Monthly Archives: December 2014

Singapore: the Beauty of Gardens by the Bay at Night

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The moment I saw Gardens by the Bay’s impressive structure and colorful lights while onboard the Singapore Flyer, I knew I just had to see it up close.

Gardens by the Bay is a 101-hectare park that brings to life Singapore’s desire of creating a City in a Garden.  It is adjacent to the Marina Reservoir and consists of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden.

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Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes
These sculptural and planted islands show the aquatic life of fish and plants and their ecosystem’s fragility.

I thought they named it as such because of the dragonfly sculptures, but I overheard someone say that in the morning, dragonflies can actually be seen here.

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Gardens by the Bay’s website shared that the 440-meter boardwalk along the Dragonfly Lake is one of their many secret gems and a fantastic photographic shot, which I found to be true.

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Planet
This is what its signage says: Beautifully balanced on a languid arm of a sleeping boy child, this seven ton, 383 cm by 353 cm by 926 cm bronze cast sculpture floats like a heavenly body above a verdant earth and explored nature under human influence and the dual meanings of human life, between spiritual and physical, surface and depth, cerebral and sexual.

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Isn’t it amazing to see this “float” especially after knowing that it weighs seven tons?

Trivia: British sculpture Marc Quinn created this masterpiece in a depiction of his infant son, Lucas.

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Supertree Grove
Now these were what made me decide to see Gardens by the Bay.  I’ve seen them in magazines and on the web and thought they looked so beautiful, especially at night because of their colorful lights thus, I opted to visit at night time.  

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Supertree Grove are uniquely designed vertical gardens of 25 to 50-meer trees with large canopies that provide shade in the day and come alive with an amazing display of light and sound at night.

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Supertrees are made of four parts: reinforcement concrete core, trunk, planting panels of the living skin, and canopy.  I was amazed to find out that 62,900 plants comprising more than 200 species and varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers are planted on these trees.  Wow.

They looked so beautiful, almost otherworldly.

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And they change colors too.

Their website shared that there’s a Garden Rhapsody Show here, which features 48 independent audio speakers to simulate ‘live’ musicians performing at various spots, but in my almost 2 hours here, I did not hear anything.

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OCBC Skyway
This offers a spectacular  view of the skyline 22 meters above the ground.  While Supertree Grove does not charge entrance fees, I had to pay S$5 to get here.

Here’s a photo of my view of the supertrees and the gardens below from the OCBC Skyway.

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While I find the entire experience exhilarating, I don’t recommend this to people who are afraid of heights because the 128-meter long aerial walkway has narrow parts and it wobbles!

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During my visit, we actually got stuck because someone got so scared to continue and opted out.  The walkway is one-way so we had to wait for her to retrace her steps to the entrance.  So if you have any of the conditions on their Safety and Health Advisory below, do yourself a favor and skip climbing up here.

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And just to be on the safe side, when here, do follow their list of don’ts e.g. no running or jumping (someone actually run, much to our annoyance).

From the top, I was afforded a panoramic view of the Gardens against the Marina Bay skyline.

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Here’s a zoomed-in shot, just to emphasize the Singapore Flyer.

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As I walked along, I was also given a good view of the iconic Marina Bay Sands.

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I even got lucky to see it emit lights that changed colors.

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The OCBC Skyway also gave me this view of more buildings that make up Singapore’s cityscape.

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Aside from what  covered here, Gardens by the Bay also has other attractions like Children’s Garden, Flower Dome, Heritage Gardens, Sun Pavilion, and World of Plants.  I was not able to check them out since most of these were close when I left the OCBC Skyway at past 10 PM.

If you ever find yourself in Singapore, do visit Gardens by the Bay.  I loved it here so much that I made a promise to myself to re-visit this when I’m back in Singapore.  I’ll be doing it at daytime though, just to see the difference.

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For more information about Gardens by the Bay, visit their official website.

Singapore: Singapore Flyer

my view of Singapore's cityscape while onboard the Flyer

my view of Singapore’s cityscape while onboard The Flyer

Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest giant observation wheel outside the United State that affords one a view of Marina Bay’s skyline and even a glimpse of neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia.  I was not able to try this out in 2007 so on my second visit to Singapore, I made it a point to check this out.  I was so sure about including this in my itinerary that a week before my trip, I booked my ticket online, which saved me the hassle of queuing for tickets.

Getting Here
During my visit, because it was the Grand Prix and many roads were closed, I had trouble finding my way to The Flyer.  Thankfully, I made it just in time for late afternoon as all along, it was my intention to experience this ride at dusk and sunset.

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For directions in getting here, click HERE.

Journey of Dreams
Before reaching the flight deck, we passed by this multimedia showcase that details the history of The Flyer as well as some trivia about it.

At The Prelude, we were welcomed by their mascot, Captain Flyer in a backroom setting of revolving 3D rotating gear mechanisms.

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Dreamscape provides a concaved panoramic screen displaying a myriad of images projected onto geometric cut-outs that transform into psychedelic patterns that revolve and rotate, forming a sequence of circular shapes that depict the circular nature of this giant observation wheel.

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The Discovery was all about how the flyer was put together.  The main feature here is a 1.5 meter in diameter time machine that one can turn to see a stream of images that tell Singapore Flyer’s pre and post-construction stories.

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There were also some trivia about The Flyer e.g. that the only animals who had been onboard here are dogs and orangutans and that its spindle weighs 180 tonnes, which is equivalent to about 40 elephants in weight.

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Fragment of Dreams invites viewers to explore the country’s culture and architecture.  One can interact with this display by shining a torch onto a portrait of old Singapore.

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Dream Journal is a peephole to the nation’s history and heritage that shares to viewers the dreams and aspirations of Singaporeans that have come true in Dream Reflections, thus The Flyer’s tagline, A Moving Experience at Every Turn.

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Lastly, there’s the Reservoir of Dreams, which is a summation of the experience that was just seen and discovered as captured through 3 objects:

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Oneiroi’s Orb – a tactile display using a myriad of circular artifacts from the past and present to depict the Flyer’s Spherical shape.

The Planet – the first inflated PufferSphere using internal projection in Asia.

The Numeric – presents the facts and figures and the physics and physique of Singapore Flyer.

After all these multimedia showcase, we were directed to the Flight Lounge where we waited for our turn to ride The Singapore Flyer.

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There’s Captain Flyer again (lower left photo) waiting to take us into “a moving experience at every turn.”

Here’s a collage of my first glimpse of our air-conditioned capsule and of the flyer up close and my initial views of the city’s cityscape.

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I got really excited when I saw the skyline change colors because it made a more visually arresting backdrop.

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Singapore has a beautiful skyline so I had fun snapping photos here and there, and because The Flyer’s observation decks are not stationary, I got to see its cityscape at different vantage points.

Here’s a view of its bay,

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And its buildings, roads, and overpass.

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And here’s a collage my views of its bay and its cityscape.

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Aside from the interesting cityscape, The Flyer was just as interesting to look at because it would change colors from white to blue to green.

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By the way, The Flyer has a total of 28 capsules and each one is air-conditioned and can accommodate 28 passengers.

As the night wore on, I watched in awe as the colorful skyline darkened and the building’s lights made the night sky even more beautiful to look at.

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I find it frustrating though, to take really good shots of the beautiful scenery before me as there were reflections from our capsule.

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Here’s a decent one, which still have reflections, but not as pronounced as in the other photos that I chose not to upload.

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Lastly, here’s a collage of more photos of Singapore Flyer taken when we alighted from our capsule and just before I left the building.

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If you find yourself in Singapore, do take the time to experience The Singapore Flyer.  In my travels, I always make it a point to visit a destination’s viewdeck and I find Singapore Flyer to be my best viewdeck yet because as said earlier, it’s not stationary so I got to to see the whole cityscape at different vantage points.

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Singapore Flyer is located in 30 Raffles Avenue, Singapore.  It is open daily from 8:30 AM to 10:30 PM.  For more information, visit their official website.

Singapore: Sentosa

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Sentosa is Singapore’s most popular island resort whose attractions include a man-made beach, golf courses, and of course, Universal Studios Singapore.  I had been here once, but unfortunately had to go back since all my photos from my 2007 trip went down the drain when my first laptop bugged down.

Getting Here

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I took the MRT in getting here and alighted at the HarbourFront Station.  From there, I transferred to Sentosa Express, which is located at the 3rd level of VivoCity.  Click HERE for the complete guide on getting to and around Sentosa.

My first stop was at the beachfront where these signs amused me.

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Lining the beachfront are some restaurants and because my tummy was already grumbling, decided to take brunch.

Brunch at Coastes
I found this restaurant inviting because of its laid-back ambience and proximity to the beach.

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I ordered French Toast ($14) and ever the dessert person, added Banofee Tart ($8) to my meal.

While waiting for my food, I took in the view of the beach and found this bird hopping from one table to another while looking for food.

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I couldn’t be sure, but this may be a blackbird.

