Shivansamudra in English means’ Lord Shiva’s Sea’ . Shivanasamudra is a small island town of Mandya district , situated on the banks of the Cauvery River. Shivanasamudra Falls is ranked among the top 100 waterfalls in the world ! This is also the site for one of the first Hydro-electric power stations in Asia which was built in 1902 and is still functional. We visited the place after monsoon last year , the best time to visit any waterfall – FYI.
TIP – Vasu restaurant in Kanakpura is well know for its masala dosa , so it would be a good stop enroute for breakfast. After a 3hr drive from Bangalore via the Kanakapura main road, we reached the falls. Thankfully the parking spot was only half full when we reached around 11am. Grateful that the place would not be too crowded we proceeded towards the falls.
Barachukki and Gaganachukki waterfalls are together known as the Shivanasamudra Falls. The eastern branch of the waterfall is known as Barachukki while the western branch is known as Gaganachukki. These falls are located at a distance of 130 kms from Bangalore and 68kms from Mysore.
There is a watchtower located near the entrance to the falls from where you can view the entire surrounding area, falls et all. The falls were not very visible from this place .It felt great to view all the greenery around us, the bounty of nature all around. As for the waterfall, all I could see was a few narrow series of waterfalls in the distance. Feeling a little disappointed as i was expecting the falls to be magnificent we moved towards the entrance. But the more closer we reached to the view point, the more scenic the falls seemed. Feeling my spirits lift and with a little spring in our steps my husband & I reached the stairway leading to the base.
The journey to the bottom consists of around 200 concrete steps fenced with railings on both sides to provide safety . There were even lookout points placed midway for those who preferred not to go all the way down. One could even rest here for sometime on the benches placed here before descending the staircase further. We witnessed many people struggling to climb their way back up from the base, using the railing for support and breathing heavily.
As we had had a light breakfast and it was almost lunch time , feeling a bit low on sugar I began to feel bit nervous about the climb back up . But that wasn’t enough to douse my exuberance and curiosity to reach the base ! Nooo it didn’t ! Enjoying the easy descent we soon reached the bottom.
The place was crowded ! Filled with people enjoying getting wet in the water gushing by. As the flow of the falls was not too strong the coracle rides were in operation. Families were eagerly awaiting their turn for the coracle rides so they could get closer to the falls.
All we could feel was the joyous energy around us and the thundering sound of the falls! The falls looked magnificent from here! This is the place where the water from the Cauvery River drops off from the Deccan Plateau at height of about 69 metres forming the famous ‘Barachukki and Gaganachukki Falls’.
After spending sometime enjoying the view, observing all the activity taking place around us and taking few snaps of the gorgeous falls before us we started to ascend the steps. Halfway there i was already lightheaded due to an empty stomach ! TIP – Do not attempt to descend these stairs without some ’ pet pooja’ (some yummy in your tummy ! 😀 ) and enough water to prevent dehydration & also a cap or umbrella to avoid sun stroke !!!
We unfortunately having not thought of any of the above as we were not aware of the steep decent, had a tough time getting back upstairs ! Never have I been so relieved to have the climb behind me ! Soon we left Shivanasamudra Falls looking for a place to have lunch.
TIP – Finding a descent meal is difficult around these areas so try carrying food from Bangalore itself.
Talakad is a desert-like town located on the banks of river Cauvery, at a distance of about 35 km from the waterfalls. It is a historic town and a famous pilgrimage area of the Hindus as it has several temples. Talakadu once had over 30 temples that today are buried in sand.
Except for the Vaideeswara temple built by Raja Raja I, all the other temples were buried under sand dunes. Out of these, the temples of Pataleeswara, Maraleswara, Anandeswara, Arkeswara, Gauri Shankar, Kirti Narayana and Chowdeswari have been excavated by the Central Archaeological Department.
There is a myth behind this – A story of a curse! Vijaynagar empires viceroy Rangaraya’s wife Alamelamma is said to have cursed the King and the town before drowning herself in the Cauvery river near Talakadu.
When we visited the place , it was recently opened to the public after the temples were excavated. Talakad is a small town with narrow lanes and small houses. To our surprise there was a looong line of cars waiting to enter the town. Curious visitors and pilgrims looking forward to visit the temple ruins. We could see locals trying to make some income by offering food or acting as guides for the tourists.
After some wait we finally managed to find a parking spot in an already crowded lane. No sooner had we parked, a local came upto to us offering to be a guide for a small amount. So off we went with our guide to see the temples some of them which were still active.
Talakkad is famous for the Panchalinga Darshan – a rare darshan of five Shiva temples. The temples of Pataleeswara (Vasukeeswara), Maraleswara, Arakeswara, Mallikarjuna and Vaideeswara constitute the Panchalingas and are believed to represent the five faces of Siva. The Panchalinga darshana is a popular festival held once in 12 years on New Moon Day in the month of Karthika.
Today this sleepy little town is at the epicenter of some of the latest advances in horticulture and wine making. Often referred to as Bangalore’s Gourmet Valley by name Cauvery Valley, it is still a secret many chefs choose not to share. Fine wines, exotic Zero Pesticide fresh produce, artisan cheese and diverse culinary experiences are changing this once sleepy hamlet.
A year back we decided to visit the Hogenakkal Falls as it is one of the many tourist attractions near Bangalore. . Also called as the ‘Niagara Falls of India’ by many it is located at a distance of 180 km from Bangalore making it a perfect one day getaway. It is located in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. This place is famous for its medicinal baths and coracle boat rides . Carbonatite rocks in this site are considered to be the oldest of its kind in South Asia and one of the oldest in the world.
