Singapore 2014 – Day 4 – Cloud Forest, Flower Dome and Clarke Quay

Day 4 in Lion City, we open with a small sample of Honey BBQ pork slices, the shop is just around the corner from our hotel, I had wanted to have some since I spotted it in Chinatown the other day but hadn’t found the opportunity to until this morning, the meat itself was delightfully chewy, with a sweet smoky flavour, the meat itself glistening against the morning light. Then it was off to Marina Bay again for some actual breakfast, here I would wander around looking at food until eventually settling on Malaysian throwback dish ‘Nasi Lemak’, with its coconut rice mixed with chilli and fried anchovies.

Main attraction today was the two botanical gardens in Marina sands, the Cloud forest and Flower Dome, both appropriately named after a high altitude rainforest and a dome full of flowers respectively (creative..?). Departing from the marina bay mall we were immediately hit with what felt like 35 something degrees of sun, the white pavement leading to the gardens by the bay seemingly reflecting every ray of light directly onto us, with a humidity level high enough to kill french elderly. After trudging through and re-admiring the gardens in the daylight we reached Cloud Forest, a high dome which doubles as a greenhouse – it had air conditioning, thank god.

Upon entering the Cloud Forest dome we were greeted by a familiar thundering of water on water, a thick spray of mist flying at us attempting to escape the confines of the dome. ‘The falls’ read the sign, a collection of waterfalls falling from varying heights up to 7 stories high, and surrounded by an abundance of vegetation. Cloud Forest itself supposedly mimics the environment of actual cloud forests by matching the heat, humidity and cloud level of actual high altitude forests, presumedly why the plants can still thrive despite being in a comfortable-for-humans 18<°C, It really shows though as walking through the dome on the first floor you can see a thin mist towards the top of the complex. There were many many plants over the 7 or 8 floors of the dome, and multiple catwalks for you to view them on, on the inside section of the middle structure were some more education exhibits about the planet as well as some rock formation’s (stalactite exhibitions).

After finishing off the Cloud Forest, we had some ice cream for a break (lychee and chrysanthemum scoops, yum) and then headed into the Flower Dome, me with my camera at the ready for serious ‘art’.
The dome did not disappoint, though it was slightly smaller than expected due to the lengthy nature of Cloud Forest (which is technically smaller in size, but longer to progress through due to the nature of the layout), I managed to get a ton of nice pictures though, and it was pretty interesting seeing a large variety of plant species under one roof without being oppressed by tropical heat.

Departing the gardens by the bay, we were off to Clark Quay, only a few stops back into the city, Clark Quay was also visited back in 2009. The water colour seems to have taken a turn for the worse, but otherwise Clark Quay was still looking lovely, we took the opportunity to explore a little more than we did last time, going into an underground mall as well as across the river in the picture. Over the river is a small maze of bars and restaurants clearly geared towards foreigners (specifically white people) who were evidently happy to show off their cultural backbone by swamping the place and paying extortionate prices for beer as we walked through.

We would soon find ourselves in another small mall with little to look at, and so we eventually called a cab and headed off back to yesterday’s Lau Pa Sat for some dinner. Carole’s prawn noodles were on the menu tonight, bought from a stand which literally only serves 2 hot dishes – Prawn noodles, and prawn noodles with beef. The Latter was bought, some lovely egg noodles backed by an amazing broth, shame about the prawns however. We also had some more chicken satay on the side and I managed to actually get a picture of it this time before it was rapidly devoured.

Final destination for the day was another throwback destination, Bugis street – near where we were staying last time, Bugis Street is famous for its labyrinthine market which creeps across an entire city block if not more.

We also went into Bugis+ , a 7 story mall which has almost an entire floor worth of space dedicated to video games and e-sports, the Garena Stadium and shops takes up an entire side of the mall, with one side having spectator seating and live events (we wandered into the middle of a live match between Insidious Gaming and Saigon Jokers being played and shoutcasted) and the other side being lan cafe and merchandise shop. Also on this floor, a digital darts bar (like real darts, but digitized boards, it was weird), a board games cafe (pay X, get unlimited drinks for 2 hours and play board games) and on the next floor, another lan centre with some arcade machines. Why my country can’t have nice things like these, I will never know :'(

That about wraps up the day, tomorrow we have a little bit left in Singapore before flying out to Phuket Thailand!