We did more than I had ever imagined we could in the first four days we were in Singapore. It shows that Singapore is very easy to get around and highly organized. There is also so much information on the web and from other blogs, that much of the places we went were not that surprising, I knew what to expect that is.
On our fifth, and last full day in the bustling city-state, we decided to go back to the Botanic Gardens. We had went the night before and though it was beautiful and cool in the evening temperatures, we wanted to see more.
First things first though, we must always start with breakfast. I always love to start my day with good food and we were on the hunt for a place that was near the Botanic Gardens, so we could make the most of our time (we only had until 1:30 p.m. because we had to go and pick up our visas at the Thai Embassy between 2-3 p.m.).
I found a place called Food For Thought on the internet which is actually located in the Garden itself! We decided, because we were STARVING (again, I know… it happens a lot to us) to take a taxi as we thought that the restaurant was on the opposite side of the park from the SMRT station.
We were able to quickly get a cab this time and were on our way. As the taxi dropped us off at the taxi stand at the park (even though we gave him the exact address, oh well) which ended up being the opposite side of the restaurant as well. So we learned our lesson again, that the best way to get around in Singapore is the SMRT.
We walked to the other side of the park, which only took about a half hour and found Food For Thought after some searching. It is in the basement level of the Botany Center and down some stairs at the far left of the center as you face the entrance.
Food For Thought is a chain in Singapore and has western and local fare. They support charities with their profits, they are actually helping five different charities currently. This branch has a lovely playground right outside the restaurant for little kids to play in, it was really busy when we got there so we didn’t let Zoë play in it. Plus we were starving. I had read that this restaurant was fairly inexpensive, but the cheapest breakfast was S$8, which is not that cheap. We ended up spending over S$40 for breakfast, but the food was pretty good. Actually their toast was the best I think I have ever had, I was tempted to pay S$3 for another piece, but resisted. I was going to steal Zoë’s but she had already eaten hers, bummer.
Our first stop after breakfast was the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. We naively thought that the park would be pretty empty since it was a school day. As we rounded the corner to the entrance of the children’s garden we saw the line of school busses. We cringed at our mistake as we saw the massive groups of school children in front. They were getting snacks at the snack bar and hanging out. They were very well-behaved, but there were enough children that it sounded like a stadium regardless.
We had built up a thirst on our walk over and waited in a long line to get a couple of waters before wandering in. Do you know how long it takes 30 kids under the age of 10 years old, to order their ice cream and soda’s? Over a half hour. I stayed in the line while Chad took Z in to check it out.
When I finally bought our waters, I realized that all the school busses were loading up their students and leaving. We had arrived around 11:00 a.m., I guess that was the golden hour as all of a sudden the garden was quiet and there were only a few toddlers and their families left. What luck!
I went looking for Chad and Zoë with my hard-earned water bottles. I found them at water play area. Z was running around gleefully in her underwear and was already soaking wet. It was a really hot day so I was glad that she was able to cool down a bit. The water turned off in about 20 minutes for some reason and didn’t seem like it was coming back on so we put Z’s dress back on her and headed down the path. All along the path from the water play area to the back of the area is a garden that had vegetables and such that the kids can touch, smell, and observe. Zoë especially loved the cotton plant. Chad and I also enjoyed looking at the different plants and they were all labeled and easy to read.
We trundled across a log suspension bridge (which was actually stroller friendly) and came upon a huge tube slide. We were running out of time in the park so Zoë and I went down the huge slides numerous times and had to leave. We missed much of the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, but what we did see was educational and fun. I would love to go back.
We walked to the SMRT station and hopped on the train to the Thai Embassy. We quickly and easily picked up our approved visas (Thank God!).
We were within walking distance to another microbrew restaurant and we decided to try it out. Well, we thought we were within walking distance at least, we walked but it took about 30 minutes from the Orchard Station. When we arrived at JiBiru Craft Beer Bar we couldn’t wait to order our first beer/cider.
JiBiru has only outdoor seating and serves Yakitori food. Chad ordered a Japanese microbrew and I ordered a cider. The lunch specials ran around S$12 a piece, but were delicious and filling. The beers and ciders on the other hand were about S$10-12 a piece. We each had a couple of bottles and left it at that. I would definitely recommend (if you love good beer/cider) visiting JiBiru Craft Beer Bar.
We felt a little sluggish after eating so much (it had nothing to do with the couple of bottles of beer I am sure) and decided to take Z to her first movie in a movie theater. We had noticed the Lido Theater on our walk to JiBiru and saw that the Lego Movie was playing.
We paid an exorbitant amount of money at 7-11 for candy to sneak into the theater (come on, you know you all do that, too) and went and bought our tickets. The tickets actually were not that expensive, only S$8 a person… We had finally found something inexpensive to do in Singapore!
We all loved the movie and Z sat through most of it! We truly can take her almost anywhere now… next hurdle will be taking her clubbing! Maybe not…
We relaxed the rest of the night at our place and prepared to leave the next day. We had only one bag so it was easy. We both wanted to get to the airport early because we had noticed (and I had read about Changi Airport on Kids “R” Simple here) that they had much for little ones to do.
The next morning we arrived at Changi airport by train and checked into our flight and immediately looked for the playgrounds. We found one in terminal 3, near the train station. They charged S$18 for 2 hours, but we had already promised Zoë that she could play and we just ignored our feeling of being a bit ripped off and let her play. It was a mediocre playground to say the least, but she enjoyed it immensely.
After we figured out that our flight left from terminal one, we ventured over there and realized that there is a free playground near some of the food kiosks. Grrrr… maybe I should have researched a little better right before we actually arrived there. Traveling sure does teach me more and more about being prepared but flexible.
As we flew out of Singapore, I talked to Chad about what I thought about Singapore. Singapore is the closest thing to back home that we have experienced on our travels so far. It was well-developed, clean (except those darn dirty toilet seats), easy to get around using public transportation, and everything was in English. It was almost disconcerting knowing that we were in Asia, but feeling as though we were not. Also, Singapore was incredibly expensive, albeit we did a ton of touristy things and ate at specialty restaurants some of the time, but almost everything was more expensive that what we pay in Northern California for the same thing. It was not surprising to me that Singapore was named the most expensive place to live in the world this year.
Regardless of the things I did not like so much, I enjoyed everything we did and especially loved the food in Little India and our time in the Botanic Gardens and the Singapore Zoo.
Thanks for following along with our trip to Singapore. We have been doing many things here in Phuket that I look forward to writing about. Now I need your help, is there anything you are curious about here in Phuket or Thailand in general? I like to write posts that make you, my lovely readers, feel like you are here with us, so please let me know. And of course, if you would like to follow, subscribe, and share our blog it would be much appreciated!