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Phespirit goes to Singapore
Singapore     March/April 2003

AROUND SINGAPORE

Map of Singapore

1 Singapore

Having recently enjoyed trips to the excellent museums of history in Hong Kong and Macau, Phespirit was a bit disappointed to find the Singapore History Museum substantially below par.

Architecturally the 'elegant and historic National Museum building' could not be faulted, but the interior was a hotch-potch of jumbled artefacts, drawings, diaramas, and daunting walls of text.

Understandable, then, the presence of this sign outside:

SINGAPORE HISTORY MUSEUM WILL BE CLOSED
FROM 28 APRIL 2003 FOR EXTENSIVE REDEVELOPMENT.
WE WILL OPEN AGAIN IN 2006 WITH A NEW LOOK!

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2 Changi

Phespirit took a #2 bus to Changi from Victoria Street in the Arab Street quarter.

Changi Prison remains in service as a modern penitentiary (so no access for casual tourists), but just nearby is the prison museum and chapel, which together tell the story of the Japanese invasion of Singapore during the second world war.

It is a profoundly moving record of the impact on civilians, and the suffering of those incarcerated in this terrible place. Phespirit was grateful to have had the opportunity to visit it and learn.

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3 Night Safari

"The world's first Night Safari" at Singapore Zoological Gardens is a tram ride through eight zones, each one representing a different geographical region, plus three optional themed walking trails.

Between the blackness of night and the grey shadows of a subtle light there are a staggering number of creatures on view. Only the Clouded Leopard and Red Panda managed to stay obscured from Phespirit. Nonetheless, he recommends the 'Leopard Trail' as the most rewarding section of the whole safari.

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4 Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Singapore is one of only two cities in the world that has an area of primary rainforest within its limits.   (Rio de Janeiro is the other)

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is that area.

Phespirit set off on the #961 bus from New Bridge Road. When he eventually located the way into the reserve he passed a good hour walking around two of the marked trails, starting with the red route to Bukit Timah Summit, the highest point on the island:

Ht. 163.63m
Lat. N 1° 21' 16.85"
Long. E 103° 46' 34.95"

He then followed it with the blue route, just for good measure.

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5 Sentosa

There are many things to do on the theme-park island of Sentosa. When Phespirit visited by cable car (via Mt. Faber) he did these:

  • circled the island on the slow clunking monorail;
  • walked around the wartime defences of Fort Siloso;
  • stood at the 'Southernmost Point of Continental Asia';
  • had a swim and a sunbathe at Tanjong Beach;
  • watched macaques in the trees along the beach road;
  • took fish and chips at the Sentosa Coffee House;

He made a point of avoiding the numerous synthetic attractions.

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  1. Singapore
  2. Changi
  3. Night Safari
  4. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
  5. Sentosa
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Singapore Changi Night Safari Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Sentosa