I and the hubby celebrated our first Diwali post marriage in Singapore last week and it was so much fun. If you have been following my instagram, you would know that this country was just f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s. ! We spent 5 full days here, and I totally recommend anyone planning a holiday abroad to visit this place.
We totally planned this at the last moment, with our visa pending till like 3 days before our flight. It was such a race to plan the whole thing, that I am still recovering from the post vacation exhaustion. We landed late evening on 28th October, somewhere around 7 pm and headed straight to our hotel which was near Bugis Street.
I had carefully chosen this place, as it was practically walking distance to most of the fun areas of the city. Think street shopping. So on our first evening, we quickly checked in to the hotel, unpacked…and headed off to Mustafa Street.
This was my first trip abroad, so I was super duper excited. Like a child you know. I had this big grin on my face all throughout our trip and I just couldn’t contain my joy. But, I think we made a terrible mistake of going to Mustafa the first night. For those of you, who haven’t visited Singapore, Mustafa street is basically Little India. No, I am not just declaring that name on my own, it really is called Little India…and let me tell you, its more (South) Indian than even India. It was crazy. To be honest, I did NOT like the place at all. Super crowded, with the whole place basically reminding me of Big Bazaar on wednesdays, I was in for a complete shock.
It also didn’t help that it was Diwali on the day we ventured around Little India. You see I didn’t miss diwali after all. The whole place was so decked up, it looked stunning. But I just wish the crowd was not that insane.
Mustafa street is basically the crawford market of Bombay. You get everything here, from electronics to grocery, Indian restaurants like Kailash Parbat etc to cosmetics, perfumes, etc etc. You really gotto bargain here, but I would suggest not to pick anything from here. Especially the mustafa malls. The stuff is not worth it. And you have tons of other shopping places around Singapore giving better stuff at cheaper deals. So refrain from buying anything from here.
Mustafa market is a 24/7 all night long market. So we pretty much just walked around way past midnight before heading back to the hotel. The next day we had planned to visit the bird park early in the morning. The weather is always a bit unpredictable in this region, so we carried our raincoats for the trip.
8:30 am after having an awesome breakfast, we were on our way. Jurong is a bit away from the city. So we ended up buying a tourist pass for 3 days, which had an unlimited use of public transport. Both metro and the bus. Its like a must have for any tourist visiting this country. You can pretty much see and travel all by yourself, and public transport is so affordable and easy to commute. Easier than Delhi & Bombay !
We reached the place and we were greeted by big beautiful cockatoos. I am usually not a bird person at all, in fact I have a fear of pigeons, but I just loved loved this place and like how. It was the highlight of my trip to be honest.
We had initially planned to stick around in this place for like 3-4 hours, basically till post lunch. We had other attractions planned for the day. But once we were inside, there was just no going out. The bird park ensures that they keep their guests occupied throughout the day with something or the other. So whether it is free photos with the flamingoes, to bird shows and pelican chit chats, they pretty much have planned out activities for everyone throughout the day.
The minute we walked into the bird park, the first thing in front of us…penguins ! I had never seen penguins in my life before in real that is, and this was such a paisa vasool right there. Couldn’t have asked for a better start to the day. And to think that was good enough, they started off with the penguin feeding. People were allowed to feed penguins fish. It was so much fun to see the whole thing.
Next, we had the high flyers show scheduled at 11 am in their huge amphitheater. But alas, it started pouring. The whole of first half…it was like Bombay rains. The whole area is so lush green, its almost like you’re walking in a forest. It looked spectacular.
We decided to have an early lunch since we couldn’t go anywhere in the rains. One major tip: Carry your own food. The bird park does have restaurants, quite a few…but the food is not good. Even if you eat chicken, fish whatever…the taste is just yuck. We ordered biryani, and lets just say that was not a biryani. I don’t even know what that was. So best thing would be to carry sandwiches, muffins whatever you can find at the local stores.
By the time, we got done, the sun was out…and we decided to walk around the park. Its quite spread out and the one thing which really amazed me is that…they let you inside the birds cages…its not the other way round. What this means is that, you get to see the birds in their natural habitat, up close and personal. So many times, we came across exotic birds hopping right besides us. They are quite used to humans.
These cages are really big, with huge tress inside them, and its lush green rich in plantations. They had sections like dinosaur descendants, world of darkness, birds of paradise etc etc. Quite creative and effective in their naming. I especially loved the lory loft which was a nine story high cage in which one walks in to experience 1000+ free flying lories. You don’t even realize that you’re walking into a cage until you look up. The rangers even let us feed the birds. It was an amazing feeling.
THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY
There were 3 shows post noon that were scheduled. We decided to stay back and thank god we did. The first one was the High Flyers show. Guess what…I got to volunteer for one of their acts. I had seen some of the show snippets on youtube, and I so badly wanted to be a part of it. I think it was my lucky day because I got picked in the section with cockatoos. Sharing some pictures here.
HIGH FLYERS SHOW:
From parrots, cockatoos, macaws and gorgeous horn-bills, they show you just how fast paced, intelligent and beautiful these birds are. My favorite was Amigo – an amazon (talking) parrot. He/She sang 3 songs, recited from 1-10 in english and chinese and did some fantastic imitations. Obviously they are highly trained, but after the show when we visited the amazon parrot cage, I happened to do mitu-mitu, and guess what…it started mimicking me. No kidding ! They grasp so fast, its unbelievable.
The show ended with a full fashion show of birds flying all over. It was out of the world experience. There were huge pelicans, flamingoes, parrots and hornbills all flying in circles over our head. It was a jurassic park moment for me.
The show ended with pictures with flamingoes posing in front of us. The only thing that was free. Luckily, the photographers were kind enough to take our cameras and do click click with the birds. Although because of my little volunteering stints, we ended up buying the pictures from the park at S$60 for just 3 pictures ! That’s approx 3000 bucks. But it was totally worth it. The pictures are going up on my gallery wall !
The pelican chit chat was scheduled at 2 pm right after lunch. In the whole world, there are 8 different species of pelicans, and this park has them all in one place. One pool. Some of them are so big, they almost resemble the flying dinosaur birds. Like no kidding.
I thought they must be like super scary, stay away from them kinds. But the pelican chit chat proved me so wrong. The whole session was about creating awareness towards these beautiful creatures, while a live feeding session was on. I am so envious of the ranger feeding them. I think its the most satisfying job ever.
KING OF THE SKIES SHOW
Took my breath away. I think we all are used to seeing these massive creatures either on nat geo discovery channel or in bird cages in zoos. Never have I seen them in the open in a natural setting. I think the park is really smart to keep the best for the last, because this show at 4pm was just crazyyy good.
I totally forgot to go click click click for the others. I was so caught up in the moment. This was just one of the birds. They had huge vultures, owls, hawks and more in the show and each and every one of them were so impressive in their built. I think batmans wings are totally inspired by this one here.
WHAT WE MISSED:
Lunch with the parrots. We couldn’t get the booking on time. But honestly, I think we were ok without it as well, because the high flyers show pretty much covered it all. Its just that the lunch spread was pretty darn good compared to the junk we ended up eating.
We got done with Jurong around 5 pm that day and headed straight to Orchard Road. Orchard is the posh area of town. Its basically DLF Emporio throughout the street. All the luxury brand names that you can think of, are on this one street. Not for me. The minute we walked out of the metro, we saw this massive crowd. We really didn’t know what was going on. But it was the friendship parade that day celebrating 50 years of friendship between Singapore and Japan.
It was quite a sight with all the natives waving and friendly hugs and smiles everywhere.
Some more pictures from the day: