Singapore 2011: Day 3 – Bukit Timah and Singapore Botanic Gardens

Date: 21st September, 2011

After a depressing yesterday, I got up knowing there was little I could do today. With my right hand slightly injured, enjoying the rides at Universal Studios Sentosa was ruled out. I couldn’t go to Marina Bay Sands either because I needed my 70-200mm lens, which I had to give for repair.

After freshening up, I sat at the dining table to have a cup of coffee. I picked up a newspaper and decided to actually read about what goes on in this tiny city state. I couldn’t help but notice the real estate property ads, not because of how good the properties looked, but mainly because just about every condominium advertised cost over a million dollars! And I thought to myself: “How on earth do the locals even afford to buy property here?”

Surely not everybody lives in the posh condos being advertised. That’s when I decided on what to do today – take the bus and see inner Singapore. Now, I didn’t know where exactly to go, but today I didn’t have anything else planned until I got the call from John 3:16 to come pick up my lens from their store.

I laid open my map of Singapore and just pointed to the centre of the island. My finger landed on some area called Bukit Timah. So Bukit Timah it was. Off to the nearest bus stop I went (the MRT doesn’t cover every nook and cranny of Singapore, thus the decision to ride the bus)

Singapore canal mrt train condo

I hopped on a bus at around 12:30pm after an early lunch

Singapore bus to Bukit Timah

Didn't seem like many were on their way to Buikt Timah

Singapore condominiums apartments

I know wages in Singapore are obviously higher than say, India, but the cost of living here is extremely high too. Extremely high is also how you can describe most residential buildings. They have to be, developmental land is scarce in Singapore.

Singapore apartments canal

I honestly had no clue if I was even on the right way or where to get down

Global Indian International school Singapore

Luxury condominiums Singapore

These all looked like privately built apartment buildings

Vista condominium construction Singapore

And they're building more

HDB building road Singapore

The Housing Development Board apartment buildings often look like that red and white building in the photo

Singapore greenery view from bus

That said, I did notice that there is still a lot of open land space still available. It's just that government ensures there's enough greenery in every district -- which is nice.

Inside sbs bus to Bukit Timah

Looked like we were on an expressway to Bukit Timah

I didn’t really know where to get down, so when I saw a sign pointing to Bukit Timah Shopping Center, I got down at the next stop.

Bukit Timah MRT station road Singapore

The area didn't look that exciting. To the left was the construction of a new MRT station.

Bukit Timah Plaza shops

I presumed malls in inner Singapore weren't going to be as flashy as the ones in the CBD, but this was Bukit Timah Plaza

Bukit Timah shopping centre Singapore

Went all the way up to the food court/open area where the hawkers were

Bukit Timah shopping centre maids

I don't quite remember if this section was another part of the Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, but every floor had nothing but maid service businesses -- most maids being from Indonesia and Philippines

Bukit Timah restaurants Singapore

I was honestly quite bored here

Yuk Tong Ave Bukit Timah Singapore

I just walked around the area to soak up what life in these parts must be like. Not quite the residential area I hoped I would see, but it was okay.

Bukit Timah temple road Singapore

Bukit Timah Chinese temple Singapore

Unlike the Geylang area, which has a sizable Malay population, I'm guessing inner Singapore has a lot more of citizens of Chinese descent

Just then my friend Aimee called, saying she might be coming to Orchard Road and that we could meet in the evening. But since I still had a few more hours to kill, I wondered how to spend it.

Inside SBS bus

I hopped on a bus going towards the Orchard Road side

Nanyang Girls High school Singapore

Nanyang Girls High school

Shelford road Singapore

Drove past what looked like a rather posh area. Very few people in Singapore live in villas.

Adam road Singapore Singapore water canal from busThe bus drove around and as it neared Orchard road, it passed by the Singapore Botanical Gardens. In a split second, I decided to get down at the very next bus stop.

Singapore Botanic Gardens entrance gates

Singapore's Botanic Gardens wasn't on my list-of-things-to-see actually... but I had to see something!