Service was a little slow and from my beachfront seat, had to go the counter/cashier to follow up on my order.  When my food finally arrived, I happily dug in.  Though described in their menu as French bread coated in egg, served with crispy bacon, maple syrup and sunny side up egg, the bacon wasn’t as crispy as I would have liked and the egg was too well-done it tasted rubbery.

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Banofee Tart had a thumbs-up and a chef’s toque signs on the menu, but I found it disappointing despite its being highly recommended.  The crust/pastry tasted plain and the chocolate was too dark for my taste and too compact.  Their description was also misleading.  It says, “Caramelized banana and toffee served in sweet pastry,” but the bananas were not caramelized but fresh.

Good thing there was the view to compensate for my disappointing food.

Siloso Beach
This lies on the west portion of Sentosa and is known for its iconic Siloso signage as seen on the first photo of this post.

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It is a venue for beach volleyball and other outdoor activities like skim boarding, mountain biking, and canoeing.

Honestly, I found the beach too man-made, though it’s now bigger compared to what I saw in 2007.

Merlion Statue

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This is a replica of Singapore’s Merlion.  The lion depicts the folklore of Prince Sang Nila Utama’s rediscovery of lion (singa) and city (pura) while the fish tail symbolizes the ancient fishing village of Temasek, meaning sea in Javanese.

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At 37 meters, the Merlion in Sentosa is bigger than the one found in Merlion Park.

There’s a stretch of colorful stretch of fountains when I climbed up the Merlion and walked along the Merlion Walk.

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Images of Singapore

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This features Singapore’s history as told in multimedia displays, multi-screen theater presentations and life-sized tableaus.  As I was pressed for time, I did not get to linger here.

Sentosa Nature Discovery
This features interactive exhibits.  I did not see this in 2007 so I got curious but what I found here was something that will appeal to children, not adults like me.

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Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom

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I love butterflies and because I have fond memories of my previous visit here, I decided to come back.  There were more butterflies now than before.

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It’s difficult to photograph most of them though, since they kept on fluttering their wings.

These blue and green butterflies were the most active and elusive.  At the slightest movement, they would fly away thus the blurry shots of their wings.

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I don’t know what this is called, but it seemed the butterflies especially these orange and black species were especially attracted to it.

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On this particular visit, one memorable experience for me was of holding this butterfly.

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Compared to other species who would take flight at the slightest movement, this one settled on my fingers for quite sometime.

Aside from butterflies, there were birds too.

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I was actually wondering why there was a toucan and a hornbill in the Butterfly and Insect Kingdom.  Perhaps it was to further entertain their visitors since they even had this macaw that could perform tricks.

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This blue bird fascinated me so much so I kept on following it.  As I write this post, I googled Blue Bird with Crown and identified this as a Victoria Crowned Pigeon.

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Some birds were perched high on tree branches so I just contented myself with taking zoomed-in shots of them.

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There was an Indian Star Tortoise too and an Iguana.  Some would even pet the iguana and have their pictures taken while they did so.
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To get to the exit, I had to pass by their creepy crawlies section.  I don’t remember these many live creepy crawlies from my past visit so these must be new additions.

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Scorpions, tarantulas, stick insects… there were many of them.

My most interesting find here is the Flower Mantis because it looked so dainty.

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Aside from live insects and whatnot, there were framed insects and butterflies too.

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After I exited the Butterfly and Insect Kingdom, I chanced on this beautiful peacock.  I once saw a peacock in Palawan, but it was caged, so it was nice to see this beautiful creature freely roaming Sentosa.

PhotoGrid_1416918693520Too bad it did not spread its fan despite the prodding of its eager audience.

I wanted to explore more and even ride the Tiger Sky to get a panoramic view of Sentosa, but it was closed because it rained.  Sigh.

Here are some random photos taken at Sentosa.

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As it was already 5 PM and I had to meet a friend and 7 PM, I had to leave Sentosa.  By this time, it was raining so hard.  Here’s a photo of my view when I rode the cable car back to Vivo City.

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I’ll end this post with photos of interesting flora that I found in Sentosa.

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I did my best to google their names but can only identify the palm tree with red fruits (center upper photo) and the Bengal Trumpet (lower right photo).

Lastly, here is my favorite photo from this set.

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My apologies, since I could not identify either the butterfly or the plant that it’s in.

PS:  There are more attractions to explore in Sentosa than what I covered on this blog.  Since this was my second visit, I chose only those that I liked to re-visit.  That and the fact that it rained, which kept me from discovering more of the place.  Also, I specifically skipped some attractions and even Universal Studios since when I went to the US, I already visited the Universal Studios in Los Angeles.