March 2011

Singapore Zoo

The Singapore Zoo is about a 40 minute drive from downtown and the area of the zoo is located on a half-island. It is the only zoo in the world with the famous “open concept”, which means, that almost all animals are not behind fences or in cages but in areas divided by natural barriers. This concept is not only for animals perfect but also for enthusiastic photographers who don’t want to take pictures of animals behind bars.

There are several ways to explore the different trails in the zoo. You can choose the train, go by foot or you can even rent your own electric car. The zoo has a great variety of animals. For example is right behind the main entrance the open area for the Orang Utans. They climb freely on the trees and are not kept in cages. Beside the Orang Utans you can see the white tiger, zebras, lions, apes and lot’s of exotic birds.

The zoo also offers a lot of opportunities to eat and drink. Beside some restaurants you can find small cafes and snack bars along the main tracks.

In my opinion the Singapore Zoo is one of the most beautiful zoos I’ve seen so far. When you walk through you really don’t have the impression that you are in a zoo and that – I think – is the whole point. The environment for the animals should be as natural as possible. I would definitely recommend a visit there!

The Botanic Gardens, Singapore

I already mentioned the Botanic Gardens in my post about the National Orchid Garden which is inside the Botanic Garden. It’s a perfect place to take pictures of various plants and animals in a quite and relaxing environment.

Clarke Quay by Night

The hotel were we stayed was right around the corner of Clarke Quay, a historical riverside quay located in the Singapore River Planning Area.

Today the area contains many restaurants and nightclubs and the warehouses were restored beautifully. The area is very lively in the evening and you should visit the pubs and bars for one (or two) cocktails.

During the day Clark Quay is also a starting point for various River Cruises and River Taxis.

National Orchid Garden

The National Orchid Garden which is located on the highest hill in the Botanic Gardens is a must see for flora lovers and photographers.

The Botanic Gardens were built along a 3-Core concept. The three cores are

  • Tanglin which is the heritage core retaining the old favourites and charms of the historic Gardens
  • Central which is the tourist belt of the Gardens
  • Bukit Timah which is the educational and recreational zone

The Orchid Garden is located in the Central Core along with the also very interesting Ginger Garden.

Identifying these flowers isn’t so easy for a beginner. I just managed to find the category of each orchid but I’m still not sure if everything is correct. You have to take the shape, color, pattern and size of the bloom into consideration. Further more there are many mixes and hybrids which makes it even harder to find the correct names.

Chingay Parade 2011

The word “chingay” is from the Hokkien dialect, meaning “the art of masquerade”. Hokkien dialects are spoken in southern Taiwan and by many overseas Chinese throughout Southeast Asia.

The festival began as a neighbourhood parade with only Chinese elements in 1973. Today, the Chingay Parade has evolved to be the grandest street and floats parade in Asia, showcasing the rich, vibrant multi-culturalism of Singapore and exciting cultures all over the world.

The parade takes place on two evenings next to the Singapore flyer. I went there on both evenings to catch some shots of the diverse people and costumes. Although there were thousands of people the festival and atmosphere was without stress and squeezing crowds. This is just one of the positive aspects I noticed in Asian countries.

Little India

Most major cities have their Chinatowns but Singapore also has a Indiantown or better a “Little India”.

It is a very colorful and lively area with lot of eateries and cheap hotels for backpackers. It’s a nice way to get a feeling of the indian culture and life because there are some famous temples there which you can visit. One is the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. It’s a hindu temple and is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali.