Singapore: Dec 31: Botanic Gardens, Singapore Flyer, Sentosa, and the Quays

These pictures, though not extensive, represent everything I did during this day, New Years Eve 2009-2010. Di Yin took many more pictures, and her pictures are more fun, prettier, and even better quality than usual, and also include more pictures of yours truly than usual. The link goes to the first picture from this day in her Singapore album (picture #185). When you hit a picture of a "backyard garden" (#272), you're done with the pictures for the day. I'll link to the rest in later posts.

Due to my activities the previous day (much walking in the sun, a late night), I needed lots of sleep so we had a late start this day. Eventually, we made it down to the Clementi town center / hawker centre for a late breakfast, finishing at noon, then boarded a bus to the Botanic Gardens. I'd previously explored part of them, so today I used my re-visit (with Di Yin) to see the rest.

On this visit, we walked through the marsh garden (ick), by the swan lake, through the ginger garden (which I've previously visited), along palm valley, through the rainforest section, by the bandstand, and through the fern garden. Our route took 1.5 hours. It was a nice (though hot) stroll; sorry, I didn't take many pictures.

From the Botanic Gardens, we took a bus down Orchard Road to City Hall, then walked underground most of the way to the Singapore Flyer. Along the way we stopped for a late lunch at a food court in Marina Square Mall. The Singapore Flyer is the world's largest ferris/observation wheel. Each pod holds 28 people, sitting and standing with room to walk around, and goes more than 500 feet high. The Flyer ride was alright. The view straight down was precarious, but it didn't feel as high as it actually was. The free audio guide was acceptable to tourists, pointing out all the obvious sights.

When we left the Flyer (after 5pm), we began to see the New Years Eve holiday crowds out and about. We walked to the metro station, and rode the metro to the monorail to Sentosa, a resort island minutes from Singapore city centre. We made it just in time to go in the water before the guards closed the beaches due to darkness. The ocean water, though up to international cleanliness standards, made me nervous due to the many industrial ships we could see parked offshore.

Leaving Sentosa, we passed many people coming, likely for a large exclusive beach party and for an elaborate sound and water show that we caught glimpses of (see the movies I took).

A monorail, a confusing mall, and two subway rides later, we were strolling down the lively waterfront promenade that is Boat Quay. Though with beautiful views and dense with restaurants, I forgot how pushy its restaurateurs are. After dinner, we continued down Boat Quay, crossed the river, and went through Clark Quay. Despite how lovely the river views were and how pleasant the temperature (a nice change for Singapore), we found the density of the crowds and activities (even a costumed parade) overwhelming. We crossed the river again near the other end of Clark Quay, and headed back to a subway station. A subway ride and a transfer later, we found ourselves headed home at 10:45pm in a subway car full of other psychologically old fogies. We stopped by our metro station's late-night hawker centre for some more food--we didn't order enough at dinner--and were home a bit after midnight. (Yes, 2010 started on our walk home.) We decided the temperature in which we walked home was perfect.

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