Monday, February 28, 2011

Getting Around Singapore with MRT

It's not surprising that the MRT system in Singapore is very convenient.

MRT-singapore

singapore-tourist-pass

On this day, I started off my journey with the Singapore Tourist Pass, that can be purchased at the following stations. Make sure to check the opening hours of the ticket counters:
  • Changi Airport
  • Orchard
  • Chinatown
  • City Hall
  • Raffles Place
  • Ang Mo Kio
  • Harbour Front
  • Bugis
Each pass costs SGD8 per day, with a refundable deposit of SGD10 when you return the card.

The following day, I decided to go with the single ticket. Remember to return your electronic card at the ticket machine to get your SGD1 refund.

MRT-electronic-ticket

MRT-ticket-machine

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Singapore: Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

After a tiring walk the previous day, I decided to go slower and explore the vicinity of Chinatown MRT, wearing flip flops. It was a gloomy day. I walked from Exit A, along the street market towards the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.

The buildings are well maintained.

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Chinatown-singapore-1

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A heavy thunderstorm raged outside when I took cover inside the temple. I missed the outer view of the majestic temple architecture, but I made sure to have visited each and every floor inside (air conditioned :), the top floor being an outside garden. The entrance fee is free and the opening hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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At the entrance, people write down their wishes, and lighted candles in the colorful candle holders:

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Life story of the Buddha.

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Outside garden at the top floor. The monk in the picture is a tourist. I believe he's from Tibet.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Singapore's Landmarks and How to Get There

I thought it would be a good idea to list down the landmarks I've been to, and how I've reached the destination with the MRT.

Landmarks: Boat Quay, and Cavenagh bridge.
How to get there: exit at MRT station Raffles Place.

boat-quay

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I crossed the Cavenagh bridge, and walked along the Quay, towards Sir Stamford Raffles statue.

Sir-Stamford-Raffles

My next destination was the Merlion Statue. I headed back towards Fullerton Hotel, crossing the Cavenagh Bridge, but felt lost at the street crossroads ~~, so decided to take the Fullerton Hotel underpass towards Merlion statue. These are the sceneries I saw when I came out of the underpass:



Finally, I've reached the Merlion Park, but unfortunately the Merlion statue was under renovation :(. This is the small replica.


At the Marina Bay overlooking the Marina Bay Sands hotel, and Esplanade concert hall.



Honestly, I was very disappointed at the above pictures of the Marina Bay. I remember it was an extremely bright day although cloudy at times, and I'm now figuring out how the photos came out very boring, both in colors and angle. As I'm writing this, ooooo..... I think I found one of the answers *reading article now*.

Landmarks: St-Andrew's Cathedral, and the Civilian War Memorial.
How to get there: City Hall MRT.

st-andrew's-cathedral

civilian-war-memorial

It was surprising that the Civilian War Memorial was reclusive but at the same time reachable in the city. I can see it from afar, but it was difficult to get there, uh... do you understand what I mean?


I was looking forward to take pictures of the Fountain of Wealth at Suntec City (underpass to Suntec City Mall), but it so happened that the guards told me to come back in the evening. I went back at the specified time, but the big fountain was not working for some reason ;( *frustrated and tired*. I decided to wear slippers the next day.

Let's end the day with colors: a funky colorful building near Little India MRT station (exit E).

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little-india-1

Friday, February 25, 2011

Singapore: The Matrix Island

Warning: this post is cynical, and not for sensitive hearts. DH calls Singapore, the Matrix island. I have always wondered why, but now I understand what he is referring to. It is very modern and so clean. There are cameras everywhere. They watch your every move.

roadside-camera

Almost everything is automated: ERP (Electronic Road Pricing), parking system, bus schedules, parking lot availability, and more that I might not know of. DH wanted to take the taxi, and Sms his location number from the taxi stand. Within seconds, he received a Sms confirmation, and within one minute, the cab arrived. Wow, amazingly efficient!!!

parking-lot-availability

bus-stop

ERP

Every car is equipped with a cash card. The cash is immediately deducted upon passing under the ERP. If the driver forgot to reload his card, he'll be charged a penalty fee.

At first glance, I thought this was a movie banner. I was so wrong.

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They're encouraging people to go into the police force. Cool banner! Military service is compulsory, and every men has to undergo training for a few weeks... EVERY year. This might explain why Singaporean men are not overweight.

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I guess Madonna's song "Material Girl" suits the majority of ladies living in Singapore (as in other major cities of Asia). There are luxurious brand boutiques in almost every building on Orchard road... every 20-50 steps.

There are so many expats, and a lot of tourists. The island is so successful, but I see it as a business trading hub, rather than a country with its own culture and specialty dishes. I had a headache, so I headed back to the hotel and dozed off.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Singapore: Getting to Marina Bay Sands by MRT

I had the flu during my journey in Singapore. I got the complete package: runny nose, sore throat, and non stop cough. I believe my low immunity is the result of my halting to exercise for the past 3 years, combine with eating junk food. Must.start.exercising.

I was tired... but was nevertheless happy to have gotten nice shots :)

I purposely went to the Helix bridge in the evening, not to visit one of the 2 casinos of Singapore, Marina Bay Sands, the other one being at Resort World Sentosa near VivoCity, but mainly to take pictures of the bridge! Gosh, I'm so in love with photography...

I took the MRT and exited at Promenade, Exit A. I wasn't sure where I was heading, but I just followed the sign, and crossed 2 streets towards the Helix bridge. I'm glad I didn't take the bus. The 3 tall buildings with the Sands SkyPark is the hotel, while the yellow lighted building is the high-end shopping mall, where the casinos is. I couldn't stay in the casino for long, because almost everyone was smoking in there! I guess there's a considerable amount of stress. The tables were for high bidders, minimum of SGD50. If you go to the Resort World Sentosa casino (HarbourFront MRT, and bus RWS8, or take the Sentosa Express Monorail from VivoCity) the minimum bid is SGD25, and the air is fortunately cleaner.

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Crossing the bridge. At certain points, I felt the bridge shaking, but I guess it's normal.

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From this angle, you can see the ArtScience Museum. It looks like a palm.

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Can you see the reflection of the Marina Bay Sands?

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ArtScience-museum

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hong Kong: breakfast

DH mentioned to me about an interesting breakfast that Hong Kong people like: macaroni soup with ham.


They even have it a McDonald's Hong Kong!


Hong Kong style milk tea:

Another local breakfast is hot Bo Lo bun with butter. The bun has a sweet crust on top, and is sliced in half to put the butter chunk in. Leave the butter to melt before eating.


We went to this restaurant called Macau Restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui, and tried their Portuguese egg tart. They weren't meant for breakfast, but we ordered them anyways. The crust was not bad: fluffy and flaky.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hong Kong: Heritage 1881

Here are a few shots taken at Heritage 1881. It is located on Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. We wanted to reach the Star Ferry terminal, and saw this on the way.

It has recently been renovated, and houses many high end luxury watch shops, such as Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Cartier, IWC, etc.

Heritage 1881 carousel and Tiffany and Co. Christmas tree:

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Hong-Kong-Heritage 1881 carousel

Hong-Kong-Heritage 1881