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Tag Archives: Singapore

A Visit to Sungei Boleh

In the far northwest of Singapore is a place called Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a coastal nature reserve featuring jungles and wetlands, with boardwalks and trails and viewing platforms to look at the birds and lizards that live there. It’s quite a haul from our place, but one morning in July Nyan and Daddy headed up there for a morning of light hiking and communing with nature. We were glad we did!

It’s a beautiful place. Supposedly there are crocodiles there, though we didn’t see any. We did see this water monitor lizard though:

Nyan had a good time.

Listen to those jungle sounds! 

At the end of the trails is a more curated area with small man-made ponds you can sort of walk through. Bit different from the raw nature of the rest of the park, but fine enough.

All in all, a great way to spend a few sweaty hours! 

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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A Sunday Morning Nature Hike

One steamy Sunday morning, Nyan and Daddy set off on a jungle hike to a place called the MacRitchie Reservoir. It’s a series of trails along the shores of a man-made lake. It was hardly roughing it: the place is a 20-minute taxi ride away, all the trails are wide, well-maintained boardwalks, and the place was mostly heaving with other people having the same idea. Still, it was a nice escape. 

This being the Singapore jungle, yes there were monkeys.

And plenty of turtles in the near-shore areas.

Pretty great scenery and a good little break, complete with fresh air and (modest) exercise.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Kicking off Summer at the Raffles Hotel

School ended in mid-June, and we celebrated with a two-night stay at the iconic Raffles Hotel, which has stood in the heart of Singapore for about 150 years and which recently underwent a thorough renovation. They were running special deals that made it far more affordable, and we figured it was something that we had to do at least once in our lives. Really glad we did – the place was luxurious, the staffers were amazing, and we had a great time overall. No complaints at all.

Some interiors of the lobby and our room:

And random photos from outside — the views, the facades, the courtyards.

As usual for our ‘staycations,’ we didn’t actually do all that much. It was about relaxing, spending time together as a family, taking our feet off the proverbial gas pedal. So what all did we get up to?

We posted for pictures:

We swam: 

We checked out artifacts like the famous grandfather clock in the hotel lobby:

And we ate. In-room breakfast:

In-room afternoon tea:

In-room evening meal:

That was about it! Can’t recommend the Raffles Hotel highly enough. We had a great time, and it was a great start to the summer.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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A Visit to River Safari

River Safari is this sort of zoo-aquarium hybrid. It’s mostly outdoors, a smallish animal park with displays of the animals that live in some of the world’s great rivers. It’s right next to the Singapore Zoo, and it’s fairly compact and makes for a nice three-hour visit. One day during Nyan’s spring break in March, we grabbed Nyan’s friend Edris and headed out. 

There was lots to see – and yes, there are exhibits that include birds and monkeys (which technically live alongside some of these great rivers, I guess that’s why they are included?)

Did Nyan and Edris enjoy themselve? They did! Check out the excitement in these pics:

One of the main attractions of River Safari is the Panda House, which is home to two Great Pandas. (As far as we can tell, there is zero connection to any river here — we imagine that China offered Singapore a coupe of pandas for the Singapore Zoo, which would be the natural place for them; probably some internal politics among the local wildlife conservation scene led to the pandas going next door to River Safari instead. But anyway…)  

The boys were excited:

We had some great views of the big fellas:

The pandas themselves were either napping or chewing on giant piles of bamboo. Living the panda life, basically.

(Added in August 2021: It was just announced that, back in about April of this year, these two lovebirds, er, love pandas became in a family way, and gave birth to a bouncing baby panda in August! How cool is that!)

Back to River Safari. There’s also a brief boat ride that took you through the Amazon river.

And of course a stop for lunch.

It was a really fun day!

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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A Post-Christmas Staycation

Thanks to the pandemic, we couldn’t travel anywhere over the Christmas holidays. So instead we booked two nights at a local hotel called the Andaz. It’s fairly new, and pretty close to our home, on the edge of downtown. It was a nice little break. 

Here’s the outside of the building, and the lobby:

Here’s our boy and Slothie, relaxing by the windows and commenting, “I’m like a Roman emperor! Except with an apple instead of grapes.”

It’s a high-rise hotel; our room was on the 28th floor, the pool was on the 25th, and there’s a bar and open-air viewing platform up on the roof, at the 40th floor. So the views are pretty awesome.

And the infinity pool on the 25th floor was pretty nice too. Small, but nice.

We didn’t really do all that much on this staycation, since the whole point was to just relax. But we went to a few nearby restaurants, and had a walkabout through what’s called the Arab Quarter, the traditional Muslim neighborhood that the hotel is located right next to. The quarter is home to a beautiful mosque, so of course we posed for a goofy family pic.

We can’t wait til we are allowed to travel internationally again, but until then, little breaks like this help keep us sane!

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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A Visit to Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru is the name of a neighborhood not far from downtown Singapore. It’s known for its food shops, its cafes and its 1930s art deco architecture. One Sunday morning, Nyan and Daddy headed there for a casual stroll. It wasn’t all that exciting, but it was a nice change of pace.

