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GD&Top Singapore F1 Friday concert

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

Date: September 23rd, 2011

Here we go, my F1 weekend begins! Oh wait… I had to shift hostels first.

I really enjoyed my stay at WoW hostel, and today I had second thoughts of checking out and moving to the other location I had chosen (to be much closer to the F1 circuit). But since it was too late to cancel the other reservation, I collected my deposit and they wished me well. I told them I would definitely stay at WoW Hostel again, if I were to return to Singapore. (I seriously would, I really liked the place!)

Pedestrian overbridge New Bridge road Singapore
I took the MRT and got off at Clarke Quay station, which is housed under Central Mall
New Bridge road Clarke Quay Singapore
New Bridge Road, Clarke Quay is walking distance from here
Central Mall Clarke Quay Singapore mobile photo
Crossed over to the other side
Central Shopping Mall office building Singapore panorama
Central Mall is pretty huge
Hong Kong street Singapore
The hostel I needed to get to was on this street
Hong Kong street hostels Singapore CBD
Quite a few other hostels in the area (The above were all taken on my phone)
Rucksack Inn River City hostel stairs building entrance
I arrived at the building which houses River City Inn… and I had been warned it’s a few flight of stairs up
Stairs to Rucksack Inn River City Inn Singapore
You pass another hostel – Rucksack Inn, which is very popular
Rucksack Inn hostel walls Singapore
Above Rucksack Inn, on the 4th floor, is where River City Inn is located

I was tired! The staff at River City Inn greeted me with a glass of water (I’m sure it’s a common gesture now, with each guest appearing tired upon first arrival). Footwear must be kept outside, which I did, and I then entered the hostel to check in. First impressions? Very nice! Looked new, clean and well maintained. I had reserved a single bed in the 24-bed mixed dorm room, which cost SG$32 (Rs. 1,261/$25/€19) a night.Yes, it cost way more than WoW Hostel, but you’re paying the location.

Other than that, the hostel looked nice and it was the usual facilities. Complimentary breakfast and wi-fi, two desktop machines in the ‘living room,’ a decent kitchen with all the requisite quick-meal facilities, a large screen TV, XBOX 360 — and pretty much all the furniture is IKEA! 🙂

I would have shown you photographs of the interiors but the staff told me they didn’t allow anyone to take photos of the hostel. Oh well.

River City Inn Rucksack hostel building Singapore
The yellow building on the right is where River City & Rucksack Inn are housed
City Backpackers hostel Clarke Quay Singapore
Bang opposite is another hostel — City Backpackers
City centre backpackers hostel Singapore
Another one
Central shopping mall Singapore
Given you have a large shopping mall and an MRT station a short walk away, the location isn’t bad at all
Gamehaven building Singapore
Went around the block
Rucksack Inn 2 Hongkong street Singapore
Rucksack Inn has another branch in another lane

Team Exotic street racing car Civic SingaporeRestaurants clubs Hong Kong street Singapore

Pavement South Bridge road Singapore
I was on my way to the Gate 4 entrance of the F1 circuit
Clarke Quay South Bridge road Singapore
Cross the road and you get to Boat Quay, in just 5 minutes from the hostel

South Bridge Singapore afternoon

Singapore river Clarke Quay afternoon
Down the river is Clarke Quay
Singapore river cruise boat afternoon
One of the River Cruise boats

Clarke Quay underpass Singapore

Singapore parliament road
Passed by the Singapore parliament

Singapore Rolls Royce Phantom black

Singapore school girls walking cbd
I walked towards the Gate 4 entrance, which was a right turn from up ahead
Queue Gate 4 Singapore GP Friday afternoon
It was only 2pm, and gates weren’t going to open until 3… so I sat and waited
Friday queue Singapore F1 gate 4 entrance
There was a reason why the queue was this long an hour before the gates opened
St. Andrews cathedral Singapore lawn
I patiently waited

At 3pm, the gates opened and people were slowly allowed in. First a security check. They saw my bag full of camera equipment and the staff asked me whether I was ‘Press’ — I said ‘no’. They still requested that I go up to the Press registration counter and sign a declaration saying I will not sell these photographs, to which I replied “sure”.

Once past the security check, I quickened my pace of walking. So did everybody else. Then as soon as I reached the Padang grounds, I ran — and so did the others!

Singapore F1 concert stage friday Padang grounds
You see, the reason why so many of us queued up so early is because they were handing out FanZone wristbands, so that we could get inside an enclosed section much closer to the main stage
Padang lawn Friday afternoon Singapore GP
Luckily I managed to get mine, and so did the others who queued early — most of whom were VIPs* (I’ll explain later, they’re not *really* important people)
Padang grounds Singapore gp Friday
Phew, well worth coming early for — but now I needed to grab something to eat
Singapore F1 Friday Padang tents
I tried looking for the ‘Press’ tent, but couldn’t find it. Honestly, I wasn’t even too bothered to look for it, I wasn’t going to sell these images. Heck, I’m writing about a September 2011 event in January 2012!
Padang stage Singapore F1 Swissotel Stamford tower
It was past 3pm and I hadn’t eaten yet
Singapore GP Padang grounds way out
I went in search of food
The Cenotaph war memorial Singapore
The Cenotaph War Memorial
Hawker food stalls Singapore F1 grounds
Ahhh, food!
Shawarma doner kebab Singapore F1 food stall
Ahhh, shawarma!

