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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post
    We are thinking Penang. Booking this week. Would you just stay in Georgetown the entire time of a few nights in town and a few nights at a beach resort? Plan would be to fly Wednesday evening and fly home early
    On Sunday. So three full days. Either that is Kuala Lumpur. This I’m thinking that
    Is kind of like visiting downtown SG.

    Banda Neira - holy shit Indo is huge. Why there? We were co side ring Borneo as a stop on our way home next summer to get into some deep nature. Either there or the north side of Sumatra. And then likely Japan from there back to SFO. Or visiting family in Oz. Tho I vote for Japan, as they live in Canberra. Tho it will me ski season, so there is that. So many decisions.

    The way I figure, we are only here once and for a year. I’m unemployed. Travel as much as we can and figure out recovering our finances once we return. Trying to be smart and frugal (I stayed at a $24/night place for my
    Solo trip to Bali - clean(ish) and close to the surf), but trying to to worry too much about the books balancing. We have a good savings and sort of a retirement plan. You only live once and my maybe my kid doesn’t get to go to college (jk on that last part, sort of).
    Indo is huge, So much to see. Banda has excellent diving/snorkeling right off the beach. Outstanding location. Beautiful settings. Banda was the OG source of nutmeg and mace. When the spice trade spurred exploration, and when it set up the clash of maritime superpowers (Portugal -v- Holland -v-Great Britain), Banda was at the center of the universe.

    I will be in Japan this winter if you make it over I can likely put you up in Aomori Prefecture.

    PS: Hope your kid goes to college in CA or AU or someplace where tuition costs are not insane,

  2. #27
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    Penang Booked. Flying in Wednesday evening after school and flying home Sunday morning. S$150 rt flight, 1.5 hours. Wife booked the Eastern and Oriental for four nights, but we might trim that to two and head to the north coast beaches for two days. Still TBD. Now figuring out visa requirements and transport. I feel like a part time travel agent these days.

    Any Penang suggestions, post them up. We have three full days. Need to figure out dinner options for Wednesday night. Any details on the airport exit appreciated. We will just be flying with carry-on weekend bags.

  3. #28
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    Batu Ferringhi is kind of OK but most of the interest is in Georgetown, as are the fair-priced, good quality meals. Prices at the beaches are unjustifiably high and nights are boring. You can bus it out to Batu (etc) and back easily, and get a day pass at the nicer hotels to use a pool, lounges, and showers.

    Also: Malacca makes a good trip from SING and has fantastic antique markets

  4. #29
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    Spent a couple days wandering around Georgetown area of Penang eight years ago. In a few blocks you can go from a Chinese neighborhood, to Indian, Malay (Muslim) to colonial British. Take a tour of the Blue Mansion or other Chinese Mansions, check out the Clan Jetties. Everything I ate was good and some of my most memorable meals were on the street. Can't remember what restaurants I went to. I think Laksalicious. Georgetown was pretty hip (like a sober, Asian, version of the French Quarter in New Orleans). Lots of street art made for Instagram shots. Western stuff was en vogue like nitro coffee, ice cream, cakes, pastries, and granola. Went to the Gurney Drive Hawker Center, but that might be similar to what you have in SG. The only place I went other than Georgetown was a city bus out to Kek Lok Si Temple, the largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia, which was worthwhile.

    I didn't make it to any of the beaches on Penang. I am sure they are nice for an island with a ton of people on it. My vote would be to stick to eating and city stuff in Georgetown, and then go to an even nicer, more remote, beach destination another trip. After Penang we took a shuttle to Cameron Highlands where we rented scooters and zipped around the tea plantations (felt great to get to some cooler, higher elevation weather). Then we continued on to the Perhentian Islands (Besar), which was fucking awesome (snorkeling/scuba, kayaking, island exploring). Finished at Kuala Lumpur, which I enjoyed, but get the impression it's just a second rate SG so you might want to skip (haven't been to SG though to confirm).

