Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 9 - last day.....

We couldn't get on the Cheng Ho Imperial Cruise until the afternoon but that would have been too late, so we went back to Chinatown for some last minute shopping after saying goodbye to the Dining Room staff.  They were always very helpful and friendly - we wanted to say thank you to them for looking after us so well.....

The taxi driver taking us to Changi Airport suggested that we take the Skytrain out to Terminal 3 - to have a look at the newest section of the Airport - very impressive.  Singapore exudes wealth wherever you go....

We loved Singapore but were happy to be returning home.  Our flight left at 7:55pm and arrived Brisbane 5:15am Tuesday 27th.  Not much sleep on the plane...but we did try.  We got through Customs very quickly after declaring some wooden items that we had, in fact it only took 5 minutes if that....we waited longer for out bags to come out to the Baggage Claim area.

We took a cab to Kerries' house at Ascot where we left the car, and got home just after 6:30am.  Had a cuppa, a shower and went to bed for a few hours setting the alarm for 10:30am.  I didn't want to sleep for too long because I wanted to sleep that night.

Back to reality now and having to cook our own meals!!  We had a great time, great experiences, great adventures and great moments!!! 

Day 8 - Changi War Museum, Chinatown and Dinner at Equinox (with an amazing view)

We took the train and bus out to Changi to have a look at the War Museum.  My goodness - you just have no idea what atrocities took place during the war years.  Everyone walked around the museum in absolute silence, reading about what happened to the POW's, the local Singaporeans and in the end the perpetrators.  War is just so senseless at times!!

How some of the POW's survived was unbelievable - their conditions were atrocious.  When the Japanese surrendered in 1945 and the POW's were released and made their way home, some of them didn't recover from their experience....some remained ill for many years (disentary) - you couldn't blame any of them for not forgiving the Japanese for what they did - we can only hope that lessons are learned from War.......

Unfortunately we couldn't take photos inside the museum, but if interested you can look at the website

On our way back, we stopped off at Little India for another look around and went to the Tekka Market area - we passed by this shop that had a couple of pigeon visitors....

Looking down at the fresh food market....I have no idea how they keep fish, chicken and meat's a bit scary....these areas were quite smelly....I don't think disinfectant is something that they use to clean these places....

The top level of the Tekka Market Centre is the clothing and shoe section - there were some beautiful dresses there.....basically the whole floor was dedicated to this type of clothing....

We wanted to go our dinner while in Singapore and looked at doing a Cruise Dinner on the Cheng Ho Imperial Cruise boat, but unfortunately they were booked out to a private function,so we decided to go to the Equinox Restaurant on the 70th floor of the Swissotel - The Stamford Hotel.

This is the view at night....

Entree was $30 for scallops - well actually it was ONE scallop only.  It was presented beautifully in a scallop shell and when opened single scallop!!  Yepah!!
We ordered a Seafood Platter for 2 - guess how much???   Go on try.....  S$185.00!!!
All up our bill came to S$432 - I know....very extravagant....but what the heck.....

We left the restaurant and went across the road to Raffles to go to the Long Bar and have their famous Singapore Sling - had to do that while we were there....

A short taxi ride back to the hotel and we chatted about taking the Cheng Ho Cruise in the morning before making out way to the airport - looks like the planned sleep in isn't going to happen.  We asked for a later checkout than 12pm and the hotel gladly agreed to 2pm and told us that we could go to the 3rd floor after that time to the dining room and pool area and if necessary have a shower before we left....they were always very accommodating.

Day 7 - Sentosa Island

We decided to go to Sentosa Island today.  I must admit that I didn't expect it to be anything what is was - I thought it was just an island connected by a road to Singpore that had gardens and the Aquarium and Universal Studios on it.....BOY WAS I WRONG!!

I know I keep using the word AMAZING.....but Sentosa Island is another world - it is a city all on it's own!!  It has Theme Parks, Casino, Hotels, Resort Accommodation, Beaches, Restaurants, Shopping and so much more.

We went to Fort Silosa which is a restored artillery battery point.  Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia....


The word Siloso is derived from a Malayan word meaning rock ( Sanskrit root : Sila ). There was a huge rock at the mouth of Singapore's harbour which was very dangerous to shipping. With trade flourishing in Singapore due to the Suez Canal in 1869, it was necessary to protect Singapore's port. Based on the report by Major Edward Lake of the Madras Engineers, a fort was built at Blakang Mati (Sentosa) in 1874. As part of the fortification, Mount Siloso's top was blown off to flatten it for the installation of a gun platform. By the 1880s, gun batteries were located on Mount Siloso and Mount Serapong on Sentosa.


By the 1880s, Fort Siloso had 7-inch RML guns and two 64-pounders. In the 1890s, five 10-inch guns were installed. These guns were operated electrically from an underground power-house. In the 1930s, twin 6-pounder, quick-firing anti-torpedo boat guns; five searchlights; an Operational Tower; two machine-guns and two twin Lewis anti-aircraft machine guns were added due to reports of impending war. The Fort was manned by the British Royal Artillery and the Singapore Artillery Corps.