It’s expected food and beverages inside such events were going to be pricey but what to do, I was hungry. So I paid the SG$10 (Rs. 390/$7/€6) for the roll  — the most I ever paid for a shawarma in my life, ha ha! (I grew up in the Middle East, so I’m used to having paid only a tenth of that)

Official F1 merchandise stalls Singapore Grand Prix
Checked out the booths
Official merchandise Fanvision stall Singapore GP
Plenty of official merchandise on sale
Singtel booth Singapore GP
SingTel is the title sponsor of the Singapore F1, so they had a massive booth

Esplanade park way to Theatres by the bay Singapore

dbl 0 bar stall Singapore gp
Make-shift lounge bars

Singtel Singapore F1 Padang tree

Tan Kim Seng fountain Padang Singapore
Tan Kim Seng fountain

Esplanade Theatres by the Bay parkEsplanade park Singapore gpEsplanade drive theatres underpass bridge Singapore

Esplanade drive bridge Marina Bay Sands
You can walk under this bridge to get to the Theatres by the Bay
Esplanade Drive Singapore
Esplanade Drive is a part of the F1 track — and thus closed from public use for an entire week
Classic Alfa Romeo drivers parade cars Singapore F1
On display were the classic cars the Formula 1 race drivers were going to be driven around the circuit for the Drivers Parade before Sunday’s race
Classic Mercedes drivers parade cars display Singapore GP
Very classy line-up
Classic Triumph car display Singapore Grand Prix
They mention which car is assigned to which driver

F1 Drivers Parade classic cars display Singapore

Singapore gp zone 4 photographers platform F1 Friday
Ah, my people
Singapore GP BMW safety car F1 Friday
It was nearing 4:30pm, the Porsche Cup Asia practice session was about to start
Maybank UOB Capitaland hq buildings Singapore
I took out my 70-200mm zoom lens
BMW safety car start of Friday race Singapore F1
The safety cars were doing the rounds
Photographers F1 Friday zone 4 Singapore gp
The cameras were ready as the sound of the car engines grew louder
Porsche Carrera cup Asia practice session Friday Singapore
Here they come!

Singapore grand prix Porsche cup race fridayPorsche Carrera cup Asia practice Friday Singapore grand prix

Porsche Carrera cup Asia practice Friday Singapore F1
I decided to walk to another viewing point
Porsche Carrera Cup practice lap Fullerton Hotel Friday Singapore gp
Mind you, I was still behind barricades. You can’t simply walk closer to the circuit.

Porsche Carrera cup practice lap crew Friday Singapore gp

Singapore gp security briefing panorama
I had enough of cars zipping past, so I moved on

Singapore pillar Esplanade park

Asian civilizations museum gate 5 exit Singapore gp
I exited the circuit area
Walking out of F1 circuit Singapore
I was going to meet my friend Aimee now

Singapore river pedestrian bridgeStraits Publishing building SingaporeBoat Quay Friday afternoon SingaporeBoat Quay greenery singaporeBoat Quay bird statue sculpture SingaporeBoat Quay schoolgirl studying Singapore

Steps Uob building lobby Singapore
I waited for Aimee at the UOB building
Singapore blue sky cloud UOB building
Remarkably, I got sunshine today!

United Overseas Bank UOB building lobby Singapore

Aimee Marie cheek Singapore
After catching up with Aimee, a visit to the ATM
Society bar CBD Singapore
We set off on our walk
Great Eastern building Singapore
Great Eastern building
Walking to Chinatown Singapore
Aimee was going to take me to Chinatown

Towards Chinatown Singapore

Indian temple Pagoda street Chinatown Singapore
Even in Chinatown, there’s an Indian temple and a mosque

Blue building Chinatown SingaporeSmith St Chinatown food street Singapore

Chinatown food street Singapore
Chinatown food street
Chinatown classic architecture old buildings Singapore
Like Little India, and Kampong Glam, Chinatown has its share of retro architecture
Buddha Tooth Relic temple Singapore Chinatown
Aimee took me to this temple, the most famous in Chinatown it seems
Buddha tooth relic temple entrance Singapore
The name of this temple? Buddha Tooth Relic temple
Aimee Marie buddha tooth relic temple door Singapore
Seemed like a nice place to take photos of Aimee

Buddha tooth relic temple front entrance Singapore

Aimee Marie Buddha tooth relic temple incense Singapore
There is a dress code, so they give shawls at the entrance to cover up

Buddha tooth relic temple prayer hall candle glasses Singapore

Buddha Tooth Relic temple main prayer hall Singapore Chinatown
Inside, it was rather impressive
Buddha tooth relic temple prayer hall god Singapore
Go read up on the ‘Sacred Relic of the tooth of Buddha’ — it’s quite an interesting story
Buddha Tooth Relic temple prayer hall Buddha wall Singapore
Very impressive design
Buddha tooth relic temple prayer hall Singapore
This temple is in fact a newly built one, opened only in 2007

