13 April 2009

More Singapore

After 6 nights on Langkawi we flew back to Singapore to spend the last few days there with my parents before they headed back home. We've been busying ourselves by seeing a few more of the sights that the island has to offer.

First up was the Chinese Garden which was a lovely relaxing park featuring pagodas and a bonsai trees.

Not far from the Chinese Garden is Jurong Bird Park which is home to over 8000 birds from 600 different species.

The park was excellent and featured lots of unusual birds and some huge walk in aviaries which allowed you to get really close to the feathery little fellas.

Whilst we were there we got caught in the loudest thunderstorm we've ever heard. It was absolutely immense and made the ground and air shake for the best part of an hour. The rain that accompanied it was something else too and left this bird of paradise looking like he was a bit annoyed at having such fancy feathers.

The highlight of Singapore for us has been the Night Safari which is run by the same people as the excellent Singapore Zoo. The set up is very similar to the zoo with lots of free roaming animals and very few cages. The night safari consists of 3 jungle walking trails and a 45 minute jungle tour on a tram. It was just like being at Uncle Tan's but without the inconvenience of having to wash in dirty river water.

As well as the usual suspects like lions, tigers and elephants, there were also lots of really unusual animals such as pangolins, hog badgers, sugar gliders and giant flying squirrels (which some idiot bloke was throwing sticks at!). As per usual the one animal that we really wanted to see, the tarsier, we failed to spot. If we can't see one in a 6ft cubed enclosure, god knows how we are going to spot one when we go to Sulawesi and they have the whole of the 202,000 sq km island of to hide on.

As the safari takes place at night and you can't use a flash for photography we weren't able to take any pictures of the animals. Although we did get a photo of someone having a go at a fish spa!

One of the strangest places we've ever been to must surely be Haw Par Villa. It's a kind of Chinese mythology theme park that was built by Aw Boon, the owner of the Tiger Balm ointment empire. Even though the whole park is slightly crackers, the pinnacle of the strange must be the Ten Courts of Hell. A set of gory displays that depict the punishments for various sins including gambling, prostitution, cheating at exams and creating family disruption. Punishments included having your intestines pulled out, being grilled alive and being thrown onto a hill of knives. . . which is nice!

Today we had planned to go to Sentosa Island but had to cancel as I have developed a swollen left leg that looks uncannily like one of those rotating kebabs at the chip shop. We instead entertained ourselves with cocktails and a swim at the pool at my Mom and Dad's hotel (our budget accommodation doesn't have such luxuries)

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