    I flew in to Penang from Phuket and took a city bus from airport to Georgetown. I can't remember the logistics other than it was clean and easy, especially after a week in Thailand. In general, I really liked Malaysia. Being a Muslim country without an emphasis on booze keeps all the Americans and Aussies away.
    Last edited by altasnob; 09-27-2022 at 11:54 PM.

  5. #30
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Friday night my wife's school had a Happy Hour for all new HS teachers. Free drinks and food for hours. Spouses welcome. I was all in. For the free beer (enjoyed many pints of a decent Aussie Pale Ale), pub snacks and socialization. I spend so much time either alone, or making transactions with people, to just be able to shoot the shit with her colleague and spouses was awesome. She on the other hand was exhausted by her week at work, and turned off by the loud bar scene. When I finally agreed to leave the free beer and random chats behind, twilight in the Financial District on our way to the MRT was actually quite nice.

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    My kid and I visiting Mayflower Hawkers Center for lunch. They have a bunch of random days off from school. It really is so different than US public schools (besides that free happy hour thing). This past week, they has CWW - Classroom Without Walls. It was a full week of field trips. National Museum, local parks, Pulua Ubin (which is an island just off the northeast coast full of mangroves and a MTB park), Laptop Boot Camp (so they have the skills to take home their issued laptops for schoolwork) and finally a day at a Wild Wild Wet (a water park, tho it almost sounds like the fifth floor or Orchard Towers)

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    And out lunch. Mee Rebus - noodles/egg/sprouts/greens with ginger/lemongrass/sweet potato gravy goodness and Cheung Fun - basically rice flour crepes rolled up and these served with a sweet soy and peanut sauce.

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    My kid making us fruit salad breakfast. Red Dragonfruit, Malay Bananas, Papaya and Mangosteen. Good kid. Did not cut open their hand. Made a huge mess for me to clean up.

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    This is along Upper Thomson Road. There is a ton of construction going on here as they prepare to put this road underground for several kilometers. It is the main North-South road just east of the Central Catchment. The idea is to make it wider, and allow the ground level to become more bike and pedestrian friendly. It is much needed, as this is an area I avoid on the bike if possible. But it would make a much more direct route for me heading south or back north. Of course construction in this will finish after I leave, but stoked for anything to make this place more bike friendly for commutes.

    Also, I took this shot to highlight the apartments in the background. Basic apartment towers, but with UFO gardens connecting them, just because buildings should not be boring.

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    Jack Fruit and Robotan - tools required. Actually, the robot is pretty easy to open. Easier than the mangosteen - both remind us of cracking a skull to eat brains. Sweet brains.
    Last edited by Ottime; 09-28-2022 at 01:24 AM.

  6. #31
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    Water Caltrops or Bat Nut. I missed the season on these. I saw them in the market and was - WTF. Did my research and they seem like a water chestnut created by satan. They grow on a water plant in 3.5-4.5 deep freshwater. Roasted or steamed, and they are popular as a festival food in autumn. Actually it is likely that prehistoric Germanic people survived on a diet of these. And they were common in Europe. Just an example of how this place broadens my horizons and forces me to learn new things.


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    Rojak. I had heard this was SG version of a fruit salad. Mixed fruit with a palm sugar chili sauce. Cool. So I ordered some and they guy told me I must choose. I asked what things were and ended up choosing fried coconut, fried fish and fried chicken. He thought I choose well and refried everything and gave me this plate. No fruit salad I thought. Turns out "rojak" means mixed, and this is a common muslin stall rojak. It was super good and I've been craving the fried goodness ever since. And that dipping sauce was insanely good. I've since had the fruit salad version, and not as impressed.

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    Baobing - basically Mandarin Popiah. This one had Chinese sausage in it, which was good, but I much preferred the Teochew version I had in Wampoa that was vegan. And I am far from being a vegan.


