Food may be a national pastime in Singapore, but you can’t eat all day. Sometimes you have to lie down.
…or visit some of the fascinating places in and around the city.
First stop, the 150-year old Singapore Botanic Gardens. These are simply amazing – and a tribute to the passion and hard work of an army of horticulturalists and gardeners.
Open from five in the morning until midnight, the Gardens are clearly a favourite for locals and tourists alike. And with Singapore’s rules and regulations, they’re a safe place to be (see Getting into the Singapore swing).
Spread over 63 hectares, it’s a great place for a run (I wasn’t about to test that theory…) and huge enough to find a peaceful corner to hang out in or do a few tai chi moves.
And even if you’re not into plant-gazing, it’s impossible not to be blown away by the stunning tropical orchids, bromeliads, ferns and other horticultural wonders.
So if you’re ever in Singapore, make this number one on your list. But go in good walking shoes and light clothing, otherwise you’ll be like so many other tourists we saw melting in their heels and woollies (the cranked-up air conditioning in those hotels can be deceiving).
Sticking with the gardens theme, the recently-opened Gardens by the Bay is another incredible display of Singapore’s vision and determination.
Unlike the botanic gardens built around original stands of vegetation, these gardens were created from the ground up… and up.
The grove of ‘supertrees’ look extra-terrestrial and, when the vines, ferns, elkhorns and staghorns cover those enormous frames, it will be beyond surreal.
Then there’s the Flower Dome, Cloud Garden, Dragonfly Lake (I do love those dragonflies, said the dragonfly), and more. Just incredible…
But enough about plants, let’s talk about Singapore’s nightlife. Wildlife, not wild-life.
Dusk is my favourite time of the day… so dusk at the zoo? Who could resist.
Night Safari Singapore is the world’s first nocturnal zoo. It’s an open-plan zoo in a rainforest setting, and the animals get heaps of room to move in environments that emulate their natural habitat.
You’re taken on a guided tram ride through eight different geographical regions and there are also walking trails where you can get (relatively) up-close and personal with the animals.
Being eyeballed by a hyena almost my size, across a ditch I’m sure it was contemplating leaping, set the nerves in my neck fizzing.
There are tigers and lions and leopards all up and about – but no, I had to have some weird connection to a hyena. Great.
With no flash allowed and my night photography on the dodgy side, the only pic we came away with was a cheesy shot in the tram before we set off. And that’s staying in the dark, where it belongs.
Then the sun came up and the humidity maxed-out again…
In Little India I fell face-first into vegetarian culinary delights (and got enveloped in bling). At the ArtScience Museum, we absorbed the photography and Andy Warhol exhibitions. We even took the lift up 50-something floors to Marina Bay Sands’ viewing platform.
So at the end of four days in Singapore, I had to come back home for a rest. Which, it turned out, was wishful thinking. But that’s another story…