Buddha figurine tooth relic temple SingaporeBuddha tooth relic temple prayer hall god statuettes SingaporeBuddha tooth relic temple hall door Aimee SingaporeBuddha tooth relic temple back prayer hall SingaporeBuddha tooth relic temple small prayer hall SingaporeBuddha tooth relic temple idol statue SingaporeBuddha tooth relic temple wall figurines SingaporeBuddha figurine tooth relic wall design Singapore

Buddha teeth relic temple back exit Singapore
We left the temple

Chinatown hall Singapore

Chinatown market stalls Singapore
Aime and I then walked through the Chinatown bazaar

Chinatown stalls market Singapore

Chinatown market Singapore
We had the urge to have some ice cream — bread ice cream in particular

Chinatown market classic buildings painted SingaporeChinatown pillars glass roof SingaporeYellow building Chinatown Singapore

Water chestnut juice vendor Singapore
Couldn’t get the kind of ice cream we were looking for, so we just had juice. I chose water chestnut – because it sounded weird, and I never had it before. It tasted okay though.

Aimee and I took the bus back to Central mall, as I wanted to reduce the weight of my camera bag by offloading equipment I didn’t need.

Aimee Marie freezing Singapore bus
It was very cold inside the bus
Bridge road evening traffic Singapore
Even though the distance wasn’t much, I experienced Singapore evening traffic today. It took some time to cover around a kilometre distance.

After giving our feet some rest at the hostel, we headed towards Boat Quay.

Boat quay inner road evening Singapore
It was 7:30pm

Boat quay back alley night Singapore

Boat quay friday night restaurants Singapore
It was Friday night
Boat quay friday night crowds bars Singapore
The bankers and officer goers of Marina Bay were all out filling up the bars and eateries
Singapore river at night boat quay
We sat by boat quay
Mithun Divakaran Singapore river boat quay
Look, Mithun!
Bread ice cream vendor Boat Quay Singapore river
And we finally got bread ice cream!
Bread ice cream boat quay Singapore
I had durian flavoured ice cream
Aimee Mariee bread ice cream boat quay Singapore
Boat quay pier Singapore at night
Kids jumping in?
Boat quay pier boys jumping into river statue Singapore
Not really
Fullerton hotel Singapore river bridge at night
I still had some time before I needed to get back inside
Aimee Marie peace sign Singapore
So we goofed off in front of the camera

Mithun Divakaran Fullerton hotel SingaporeAimee Marie fists Singapore

Aimee Marie Singapore skyline at night
One final shot against the backdrop of Singapore’s famous skyline

Aimee and I said our goodbyes as she had to go meet her fiance and I had to head back to the Padang grounds.

Gate 5 tunnel underpass Singapore F1
I went back to the circuit

Pedestrian tunnel Singapore

JK Racing practice Friday night race Singapore F1 Fullerton
The JK Racing practice session was going on
JK Racing Friday practice lap Singapore GP
Nothing exciting, until…
JK Racing car crash Singapore grand prix
… this guy crashed!
Singapore gp racing crash F1 circuit
Didn’t see the others cars race past until this car was lifted off the circuit and all the debris cleared
Singapore gp food court crowds Friday
I walked past the many hungry attendees
Singapore F1 concert Padang grounds Friday
The concerts on the main stage were about to begin, and lot of people had already gathered
Singapore F1 crash on screen
But since I already collected my FanZone band, I could walk straight up close to the stage!
Charice band playing Singapore F1
As the noise from the JK Racing series subsided, a band began to play
Cameras recording Charice concert Singapore F1
Who was it for?
Charice stage Singapore F1 Friday concert
Philippine songstress Charice!
Charice singing Singapore F1 Friday concert
The many Filipinos in attendance surely showed the Glee-star some love
Charice singing Singapore F1 concert
She belted out her hits “Pyramid” and “One Day,” and even sang her (then) upcoming new single “Louder”

Charice eyes closed Singapore F1 Friday concertCharice on stage Singapore F1 Friday concertCharice jumbotron screen Singapore F1

Charice band dancing dougie Singapore F1 concert
Charice and her band even took a dance break to do the “Dougie”
Charice performing on stage Singapore F1 Friday concert
Charice also sang covers of other popular hits like Jessie J’s “Price Tag”
Charice powerful singing Singapore F1 Friday circuit
She maybe pint-sized, but her voice packs in quite a punch!
Charice on stage Singapore F1 circuit
Amazing singer — and a good show by her!
Singapore grand prix Friday race Jumbotron
After Charice’s performance, the Friday practice lap took place

Marina Bay Sands night sky light ray Singapore

GD&Top concert crowd Singapore F1
Plenty of fangirls (VIPs* mostly) were awaiting the main acts for Friday’s concert. I didn’t go too close to the stage as many had already stuffed themselves as close as possible and I didn’t want to be in the midst of girls screaming their lungs out. Trust me, it’s not fun!
Stage rig lights Singapore F1 concert
The lights were ready
GD&Top balloons Singapore grand prix concert
The balloons were ready
GD Top fan sign Singapore concert
The fans… you get the idea
YG Entertainment DJ GD&TOP Seungri concert warmup Singapore F1
A DJ came on and began spinning some hip-hop jams, and then some 2NE1 — so we knew it was YG** time!

Past 11pm, the lights dimmed and the DJ introduced the first BIG BANG member to hit the stage…

Seungri dancers Singapore F1 Friday concert
… and VIPs screamed as loud as they could when Seungri hit the stage!
Seungri Big Bang performing Singapore concert
Seungri kicked off his performance with “VVIP,” from his debut EP of the same name
Seungri singing Singapore F1 concert
Seungri obviously didn’t have too much material as his solo effort had just came out earlier in the year
Seungri perfomance Singapore gp concert
But he still performed his best

Seungri logo on screen Singapore F1 concertSeungri performing in Singapore F1 concert

Seungri back up dancers performing Singapore F1 concert
Seungri ended his brief set with his big solo hit “What Can I Do”
Seungri sweating Singapore concert F1 Friday
Imagine dressed up in a suit and dancing under the stage lights in Singapore humidity!
Seungri funny face Singapore F1 concert
Feel free to caption this. Only thing I could think of was “Pew, pew.”
Seungri VIP crown light Big Bang Singapore F1 concert
We were well warmed up for the next act!

And when those two other boys from BIG BANG hit the stage — oh man, the screams!

GD&TOP kpop concert F1 Friday Singapore GP
GD & TOP leaped on to the stage and began their set with “Intro,” the first song on their album
GD & Top korean pop Singapore F1 concert
For those who don’t know: G-Dragon (Left) and T.O.P (Right) are two popular members of the hugely successful K-pop boyband BIG BANG, and as the sub-unit GD & TOP, released an impressive album in late 2010.
T.O.P Big Bang member Singapore Formula 1 concert
T.O.P, the really good looking member of BIG BANG
G-Dragon Singapore F1 concert
G-Dragon, the talented song writer and composer of BIG BANG — and one of the richest idols in S. Korea!
GD and T.O.P dancers Singapore concert F1 Friday
For all his hip-hop swagger, I couldn’t help but laugh when G-Dragon would speak to the crowd in his limited English by saying something like “… you want to make crazy?!” 😀
T.O.P Big Bang member formula 1 concert Singapore
T.O.P on the other hand wasn’t too hyperactive
G-Dragon YG dancers Singapore F1 concert
They performed other great songs from their album like “Knock Out” and “Oh Yeah”

GD & Top performing Singapore F1 concertGD and Top VIP crown Big Bang Singapore concertG Dragon Big Bang leader Singapore GP concert

G-Dragon T.O.P Big Bang Singapore Formula 1 concert
The boys spoke to the audience briefly before ending their set with everybody’s favourite “High, High”!
G-Dragon T.O.P Singapore concert formula one
Eventually a sweaty G-Dragon took off his overcoat and sunglasses
Seungri T.O.P Big Bang members Singapore F1 concert
Seungri then joined his group mates to close out the show with (what I believe) was a Big Bang song

Given what a tumultuous year 2011 was for Big Bang – with Daesung’s involvement in the rather unfortunate car accident  and G-Dragon’s drug ‘scandal’ – it was still quite a thrill for me that I got to see 3/5th of Big Bang. If only Taeyang could have been there as well, because the K-pop concert only lasted around 45 minutes in length — Seungri and GD&TOP’s performances included.

Oh well, in some ways I was glad it was over — I was completely drenched in sweat! I was so hot, and my arms were aching as I struggled to hold my heavy Canon 7D with the even heavier 70-200mm lens mounted. I took photos the best I could.

I also managed to record some video but if you plan on watching it, I suggest you turn down the volume…

The bass was just too damn loud! I wasn’t even that close to the stage or the speakers, but even from where I was standing, my rib cage was trembling with every thump! I looked up YouTube for other fancams and most of them weren’t any better.

Clarke Quay at night river bridge Singapore
I left the Padang grounds and walked back to the hostel
MICA building at night window colours Singapore
It was well past midnight

Clarke quay Singapore river at nightI initially thought about reading a fan account of the K-pop concert but my body was just so damn tired after the long walks today and the heat at the concert. I had dinner, took a nice bath and just laid in bed.

And to think this was just the first day of the F1 weekend!

*VIPs are what BIG BANG fans call themselves

**YG Entertainment is the company BIG BANG is under

Next post in this series:

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 4 – Marina Bay Sands Casino and views from the SkyPark observation deck

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

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

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

Infinity pool view Marina bay sands hotel Singapore

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

Date: September 22nd, 2011

Yesterday turned out to be better than I hoped. Today I was adamant to make it even better!

Geylang wet neighbourhood Singapore
UNfortunately, it was raining (Taken on my phone)
Singapore post park mrt station
Fortunately, the rain was reduced to a slight drizzle a few minutes later
Singapore Post headquarters building
I took a bus and got down near the Singapore Post building
Malay village Geylang Singapore
I was on my way to the Geylang Serai hawker centre & fresh market
Geylang Serai hawker centre market Singapore
I wanted to check out the food stalls
Geylang Serai fresh market Singapore
This market was recently renovated
Geylang Serai market stalls Singapore
So I didn’t really sense a “charm” to this place

Geylang Serai market meat shops SingaporeGeylang Serai fish market SingaporeGeylang Serai market fresh fish Singapore

Geylang Serai market fruits vegetable shops Singapore
I went upstairs to where the food stalls were
Geylang Serai market clothes Singapore
They have a few other stores too
Geylang Serai market history Singapore
This place is quite famous in Singapore — or at least it used to be in it’s original form
Geylang Serai hawker centre Singapore
I wondered what to eat
Malay biriyani stall Geylang Serai Singapore
This ‘baryani’ stall seemed fairly popular as they were dishing out hot plates is quick succession
Malay chicken biriyani Geylang Serai market Singapore
At $4 (Rs.160/$3/€2.4 ) a plate, the ‘bariyani’ was just about alright as far as taste went. Fairly similar to Hyderabadi biriyani in taste.