As the monsoon had just gotten over at this point we were hoping to get a good show at the falls. . After an early breakfast we left from our place and within 3-4 hours after following the Google Maps we had reach the falls. . Can’t imagine going on a road trip without using Google Maps anymore. . Gone are the days where one reached the destination by using the scarcely placed signboards or asking people by the road who, are as clueless as you for directions. . The most funny thing about asking people for directions as i remember is that even though they are not aware of the way they still want to help you and you end up having to reroute ahead after getting contrasting directions from the next direction giver, hoping against hope that this time its the right direction ! 😀
Of coz not like Google Map makes your life any easier, sometimes it takes you on a route not meant to be taken on 4wheelers or a route which is not exactly the shortest or the most convenient route . . We have ended up cursing Google Map the innumerable times we have had to reroute or ended up on a longer than needed route recommended by it. But yes in the end we always end up using Google Maps again anyway ! 🙂
On entering the Gates to the fall all we could see was water everywhere. . Letting on a sigh of relief to know that we would be able to see the falls in all its glory we proceeded ahead .
Crossing the small bridge where the water was overflowing causing our shoes and pants to get wet we walked on. . soon we could see many people getting ‘Tel Malish’( which i call desi style spa 😛 ), sitting in rows enjoying the pampering session which I was finding a bit humorous.
You will see lots of local masseuse waiting to get clients. Place was crowded with people getting head massage, body massage. Sitting with eyes closed listening to the sounds made by the gushing waterfall, getting a massage must make it a very energizing experience! probably why you will see many people going for it. After getting a massage people would go bathe at the falls within an enclosure meant for this purpose.
One will also come across lots of snack stalls selling fried fish and other delicacies caught fresh downstream. Freshly caught fish are sold by the gorge and also various vendors selling water and snacks go up and down the gorge rowing their coracles. The fish caught include katla, robu, kendai, keluthi, valai, mirgal, aranjan and jilaby. .
Passing the path leading to the main falls watching the water rushing by , we soon reached the bridge from where one can view the falls.You will see lots of monkeys near the falls as well. The water looked muddy due to the recent showers.
Hogenakkal Falls is a series of narrow falls along a long line of rock formations with a drop of around 20 meters. Watching the milky white water pouring continuously down with a thundering noise is an amazing experience. Hogenakkal means ‘smoking rock’ in Kannada – the force with which the water gushes down hitting the rocky structure on the other side creates a smoky, foggy effect giving it it’s name.
The water after falling down the falls gushes through a narrow route passing through rock formations on both sides. The river carries sediment which makes the downriver land fertile due to which it gets it’s unclear muddy look. Soon after the falls the river takes a southerly course and enters the Mettur Stanley Reservoir.
Unfortunately for us coracle rides were not allowed this day due to heavy water flow. Boating in Hogenakkal is allowed during the dry-season as the water falls are not strong enough to disrupt the passage of the boats. One can even swim downstream in off season.
From the bridge across the main Falls one can even view the bath enclosure.People wearing basic essentials hung on to the cage rods enjoying their baths, seeming very much like monkeys caged in a zoo ironically. The entry to the other side of the bridge was closed as well and soon we left the place happy to have witnessed the mesmerizing falls. While researching we had come across a crocodile sanctuary online and as we had time to kill before leaving back for Bangalore we decided to visit it.
The croc sanctuary turned out to be a small sanctuary with a very small entry price. Here old as well as injured crocs were taken care of. We even saw lots of cute baby crocs here. . A nice place to spend around an hour before we left back for Bangalore.
Other places one can visit in Hogenakkal are –
Krishnagiri , a fav picnic spot ,one can even trek to Yelagiri Hills.
When we were researching for our trip to Singapore we didn’t find even one article providing a complete list of attractions in Singapore. So this is one last post on SG giving a complete list of places one can visit in SG. Right from attractions for nature lovers to shoppers to foodies & right up to the SG Changi airport this list has it all. . . An all you can do in SG list! ! You won’t have to look anywhere else after this ! 🙂
First and foremost the Singapore MRT map for convenient travelling 🙂
ATTRACTIONS FOR NATURE LOVER’S
Singapore Zoo occupies 28 hectares (69 acres) on the margins within Singapore’s heavily forested central catchment area. The zoo was built at a cost of S$9 million and opened on 27 June 1973. It is operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, who also manage the neighbouring Night Safari, River Safari and the Jurong Bird Park. There are about 315 species of animal in the zoo, of which some 16 percent are considered to be threatened species. 40 hectares of secondary forest were later developed into the Night Safari. Shows are conducted at the zoo where visitors get to interact with the animals. Their latest attraction is the River Safari.
Jurong Bird Park is a tourist attraction in Boon Lay, Singapore. The bird park, managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, covers an area of 0.2 square kilometres (49 acres) at the western foot of Jurong Hill, the highest point in the Jurong region.
Jurong Bird Park is now a world-famous bird zoo where there are specimens of magnificent bird life from around the world, including a large flock of flamingos. It is currently the world’s largest bird park in terms of the number of birds and second largest both in the number of bird species and land area . There are 5,000 birds of 400 species in Jurong Bird Park, of which 29 are of threatened species. There Bird Shows conducted as well.
Botanical Gardens & Orchid Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a 156-year-old tropical garden located at the fringe of the Singapore’s main shopping belt. It is one of three gardens, and the only tropical garden, to be honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Botanic Gardens has been ranked Asia’s top park attraction since 2013
The National Orchid Garden, within the main gardens, is at the forefront of orchid studies and a pioneer in the cultivation of hybrids, complementing the nation’s status as a major exporter of cut orchids. Aided by the equatorial climate, it houses the largest orchid collection of 1,200 species and 2,000 hybrids.
