Exploring Singapore, Episode IV

This episode was planned to be more focused on food places and things in between, but everything changed when the Circuit Breaker 2.0 Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) was announced. Plans were changed, activities were reduced, dining out were outright cancelled. It was quite stressful to do all the changes in such a short notice, but in the end, I preserved and mostly stayed at home, while dedicating only two of the afternoons going out. On Monday, I visited Botanic Gardens, and on Friday, Singapore Mobility Gallery.

Botanic Gardens

On Monday afternoon, I visited Botanic Gardens. Even though I passed by the garden so many times, I never actually went in to explore. That’s why this period was a perfect time to explore, as there would be much less crowd. I started from the Bukit Timah Rd gate (the Botanic Gardens MRT) and there wasn’t much to see initially.

I encountered Evolution Garden, and it was quite nice. This garden featured plants that are arranged along the pathway from the most “primitive” to the most “modern”.

Overview of the Evolution Garden

I walked further and reached the National Orchid Garden. To me, this was definitely the highlight of the Botanic Gardens. This orchid garden contained so many orchids and it was really beautiful! This garden was comparable to the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, but this place was mostly not climate-controlled and it was less touristy.

The Sembcorp Cool House, where orchids are kept in climate controlled greenhouse

I spent around 1.5 hours in this orchid garden and after that, I went deeper to the south and discovered that the landmarks usually associated with Botanic Gardens were all here: the gazebo and the Tembusu heritage tree.

The Tembusu tree that’s featured in Singapore’s $5 notes

There were still a lot of things to see here in Botanic Gardens, but alas I didn’t have enough time. I called it a day as I had to go back to catch my dinner.

Singapore Mobility Gallery

As a place that were advertised well in MRT stations, this gallery wasn’t that accessible. Even though it was located in Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s HQ just within walking distance from Little India MRT, this gallery only opens on weekdays during working hours; and to visit this gallery, you have to book an appointment though a form, and they will manually process your request in 3 working days. Such an efficient way to discourage visitors.

The gallery mainly displayed informational boards about LTA’s past, present, and future with texts and images. Other than that, the gallery featured lots of interactive games, which are pretty informative about land transport safety. I like the game where we act as city planner and decide whether to add/remove amenities in the city. The amenities of choice are: car park, bus stop, cycling path, or EV charging station. The choices you made will increase/decrease the happiness of the residents. It was a fun game, and you could even play multiplayer up to 4 players.

City planning game

Unfortunately there were also a lot of interactive exhibits that are closed during the pandemic, as they require even more interaction that just touching.

Closed exhibit, seems like a VR experience as rail technician

At the end of the gallery, there was an exhibition where one of the activities is to color a pattern in a paper and write a promise behind. It was quite therapeutic to color the paper.

I colored such that each neighbor have different color. I thought 4 colors are sufficient, but I miscalculated my steps. I ended up with that one tile which need the 5th color.

I spent around 1.5 hours in Singapore Mobility Gallery, and overall it was a nice gallery to visit.

Stay Home

The rest of the time, I spent my leave staying home. I still get some exercise, as I went for swimming almost every morning. I also played the The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game till the end of story mode. Other than that, I finally had no excuse to delay working on Nikku’s UI revamp idea that has been around for months.

Overall, it was still a decent week for clearing annual leave. I hope that the restrictions would ease soon and I hope revisit my original plans.

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