12 Pounder gun at Fort Siloso facing the oil refinery in Singapore harbour.

World War II

The forts were built to defend the land against sea invasion from the south. However, during World War II, the Fort's guns were turned 180 degrees inland to defend against land invasion by the Japanese Army in the west. The Fort's guns were fired at Japanese positions and troops who were advancing toward the city from Tengah Airfield.
British and local troops, were retreating from the overrun Pasir Laba Battery and heading back to British lines via the sea, when they were fired upon as they were mistaken for the enemy.

This building is now known as the Surrender Chambers and has a vivid portrayal of the scenes of British and Japanese surrender with actual footage of the war being played interactively. This is on the upper storey, the ground floor has been turned into a souvenir shop. During the Japanese Occupation, the Fort was used as a prisoner-of-war camp.

Post World War II

After the Japanese surrender, the Royal Navy occupied the Fort in 1946, its guns were manned by the 1st Malay Coast Battery and the Royal Artillery. Gurkha detachments took over manning the guns when the British gunners were withdrawn and the 1st Malay Coast Battery was disbanded. Fort Siloso was manned by the 10th Gurkha Rifles to prevent Indonesian saboteurs from landing on Sentosa and Keppel Harbour during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation between 1963 and 1965, when Singapore was part of Malaysia.
Fort Siloso became a Catholic Retreat for British forces until Sentosa was handed over to the Singapore Government with the British withdrawal in 1967. Fort Siloso then came under the command of the Singapore Armed Forces.
Fort Siloso was converted into a military museum in 1974, displaying its history and guns. Other coastal guns from different parts of Singapore were brought here for display. It had previously held the display of the British Surrender.

Getting around Sentosa.....there is a free bus that drives around Sentosa taking you to various stops around the island - that is how big it is.  I would hate to guess just how much money was spent to build this place.....apparently it has only been open for about a year....I just googled it -S$970million to build it in its current form and a S$10 billion masterplan for future construction is in the pipeline.  The photos here just don't do this place have to be here to really appreciate it....

Lunch we stopped at at Coca Restaurant - an Asian Food Restaurant and decided on the Steamboat lunch.  It consisted of a soup stock mix to which was added various meats, fish and veges, boiled up and then mixed with a spicy condiment - it was delicious and another new venture to say we have done. 

Off to the aquarium.  The S.E.A. Aquarium was really the only attraction we were interested in visiting on Sentosa and we are so glad that we did.  It is more than just a few fish swimming around - they have some fantastic displays showcasing fish of all species and colours - we saw crabs the size we have never seen before and the dolphin display was interesting - did you know that generally dolphins swim upside down???  They only swim the right side up when they come to the surface to get air.  I thought there may have been something wrong with the one that I first saw but I was soon told otherwise.  They didn't have any pink dolphins there.....that was another attraction but we enjoyed it all the same. 
The main tank was enormous and you just felt like you were in another world - they had calming music playing in the room which made you feel like you were just floating - it was very serene.

Here are a few pics of the Aquarium:-

Did you know that dolphins naturally swim upside down in the water?  they only turn up the other way when they come to the surface for air.

This tank is huge!! Even though there were a lot of people in this area, the feeling as you were walking around was very serene...

Never seen so many beautifully coloured fish
This crab was about 60cm-80cm wide

Some great displays of maritime history in the region.....

Other parts of Sentosa.... over S$970million was spent to develop this island.  S$140 was spent on the monorail; S$70 was spent on the Boardwalk.  Another S$10 billion is to be spent on further development - UNBELIEVABLE!!


These photos don't do Sentosa justice....

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 6 - Jurong Bird Park, Newtons Circus

Another train and bus ride to Jurong East to the Bird Park. They have  wonderful collection of birdlife there - however the enclosure were nothing like the Zoo.....we were expecting large aviaries with a variety of birds in them but they were put into individual aviaries according to the type of bird that they were which was good on one hand, but we felt quite sorry for the owls as they were in small dark rooms - probably a bit smaller than a double garage.

The shows were quite good and very interactive with the audience.


Birds of Prey Show
For dinner, we decided to go to Newton's Circus which we had heard so much about. OMG!!  Someone could have warned us about how much we were going to be approached by vendors trying to get us to buy their food!!  We had no longer taken one step into the Food Court and we were pounced on by a food vendor.  Newton's Circus is mainly a seafood hawker centre and due to pricing is VERY competitive.  The food is sold by the 100g and all of the vendors would weigh a crab or prawns for us and tell us the price.  The prawns were huge....we have never seen them so large!!  We tried to walk around the whole venue to see what was available....mostly the same at each stall but we were accosted by each vendor trying to tell us why their food and service was better than anyone elses.  It was quite frustrating to be honest and in the end we went to a vendor who had approached us previously who found a table for us and organised drinks.

We ended up paying S$68 for prawns, garlic & ginger crab, veges, and satay sticks.  Great value compared to home and we had certainly worked up an appetite walking around dealing with the vendors.  It was another great experience!!

On the down hill run with the holiday and heading out to Sentosa Island tomorrow.