I shared my table with a local who began chatting with me after he asked me why I was taking photos of what I was going to eat. I told him about my website, and why I was taking many photos. He asked me whether I worked here, and I told him ‘no’. I gave him my brief life story and in the end, he complimented my English. He suggested I could try for a job in Singapore but all this while, my food was getting cold.

Sucks. The only reason I ordered the biriyani was because it looked piping hot as they served it. Most of the food served at these kind of stalls restaurants are rarely ever hot. They’re usually pre-cooked and served out of buffet trays as per order.

The local sat with me long after he finished his meal as he continued to make conversation with me. The only thing I asked him was “what other good hawker centres are there?” He told me a few, and I noted them down. I gave him the link to my website and we parted ways.

Post lunch, I headed straight to Funan IT mall to pick up my 70-200mm lens from John 3:16.

Maid cafe Funan IT mall Singapore
Fortunately my lens was fixed and I tested it by taking a few shots

They told me the Canon service center had to drill two holes on the filter and break the filter carefully so as not to touch the main lens glass. The lens was checked thoroughly and re-calibrated. Sadly, I had now lost my rather pricey HD filter, to which they said it’s not even required that I use those expensive filters, as even a standard UV filters would suffice. All said and done, the damage wasn’t over. The cost of all this repair: $130 (Rs. 5100!). I had no choice but to pay up. I was just glad to see my most expensive lens back in my bag in perfect working condition.

But when you’re unemployed and trying be very careful with your spending, losing $130 plus the $50 I spent day before yesterday at the clinic simply felt like unnecessary waste of money. Sigh…

Gaming world software store Funan IT mall Singapore
I prefer shopping at Funan IT mall over Sim Lim Square

Bally photo store soldier Funan IT mall Singapore

Nikon store John 3:16 Funan IT mall Singapore
The shops here are good and slightly more trustworthy
Central fire station building Singapore
Left Funan IT mall. This is the Central Fire Station bang opposite.
Ministry of Information Communications and Arts building Singapore
MICA building

The treasury building Singapore

Singapore parliament building junction
That’s the Singapore parliament
Funan IT mall building Singapore
I walked to City Hall MRT and headed towards Marina Bay
Marina Bay blue building construction Singapore
Marina Bay was still buzzing with construction activity

Citibank building Marina Bay SingaporeConstruction site safety warning SingaporeMarina Bay trucks construction siteBusiness lady Singapore Marina BayWay to Marina Bay Sands hotel Singapore

Singapore Marina Bay financial center buildings
Panorama comprised of 7 shots

Marina Bay Sands hotel wooden promenade Singapore

Marina bay city gallery Singapore
Decided to see what was in here
Inside Marina Bay city gallery Singapore
Inside were interactive displays showcasing Singapore’s development history
Singapore Marina Bay planning model
Specifically Marina Bay
Marina Bay model plan Singapore
Marina Bay was mostly developed by dredging and land reclamation
Singapore passing of land acquisition act
The Land Acquisition Act was passed in 1966
Singapore developing the city phase
The Merlion Statue at the mouth of Singapore River was installed in 1972
Singapore concept plan 1971
It was in 1971, with the help of the UN, that the first major infrastructure plan of Singapore was laid out
Review of Singapore masterplan 1980
They made some changes to the masterplan for Marina Bay in the early 1980s
Singapore masterplan 1998
It wasn’t until the mid 1990s that Singapore even thought about implementing a Common Service Tunnel, which would house piping and essential utilities. At least they did it. How many cities in Asia have such massive underground infrastructure?
Singapore masterplan 2003
In 2003, another draw-up of Marina Bay
Singapore infrastructure interactive display
If I had the time, I would have just sat there and read through it all
Marina bay future concept Singapore
I was really keen on learning about all this

Singapore Marina Bay gallerySingapore Marina Bay gallery display

Walter bunny art exhibit Singapore
This bunny is an art exhibit. He’s been spotted around Singapore.
Oue Bayfront building Marina Bay Singapore
Had to crop this tight for a closer look
Audi Ultra sail boat Singapore Marina Bay
Audi had this impressive boat, but it was for invited guests only
Singa lion mascot Singapore marina
Singa, the mascot for Singapore’s Happiness Movement. (Seriously).

Singapore Marina Bay Olympic walk

Marina Bay Sands walk mist cooler Singapore
They have placed these mist coolers to make the walk here more comfortable
Cool mist pipe Singapore Marina baywalk
But Singapore’s humidity being what it is, the mist had little cooling effect
Marina Bay financial centre Singapore panorama
One final panorama before going in

The Shoppes Marina bay sands Singapore

Salvatore Dali art exhibit Singapore Marina Bay
There was an exhibition of Salvador Dali’s work going on
Marina Bay Sands Shoppes Singapore
This was the mall
Marina bay sands shoppes mall Singapore
When I came here last year the mall was rather empty as Marina Bay Sands had just opened

Marina Bay Sands Shoppes Harley Davidson Ferrari Singapore

Marina Bay Sands shoppes fountain
The Shoppes has slowly started to fill up
Singapore Marina Bay Sands mall Venetian gondola boats
Marina Bay Sands Singapore is after all by same people behind The Venetian in Las Vegas

Singapore Marina Bay Sands mall Chanel Tiffany & CoElevated coffee bar Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Way to casino Singapore Marina Bay Sands
Enough of the mall. Time for the first thing on my to-do list – the casino!

