory mimics tropical mountain region with many orchids and ferns.
The air is cool and moist thanks to the 35-meter man-made mountain with the world tallest indoor waterfall.
Stroll to the spectacular grove of man-made Supertrees. They serve as plant displays with large canopies that can provide share during the day. They range in height between 25 and 50 metres. In the evening, they come alive with an exhilarating light and sound show.
To get a view of the whole garden and Singapore skyline, purchase a ticket for OCBC Skyway. 22-meter high walkway atop of the Supertree Grove offers a Bird’s Eye view of the gardens and the bay.
Little India’s Tekka Center is a multi-story complex that has a wet market, many different shops and a food center. Located in the northern corner of Bukit Timah Road and Serangoon Road, in Little India, Singapore next to Little India MRT station.
The food center in Tekka serves predominantly Indian food. The center has a casual vibe, with locals and tourists sharing tables in front of many food stalls. It is hard to miss; the aroma of Indian curry surrounds the area, so follow your nose to find it. The Tekka center has numerous shops and stalls on the second floor and food and produce on the ground floor at he wet market. We browsed many Indian clothing stores and admired colorful traditional saris.
Tekka Center Wet Market, Singapore Tekka Center Wet Market, Singapore Dress Shop at Tekka Center Dress Shop at Tekka Center Colorful Trimmings
The neighborhood right around the Tekka center has a great vibe with its colorful buildings, local shops with fabrics, Indian groceries, jewlery, etc.
A fast food chain Kaffe & Toast serves traditional Singaporean breakfast dishes – kaya toast, noodles and of course coffee.
Kaffe & Toast Kape Toast and Mee Rebus
Singapore is famous for its Chilli Crab. There are many places that offer this dish, we asked around and the bartender recommended to go to No Signboard Seafood restaurant at the Marina Bay. The interesting thing is that the crab is actually not local – it is imported from Alaska, Scotland, etc. Make sure to order extra rolls to dip into chilli sauce – the best part of the dish. The food was good, but pricey, the view was fantastic.
Satay at a Hawker Center
Get a local data SIM card. We purchased one at the airport for only 18 SGD and the staff installed and activated the SIM for us. Having a local SIM card helped navigation around the city.
The public transportation system in Singapore is excellent. We used a combination of taxis and MRT to get around. The MRT was easy to navigate and served as a nice reprieve from the hot weather outside. The taxis are an alternative, especially when access to MRT is farther walking distance than one would like to endure in the heat. Every cab accepted credit cards, which made it convenient.
If you plan to use MRT a lot, purchasing a Singapore Tourist Pass is a great option. It is a special EZ-link card that allows unlimited rides on basic bus services, MRT and LRT trains for the duration that it is valid. Keep in mind it is not sold at every station – the list of locations can be found on their web site. Expect to pay 10 SGD refundable deposit. I turned our cards in at the airport – it was a bit of a hike to get to the train station from the terminal though – so allow yourself some extra time to do so.
Singapore did not disappoint and I will certainly have to go back so I can see the Botanical Gardens for another orchid fix.