Days 18 - 19 - Singapore Zoo

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February 4th 2013
Published: February 13th 2013
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I was off to the famous Singapore zoo today but I totally messed up with my travel arrangements to get there, I made a cursory glance at my itinerary and remember it said to get to Woodlands MRT station from where you get a bus. However when I got there after 50 mins to the tube I couldn’t find any bus to be seen, after walking round looking like a complete numpty for 10 mins a lovely old lady took pity on me and asked if she could help. After a little laugh when I told her my destination she explained that you only got off at Woodlands on Sundays the rest of the week it was Ang Mo Kio station – Doh! So I then had to buy another ticket to take me there and she accompanied me as she obviously had to faith in my direction finding skills:-). By the time I arrived at And Mo Kio I had travelled nearly the full loop of the North South Line as it was only a couple of stops where I had started – in other words from the further point south of Singapore Island to its furthest point north and back again. Once I arrived at the correct station my guide then took me to the bus stop at which point I thanked her profusely – what a sweety. Eventually the bus (No. 183) dropped me off at the Zoo 3 hours after I had set off. If you went the correct way it would take around 1 hour!!.

Even though I had seen many of these animals in the wild I am a sucker for anything creature related so I had to visit it. The Zoo has been described as being the world’s best and I couldn’t really argue with that statement, the vast majority of the animals are in cageless enclosures separated by moats or just waist high wooden fences. They have feedings times throughout the entire day and for a small charge extra $SD 5 (approx. £3) you can feed some of the animals yourself, for instance I saw some people feeding bananas to a rhino. There was only one animal that I wanted to feed but they weren’t too keen on me feeding the lions. There was two male lions in the enclosure and they seemed happy enough but my were they fat – Its not surprising when you don’t have to hunt for your food and there are no running machines available. When the keepers were throwing the food to them you could still see the predatory look in their eyes in the anticipation of fresh meat.

The other highlights of the Zoo were the two albino tigers, of course the orang-utans, proboscis monkeys, Asian elephants (which you can ride on) and one animal that I had never seen in the flesh before – a giant panda. I didn’t mind paying the little bit extra to see the Pandas but the experience itself was a little disappointing, for a start there was only one in the enclosure, the other was undergoing conditioning whatever that means – yet again I’ve lost out to a date cause they are washing their hair:-) Secondly the only giant panda on show was just sleeping with his back to us all. Even though Pandas spend most of the day eating, this one decided to take a nap just as I visited. Each group is assigned 15 minute slots for the viewing – so I guess it’s down to look what they are doing at this time. Far more interesting to me were the red pandas found in the same area. They were much smaller but incredibly cute and one of them seemed a bit deranged as he spent the whole 15 minutes just running round in circles.

They also have a night safari which takes place after dark and you are taken round on carriages to view the nocturnal animals of the Zoo, this would be great for the kids but I didn’t fancy it – plus I couldn’t bear to travel to the Zoo again on the same day:-)

The Zoo also had a rainforest area which was amazing, all the animals that resided there had over time, got used to humans. One of my favourite fluffy animals are the ring-tailed lemurs, they are so cute and there were around 6 of them lined up on a balcony waiting to meet me. I was leant on the balcony one jumped over me and another one just sat there whilst I stroked his fur – I know you shouldn’t really do this but I’ve never been on to follow the rules on my travels ( and that’s nothing to what I did in a later blog). Despite travelling for around 4 and a half hours to get there and back I loved the Zoo it’s a model as to how every Zoo should be but unfortunately not everyone has the money to spend on Zoos that Singapore has.

Despite being weary from all the walking I had done I forced myself to visit Orchard road after the Zoo after a brief visit to Little India for a veggie curry:-) Orchard Road is the main reason why most people end up in Singapore – shopping, you could liken it to 5th Ave in New York. It’s got all the glitzy shops, Prada, Armani etc and most items can be picked up slightly cheaper that what you find back home. My backpacker budget didn’t stretch to allow me to get a Versace suit so I left the shoppers weighed down by their bags and headed back to my hostel for a well-earned beer.

Boring Bits

Easiest way from airport is the MRT (metro) the stop in Chinatown is Tanjong Pagar (Costs SGD$2.50 – approx SGD$2 = £1)

MRT - Airport To City

To get to the city, passengers need to transfer to the west bound train at Tanah Merah train station. The last train service leaving Changi Airport station which would allow a transfer to the last west bound train at Tanah Merah station is scheduled at 11.18pm.

MRT - City to Airport

To get to the airport, passengers need to transfer to the east bound train at Tanah Merah train station. The first train service arriving at Changi Airport station is scheduled at 5.26am on Mondays to Saturdays and at 5.54am on Sundays and public holidays.




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