I walked to towards the entrance, past the security and straight to the baggage counter. Last year when I came to Marina Bay Sands, I couldn’t enter the casino because I got wet in the rain and I was wearing shorts. There was a dress code and the casino was only open to foreign tourists. This time around, I came dressed in formal wear and now Singaporeans could enter — after paying a $100 entry fee (which is ridiculous!).

No bags are allowed, and more strictly – no photography… at all… not even using your mobile. Which sucked, because you should have seen how the casino looked! Man, the chandelier inside was huuuge! Hundreds of slot machines, and  other games with each one with scores of people playing.

I had never been to a casino before this, and had only seen them in Hollywood movies, so this was quite a revelation for me. I came with the intention of gambling a little bit, because hey, I didn’t have a job — so I thought I’d try my luck at winning some money! I even set aside a $100 just for this, but obviously I wasn’t going plonk it all down in one easy shot. Since I had never gambled before, I didn’t even know how to play most of the games. Slots was easy, pull a lever and hope you get match. Or at least that’s what I thought, because now, slot machines have gone digital — and they had way more buttons than a single lever.

You can play for as little as $1 and that made it easy for everyone to get in and begin. I converted $30 into chips/tokens and started with the Wheel of Fortune. Waged $10, placed my bets on a ‘x 10’ multiplier and a number. The lady spun the wheel and the needle stopped… at a number three stops after mine. Damn, there goes my first $10. The lady smiled and asked if I would want to try again. I thought, “Yeah, why not?” and put down another $10. She spun the wheel again, it stopped and she smiled again. I walked away after losing another $10. Sigh.

I then moved on to the slot machines and sat down at Queen slot machine. I played for $10, and ended up winning $17! I could have played for more but I decided to cash in my winnings and printed the receipt. Besides cards and tokens, the machines can use the same receipts to begin play. I had $17 with me and I started to wonder if my luck was improving. I walked past the roulette table and asked the attendant how the game worked. After he told how the game worked, I had to go and buy some more tokens as I obviously couldn’t place a receipt print on the table. So I got chips for $30 more.

I placed $10 as that was the minimum bet for this table (there were tables with $20 and $30 minimum bets too, larger payouts obviously). He spun the wheel in one direction and then the ball in the opposite direction. As the ball slowly lost momentum, it did the bounce  – just as in the movies. But in my present real world scenario, it finally dropped into a number I didn’t select. So I tried again, and believe it or not, the ball stopped at a number just one spot away from mine.

So another $20 lost. So much for my hopes of being on a winning streak. I just played the slots after that. I won, wagered my winnings and then lost it all. At the end of it all, I had spent $60 and not really won anything big. I decided to stop.

I had no regrets though. It was an experience I smiled through. Looking around, it’s amazing how many people (most of whom were Chinese tourists) were spending so much money and I could only imagine how much money the casino was making — daily! You would think playing for as little as $1 is simple, harmless fun. But as I experienced it myself, human greed is what makes gambling harmful. And it’s as though the casinos have figured how a gambler’s mind works. There is a science to gambling and it’s a good bet to assume, very few ever make it out of a casino with more than what they spent in the hopes of winning big. It’s fair to see why gambling, to this day, remains controversial and banned in many places. Just because I stopped after losing $60, doesn’t mean others will. I even saw labourers from the sub-continent playing, and imagine how much they make in a month here in Singapore.

That said, there were the high rollers too. Some Korean guy came to the roulette table I was playing at and just dumped chips worth $1000. $1000, just like that! And to think above the two floors I could walk around on, were private rooms meant for even bigger players. Now think of the kind of money they’re playing for!

In the end, this place was not for a middle-class guy who spent the last eight years working and trying to save up as much as possible. I left the casino and collected my camera bag from the counter.

If you’re a foreign passport holder in Singapore, I still recommend visiting the casino at the Marina Bay Sands, the place is really well done up. The chandelier alone is worth seeing, it’s one of the world’s largest and it really is impressive.

Patek Philippe Vacheron Constantin Singapore Marina Bay Sands
I made my way to the hotel towers

Elevator up to hotel Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay sands hotel lobby Singapore
This is the lobby of Tower 3
Marina Bay Sands hotel reception
I walked towards Tower 1
Marina Bay Sands skypark ticket counter Singapore
Took a left and went downstairs to the ticket counter of the Sands SkyPark

When I came here last year, I made it all the way to the ticket counter, but only told be told that the SkyPark was closed due to rains that day. It rained earlier today as well, but fortunately the observation deck was open! I bought my ticket, which cost SG$20 (Rs. 800/$15/€12).