More than 10,000 species of flora is spread over its 82-hectares area, which is stretched vertically; the longest distance between the northern and southern ends is 2.5 km (1.6 mi). The Botanic Gardens receives about 4.5 million visitors annually.
Chinese Garden also commonly known as Jurong Gardens is a park in Jurong East, Singapore. Built in 1975 and designed by Prof. Yuen-chen Yu, an architect from Taiwan, the Chinese Garden’s concept is based on Chinese gardening art. The main characteristic is the integration of splendid architectural features with the natural environment. The Chinese Garden is modelled along the northern Chinese imperial style of architecture and landscaping. It is located next to Chinese Garden MRT Station and connected to the adjacent Japanese Garden by a bridge. You will see the twin pagodas, lake, bonsai garden, tea house and other such features.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
A trekker’s paradise, the wetlands of Sungei Buloh are a dream come true for keen nature lovers. At this sprawling 87-hectare ecological site, you can catch migratory birds escaping the cold on their way to the warmer climes of Australia – with some having come as far away as Siberia.
Elsewhere, crabs, mudskippers and mud lobsters can be found in their natural habitats, and viewed from a distance at observation posts that dot the park. The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a world-class eco-tourism experience first discovered in 1986 by a group of birdwatchers from the Malayan Nature Society.
Gardens by the Bay
It is a nature park spanning 101 hectares (250 acres) of reclaimed land in central Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir. The park consists of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden.
The “Cloud mountain” itself is an intricate structure, consists of a number of levels, each with a different theme. . It features a 42-metre (138 ft) “Cloud Mountain”, accessible by an elevator, and visitors will be able to descend the mountain via a circular path where a 35-metre (115 ft) waterfall provides visitors with refreshing cool air.
The Flower Dome features seven different “gardens” as well as an olive grove with a bistro and a central changing display field has also been incorporated to enable flower shows and displays to be held within the conservatory.
Supertrees are tree-like structures that dominate the Gardens’ landscape with heights that range between 25 metres (82 ft) and 50 metres (160 ft). The Supertrees are home to enclaves of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids and also a vast collection of bromeliads such as Tillandsia, amongst other plants. There is an elevated walkway, the OCBC Skyway, between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a panoramic aerial view of the Gardens. At night, the Supertrees come alive with a light and music show called the OCBC Garden Rhapsody.
One of the most famous attractions of Singapore where you can spend a whole day. The name Sentosa is derived from the Sanskrit word Santosha which means peace, joy & contentment. Sentosa offers a variety of attractions, museums and other facilities to provide a variety of experiences, recreation and entertainment to visitors, children & adults alike. Some of the attractions are Underwater Aquarium, Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Tiger Sky Tower, Merlion Plaza, Light & Sound Show at night, Cable Car ride, Wings of Time Show, 4D Adventure Land, etc. Sentosa has a stretch of sheltered beach of more than 2 km (1.2 mi) on its southern coast, divided into three portions: Palawan Beach, Siloso Beach and Tanjong Beach. These beaches are artificial, reclaimed using sand bought from Indonesia and Malaysia.
Universal Parks & Resorts markets the park as a “one-of-its-kind theme park in Asia” and promises that the park will be the only one of its kind in Southeast Asia for the next 30 years. Universal Studios is a theme park located within Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa Island, Singapore. Universal Studios Singapore is 20 hectares (49 acres) in size, occupying the easternmost part of the 49-hectare (120-acre) Resorts World Sentosa. There are a total of 24 attractions, of which 18 are original or specially adapted for the park. The park consists of seven themed zones which surround a lagoon. Each zone is based on a blockbuster movie or a television show, featuring their own unique attractions, character appearances, dining and shopping areas.
Exit the Raffles Palace MRT and head towards the Esplanade for this. Merlion Park, a landmark of Singapore, is a major tourist attraction at One Fullerton, Singapore, near the Central Business District (CBD). Half-fish and half-lion, the iconic Merlion resides at the waterfront Merlion Park.
It is not as much a park as it is a standing symbol for all of Singapore. Spread out over 2,500 square meters, or about 27,000 square feet. Two structures of the Merlion are located at the park. The original merlion structure measures 8.6 meters tall, whilst a Merlion cub located near the original statue measures 2 metres tall.
The Singapore Flyer is a giant Ferris wheel in Singapore. The Flyer has an overall height of 165 metres (541 ft) and was the world’s tallest Ferris wheel until the 167.6 m (550 ft) High Roller, which is 2.6 m (9 ft) taller than the Flyer, opened on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, US, on 31 March 2014. The best time to hitch a ride is at dusk when the entire row of downtown skyscrapers is softly lit. One can enjoy the magnificent view of the city & beyond with the finest champagne on board Singapore Flyer.
Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands is an integrated resort fronting Marina Bay in Singapore. Developed by Las Vegas Sands, it is billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property at S$8 billion, including the land cost. Marina Bay Sands has three 55-story hotel towers which were topped out in July 2009. The three towers are connected by a 1 hectare roof terrace, Sands SkyPark. The SkyPark has the world’s longest elevated swimming pool, with a 146-metre (478 ft) vanishing edge, 191 metres above ground. The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands have close to 1,000,000 sq ft o f retail space with over 300 stores and F&B outlets, with luxury brand boutiques. A canal runs through the length of the Shoppes, similar to the gondola rides available in the Venice.
The Helix Bridge, previously known as the Double Helix Bridge, is a pedestrian bridge linking Marina Centre with Marina South in the Marina Bay area in Singapore. Canopies (made of fritted-glass and perforated steel mesh) are incorporated along parts of the inner spiral to provide shade for pedestrians.
