Can’t believe it’s been 7 months since the trip! I finally had a chance to sit down and write this last post to conclude my 2015 winter trip in Asia…
Our last day in Singapore began with a breakfast at the famous Song Fa Bak Kut Teh. Bak kut teh is pork bones served in broth with different types of spices. This restaurant chain has 3 locations in Singapore and they have different operating hours. Please make sure you check the hours before going.
We arrived at 9 a.m. in the morning and the restaurant was already very busy. We sat in the covered outdoor area with no A/C but fortunately the day was not too hot yet. There are only a few items on their menu but of course you must try their most famous dish, Bak kut teh. We each ordered one with a bowl of rice. I cannot do spicy so I found the broth to be very hot with the spices. However, the broth was very flavourful and I enjoyed eating the rice with the broth. The pork bones were very tender, with the meat falling off the bones. You could tell that they have been cooked for a very long time. Service at this restaurant was not that great but you would not expect much at a casual restaurant such as this one. If you enjoyed the bak kut teh, you could buy a box of the spices to prepare at home. It came with a pack of 4 for a decent price.
After breakfast, we took a taxi to the Singapore Zoo. The zoo was approximately a 30 minute drive so we managed to catch some sleep on the taxi. The zoo is pretty big and they also have a night safari. There are more cost savings if you purchase the zoo tickets as a bundle with the night safari online. I’ve heard many good things about the night safari. However, given our time constraint, we decided not to go.
The zoo is divided based on habitats. The key highlights for me at this zoo were the polar bears, koalas, elephants, white tigers and the kangaroos as these animals are not commonly found in all zoos. Also, it was interesting to note that the barricades at this zoo are very low, even for dangerous animals such as lions and tigers! I feel like if the animals did try to jump, they probably could get out…
When we were about to leave, it was pouring rain! We were waiting under cover hoping it would cease in a few minutes. However, after waiting for a little while, we realized that it was not going to stop any time soon. Therefore, we decide to dash for the entrance and catch a taxi to our next destination. As expected, there were many people waiting at the taxi stand. This was the second time we called a taxi in Singapore and it saved us so much time!
After a 30 minute taxi ride, we arrived at our stop for lunch, Flock Cafe. Flock Cafe is a popular and trendy cafe in the Tiong Bahru area. The meal was very delicious but was more expensive compared to other restaurants in Singapore. We ordered their coffee and hot chocolate which came with very pretty latte art. For food, we had their cheeky eggs and eggs sally which are egg benedicts with pulled pork and smoked salmon respectively. We also ordered the chicken katsu burger. All their food was served hot from the kitchen and ingredients tasted very fresh. I highly recommend trying Flock Cafe out while you are in town.
With a full stomach, we explored the Tiong Bahru area. This area is one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore. It is nice to take a stroll in the area to see the older and traditional houses. There is also a market here you can check out. However, most shops are closed by 1 p.m. so it was pretty dead when we came by. 30 minutes should be sufficient for exploration.
With some time to spare, we decided to go to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum that we missed on day 1. After a 10 minute taxi ride, we arrived at this temple located in Chinatown. The temple was built in 2005 and holds the tooth relic of the Buddha. It consists of several floors and you can see the tooth relic on display on the 4th floor. There is no photography allowed on this floor and you have to take off your shoes. Overall, an interesting temple to check out even if you are not a Buddhist. You should allocate around 45 minutes here. From the temple, we went back to our hotel to grab our luggage and made our way to the airport.
Singapore uses the Singapore dollar. You can do currency exchange at the airport or at kiosks in busy streets such as Orchard Road. Rates are comparable. Most venues accept credit cards except for hawker centers and local shops. I found the Singapore currency to be difficult to carry in the wallet as the sizes of the bills are not all the same.
The last 4 days in Singapore was eventful and was sufficient to check out the main attractions in Singapore. We enjoyed a good balance of the old and modern elements of the city. Furthermore, we enjoyed luxury cuisine prepared by Michelin-grade chefs but we also enjoyed the inexpensive local cuisine served at hawker centers. If I was to summarize Singapore in a few words, I would say…It’s safe, clean, hot and it is where the east meets the west!