Marina Bay Sands Singapore modelSands SkyPark entrance Singapore

Inside elevator Marina Bay Sands skypark

On top Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Singapore
Here we go…
Marina Bay Sands Skypark first sight Singapore
The views from up here, are needless to say, awesome!
Gardens by the Bay construction panorama Singapore
The first thing you see is this – the Gardens by the Bay project (still under construction)
Gardens by the bay glasshouse Singapore
This Flower Dome will house plants and trees and re-create a Mediterranean climate
Supertree grove construction gardens by the bay Singapore
This is the Supertree Grove, another attraction part of the Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay Singapore aerial view

Singapore bay ships docked in sea panorama
This is how many ships are anchored outside Singapore Port…
Container ships waiting Singapore dock panorama
… and some more. It goes all the way like this until the port.
Singapore Marina Barrage reservoir ships sea
The Marina Barrage
Marina Barrage Singapore bay
It controls the flow of water in and out of the reservoir
Bay East garden Marina Bay Singapore
That’s the Bay East gardens
Singapore East coast aerial view
I guess that’s where East Coast beach is

Singapore flyer F1 circuit aerial viewSingapore Helix bridge aerial view

Floating stage zone 3 Singapore F1 circuit
The Zone 3 grandstand of the Singapore F1 circuit

View from Sands Skypark Marina Bay Singapore

Singapore Marina Bay skyline evening sky
I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this skyline
Singapore Marina Bay bank buildings panorama
Panorama comprised of 3 shots

Fullerton bay hotel Customs House Singapore

One Fullerton Hotel aerial view Singapore
The Fullerton Hotel & One Fullerton entertainment complex
Singapore Merlion park aerial view from Marina Bay Sands Skypark
The Merlion Park
Marina Bay Sands Arts Science museum Louis Vuitton
The Arts Science museum is one on the right
Louis Vuitton floating store Singapore Marina Bay
The Louis Vuitton ‘floating’ store
Avalon club Marina Bay Sands Singapore
I was disappointed to know the Avalon Club was down there since I had initially read it was up on the SkyPark
Boat ripple Marina Bay Singapore
But I was really happy I got my 70-200mm lens back
Marina Bay Sands convention centre mall roof Singapore
The Shoppes down below
Marina Bay financial center buildings panorama
You can tell the new from the old — by the use of glass mainly

Singapore city concrete skyline buildings

Singapore concrete jungle aerial view
Concrete jungle or what!
Singapore Padang grounds stage Esplanade Marina Bay aerial view
The lawn in the back is the Padang stage, where the big concerts this F1 weekend were going to happen
Esplanade theatres by the Bay aerial view Singapore
The Esplanade theatres glow at night — imagine the sight from up here!
Singapore boat Clarke Quay aerial view
Singapore river, passing through Boat and Clarke Quay
Singapore port view from Sands SkyPark
That’s Singapore port, in the back
Singapore port container cranes
One of the busiest ports in the world
Way to swimming pool Marina Bay Sands hotel Singapore
Okay, now time to check out the coolest attraction at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Infinity pool trees Marina Bay Sands hotel guests Singapore
The infinity swimming pool!
Infinity pool trees Marina Bay sands hotel Singapore
Quite possibly the most famous infinity pool in the world
Infinity pool access Marina Bay Sands hotel
The swimming pool is accessible to hotel guests only. Damn, so there goes my plan to just sit by the pool and have a drink.
Infinity pool view Marina bay sands hotel Singapore
How cool is this view!
Couple swimming infinity pool Singapore
Sigh, one day. One day I will definitely stay at this hotel.
Marina Bay Sands hotel kids playing infinity pool
And to those who think: “Oh my god, it looks so scary!”
Marina Bay Sands infinity pool walkway Singapore
Don’t be, it’s just an illusion. There’s no way you are going to fall over. I mean, you could try…

 Marina Bay Sands observation deck visitorsMarina Bay Sands skypark visitors Singapore

No access door infinity pool sands skypark
Access is for hotel staff only
Marina bay sands skydeck steps Singapore
Went back up to take one final look around

Roof top garden Singapore marina bay sands skypark
Marina bay sands hotel skypark sea view

Singapore Flyer east coast highway panorama
I had plans to even go on the Singapore Flyer
Singapore Flyer observation wheel panorama
A ride on this costs $29.50
Singapore Flyer view from Sands skypark
But look at the height difference!

I don’t mind checking out the Singapore Flyer now… but I decided to keep it for next time. If you had to choose between the two, I’d recommend the Sands SkyPark over the Flyer any day.

Singapore evening traffic jam aerial view
Evening traffic was starting to pile up, that too with the diversions due to F1 work
Container ships sea Singapore
Traffic, even at sea 🙂
Singapore building skyline hill distance
Wonder which hill that is in the background
High rise buildings concrete jungle Singapore from above
Took the last few shots, just to make sure I got every view possible
Residential apartments new construction Singapore
Wonder what they’re constructing over there
Singapore skypark observation deck Marina Bay Sands
It was 6pm, time for me to leave
Marina Bay Sands view from skydeck panorama
One final panorama
Mithun Divakaran Marina Bay Sands skypark Singapore
Got a picture of myself taken… (yeah, Mithun in formals, save it)
Marina Bay Sands sky park restaurant panorama
… and I left the SkyPark
Closed road Marina Bay Sands hotel Singapore F1
Mithun has left the building
Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino Singapore panorama
I tried to fix the distortion in this panorama as much as possible
Helix bridge Marina bay sands hotel Singapore
Planned to walk on the Helix Bridge next
Helix bridge during Formula 1 Singapore
The Helix Bridge is closed during F1 weekend as it’s one of the entry points to the circuit
Helix bridge Marina Bay Singapore
Still, people were walking on it, so I figured I could check it out until a certain point
Helix bridge Singapore evening
The Helix Bridge lights up, and looks even more impressive at night
Helix bridge Gate 10 Singapore F1
Pedestrians couldn’t go beyond a few metres from here as there was a private event taking place
Arts Science museum Marina Bay from Helix bridge Singapore
So I walked back