The bridge has four viewing platforms sited at strategic locations which provide stunning views of the Singapore skyline and events taking place within Marina Bay. At night, the bridge will be illuminated by a series of lights that highlight the double-helix structure, thereby creating a special visual experience for the visitors. One can view the laser light & sound show conducted every evening, projected onto the walls of the ArtScience museum from here.
Haw Par Villa
The park, originally called Tiger Balm Gardens, was built in 1937 by the Burmese-Chinese brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the developers of Tiger Balm, as a venue for teaching traditional Chinese values.
The park contains over 1,000 statues and 150 giant dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese Mythology, folklore, legends, history, and illustrations of various aspects of Confucianism. The best known attraction in Haw Par Villa is the Ten Courts of Hell, which features gruesome depictions of Hell in Chinese mythology and Buddhism.
MINT Museum of Toys
The Mint Museum of Toys is a purpose-built museum showing a private collection of vintage toys. MINT is an acronym for “Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys”. The museum collection includes more than 3,000 toys and childhood memorabilia from the mid-19th century to mid-20th Century. All the toys displayed in the museum are the lifetime collection of Singaporean, Chang Yang Fa. Exhibits on display include Disney toys,Astro Boy, Batman, Popeye the sailor, Pre-war Japanese toys, including a ‘Door of Hope’ Chinese doll collection dating from the turn of the 20th Century,Teddy Bear collection as well as Chinese comics and comic covers dating from 1920s, and the Adventures of TinTin collectables.
Singapore Grand Prix
Another yearly grand attraction in SG is the Singapore Grand Prix, a motor race on the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The event takes place in Singapore on the Marina Bay Street Circuit and was the inaugural F1 night race and the first street circuit in Asia.
Cruising in SG
Singapore is the choice homeport of numerous cruise lines and so a variety of option are available from Star Cruises to Celebrity Cruises. One also has the option or river cruising in SG. The Singapore River Cruise will be cruising along Boat Quay which is one of the many area that it will cruising pass. This river cruise highlights the heritage of the famous Singapore River, especially Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Marina Bay.
SINGAPORE FOR SHOPPERS
Arab Street is the name of a road and neighbourhood in SG. Spices, textiles, basketry items and songkoks are sold along this row of shophouses with five-foot way at Arab Street.
Shopaholics, head to colourful Haji Lane – a row of multi-label stores, quirky boutiques as well as hip bars and cafes. Or pick up traditional wares such as Persian carpets, kebaya dresses and handmade perfumes from Arab Street and Bussorah Street.
Little India (Map placed above)
Little India today is one of Singapore’s most vibrant districts. As you walk down Serangoon Road and neighbouring streets, explore their mix of Hindu and Chinese temples, mosques and churches. The 24-hour shopping mall Mustafa Centre offers everything from electronics to groceries, or takes your pick from open-air Tekka Centre, goldsmith shops and sari stores. Great place in Singapore to try Indian food.
Orchard Road, a 2.2 kilometre-long boulevard, is the retail and entertainment hub of SG. Often known colloquially as Orchard, the area is a major tourist attraction. This road got its name from the various orchards and plantations that existed in the area in the early 20th century. Orchard Road is flanked by pedestrian shopping centres. Orchard Road contains numerous upmarket restaurants, coffee chains, cafés, nightclubs and hotels.
Bugis Street & Bugis Junction Mall
Bugis Street is a cobblestoned, relatively wide avenue sandwiched between the buildings of the Bugis Junction shopping complex. On the other hand, the lane presently touted as “Bugis Street” by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board is billed as “the largest street-shopping location in Singapore”. The new ‘Bugis Street’ is a maze of lanes lined with stalls selling goods from souvenirs to boutiques selling local designer creations. Must check out the Bugis Junction Mall and the Night Market taking place on Bugis Street.
Chinatown is where Hindu temples and mosques sit right next to Chinese temple, Sri Mariamman Temple and Jamae Mosque are on South Bridge Road, as is theBuddha Tooth Relic Temple. Want to shop? Buy souvenirs in Pagoda Street, ‘bak kwa’ (barbecued meat) in New Bridge Road or traditional Chinese medicine in South Bridge Road. There’s free Wi-Fi throughout the Chinatown area so you can continue to be plugged in while you sightsee, shop and eat. Chinatown is a great place for souvenir shopping , also try authentic Singaporean dishes at the Chinatown food complex.
SG MUST VISIT NEIGHBORHOODS
Other than Little India and Chinatown there are 2 more neighbourhoods one must visit to experience the culture of Singapore.
As one of the country’s best foodie destinations, Joo Chiat/Katong is also well-loved by many Singaporeans. Your culinary choices are endless: explore cool cafes that sit next to old-world coffeeshops selling the famous Katong ‘laksa‘, ‘kueh chang‘ (dumplings) and other Nonya delicacies.
Keen on shopping? Snap up a traditional Nonya outfit – ‘kebaya’ and ‘sarong’, beaded slippers and accessories, or poke about in the little shops offering Peranakan wares and handicraft.
Mention Tiong Bahru, and locals will tell you it’s one of the most happening hoods in town. Lined with row after row of quaint art-deco shophouses, the residential estate is jam-packed with some of the city’s hottest food and lifestyle establishments, not forgetting the heritage-rich places that offer a slice of traditional Singapore. Carve out a day here in your itinerary, and be richly rewarded with wonderful eats, offbeat shopping, and a spot of culture.
& last but not the least . . .
It is one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia. It is currently the World’s Best Airport (Skytrax 2016), for the fourth consecutive year and counting. There are a mind-blowing variety of things to do here. From Orchid Gardens, Butterfly Park, free foot massage machines, kinetic rain, duty free shops, spa & transit hotels with swimming pools. One can spend a whole day here enjoying these services as there ia an option of checking in 24 hours before your flight departure !