Singapore Botanic Gardens history

Singapore Botanic Gardens direction sign

There is no entrance fee, it's like a public park

Singapore Botanic Gardens restrictions no signs

It's a public park, but there are quite a few no-no's

Singapore Botanic Gardens leaf sun

I hadn't even shot enough photographs today, so I needed to justify carrying my camera around

Singapore Botanic Gardens walkwaySingapore Botanic Gardens trees Singapore Botanic Gardens stone tilesSingapore Botanic Gardens pond plantsSingapore Botanic Gardens pondSingapore Botanic Garden stone pathBanyan tree Singapore Botanic GardenLake Singapore Botanic garden

Swan lake no feeding Singapore botanic gardens

No feeding allowed

Swan lake Botanic Garden Singapore

This is called the Swan Lake

Swan lake statue island Singapore botanic garden

Shot on my Canon 450D

Singapore Botanical Garden swan lake historySwan lake statue Singapore Botanic Garden

Turtles swan lake Botanic Gardens Singapore

Turtles

Lake turtle Singapore botanic garden

Fish turtle lake Singapore Botanic GardenSwan lake pigeons Singapore Botanic Garden

Swan lake island Singapore botanic garden

Sadly, because my telephoto lens was undergoing repair, I couldn't zoom in much

Wild flower Singapore botanical gardenSingapore botanic garden visitorsWild flower Singapore botanic garden

Swan lake water leaf Singapore botanic gardens

Oh look Pacmen... :P

Swan Singapore botanic garden lake

Tembusu tree leaves Singapore Botanic garden

The Tembusu tree

Plants Singapore botanic gardenStone steps Singapore botanic gardenGinger garden Singapore Botanic GardenGinger garden waterfall Singapore botanic parkDragon lizard Singapore botanic garden

Ginger farm waterfall Singapore botanic gardens

I saw a way in

Inside waterfall cave Singapore Botanic gardenBehind the waterfall Singapore Botanic gardenSmall purple flower Singapore botanic garden

Restaurants Singapore Botanic garden

You have a few restaurants here

Entrance to National orchid garden Singapore

Went in here

National orchid garden ticket counter Singapore

There's a SG$5 (Rs.200/$3.8/€3) entry ticket

National orchid park Singapore botanic garden

Didn't really know what to expect as I know as much about flowers as I do about neurology

Orchid park fountain Singapore

National orchid garden inauguration plaque Singapore Yellow flowers Orchid park SingaporeGold orchid flower Singapore botanic parkPink orchid Singapore botanic parkYellow flowers plants path orchid park SingaporeCattelya hybrid plant orchid park Singapore

Singapore Orchid garden huge cage

Went inside this huge cage

Purple orchid Singapore botanic gardenWhite orchid flowers Singapore botanic gardenPink orchids Singapore botanic gardenPink orchid closeup macro shot Singapore botanic gardenViolet orchid closeup macro shot Singapore botanic gardenPink white orchid flower Singapore botanic parkBig pink orchid flower Singapore gardenWork in progess Singapore orchid parkPurple orchid park Singapore botanic gardenSingapore botanical gardens plants

Purple orchid stones Singapore botanic garden

Orchid flower Singapore botanic gardenWhite orchid flower Singapore botanic parkWild white orchid flower Singapore parkBee insect on flower Singapore botanic garden

Way to vip orchid Singapore botanical gardens panorama

Walked up towards that bungalow, named Burkill Hall

Arch door vip orchid house Singapore gardenVip orchid house interiors SingaporeVip orchids Singapore botanic gardens

Vip orchard garden information Singapore

Orchids here are in honour of special guests

Dendrobium Jean Chretien flower Singapore Botanical garden

This orchid was named in honour of Jean Chretien, former Prime Minister of Canada

Dendrobium concham Margaret Thatcher flower Singapore garden

Ghastly looking flower...

