Due to the fact that we stayed out late last night and oh, were running on limited sleep throughout our trip, we woke up at NOON today. So much for the sunrise trend. But, I guess we needed the sleep, and thankfully, Singapore was a small enough place that we were able to cover the sights last night and this afternoon. We of course couldn’t leave without a trip to one of the many hawker centers, the elaborate “food court” system that Singapore was so known for. Each hawker center had at least 20 or 30 individual stands that sold an array of different foods from different cultures, so we could more cheaply experience a bunch of small plates. Between the 3 of us, we shared the following: carrot pancake (eh), BBQ chicken wings (yum), chicken/lamb/pork satay (delicious), mie goreng (very tasty), char kway teow (wide noodles stir fried, also terrific), grilled stingray (not as scary as it seems!), spring rolls (not bad), and coconut water (refreshing). We definitely ordered way too much, but was great to experience so many different cuisines in one meal.
After our gorgefest, we embarked on a double decker bus tour to best experience the cultural heritage of the city in the short time we had. It was one of those hop-on, hop-off buses that just screamed “tourist,” but was definitely educational nonetheless. First off was Little India, where we disembarked briefly to see the temple and giant electronics megastore – it was not for the claustrophobic! Since we didn’t have a ton of time, we stayed on to see Chinatown, the Marina Bay Sands resort, Singapore Flyer, Arab Street again, a few monuments, and the colonial quarter again.
The highlight of our day was actually the Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo, which was located a little outside downtown Singapore. The premise was that 80% of animals are nocturnal, so why not see them in their element when they’re awake and active. Our visit was kicked off with a Creatures of the Night show that featured an otter, wolf, python, cheetah, raccoon, and mongoose, all doing tricks or some kind of interactive display. The main draw was the 30 minute night train, which took us through 7 different habitats primarily across Asia and Africa. Though it was by no means anything like a real safari, it afforded us that same feeling to tide us over until we actually get to Africa 🙂 Sitting within safe viewing distance, we were able to see lions, tigers, elephants, bears, hippos, rhinos, and a number of exotic deer and cattle. Following the tram ride, we had just enough time to breeze through 2 walking trails, to get us more up close and personal to pelicans, leopards, flamingos, fishing cats, and fruit bats – sometimes too up close and personal when a fruit bat nearly flew into my head!
By 9:30pm, we had to scurry to pick up our bags and hail a taxi in order to get to the airport at 10pm. Thankfully, no issues (Singapore is the land of order after all), so we got to the airport and our gate in no time at all. We took off at 11:55pm, and had far less trouble falling asleep on the way home than on the way there. Another quick layover from 6:30am-8:30am in Frankfurt, and a safe arrival in NYC at 11am. It was an incredible trip full of once in a lifetime experiences (especially if Doug will never go back to Indonesia!) and phenomenal sights, although I must say that it was really nice to have the luxuries of western life back. And Doug got his pizza as our first meal back 🙂