Hey friends ! I was supposed to write this post last week but traveling to my native place didn’t leave me with much time . So here it is now ! [Check out Part 1 posted previously 🙂 ]
DAY 5 – The last 3 days at SG had been quite hectic, so we decided to keep this day a bit relaxed (comparatively ! 😀 ). We left late morning to explore the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The weather was quite humid as we walked towards the MRT, so we decided to window shop at ION Orchard Mall for a while. By the time we reached the Botanic Gardens the air was so thick one could cut it with a knife. Even though there was so much open space around us we felt suffocated & although we very much wanted to explore the Gardens we realized that walking all those miles would be extremely difficult due to the weather conditions. So we rushed back to the air conditioned environment of the MRT with a sigh of relief.TIP – Keep a copy of the MRT map with you for convenience .
We soon made our way to Chinatown. It was evening by the time we reached there. No longer had we started browsing the souvenir shops it started raining. Soon the weather improved, all of Chinatown was lit up with colorful lanterns and inflated monkeys to mark the Year of the Monkey. TIP – Chinatown is a great place for souvenir shopping.
After shopping for a while we came across the Chinatown Food Street, an upgraded version of the food complex. After trying some SG style dessert we moved on looking for the Chinatown food complex. The food complex was a lot further than we expected it to be. Passing the market place again we came across the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, a stunning sight indeed. Unfortunately it was late and the temple was closed, finally we spotted the Chinatown Food Complex situated opposite the temple.
TIP – Food complexes do not stay open till very late. Half of the stalls were already shut by the time we reached there. My sister was very keen to try the Singaporean Crab Chilly dish , one of SG’s specialities. We managed to find a stall specializing in this dish with the help of some friendly food stall owners.
And before long my sister sat with gloves on her hand ready to tackle the dish. Gloves were provided to avoid hand contact with the spicy gravy. Intimidating as it seemed, my sister got right to it. So after a satisfying authentic SG style dinner we caught the train back to our hotel.
DAY 6 – With only 2 & ½ day left in SG we wanted to make the best of it. As we had already visited the Jurong Bird Park & Singapore Zoo on our previous trip to SG we wanted to explore other places.
We reached Arab Street in Haji Lane by afternoon. Arab Street is known for its trendy boutiques. Here one can shop for Clothing’s, accessories & home decor items. The narrow lane is filled with colorful boutiques on both sides. Shops after shops we browsed, there were few jewellery shops selling gorgeous silver jewellery.
The home decor shops were filled with such awesome trendy and innovative stuffs that I wished I could take them all back! From what I observed though 60% of the shops were selling the same products, which was surprising as I had seen more variety on Bugis Street and was expecting the same here.
TIP – Shops open up only by afternoon in Arab Street. At the end of the lane we came across cafes and pubs where people were taking respite from the sunny weather.
A large building was covered from top to bottom with colourful wall art , which was a treat for the eyes!
A cafe called ‘Wonderland’ situated near the graffiti work is quite well know & we decided to check it out ( Super hungry that we were J ). After trying exotic rich pastries like lavender cake & honey crumble, feeling on Cloud 9 we left for our hotel. TIP – Must try pastries at Wonderland Cafe . . Droolworthy !
After resting in our room for a while we left for the ‘Gardens By The Bay’. Collecting our entry tickets we proceeded towards the 2 large man made domes – Cloud Forest & Flower Dome.
We first entered the Cloud Forest Dome, my personal favourite of the two. One gets a feeling of having entered a rainforest in this dome. After spending almost an hour walking around inside, admiring all the work put into creating this unique structure we finally exited the dome.
Next was the Flower Dome , where there was a never-ending varieties of plants flowering & non-flowering species. There was a wedding taking place in the glass house present within the Dome. We soon left to witness the Garden Rhapsody show which was to take place in the Super Tree Grove area.
When we reached the Super Tree area we felt like we were Alice in Wonderland, the huge tree like structures were lit up making the place look so magical ! We could see people walking along the skywalk which seemed quite fun . Although there was a long waiting for entry to the skywalk people waited patiently to experience it. As it would soon be time for the show we decided to sit on the ground with others waiting for the show to begin. Soon with music ringing in our ears and the lights on the Super Trees twinkling, the show began. . It was a fascinating experience, watching the change of lights on those humongous trees to the beat of the music.
The show went on for 15 minutes after which we headed towards Marina Bay Sands to get a 360 degree aerial view of SG.
TIP – The Light & Sound show called OCBC Garden Rhapsody takes place daily twice in the evenings at the SuperTree Grove area. Must check out ! 🙂
After waiting in a long line to reach the top, we finally reached the observatory deck. The sun had set and the darkness had filled the sky by this time. We could clearly spot all the well lit attractions of SG from here ! The SG Flyer, F1 track, Helix Bridge , Art Science Museum , the Domes & Super Tree Groves @ Gardens By The Bay, and others !
TIP – Try to view SG from the observatory deck at sunset or after for a well lit & colourful sight.
After enjoying the view from the top we headed down and came across a very attractive bakery on the ground floor of Marina Bay Sands tempting us to try their sumptuous desserts. After tasting some of the lip smacking pastries we went looking for the Helix Bridge.
Passing though The Shoppes stores we finally found the Helix Bridge. Much to our delight the laser Light & Sound Show had started and the images were being projected onto the walls of the Art Science Museum. We watched this magical sight for a while mesmerised by the play of colours on the lotus like structure of the museum and the music playing all around us.
We spent a couple of hours mall hopping on Orchard Rd. Browsing brands familiar & ones we hadn’t heard of yet we whiled our time away. As we had enjoyed at Bugis Street so much we decided to go back to Bugis.