Margaret Thatcher orchid visit Singapore botanical garden

Oh that's why

Dendrobium orchid Princess Masako Japan Singapore garden

This one is honour of Princess Masako of Japan

Lime green orchid flower Singapore Botanic park

Qatar orchid Singapore Botanical gardens

This one is in honour of some royals from Qatar

India orchid Singapore botanical gardens

These flowers were in honour of former Indian president K.R. Narayanan's visit

Orchid flowers vip garden SingaporePink orchid Singapore botanical gardenWhite orchids Singapore botanic gardens

Weird looking orchid flower Singapore

The designs by Mother Nature I tell you

Orchid park Singapore botanic garden

Violet orchid Singapore botanic gardensMonument orchid gardens SingaporeLady statue orchid garden Singapore

Nelson Mandela plant vip orchid garden Singapore

The plant was named in honour of the great Nelson Mandela

Lao president orchid plant Singapore Yellow orchid Singapore botanical gardenRed flower plant Singapore orchid garden

Vip orchid house panorama

I left the VIP Orchid house

Botanical gardens tree panorama

Vandalized tree Singapore botanical gardens panorama

Sigh, even in Singapore there are idiots who do this

Singapore orchid garden protect environmentNational orchid garden path ways SingaporeWhite orchid flowers Singapore Cyathea Latebrosa Singapore orchid gardenBenches dustbin Singapore orchid gardenNational orchid garden Singapore panoramaNational orchid park Singapore panoramaSingapore botanic garden stepsOrchid plant white flower SingaporeNational orchid garden wheelchair path panorama

Tan Hoon mist house Singapore botanic garden

Went in here next

The Mist House Singapore botanic parkStatue misthouse Singapore botanic gardenNational orchid park mist house Singapore Purple orchid cultivar Singapore botanic gardenYellow orchid cultivars flower Singapore botanic parkOrchid flowers Singapore botanic gardensOrchid cultivars Singapore botanic gardenOrchid flowers Singapore botanic parkPink orchid flowers Singapore botanic gardenNational orchid plants park mist room panoramaNational orchid garden mist room panoramaPink purple Singapore botanic parkWild orchid flower pink Singapore botanic parkYellow orchid flower Singapore botanic parkWild orchid flower Singapore botanic parkRed orchid flower Singapore botanic gardenThorny plant Singapore orchid parkRare orchid flowers Singapore botanic parkOrchid park section panoramaOrchid park panoramaOrchid park plants section Singapore botanic gardenYuen Peng McNeice bromeliad collection Singapore botanic parkYuen peng McNeice bromeliad Singapore botanic parkLittle girl pond sculpture Singapore botanic gardenBromeliads information Singapore botanic parkYuen peng mcneice bromeliad section Singapore botanic park

Way to coolhouse Singapore botanic garden

Coolhouse? Sounds promising!

Bridge to coolhouse Singapore botanical gardenEntry to coolhouse Singapore botanic parkSingapore botanical garden coolhouse information

Coolhouse Singapore botanic gardens

Oh my god it was SO relaxing in here!

Coolhouse vents Singapore botanic garden

It was so cool in here... Singapore's humidity was killing me!

Coolhouse mist Singapore botanic garden

But just then I get an SMS from Aimee informing me she's on her way to Orchard Road. Damn, I had to leave this place.

Singapore botanic garden wooden shed

I quickened my pace

Mithun Divakaran Singapore botanic garden

But I just had to stop to take a snap of myself :)

Singapore botanic garden archYellow flower plants Singapore botanic gardenPalm trees Singapore botanic garden panoramaYellow flower arch Singapore botanic gardenStone cubes Singapore botanic parkFountain Singapore botanic park

Dog walking Singapore botanic park

This is a park for everybody

Picnic spot Singapore botanic park

There's even a huge picnic area

Students Singapore botanic parkJoggers Singapore botanic park

Cat Singapore botanic park

Dogs walk, humans jog... cats... sit and do nothing. Typical!

Palm valley lawns Singapore botanic park

Shaw foundation symphony stage lake Singapore botanic garden

They have concerts here every week

Singapore botanic garden echo lakeSingapore botanic garden couple

Photographers Singapore botanic garden

I wasn't the only photographer there

Singapore botanic park Symphony lakeWay to Symphony lake Singapore botanic garden

Walking path Singapore botanic park

I was trying to figure out how to get out of the park

Singapore botanical gardens officesSingapore national parks headquarters

Directions board Singapore botanic park

I was trying to get out as quickly as possible, Aimee had already reached Ion Orchard

Way out Singapore botanic garden

Singapore botanic garden Nassim gate

I was finally out!