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    This was on my route downtown. I forgot to pack surf wax and that shit is hard to find here. Amazon wanted $16 per bar. I found someone wanting to get rid of three bars and a wax comb for $10, so I decided to bike downtown to meet here. Most of the route is really quite nice, but this was a short section along a road that just captures a lot of commuting in SG to me. Huge road to accommodate huge traffic twice a day. I do my best to avoid these stretches and stay on the ones a few shots below.

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    Another very SG landscape. Oddly not developed here, but an old religious worship site backed to a modern aesthetic skyscaper

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    And back on a PCN as I enter the Marina Bay Area with a view of the national stadium. Billy Elish sold out this place recently with the worse seats in the house starting at $200 a piece. Again, hard to tell if this is a usual SG thing (love for western culture, crazy prices, all in on any big event) or if this is a result of two plus years of serious lock downs.

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    The Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands coming into view. This area always works for me, even if in a way, it is just an alter to capitalism and excess. What is crazy to me about the MBS is that rooms start at around $675, and yet those three tall towers are often filled to the gills. Where does all that money come from? We feel like we are totally splurging for a few nights in Penang by spending $160 a night. Different folks.
    Last edited by Ottime; 09-28-2022 at 01:46 AM.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post
    ..Jack Fruit and Robotan - tools required. Actually, the robot is pretty easy to open. Easier than the mangosteen - both remind us of cracking a skull to eat brains. Sweet brains.
    Rambutan?

  8. #33
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    No, this

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    Damn auto correct to some obscure cartoon from the 80's?? wtf. Maybe it was the cap lettering making it proper, I dunno. Everything here is just a little bit different.

  9. #34
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    Continuing on my ride to the Financial District for surf wax, I wrap the north coast of Marina Bay. The very next day this section of trail was closed as SG continues its preparations for the F1 that begins, I think, tomorrow. Green Day, Marshmallow(??), Black Eyed Peas, TLC along with 37 other acts are performing. Had no idea car racing came with music.

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    Pano from the MB Barrage to SG Flyer. The barrage holds out the seawater, and has allowed SG to import significantly les water from Malaysia. The other big infrastructure import to SG is sand. On island, there is a lot of 'information' regarding how SG is becoming greener and more independent through these imports. They have pretty much maximized their and mass - any further out to sea and they begin to intrude on international waters. For an opposing view, you can watch thishttps://www.theatlantic.com/video/in...pore-cambodia/


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    As you pass the Esplanade and wrap into the Singapore River, you begin to get a mixed view of turn of the century shop houses with towers in the background. There is a bike/pedestrian path along the river front and restaurant after restaurant. Need to do my research to find one that actually has good food worth paying the price for. I am sure there are many, but many are tourist traps as well. Of course I did see an all day happy hour (11AM to 8:30PM), 2 for 1 beers. You could get two local IPAs for $20, which turns out is a pretty good deal around here.

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    The bike ride through here was quite pleasant. Downtown was cooler, with all the AC pouring onto the streets, but this area was not hot, being along the river - and way way fewer people on the walk, even during lunch hour.

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    Colorful bridge. That is al I got.


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    My destination for lunch, Zion Food Centre. Good selection and super busy at 12:30. I got my first (and only so far) Chicken Rice. Simple dish, but well done. Steamed fresh chicken and white rice. I got the set meal which included a bowl of broth and some Gai lan. And, my new regular, and avocado juice. There are three types I get. One is just pureed avoid and ice, and is surprisingly good. The 2nd is mixed with Gula Malaka (palm sugar) with or without milk. And the 3rd is Thai Coconut and Avocado, which is a fucking treat. You can also find them with condensed milk, but I don't usually get these - too sweet.


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    I've got to learn to rotate a bit. North Woodlands Marsling Food Centre. Another favorite of mine, because it is one fo those out of the way centres servicing mostly locals and mostly middle lower class folks. The prices are insane. S$3 for You Mia Noodle Soup. Pork Balls, Iran Billis (dried anchovies), soft poached egg, and some sort of leaf I've yet to identify. Large bowl of goodness. Also nearby, when in the area, I buy produce, grocery items and electronics. It is worth getting to some of the outer reaches. And you can see Malaysia from just around the corner. And the people are some of the nicest I've meet here.

