Morning walks at the Chinese & Japanese gardens

Finally!

Yes we have finally come around to posting again about our beloved little red dot. It has been such a long time since the last one. Not quite the Gardens by the Bay, the green of the Chinese and Japanese gardens in the western side of Singapore offers you an entirely different experience. Whereas the gardens at the bay are more about ‘in your face’ impressive, this corner of the little red dot offers more poetic solace.

And that is partly because it is set in the heartlands, our local term for the suburban towns and neighbourhoods where most people live. You’ll need to know that Singapore is more than just the shiny skyscrapers and beautiful glitzy hotels in the CBD area. And that not everyone lives in a nice condo.

Home to the workhorses of the country, it is also the place where you’d see more local inhabitants than tourists, so those travelers out there (hey remember to come get your certifications) will be most delighted you can immerse into local culture. Just remember not to overuse the ‘lah’ when you interact and try to blend in like a local. Heheh.

But most importantly, come for a morning walk when the sun rises and reflections of the ball of fire is rippled in the waters surrounding the gardens. Yes! The gardens are set within a body of water, the Jurong lake. Which serves not just as a water catchment (recall this post?) but also a leisure area where folks can take to the water – not swimming, just canoeing etc. You’ll get a fine for getting into the water…sorry.

Recall that the gardens by the bay have otters? Well guess what these gardens have? You’d be surprised with what you see here in the gardens. Find out more here!

A Chinatown Market By Day

You know we started this attempt to share more about our own “backyard” that is the little red dot…and we had been mulling how we can present the “ethnic enclaves” we have. Try we have and we had not come to post one – yet. What can be better than to acknowledge that someone else does it better than you if you found wonderful content right?

So without ado, we reblog this post by Moony. Btw there are lots of posts in her blog about real life in our country. Not the fancy Marina Bay, Orchard road etc….actual people living actual lives.

Enjoy!

Hear The Flowers Sing

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Despite their transient nature, festive bazaars of any sort can always be distinguished every year by their unconscious regularity. There are the same stands of pussy willows, dyed in all sorts of colours, sitting behind pots of spiral-shaped bamboo coils and cut peach and plum tree branches. There is the same roasted-chestnut vendor standing before his glass-panelled roaster, sending the faint aroma of coffee wafting through the crowd. There are the same intricate red paper cuttings of auspicious Chinese characters, the same fabric plushies of zodiac animals, the same snaking queues for sweetmeats (better known by its Hokkien name bak kwa).

And then there are the details that you notice only after having regularly set foot along the same streets at the same time of year. Along Sago Street this afternoon, I witnessed the vendors kick into high gear at an unexpected visit. “The health department is here,” one…

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National Gallery Singapore

Not exactly free for all, the National Gallery of Singapore does have some sections where even those without tickets may slip in for a view.

Read more here about what you can expect for a half day out at the galleries.

However for those who do not want to pay at all, fear not. There is still a reason to come here – and that’s got to be the rooftop viewing platform. Located on the 6th floor (well the roof…), this platform affords a beautiful view not only of the Padang green in front of the city hall building, but also a panorama of the CDB and the Marina Bay.

You can also enjoy a cuppa while literally watching the world go by.

One more free rooftop view in Singapore brought to your attention. You don’t need to sneak your way to take daredevil shots. There’s an elevator for you!

Where else for free rooftop view in Singapore?

All that recent top of the world stunts inspired copy cats around the world. The Galleries 5What about us ‘normal’ travellers? Where can one get free access to panoramic rooftop views? In Singapore that is. For those who had read our post about ION sky, that is one way. But did you know that it is also free to access the top of the old city hall for a rooftop experience too?

Gazetted now as part of the National Gallery, access to the exhibits may not be free (for foreign visitors anyway), but anyone is free to ‘roam’ about. And that includes the rooftop garden terrace and viewing platform.

City Hall Rooftop view1On a fine day you will look over the vast expanse that is the Padang, home to the country’s national day parades for many years before it was moved to other locations.

It was originally created as a cricket playing ground and club for the colonialists. Today it hosts a variety of sports and is a great vantage to watch the speeding F1 racers circle around the city race track. Good luck to those who think they can skip buying tickets and watch the race from the terrace though…and the night race might well cease after 2018…

Yet another free experience in Singapore. Try it!

Oriental Ornaments

Ok, so here we are on the 3rd night of our stay in Phuket. Its raining incessantly and fortunately we have a rental with us. So getting around wasn’t difficult.

Anyway, when reading lazily this evening we came across this wonderful blog post about the Buddha relic temple and museum right in the heart of Singapore. We say that because it’s absolutely true. The temple is in Chinatown, adjacent to the modern CBD. Mel had intended to visit, photograph and tell all about the place being yet another free attraction (the Sri Mariamman temple further down the road is another) in our little red dot.

Well, Mick does it better and we’ll leave you to read his post!

MICKESPIRITU

img_9485“Giving Off Aroma of Positivity”

About five minutes walk from Chinatown MRT station, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum is a must-see architectural feat in the heart of Singapore’s Chinatown district. We entered the temple using the Banda St. gate through the Mountain Gate or the Shān Mén in Chinese and was greeted with the strong aroma of incense burning filling the whole front courtyard  with a feel good positive chi.

img_2055“Crimson Lanterns”

img_9467“Ceiling of Golds and Royals”

img_9474“Bodhisattva Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara”

img_9476“Adorn”

I think the temple has 7 levels, be sure to check them all out. A lot of interesting stuff. Just don’t forget that it’s a temple so respect the people praying, keep quiet ayt?

img_2088“Colonnade”

Peace out!

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Free Panorama of Singapore

In many publications, Singapore is ranked at or near the top. Apparently this applies to the cost of living too. So, how can we encourage more folks to come to our little red dot if its always about cost that would-be travelers are concerned about?

This thought set us to embark on finding as many attractions on the island that are free to access, and that they would mean something to enrich the experiences of folks who really want to make their travel handprint stick (in your memories that is).

The first in a series, we would like to share where you can get fantastic all around panoramic views of the island for – free! Located in the heart of the shopping belt, ION sky is a must go without spending big bucks here. Something quite extraordinary in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

More information if you click through to the page.