But this exit didn’t have a bus stop anywhere nearby, so I hailed a taxi and made it to ION Orchard mall.

Aimee Marie checking her phone

Aimee, a reader turned dear friend, who was of great help to me in Philippines

Daiso Ion Orchard mall Singapore

Aimee introduced me to Daiso, and I quite liked the offerings. Picked up a mini-vaccum.

After checking out a few stores, we stepped out on to Orchard Road. I promised Aimee I would make her look good this time, as neither of us were happy with the photos I took of her in Manila.

Aimee Marie Orchard road Singapore

So here's Aimee at Orchard Road

Nike Singapore sign orchard road

Ticketcube booth Orchard Road Singapore

Went in here to collect my ticket for the Chemical Brothers show after the Sunday race

Mithun Divakaran Ticketcube Singapore

Aimee took this

Ngee Ann city shopping hall Singapore

Went to Ngee Ann City next

Ngee Ann shopping mall floors SingaporeNgee Ann city fountain Singapore

Aimee Marie lucky plaza Singapore

Here's Aimee at Lucky Plaza, where I went to exchange some currency

Orchard road underpass Singapore

Aimee Marie Singapore escalator

Here's Aimee going down an escalator

Suntec city towers at night Singapore

We walked to Suntec City towers where Aimee's fiance was waiting to meet us

Aimee Marie Suntec Singapore

Here's Aimee.. oh, the camera focused on the background. Oops.

Conrad hotel Singapore cbd at night

View from Suntec city building

The view from one of the floors at Suntec

Given how the day began, I quite liked how it eventually ended. I’m glad I visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens, it was actually quite nice! I hadn’t done much macro photography since my visit to the 2010 Lal Bagh Botanical Garden Flower Show and I liked how most of my photographs turned out today. It would have been nice if I had my 70-200mm lens but I wasn’t going to get it until tomorrow.

Prata beef curry Malay food Singapore

Once back in my area, I had dinner at the Malay Indian restaurant in my block. Had a few pratas and beef curry, cost SG$6.20 (Rs. 250/$4.7/€3.7)

I felt better knowing, despite my injury, I wasn’t going to leave Singapore without some great photos. I wasn’t going to give up. Tomorrow, I visit the Marina Bay Sands Casino – my first time gambling!

Next posts in this series:

Singapore 2011: Day 4 – Marina Bay Sands Casino and views from the SkyPark observation deck

Singapore 2011: Day 5 – Chinatown, F1 Friday (Charice, Seungri and GD&TOP concerts)

Singapore 2011: Day 6 – F1 Saturday (Rick Astley, Shakira and Shaggy concerts)

Singapore 2011: Day 7 – Little India, F1 Sunday race, Linkin Park concert and Avalon Club

Leaving Singapore, and discovering certain truths about this famous city state

Previous posts in this series:

Singapore 2011: Day 2 – Jurong Bird Park and… *ouch!*

Singapore 2011: Day 1 – Landing a second time; walking around CBD

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11 comments

  1. Flowers! When Alex and I went there, I only had my camera phone with me. :-(

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    It’s okay, we can go again… (whenever it is I may visit Singapore next)

    [Reply]

  2. Love your photography.

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thank you :)

    [Reply]

  3. Hi Mithun,

    You are not a good photographer but an excellent storyteller as well.
    I enjoy reading your travelogues.

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thank you.

    [Reply]

  4. ooow the last pic is what i yearn the most, PRATA!!!

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    I liked it too, but oily pratas and beef are not necessarily the healthiest of foods :)

    [Reply]

    dWi Reply:

    Agree with u, but once in a while no problem la hehe :P

    [Reply]

  5. You picture of a singapore orchard is amazing. Could I have your permission to use it this Sunday on our screen during our mother’s church service? We are giving a singapore orchard to each of the women of the church and I would use the image on the screen when I tell them about the gift. Let me know when you get the chance

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    If you would like to use the image you find on my website along with the credits intact, sure, go ahead and use it. I just can’t share the original image as I sell my images, so I’m protective about giving away my photos like that.

    [Reply]

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