We walked down the sidewalks and checked out the old wooden doors…

We admired a bright Vespa parked on the road:

Fun fact: Tiong Bahru is close to Singapore General Hospital, and back in WW2, the Japanese made a habit of trying to drop bombs on the hospital. Sometimes they would miss and hit Tiong Bahru, so the government built air raid shelters there, which you can still see the outside of. There’s a little display of old photos from inside, and an old advertisement from someone offering to build air raid shelters, I guess?

And finally: Tiong Bahru is kind of an artistic area, so we stumbled upon a mural of a giant goat. Not sure why, but we had to take photos, of course.

That’s it. Like we said, not the most exciting trip ever. But still nice!

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Family Hikes in the Singapore Jungle

Singapore is a pretty urbanized, built-out, concrete jungle, but there are a few places where the natural, leafy jungle still rules. The local government has done a good job of protecting these places and putting in well-maintained trails for residents to get back to nature. On two Sundays in October, that’s exactly what we did.

Our hero, ready for some outdoor action

First up was a family outing to a place called Dairy Farm Nature Park. It was, in fact, the site of a dairy farm at one point; the first in the tropics, I’m told. Now it’s hilly paved trails leading to an old quarry. It’s quite popular; too much so, I would argue, but that’s life on a densely populated island during a pandemic when no one can fly away!

We digress. Check out these pics from the hike. There were monkeys:

And there was that quarry:

And some family pics and family selfies:

It was a short walk, and very crowded, but still nice.

The following weekend, Nyan and Daddy set off for a more private hike, this time at a place called Thomson Nature Park. They carved it out of the jungle just a couple years ago, and it’s obviously not too popular yet. That was fine by us! We had the hills and trails mostly to ourselves. 

The jungle here was thick:

Some of the leaves grew quite large. Yes, that’s actually a Nyan-sized leaf; it’s not a trick of perspective.

A lovely little stream:

Both hikes were, of course, hot and sweaty, but well worth it. Always nice to get out into wild nature.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Back to School (and the Art Science Museum)

School resumed in August 2020: Year 5! 

He loves to put on a grumpy face for the camera, eh?

Nyan takes the bus to school this year, as does Ellie, the younger girl who lives in our building. They always have a lot of goofy fun on the walk back to the apartment from the bus stop.

Yeah, they held hands briefly one day. When both sets of parents casually mentioned it… well, they both got embarrassed and stopped. Ah well. 

Also in August, we made a Sunday afternoon visit to the Art Science Museum to see the futuristic exhibit we’d been to before. It’s kinda a hodge-podge of visual exhibits, and kinda cool.

One bit has you coloring in a fish or a UFO or the like and inserting it into a computer; a few seconds later, your drawing is making its way across a big screen with everyone else’s. Kinda cool.

The highlight is the exhibit featuring tens of thousands of LED lights arranged in a sort of maze; they flash and change color and it’s all quite cool.

Bonus: we went to the beach one day. Because of the summertime prevailing winds and currents, in August the southern-facing beaches are just covered in flotsam, jetsam, and other garbage thrown overboard by ships (thanks) or washed away from coastal villages that have no waste management to speak of (thanks to you too). It’s nasty, but this day some volunteers were clearing the beach of the debris. Nyan saw and wanted to help! Quite proud of him. 

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Celebrating Mommy’s Birthday in Style

There was no traveling for Mommy’s birthday in August, so we made do with what we could and booked a night at the Four Seasons hotel. Fancy! Even fancier when they upgraded us to a one-bedroom suite.

Pretty nice! Nyan did what he likes to do at hotels: eat fruit and proclaim he’s a Roman emperor.

The hotel had a small pool up on the roof. We swam, we lounged, we read.

And we just generally chillaxed in the hotel.

Daddy had mentioned Mommy’s birthday to the hotel, so they sent up a huge cart filled with a full tea set — sweets, fruit, drinks, and of course a birthday cake. Very nice!

On one ride down the hotel elevator, Mommy and Our Hero decided to have a quick dance party.

It was so much fun that when we were in another mirrored elevator at a nearby mall for dinner, they did it again!

And back at the hotel…again!

Pretty good dancers, we gotta say!

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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A Slow Return to Normalcy

We started to slowly come out of coronavirus lockdown in June 2020, but in a very restrained way. 

Nyan started to go back to school, in proper protective garb:

But it wasn’t full-time in-class learning. Here he is in mid-June, excitedly playing some sort of on-line quiz in Mandarin class from home:

Toward the end of the month we were allowed to socially mix again, so we quickly put together a sleepover with Jayden. The boys had a blast of course, playing and watching a movie and reading.

We also took a quick trip one Saturday afternoon to Gardens by the Bay. All the indoor gardens were closed, but we could walk around the jungle-park areas outside. Had it almost entirely to ourselves, and it was a great little trip to get some fresh air and exercise.

How empty was it? This is the passageway from the subway to the park. Usually heaving with people.

To be honest, Nyan wasn’t especially thrilled to be there, as you can maybe see from his body language in these pictures. Oh well. It was a good thing to do.

Maybe best of all: our swimming pool reopened in June! We celebrated with a slow-motion jump:

Swimming lessons resumed soon thereafter, as did his usual goofing around with Pang, his instructor.

Nyan also showed off his somersault moves, after some prodding from Daddy: 

Yes, it was good to be back. Things started to really ramp up in July. More on that in upcoming posts!

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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