Marina Bay river cruise Helix bridge Singapore

Singapore river cruise Marina Bay station
You can take the river cruise from here too

Steps to Arts Science museum Singapore Marina bay

ArtsScience museum Marina Bay Singapore
The design of the ArtsScience museum is inspired from a lotus flower
Salvador Dali melting clock display museum Singapore
The signature melting clock artwork of Salvador Dali
ArtsScience museum Singapore
There’s an entry ticket here too

Singapore ArtsScience museum logo water reflection

Marina Bay Sands ice skating rink panorama
Went back into the mall for some air-conditioning (Panorama comprised of 5 shots)

Marina Bay Sands Shoppes panorama

Empty stores Marina Bay Sands shoppes Singapore
I guess there’s still more leasable space left
Marina Bay Sands shoppes mall interior
‘The Lion King’ was in town
Singapore marina bay arts Science pool
What was that?
Singapore Arts Science space in pool
Clever design
Rectangle gap in pool Arts Science Singapore
Pretty cool none the less

Arts Science museum Dali exhibition SingaporeSingapore Marina Bay waterfrontMarina Bay Sands hotel casino Singapore

Marina Bay buildings Singapore
Again, I keep photographing this skyline

Louis Vuitton floating store Marina Bay Singapore

Marina Bay Louis Vuitton customers Singapore
Felt like stepping in, just to see what the store looked like from the inside. Not like I could afford anything in there anyway.

Steps Marina bay SingaporeMarina Bay Sands shoppes wedding shoot Singapore

Singapore Marina Bay Sands hotel panorama
Panorama comprised of 6 shots
Avalon club Marina Bay Sands Singapore evening
Avalon Club
Avalon Club Marina Bay Sands Singapore
Sunday night – The Chemical Brothers, it’s going to be one heck of a Sunday for me!
Hippo River Cruise station Marina Bay
Hippo River Cruise is another boat tour company
Marina Towers blue glass Audi boat Singapore
Panorama comprised of 5 shots
Audi sailing boat Singapore dock Marina Bay
Pretty impressive sail boat
Wedding photograph Marina Bay Singapore
I guess a lot of wedding shoots happen at Marina Bay
Marina Bay solar panels jogging park
Instead of taking the MRT, I decided to walk around the bay area a bit more
Marina Bay link Singapore
I guess this connects you straight to the MRT station
Customs House Marina bay Singapore
A lot of choice for the bankers in the area to hang out after work

Skyscraper Marina Bay SingaporeMarina Bay traffic signal people tree SingaporeMarina Bay junction road office buildings SingaporeI walked to Raffles Place MRT and boarded the train from there. Got down at Bugis, simply because I felt like walking through the area I first saw when I visited Singapore last year.

Bugis Junction mall Singapore
Did a bit of mall hopping
Bugis street shopping market Singapore
Walked through the Bugis Street Shopping market, where they had recently opened an upper level
Bugis Chinese market statue Singapore
After doing a bit of shopping at Bugis Street, I walked around the adjoining Chinese market

Fu Lu Shou complex Bugis SingaporeAlbert centre Bugis Singapore

Bugis apartment complex shops building Singapore
I somehow just enjoy walking and soaking up the local life, even if it isn’t always buzzing
Raffles hospital junction Singapore at night
The junction at Raffles Hospital
Kampong glam at night Singapore
I walked to Kampong Glam (the ‘Arab area’), which is where I stayed last year
Singapore Zam Zam deer meat biriyani Kampong Glam
Deer meat. As weird as it sounds… I felt the temptation to try it.
Grand Sultan Mosque at night Singapore
The Grand Sultan Mosque

Grand Sultan mosque Kampong Glam alley SingaporeAlsacoff Arab school Kampong Glam SingaporeKampong Glam area at night Singapore

Victoria street traffic signal Singapore
I decided to walk to Victoria MRT

Victoria street apartments at night SingaporeTall apartment at night Singapore

Wendy's Victoria street Singapore
Spotted a Wendy’s across the road, knew right away what I wanted for dinner.

Had a shrimp burger meal from Wendy’s, one of my favourites from the chain. Also picked up some donuts from a local bakery in the same block and then took the MRT back to Aljunied.

Today was a good day. I was really happy with the photographs I clicked, though I do wish I got a bit of sunshine, which seems to be something of a rarity in Singapore.

Tomorrow begins the first of my three day F1 weekend.

Next posts in this series:

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 3 – Bukit Timah and Singapore Botanic Gardens

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

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

Pink orchid Singapore botanical garden

Singapore: 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

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… 😛

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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