Day 10. Singapore’s cultural enclaves and a visit to Supertree Grove

After a good night’s sleep, we were interested to find out what breakfast would be like.  Although the Orchard Grand Court is a serviced apartment, it also offers guests the option of an inclusive breakfast in its Crystal Cafe.  Unlike the apartments which have a contemporary feel, the Crystal Cafe is a traditionally furnished restaurant with wood panelling with its own entrance just around the corner on Killiney Road.

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Breakfast in the hotel’s Crystal Cafe

Decorations still adorned the walls as a lasting reminder of the Chinese New Year celebrations some time ago.  A large buffet selection of hot and cold breakfast items was laid out in the centre of the restaurant and we feasted on fruit, yoghurt, steamed dumplings and chocolate croissants helping to set us up for a day of sightseeing.

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The Malay Heritage Centre, Kampong Glam

Leaving the hotel, we took a bus to the Arab district of the city making use of our Ez Link cards.  Do remember that if you are travelling on buses in Singapore it’s important to also tap out as you alight the bus as the fare is charged on distance travelled.

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The Sultan Mosque, Kampong Glam

During Singapore’s early history, under Sir Stamford Raffles orders, the colony was divided according to ethnic groups to include European, Chinese, Arab and Indian.  Our morning walk took us first to Kampong Glam, north of the Singapore River.  After leaving the bus we walked through the grounds of the Malay Heritage Centre which had yet to open for the day.

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The Sultan Mosque, Kampong Glam

From there we were able to get our first glimpse of the Sultan Mosque which is the major focal point of the district, standing majestically at the top of Bussorah Street.  This impressive building has pink coloured walls and large onion shaped golden domes.  Each dome is decorated with glass bottle ends which were donated by lower income Muslims during its construction.  The reason for this was to enable all Muslims, whatever their means, to be able to contribute to the mosque’s construction.  Morning prayers were in progress at the time of our visit so we didn’t have an opportunity to look inside and view its huge prayer hall.

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Bussorah Street, Kampong Glam

In recent years the district has been beautifully restored with many of its original colourful shophouses converted into cafes, art galleries and gift shops still retaining strong links with the Malay and Muslim community.

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Shophouses in Little India, Singapore

Our stroll continued along to Little India by which time we were feeling hot and thirsty so we popped into a small cafe for glasses of freshly blended watermelon juice.  Feeling refreshed, we set off again to explore its narrow streets with brightly painted shophouses.  Filling the air was the heady aroma of spices drifting from cafes, food shops and street vendors.

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Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Little India

Little India is home to both Hindu and Buddhist temples and we managed to seek out two of them.  Located on Serangoon Road is the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.  Easily recognisable from afar with its tall entrance tower, this temple is decorated with hundreds of small ornate sculptures of figures from Hindu culture and mythology.  The temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali and its architectural style is that of southern Indian Tamil temples.  A little further along the road stands the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple which is one of the oldest in Singapore, dating from 1855 and dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

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Market stalls selling fish at the Tekka Centre, Little India

We explored more of Little India’s bustling narrow streets and took a look inside the Tekka Centre which is Singapore’s largest indoor wet market selling a vast array of fresh produce.  Upon entering, the pungent smell of raw fish made me feel slightly nauseous but after moving away from the fresh fish counters I soon felt better and became used to the odour.

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Year of the Pig statue in Chinatown, Singapore

Leaving Little India we took the MRT from Jalan Besar over to Chinatown to complete our tour of the three cultural enclaves.  As we came out of the metro station it was impossible to miss a giant pink pig straddling the road junction celebrating the Year of the Pig.

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Chinatown entrance gates, Singapore

We began our tour of the area by strolling along Keong Saik Road with its quaint former shophouses now home to Chinese restaurants and gift shops.  We continued along to a covered street where dozens of stalls were trying to persuade the crowds to buy anything from electronic gadgets to football shirts.  Our legs were starting to feel a little tired again so it was a good excuse to pop into the Chinatown Point Mall for some ice creams and to consider what to do next.

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Chinatown, Singapore

Decisions made, we took the MRT along to Bayfront and strolled along the Marina Bay promenade, soaking up the views of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and lotus shaped ArtScience Museum.  The Marina Bay Sands Hotel is an iconic building with its triple towers linked at the top by a cantilevered sky park.  This 3 acre rooftop park features the world’s longest elevated swimming pool, gardens and even a jogging track.

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The Marina Bay Sands Hotel and lotus shaped ArtScience Museum, Singapore

The complex also includes a 300 store high-end shopping mall, known as the Shoppes of Marina Bay Sands where we found a canal running the entire length of the mall.  Its design is similar to that of The Venetian in Las Vegas but instead of gondolas, here one can take a ride in a sampan.

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The canal running through the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands Mall

The lotus inspired ArtScience museum is equally impressive and boasts a retractable roof. It is surrounded by a beautiful mirror pool filled with flowering water lilies. and lots of seating to relax and enjoy the views.