    Okay, headed to Chomp Chomp Hawkers Centre now, then swinging down to Junction 8 to get a begetter at Bread Talk. Hope I don't buy some sweets, tho they are oh so tempting.
    Last edited by Ottime; 09-28-2022 at 11:14 PM.

  10. #35
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    What is "touting"? I don't think you are doing it, right?
    Is it radix panax notoginseng? - splat

  11. #36
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    Touring is the attempt to sell something, typically forcibly.

    But maybe there was a typo? I’ve got a lot of those. Did I write that somewhere? I need a damn editor.

    Chomp Chomp was mostly closed. Not sure if it is more Breakfast or Dinner, but not lunch. Sarangoon is just around the corner so ended up here. Click image for larger version. 

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    Yesterday I had an IKEA errand so ended up at Alexandra and ordered a Thunder Tea. It’s vegan. Brown Rice, bean curds, peanuts, a bunch of green stuff and a hot bowl of green tea soup to pour over it. A few chilis and a little light soy and that shit is golden. Paired with a pure avocado juice and it’s a green machine meal.
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  12. #37
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    Touting was on the Zion Food Centre sign.
    Is it radix panax notoginseng? - splat

  13. #38
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    Damn. Good eye. Ya. Assume they mean no outside hawking of wares.

    There are so many signs here I tend to not see them anymore.

    One of my favorites is on the bathrooms “Aim Responsibly”.

    Here is one from an MRT bench reminding us to be kind to those with dementia
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  14. #39
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    I need one or 5 of those, I just can't remember how many.
    Is it radix panax notoginseng? - splat

  15. #40
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    Alright. So there is only so much time one can spend on a bizarre and wonderful island without fleeing. So I went off to Balie to do a little recon for the family trip I. October. It is these small sacrifices tHat I make that keep the glue of family strong. Always willing to do my part.

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    Arrived just at dark and walked down to Blue Fin and Suluban Beach. Walked down to a warung and grabbed some seafood noodles and a Bintang. Just before my dinner arrived I could almost see the waves at Ulu Watu.

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    Breakfast at a warung next door. Food is cheap here too. USD this meal, a double espresso and a Bali coffee came to about $6.20. I grabbed most of my meals on the cliffs, or at nearby beaches. You paid a premium, but at these prices, that was fine.

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    Looking up the reef at Ulu Watu. The first few days of my visit we smaller. Chest to head high mostly. Smaller at beaches/reefs down the way. Having spent the last six months out of the water, it was better to start off slowly.

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    Walked up and down a lot of these. Headed down to Lebuan Sait (Padang Padang/ Impossibles). It reminds me of a stone cold Georgio O'Keefe painting.

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    Spent a little time walking around the Ulu Watu Temple grounds. Pretty stunning being atop the cliffs. Two days prior I surfed Temples, which is in the cove below at low tide (at high tide, the break has the same name but is two coves north).

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    Surf came up on my last full day there. Ended up one bootied, as the Indian Ocean claimed a sacrifice as I ducked dove a set. Just ripped it right off my foot.

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    They have a crew set up to sell you pictures. I had about $3.65 usd in my board shorts, so only could afford two pics. Damn good prices compared to anything in the US that offers something similar. They had 141 shots from my 4 hour session (that they could find).

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    Saw a shit ton of these. Canang, or daily offerings. Coconut and/or banana leaf trays, with flowers and other offerings and an incase stick. As it burns, the offering lifts to the heavens, Once it burns out, it is considered just a worldly item, to be cleaned or swept away. Sometimes by monkeys, if there is food inside.