Getting down at Bugis MRT we walked through the subway and came across a small stall selling colourful and yummm looking cheese puffs & cupcakes called Chewy Junior . They were the best we’ve had so far! The most chewiest puffs & the most gooey cupcakes we’ve tasted !TIP – When in SG do try cheese puffs & cupcakes from Chewy Junior ! 🙂
We then headed towards Bugis Junction Mall. There were independent stalls placed right outside the mall, a flea market like setup with stalls selling clothing, accessories, eateries & all so checked those out too! Soon we were too tired to walk and left for our hotel.
In the evening we reached the Clarke Quay station and found our way to the riverside. What an awesome sight it was! Couldn’t think of a more happening place to spend our last night in SG at! There were people sitting by the river side watching the play of colours on the other side of the river, restaurants lined by the river on the opposite side all lit up with music playing there.
So passing the mall along the river we moved towards the bridge leading to the other side. As we reached the other side we realized that there were a lot more pubs & restaurants on the inside here. It felt like we were teleported to Las Vegas! There were bright colourful pubs & restaurants everywhere, belly dancers dancing in front of a Mediterranean restaurant, bollywood themed pubs, sports pubs, people everywhere enjoying the night life, tall umbrella-like structures covering the skyline to provide respite from the erratic rains. The extremely humid & stuffy climate played a real spoiler for us though.
And That’s how we spent our last night in SG ! ❤
DAY 8 – Our flight back to Bangalore was at night so we had enough time to visit the Merlion Park, one last attraction left on our list! So after an early breakfast and completing our last minute shopping at Bras Basah, we headed to the MRT.
Getting town at Raffle’s Palace station we started walking towards the Merlion Park. The Park was not located very close to the station and after receiving directions from friendly Singaporeans we soon reached the Park.
We first came across an adorable cub version of the Merlion ! The large Merlion Statue stood tall facing the water with gallons and gallons of water pouring out from its mouth all day long. The original merlion structure measures around 9 meters tall, whilst the Merlion cub located near the original statue measures 2 metres tall.
One can view the Marina Bay Sands & Art Science Museum across the waterfront from here. After enjoying the view for a while, we left to pick our luggage from the hotel and head towards the airport. Although our flight was late at night, we wanted to spend a couple of hours at the SG airport as it is one of the best in the world !
Enjoying the free foot massage machines at the airport, tasting new dishes at the numerous food stalls, shopping for cosmetics and perfumes we spent our remaining time at Singapore ! 🙂
So more than a year back my girlfriend & i made a bucket list of things we would like to do together. One of the things being – to try to have a girls trip every year ! We started by having a girls trip to Andaman’s in 2015 , an awesome place to be ! Shall write a post on it sometime soon . . .
So this year unfortunately my girlfriends couldn’t make it, so my sister & I decided to make it a sister’s trip abroad ! The challenge was to find a country safe for women travelers and one that was not too far away as we didn’t want to spend to much time enroute . After a lot of research we decided upon Singapore . Since we had already been to Singapore some years back we were aware of it’s tourist & women friendly nature . .
So we booked a 7N/8D trip to Singapore! Hurray! As we finalized the trip only a month before the flight & hotel bookings cost us a bomb ! TIP for newbie travellers – the best time to book a trip is atleast 3-4 months in advance .
Singapore as most are aware can turn out to be an expensive stay – for one the hotels are super pricey ! (even though the rooms are not exactly spacious) & the entry tickets for the attractions can burn a hole in the pocket. With a little more research & help from our travel agent friend (Thankyou Nerissa ! 🙂 ) we realized that the best way to get good deals on entry tickets is online through authorized dealers.
So we booked a 2Day Fun Pass on Sentosa.com at a great deal ! The 2Day Pass included 1 Day at Universal Studios and 1 Day at Sentosa inclusive of 20 major attractions which would otherwise have cost alooooot more . . . So with our bags packed (Light of coz keeping in mind the major shopping plans ahead 🙂 ) and super excited for the vaca ahead, we left Bangalore at midnight .
Day 1 – Arriving at SG
You realize you’ve reached Singapore when you spot a cluster of islands and then lots & lots of cargo/fishing ships floating in the water ! After completing all the formalities we headed towards the MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) the lifeline of Singapore . . Both of us had decided to make it a proper backpackers trip except for staying in a fancy hotel and shopping ofcoz ! 😀
So after purchasing an EZ Link MRT card and armed with all the info we needed to travel by the MRT we left the SG airport with our suitcases and rucksack! (yes rucksack to get the ‘backpacking’ feel! lol ) TIP – Pick up an EZ Link card at the airport counter to travel by MRT conveniently
After an hour and two train changes later we finally reached the Bras Basah station which cost us only 2 S$ per person as compared to a taxi ride which would have cost us around 45 – 50 S$ ! SG is an expensive place but travelling by MRT can make your stay alot more budget friendly. . . TIP –MRT is the most convenient & reasonable way to travel in SG. Also the fully airconditioned MRT environment provides great respite from the hot & humid climate.Two more reasons to use the MRT to reduce carbon footprint and all the SG attractions as within walking distance from the stations.
Our hotel was at a 5min walking distance from the MRT station which made our stay at SG a whole lot convenient .So after having lunch at a nearby foodcourt we reached the hotel. The hotel employees were quite friendly and helpful ,we were given a room with a scenic city view and boy were we glad! TIP – Stay at a hotel located at walking distance from the MRT
After resting for a while we walked around, exploring Bras Basah .On entering the market area we came across an Indian temple and a Chinese temple built next to each other and people from both religions praying to the Gods at both the temples ! What an extraordinary example it was of people of different religions coexisting peacefully and respecting each others religions in SG. A beautiful sight indeed !