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Mirror pool with waterlilies surrounding the ArtScience Museum

Continuing our tour of the Bayfront area we crossed the Meadow Bridge which leads to the entrance of the Gardens by the Bay.  These national gardens are a showpiece of garden art as they present horticulture in a totally different way.  Admission to the gardens is free of charge but tickets need to be purchased to enter the flower dome and cloud forest conservatories.  Tickets are also required to access the 22 metre high OCBC Skyway which connects two of the towering Supertrees via a 128 metre long elevated walkway.

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Supertrees in the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

The gardens are divided into three distinct sections and as they are so large we decided to focus our attention on Bay South which is the largest of the three gardens.  Dominating this garden are 18 Supertrees, ranging in height from 25-50 metres. These stunning tree like structures are futuristic vertical gardens with their own eco-systems and are home to many plants including ferns, vines and orchids.

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The Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

We had envisaged the gardens to be crowded on a Sunday afternoon but being so large it didn’t feel busy at all.  After spending the afternoon wandering around the lakeside paths we made the decision to return later in the evening to watch the Garden Rhapsody music and light show.

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The Supertrees illuminated during the Garden Rhapsody music and light show

This free spectacle at the Supertree Grove takes place each evening at 7.45 and 8.45 p.m. and lasts 15 minutes.  We found a good vantage point a few minutes before the start sitting on some stone steps and were mesmerised as the gardens came to life with the synchronised light and music show.  The programme changes every few weeks and on the evening of our visit we were treated to ‘The Enchanted Wood’ performance.

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The Supertrees illuminated during the Garden Rhapsody music and light show

The show began by discovering the enchanted tree and then took visitors on an adventure filled with magical beings and mystical beasts with a soundtrack of choreographed music.  It was the perfect end to our first full day in Singapore and one we had enjoyed enormously.

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51 thoughts on “Day 10. Singapore’s cultural enclaves and a visit to Supertree Grove

  1. Silver

    What a wonderful sight. The Supertrees look wonderful. If only I could persuade Husband to visit…. He doesn’t like the heat. What was the temperature like when you visited?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your much appreciated thoughts Silver. The temperature wasn’t too bad, it was quite hot but fairly cloudy and didn’t feel too oppressive. The Supertrees are wonderful and I do so hope you can persuade your husband to visit as I’m certain you would both enjoy it so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lucindabrooks

    You certainly packed a lot into your time in Singapore. I am there fairly frequently – not so much as a tourist these days – and you have been to some places I haven’t. So I am marking them down for next time later this year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Lucinda for taking the time to comment, it’s much appreciated. I hope I have inspired you to visit some unfamiliar parts of Singapore later in the year. I hope to be returning again before too long, as an enjoy visiting Singapore so much.

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  3. What a marvellous city it is and it is constantly rebuilding and upgrading. I consider them far advanced in their attempts at climate management. The food is amazing and so culturally diverse. I know a small number of locals express disappointment with their government but all I can say is there is practically no crime, it is well organized and safe. So I can’t understand why the complaints when the rest of the world is a mess. Perhaps those who complain could venture out and travel to see what disorganized societies look like and they will then flee back to Singapore and be grateful for what they have. 🙂 I lived on Thomson Road and worked at Suntec City down Marina Bay side with the most fabulous view.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s just my second visit to Singapore but I love everything about it so much. Beautifully maintained gardens and roadsides, no litter, graffiti totally safe and polite, friendly people. I could return anytime Ian. Hope you have had a good weekend. Are you watching The Ashes?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Linh Pham

    I love how well written and in depth your blogs are. I’ve always wanted to visit Singapore, so it is awesome to get background information and the insights of these places.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love Singapore. It is one of my favourite cities in the world and I really want to go back. I spend 4 days there, but those were not enough. We just passed little India, but did not have enough time to really explore that area unfortunately. But it looks super interesting and great with the cafes etc. By the way I have nominated you for the Mystery Blogger Award as I really enjoy reading your posts. Always some great sights and tips to look out for for the next holiday 🙂 If you want to accept, here are the details: https://theworldofcruiseandtravel.wordpress.com/2019/07/31/mystery-blogger-award-my-first-ever-nomination/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words Anna and for the nomination. I’ll certainly take a look. Singapore is one of my favourite cities too and there are so many interesting things to see and do. It was my second visit and both times we stayed an entire week and could have stayed longer! I hope you manage yo get back there soon.

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  6. Hi there…What a fascinating place Singapore looks to be sure. So much that’s striking in design and the architecture looks amazing. So many contrasting vistas too. I recall seeing the roof-top swimming pool on TV. Hard to believe it covers 3 acres.Wow! Keep safe and keep moving those adventurous feet! Best wishes.Joy x

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Again, I have some political reservations about Singapore, but it does look fascinating! There are also Shoppes at the Venetian in Macau, and as they all seem to blur as to who owns them it’s probably not surprising. I like the idea of the swimming pool at the Marina Bay Sands, but I have a suspicion the owner is a firm fan of the current US President, so I’d not be spending any money there. Shame really… Doesn’t take anything away from enjoying your posts, but it does mean I’ll just have to enjoy the place vicariously!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Supertree Grove is so unusual as plants and flowers grow on the artificial flowers creating a beautiful scene, especially at night. The canal through the shopping mall was nice too and beautifully clean Carly. Thank you for taking an interest in this post, it’s much appreciated. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

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