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    Saw a shit ton of these. There seems to be a law against covering of female ass. Not a complaint, just an observation. And after dark, all clothing must be form fitting, shear or both. OTOH, this is the exit to the water at Ulu Watu. Pretty enough, but at high tide, with swell, it becomes a challenge to enter from the surf. The waves will top that rock to the right of red bathing suit.

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    At night a hopping bar. In the day, vantage point for Racetracks - clearly the premier wave at Ulu Watu. When this wave was on, it would wrap and bowl for 150 meters. Friday morning, as the tide got right, and I had to grab my ride to the airport it looked like this - and amazingly there were only ten guys out on it. Go figure.

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    A final Bali Coffee. Kind of reminded me of a super sized Turkish coffee. Bold stuff.

    More pics (I think) from Bali are in the Anyone Else Get Some Today? thread
    Last edited by Ottime; 09-29-2022 at 03:03 AM.

  16. #41
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    Oh, a few other SG to American English translations.

    On Offer - Sale Price
    U.P. - Usual Price
    Alight - Get Off or Exit
    Kindly - You Better Fucking Do This
    La - Yo, Yes, Yipee, or maybe Canadian, Eh
    Canadian Pizza - Pizza

    I’m sure I’ll recall a few more.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post
    Penang Booked. Flying in Wednesday evening after school and flying home Sunday morning. S$150 rt flight, 1.5 hours. Wife booked the Eastern and Oriental for four nights, but we might trim that to two and head to the north coast beaches for two days. Still TBD. Now figuring out visa requirements and transport. I feel like a part time travel agent these days.

    Any Penang suggestions, post them up. We have three full days. Need to figure out dinner options for Wednesday night. Any details on the airport exit appreciated. We will just be flying with carry-on weekend bags.
    Hey man, good to see you guys are enjoying SG! Glad that worked out for you.

    Penang is awesome. It's super relaxed and laid back. Not expensive, but it's a nice city with a lot of good things happening. I had a really good long weekend there when I was working in Singapore.

    Penang Hill is def worth a visit. It'll be nice and cool up there. Take the funicular to the top and then hike around through the rainforest.

    Kek Lok Si Temple was also worth a visit. Teksen Restaurant was a great experience. There will probably be a line. It's worth the wait- it feels like a Anthony Bourdain "No Reservations" hidden gem kind of place. It's some of the best food I've had in SE Asia.

    There is a ton of cool street art all around George Town walking around on foot. You may already be there, but for leaving the airport just use the "Grab" app- it's like SE Asia Lyft/Uber. Very reasonably priced. Hope you guys enjoy it.

    If you have time for other side trips on future weekends I'd highly recommend Siem Reap in Cambodia and Lombok in Indonesia. Siem Reap is probably a bit easier to get to. Hit me up for recommendations.

  18. #43
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    Envious - looks like a great opportunity.

    F1 race this weekend - worth it for the experience alone even if it is a practice day.

    Borneo should be on your list as well - really easy to get to and some of the best diving in the world. Also you should climb Mount Kinabalu - not technically challenging but going from sea level to 13k will be a gut check for anyone and it will be refreshing to feel cold again

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by mc_roon View Post
    Envious - looks like a great opportunity.

    F1 race this weekend - worth it for the experience alone even if it is a practice day.

    Borneo should be on your list as well - really easy to get to and some of the best diving in the world. Also you should climb Mount Kinabalu - not technically challenging but going from sea level to 13k will be a gut check for anyone and it will be refreshing to feel cold again
    + 1 on Kinabalu hike.... was a really cool experience.

  20. #45
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Posts
    3,002
    Wow, cool opportunity. Bali looks awesome. Impressive surfing for being out of water for 6 months.

  21. #46
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
    Posts
    11,515
    Excited to get to Penang, back to Bali and elsewhere in this region. Headed to Bali in less than two weeks. Penang is booked for Thanksgiving. Starting to look at flights to. Viet Nam. And finances are looking better than expected.

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    After just 4 days in Bali, returning to SG was a touch of culture shock. Wife had a signed up for a run near Dairy Farm/ Chestnut Park, and in very SG style she needed to pick up here number downtown (well away from the run location) a week prior.


