Now the New Year has begun and we’ve settled into school, it was time to reinstate some traditions such as the Saturday walk! For the first walk, we knew we wanted to be in the Chinatown area for some Chinese food shopping, so we chose a city walk through Ann Siang Hill Park.
A short MRT ride and walk brought us to Telok Ayer Green – home of some early religious establishments. Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore. Also known as the ‘Temple of Heavenly Happiness’, it was completed in 1842 with materials brought from China. Almost next door is the Nagore Durgha Shrine, a house of worship for Indian Muslims since the 1820s – and further down the street is the Al-Abrar Mosque, built in the mid-1850s with an Indian-Islamic theme. It is not unusual to find places of worship of very different religions so close together in Singapore – Shrewsbury Road, where we live, houses a Hindu Temple, a Buddhist Temple and a Christian Church, all in a row! Singapore has done much to promote racial equality and harmonius living.
Cutting through the temple brings us to Telok Ayer Green, a very small park – a perfect retreat for office workers at lunchtime, and again marked by cultural statues that reflect an Indian Milk trader and a Chinese lantern procession. From here we climbed Ann Siang Hill, stopping to look at the Tamarind and Breadfruit trees, and the Nutmeg and Cinnamon Trees. The other end of Ann Siang Hill path brought us to Chinatown, and just a short stroll to the tourist shops, and to the Chinese food stalls and supermarkets. Here we loaded up with goodies for the evening meal, and made our way back home!
We both had a long weekend for Chinese New Year, but having left it too long to book any flights, it was a case of checking out what was available by land! The winner was a coach trip to Legoland, Malaysia. Situated just over the border from Singapore (where land prices are about half!), Legoland, Malaysia is the 6th Legoland in the world, and the first in Asia. It opened only last year, and will grow year on year, with a waterpark being added in 2013 and a hotel in 2014. It certainly doesn’t have the high-speed rides of Universal Studios Singapore, and is much more family-orientated – but we still had fun! It is also only around an hour on the bus from the Singapore flyer.
Word to the wise – don’t eat inside the park. Leave the park to the adjoining shopping centre, which is basically a collection of great restaurants and fast-food joints. You can have your hand stamped when you leave the park, so can go straight back in after you’ve fed. The following photos were all taken in Legoland.
Well, Chinese New Year is over, Shanhong is back at school tomorrow – I have the rest of the week off, but will also go in to school and get some work done. Time to write more essays for my course too! No more holidays until Easter – and we’ll be back in Beihai. My nephew and his wife are coming out in April to visit Singapore and then we’ll be in both China and the UK for the summer. We may be changing our apartment in Singapore in the summer too – looks like the rent might go up too high for this one. No posh holiday this year – we have the UK apartment to pay for, but we’re already talking to the tour agent about Israel 2014 – another school trip!
Take care and keep in touch, Trevor, Shanhong, Teddy xx