We spent the evening exploring the shopping centre and roadside shops in the market.Before we knew it we could see Bugis Street at a distance, much to our delight it was situated at a walking distance from our hotel . As tempted as we were to check out Bugis Street we decided to keep our first day at SG relaxed. So after having an early dinner we reached our hotel. The hotel we were staying at had an awesome pool area , one of the reasons we chose the hotel 😀 so we spent almost an hour enjoying the pool before we called it a night . .
Day 2 – Universal Studios !!
So we left our from the hotel as early as we could, (Universal Studios opens around 9am )& took the MRT to VivoCity Mall , the connecting point to Sentosa. Picking up some light snacks at the mall to took the monorail – Sentosa Express to Sentosa.
There are 3 stops in Sentosa for the monorail :
Waterfront Station – the Universal Studios & Resort world Sentosa is located here.
Imbiah Lookout Station – where the Merlion Plaza is
Beach Station – The last station where all the beaches and pubs are located
There are 3 ways to reach Sentosa :
The Sentosa Express from ViviCity Mall
Cable Car from Harbourfront which costs more but provides a great view
The Sentosa Boardwalk which is free of cost but entails a long walk to Sentosa
TIP – We had chosen to visit Sentosa on a weekday to avoid the weekend crowd which turned out to be a good decision.
We got down at the Waterfront Station and soon were standing at the entrance to Universal Studios !
The entrance led us to the ‘Hollywood’ themed area in the Universal studios. Suddenly we were in a lane with beautifully architecture structures on both sides of the lane, music ringing all around us.
The lanes had numerous Hollywood themed cafes, toy stores, souvenir shops & statues. There was an entire store dedicated to Minions !! ❤ We felt like kids again. Much to our delight it was ‘Meet N Greet’ time with Frankenstein ,the most scariest monster of them all !!
After checking out the stores filled with adorable stuffed toys & other accessories of minions, shrek , donkey ,big birds, etc. we headed towards the ‘New York’ theme.
TIP – Pick up a copy of the numerous stage shows, street entertainments & character meet n greets happening throughout the day so you can plan your day ahead.
We picked up our copy at the ‘Hollywood’ area itself. We came across the ‘Rockafellas’ street show taking place at ‘New York’.
After browsing through the shops in ‘New York’ we moved on to the next theme ‘SciFi City’ . All we could see was Transformers and Starbot around us !
The Roller Coaster ride is situated here FYI . As both of us are not rollacoaster fans we headed for the ‘Transformers 3D’ ride on my sisters (a big BumbleBee fan) insistence. To our dismay there was a looong line here and after waiting for half an hour in the line I began to question my sanity !After spending some more time in the line it was finally our turn(Thank God !) With our 3D glasses on we sat in the transformer ship.I must admit it was a fantastic ride and totally worth the wait ! Possibly the best 3D experience i have ever had ! Planning to return for the Transformer ride again we moved to the next theme – ‘Ancient Egypt’.
Tall sphinx statues sculpted out of rock beckoned us. Seeing those mysterious large statues gave us a glimpse of what it would feel like to actually be in Egypt !
The souvenir cart here had really interesting items, mini sphinxes , mummy coffins with mummies in them, a real treasure trove of delights ! We then headed for the ‘Return of the Mummy’ roller coaster ride. The entry to the ride is through a long dark passageway designed with the theme is mind .It was lit dimly with spooky music playing in the backdrop with ceiling length statues of sphinxes and mummies to make one feel like one is walking inside a pyramid! Thankfully we didn’t have to stand in a long line here. . This ride is a must ! One of the best rides in Universal Studios.
After enjoying the ride once again ! we entered the ‘Lost World’. For a moment it felt like we were actually in the movie ‘Jurassic Park’ ,the tall T-Rex statues,the entry gate just like in the movies with the theme song playing all around us . As it was almost time for the ‘Meet N Greet’ with ‘ The Newest Addition to the Lost World’ we sat eating our snacks waiting for the show to begin.
TIP – Dining at cafes may turn out to be expensive so try to pack some snacks for your time in Universal Studios.Also carry water bottles which you can keep refilling at the refill points placed all around Universal Studios.
TIP – Carry loads of sunscreen coz you will need it ! 🙂 Soon the ‘Meet N Greet’ session started. A mini cargo truck carrying a robot dinosaur called Diane stopped in front of us. Diane seemed so ferocious and adorable at the same time , you could actually mistake it to be real ! The guide explained some fun facts about Diane before we got to click pics with her. She seemed so alive we were scared she would jump down from the truck and attack us !
After this very entertaining and fun session we headed for the ‘Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure Boat Ride’. We were seated on a 12 seater round inflated boat which floated down a fast flowing river.Watching out for different species of dinosaurs popping from the river banks we moved to the end of the ride.Dripping wet we got out of the boat and headed for the ‘Canopy Flyer’ ride which gives a bird’s eye view of the ‘Lost World’.
Dry again we left for the next theme ‘Far Far Away’. There was a magnificent castle like structure where they conduct the ‘Shrek 4D Adventure’.
We came across the ‘Dance for the Magic Beans’ stage show. Just as we were about to move on, it started drizzling. Erratic showers are common in Singapore, so is the hot & humid climate. Just as soon as it started pouring ,it stopped. As we walked on we saw it was time for ‘ Meet N Greet’ time with ‘Shrek & the Princess’!
We felt the scorching heat on our backs we moved on to ‘Madagascar’. After checking the souvenir shops we reached back to ‘Hollywood’ . Wanting to experience Transformers 3D ride once again we rushed back to ‘SciFi City’ , much to our delight it was ‘Meet n Greet’ time with BumbleBee & OptimusPrime ! Boy was there a long line to meet these cool bots!
A couple of clicks with BumbleBee and a 3D ride later it was time to leave Universal Studios. . . After a day well spent we returned back to the VivoCity Mall.