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    Decided to make an evening of it waking over to Satay By The Bay (hawker center style by pricier) for satay and beers. And then off to the Super Trees light show and the OCBC Skyway.

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    Gardens By The Bay is a rather large area. I've already mentioned the domes, but the exterior grounds are far more expansive. A better tour guide would tell you which section this is, but I can tell you it was on the walk from Satay By The Bay to the central Super Trees. And there were a ton of water features.


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    It would be pretty cool walking these gardens after dark, as they are well lit. Twilight was pretty awesome.


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    This and the next pic really capture the heart and goals of Singapore as a Garden City. As manufactured and manicured much of the island is, they have made a strong effort to blend the urban and the organic. Hard to call it a blend with nature, as so much of this place is built, even many of the areas that look natural have been controlled and built.


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    A glimpse of the Flower Dome and Flyer through the landscaping.


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    As we queued (a 45 minute wait) for the OCBS Skywalk, darkness began to fall in the area and the surrounding Super Trees and city began to light up.

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    As mentioned, the Super Trees hide the air vents used to control climate in the domes. They are also a source on entertainment, water catchment and power (solar panels). The sides of the Super Trees are also home to thousands of air plants and a vertical garden.


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    The OCBC Skywalk. 22m high and 128m long. It provides great aerial view of the gardens and horizon views of downtown. We aimed to get up there for the one of the nightly light shows. My kid was looking forward to this.


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    The blend of organic and urban structure is everywhere.
    Last edited by Ottime; 10-03-2022 at 09:39 PM.

  22. #47
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
    Posts
    11,515
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    Financial District and the Flyer.

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    Flyer and the Flower Dome.

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    Marina Bay Sands.

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    I was a little photo happy. The lights and this place really reminds me of Los Vegas.

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    Pano of the view to the north and west.

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    Daytime offers better views of the gardens, but the trees do light up nicely at night.

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    As much as I'm not into this sort of thing, it was pretty cool.

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    In our twenty minutes up on the Skywalk night fully falls.

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    Just so very Singapore.

    https://youtube.com/shorts/ql1o6vspqas?feature=share
    It was Disco Night. The Theme to the light show changes nightly. My family is (kind of) watching the schedule to hit up Star Wars
    Last edited by Ottime; 10-03-2022 at 09:55 PM.

  23. #48
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
    Posts
    11,515
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    More food. Way Teow and Otak. Seafood noodles and fish cake bbq inside banana leaf.

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    The day of the 10k it rained about 4" between dawn and 1pm. Race time was 2:30pm, and through the jungle. My wife finished the race, but without taking a pretty good fall in the wet and rooty mud full of sharp rocks. Thought she looked like she was returning to battle.

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    Not much of a pic, but thought I'd try to grab one while biking through a landed development. The difference between these (very expensive) homes and the high rises is palatable. I will also bike around some of the nicest cars I've ever seen.

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    And then I went on a mountain bike ride. It is a little different in this neck of the words. No fluffy duff, and no complaining the duff has gotten dusty and rutted. On the other hand, the trails can get a little too moist at times.

  24. #49
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bellevue
    Posts
    7,366
    Cool opportunity, keep the pictures coming.

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    1,271
    Quote Originally Posted by mc_roon View Post
    Envious - looks like a great opportunity.

    F1 race this weekend - worth it for the experience alone even if it is a practice day.

    Borneo should be on your list as well - really easy to get to and some of the best diving in the world. Also you should climb Mount Kinabalu - not technically challenging but going from sea level to 13k will be a gut check for anyone and it will be refreshing to feel cold again
    +1... For Mt. Kinabalu.. But when I was there in 2017 you needed to hire a guide and probably need to get a reservation at least a few days ahead of time.. I wasn't able to get one without a 4 day wait... Also some fun river rafting options there which I enjoyed.
    what's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?

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