Day 4 - February 3
Pick up at 8:30 AM return noon
Tour descriptions from the tour outline.
So we like to obey the rules and were waiting the requisite 15 minutes early, we are picked up in a mini van and then make another stop, not a problem. We are then driven to the students' hostel parking lot in China Town.
The decorations are up for the New Year.
We are then left waiting until 9:30 as our bus was late (due to heavy traffic from the Indian festival taking place - then leave earlier??).
Below I have taken the tour description and then added our comments.
Enjoy a city tour, which will begin with a drive around the Civic District past the Padang, Cricket
Club, Historic Parliament House, Supreme Court and City Hall. A very quick drive! Never saw Parliament House as the bus never went that way, I know as we knew where it was.
OOPS no photos!
Next, stop at the Merlion Park for great views of Marina Bay and a photo opportunity with The Merlion, a mythological creature that is part lion and part fish. WOW was this crowded and as stated our guide didn't wait for the group and then seemed to disappear. If we had perhaps started on time we might have been able to avoid the crowds. The guide never provided any background about the lion.
However, we are quite happy to entertain ourselves!
Visit Thian Hock Keng Temple, one of Singapore's oldest Buddhist-Taoist temples. Beautiful temple, allowed enough time. A highlight.
Drive past Chinatown to watch the craftsmen at work in the local handicraft centre. Really?? We were driven to an industrial park a good fifteen minutes away to a gem centre where we were "allowed" to browse ridiculous priced items. No one bought anything, we used it as a bathroom break. TOTAL WASTE OF TIME.
The works were gorgeous, but check out the prices. This is going for approx $2000 CDN dollars.
Proceed to the National Orchid Garden, in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which boasts a sprawling display of thousands of orchids. Was really nice, wish we had skipped the useless sales pitch above and spent more time here. We were given thirty minutes.
Playing with the camera features.
Your final stop at Little India will entice you with the scent of joss sticks, jasmine and spices.
Afternoon to ourselves. THANK GOODNESS.
We were dumped and given the option to stay on our own, thankfully we decided to stay and enjoyed finding our own way and having a delightful lunch.
We were lucky as we strolled as we happened upon this festival.
Thaipusam is a highly symbolic Hindu festival celebrated by Singapore’s Tamil community. It is an annual procession by Hindu devotees seeking blessings, fulfilling vows and offering thanks. Celebrated in honour of Lord Subrahmanya (also known as Lord Murugan), who represents virtue, youth and power to Hindus and is the destroyer of evil, it is held during the full moon in the 10th Tamil month, called Thai, which falls in mid-January each year.
So we have the afternoon to ourselves and we are in Little India and we love curry...
Levels of heat for your curry.
OOPS started my pakoras before a photo!
Glad we only asked for #3 heat!!
As you can see, there are very few clothespins towards the top!
Singapore by Night with Singapore Sling Tour
We were supposed to be outside fifteen minutes before 6 PM. We received a phone call at 5:20 from the driver saying he was early. We hustled down to the shuttle and were once again taken to the students' hostel. No staff were yet available to register us. They showed up and once again we were late getting started as the various other shuttles were late. We finally got going around 6:45.
Enjoy dinner by the Singapore River (included), Singapore's favourite sunset haunt. Dinner was at Boat Quay and the bus dropped us off near the bridge. We were told that we had an hour (7 - 8) to finish dinner AND that all drinks were at our own expense. This might have been fine if the restaurant had served all the food so the table could enjoy the various courses. However, each plate was brought out one at a time, so that by 8 PM we still had not had several plates. The guide gave us more time, again delaying everything.
We never even bothered taking photos of our food.
After dinner enroute to the world's largest fountain, take in the beautiful sight of the central business district via Benjamin Sheares Bridge. Right, we did two 360 degree drivebys. OOPS no photos, wonder why?
Continuing on to Bugis Street where your guide will take you for a stroll at the night market or 'pasar malam'. We were left to stroll on our own for fifteen minutes.
The last stop for the evening is at the iconic Raffles hotel. As the saying goes, "If you have not been to Raffles, you have not been to Singapore". Definitely the highlight, only highlight of the evening!
We were just not impressed with either of these tours.
On our way back, we opted to walk rather than take the tour bus, we stopped into an Irish pub.