After having a hearty meal of fish ball noodle soup, Singaporean comfort food, we shopped in VivoCity Mall for a while before heading back to the hotel.
TIP – Must check out stationary outlets in Singapore Malls. . . to die for !
The day before we had noticed 2 massage chairs near the pool area in our hotel. So after a tiring day & sore achy muscles , we headed to these chairs. Relaxing in those chairs after walking all day, feeling all the tension drain out from our bodies was a heavenly feeling! Thanking our stars for these simple pleasures we headed back to our room.
Day 3 – Sentosa
We got down at the Waterfront Station again this day. Armed with our FunPass and list of attractions to complete. We first reached the S.E.A Aquarium.This place could also be called the cultural center as there was information regarding all Asian Countries provided in separate sections.
After purchasing an extremely adorable stuffed sting ray fridge magnet from the souvenir section we entered the underwater aquarium.
Watching the hammerhead & tiger sharks moving above our heads was an interesting experience. How thrilling it is to watch these magnificent & dangerous creatures up close ! We then moved on to the other sections of the aquarium. Watching so many gorgeous & colorful sea creatures , we were so spellbound that we ended up spending 2 hours in there !
So we hurried to the next attraction – the ‘Trick Eye Museum’ ! Having never heard of it we were very curious to check it out. It turned out to be a extremely fun filled event! After taking some amusing clicks of ourselves in the museum we exited.
We decided to walk all the way to the Merlion Plaza situated near the Imbiah Station so we could explore more of the place.
Merlion , the symbol of Singapore is a half lion- half sea creature statue. It is one of the tallest Merlion statues in Singapore.On entering the Merlion we were shown a short animated film on how the Merlion symbol came to be.We were then taken to the top of the Merlion to the observatory deck where we could view all of Sentosa.
The sky seemed cloudy, hoping that we would not be caught in another erratic shower we made our way to ‘Madame Tussaud’s Museum’. This Tussaud’s Museum seemed alot more fun than the one I had been to in Hong Kong.
There were costumes placed near the statues in the museum so one could dress up for the pics. There was also a small boat ride in the museum. By the time we exited the museum it was pouring, so the ‘Tiger Sky Tower’ ride was out of the question.
To wait out the rain we decided to check out the 4D Adventure Land attraction, which turned out to be very enjoyable. It had a 4D ride, 4D version of the movie ’Journey to the Mysterious Island’ watching the awesome Dwayne Johnson ❤ sure did lift out spirits 🙂 .The last was a 4D Cowboy Game which was quite interesting as well.
By this time it had almost stopped drizzling so we decided to Luge our way from Imbiah Station to Beach Station. With raindrops falling on us, feeling adventurous we luged our way down the slippery trail to Beach Station. As the beaches here were not very spectacular we took the cable car ride back to Imbiah Station. TIP – The cable car ride is more scenic on the ride from Imbiah Station to Beach Station than the other way around .
As we had covered all the attractions we were interested in we headed back to VivoCity Mall to do some more shopping ! 🙂
The VivoCity Mall and Harbourfront Centre are connected to each other. The VivoCity Mall has branded outlets whereas the HarbourFront Centre seemed like it was filled with local designer outlets with items at more reasonable prices.Exploring these malls till we could walk no more we headed back to the hotel and called it a night ( After a relaxing session on the massage chairs ofcoz ! 🙂 )
Day 4 – Bugis Street Shopping !
It was Shopping Day finally ! We’d initially planned to spend only half a day at Bugis Street but that was before we realized this place is a multi-storey shopping center filled with hundreds of outlets! A shopping paradise ! Bugis Street has a very interesting history. Decades ago it used to be something of a red light district where night markets took place. In 1980’s it was converted into a retail complex of mall, restaurants & night spots mixed with roadside vendors.
Although Bugis Street was located at a walking distance from our hotel , we decided to take the MRT to Bugis Station so as to save our energy for the sole purpose of our day . . . Shopping !!!
Soon we reached the world famous Bugis Street , Singapore’s largest shopping district! The ground floor is mostly for souvenir shopping,the upper floors are meant for everything from clothes & accessories to tattoo & foot spas. This street has a huge number of local designer boutiques providing products at competitive prices.
Much to our delight , at the entrance itself we could see rows of souvenir shops intervalled by juice & savory stalls. Juice stalls selling exotic fresh fruit juices for as less as 1 S$ ! Sipping on some of these chilled fruit juices to provide respite from the hot weather we started shopping.What an amazing collection of souvenirs each shop had ! Trying some of the Singaporean sweet dishes at the food stalls we continued shopping.By the time we completed browsing through the shops on the ground floor it was lunch time so we headed to the Bras Basah Food Complex located opposite Bugis Street. TIP – Try out the food complexes located in each locality to taste authentic local cuisine available at reasonable prices. Each food complex is filled with almost hundred food stalls giving tourists a lot of options to explore the food scene in Singapore.
Feeling adventurous we tried the Singaporeans Spicy Laksa which turned out to be an acquired taste. We then headed to the upper floors of Bugis Street.There was an amazing variety of designer clothes in each outlet, at very reasonable prices as well.
We checked out a lot of malls in the next few days but nothing came close to the variety offered here! Hands full of bags, feeling on cloud 9 , we left the place.Having an early dinner at the Bras Basah market food stalls we walked back to our hotel.
Before long we were relaxing on the massage chairs in our hotel,enjoying the peaceful atmosphere, feeling our muscles unknot , ready for the fun filled days ahead! . . .
Tune in next week same time to read Part 2 of our Singapore Trip, to read about Chinatown, Marina Bay Sands & many other must visit SG attractions ! ! ! 🙂