Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Singapore Day Trip Under S$5

If the weather forecast says its going to be a cloudy day, then its time for you to pack up your picnic basket and spend the day at the park with some friends without spending too much shilling.

There were those weekends, when there is no take-home work to be done. The laundry is already drying outside. And not much to do on a Sunday. Prepare some sandwiches, pack in some chips, a bottle or two of soda and an old blanket then head down to the nearest park. Singapore is a well planned city with the visible balance of green and concrete. Most residential areas have their own parks where residents can take a stroll whenever they feel like taking a walk. There are two parks I have visited in Singapore which I must say are pretty nice for a whole day picnic, either with a special someone or just hanging out with goofy friends.

The Chinese Garden. When some friends and I decided on a whim to have a day just hanging out somewhere nice but does not need to be expensive, because back then I just started working so no salary yet. One friend chose Chinese Garden just because of the word garden - which means lots of greens and lots of flowers to take pictures from. Chinese Garden is located near the MRT station which was named after the park. It is the fourth to the last mrt station along the green line westward. When you get off from the train, take the escalator and then you will see the lush green garden of Chinese Garden. Trees lined up the pathway going to the main entrance which is guarded by two stone lions. Small ponds and bridges are scattered within the garden. What we love most is the red bridge where you can sit along the banks of the stream and enjoying the shade. Peaceful place for meditation. Another striking structure in the garden is the twin Pagoda. We went up and had an awesome view of the garden. Next we checked out the beautiful bonsai garden and then the Turtle and Tortoise Museum. Aside from the turtles there is also a pond inside the building which houses colorful carp fishes. We spent the whole afternoon roaming around the garden. Lots of pictures were taken and we didn't spend one single cent for that wonderful afternoon.

As I discovered more of Singapore's garden, another friend of mine decided to explore Singapore Botanic Garden. Now getting there was a bit tricky. We sort of got lost in riding 2 or 3 buses but still didn't reach the main gate. All we know is that its main gate is located at Tanglin Road. So here's the easier way of getting there, let's say you get off at Orchard MRT Station since that's the nearest mrt station going to the park. Cross the road or better yet, take the underpass going to the opposite side of Orchard Boulevard. Near Lucky Plaza Building there's a bus station, take Bus No. 7, 77, 106, 111, 123 and 174. Alight after 3 stops at the bus station opposite Trader's Hotel at Grange Road. Once you get there, you'd see the huge cast iron gate painted in silver of the Botanic Garden.

Here you can see all tropical vegetation for cultivation. Grassy lawn stretches into a vast ground ready to welcome any picnic goers. Plants everywhere have name tags attached so you would know their scientific name and some of their uses while roaming around the park. There are some benches scattered everywhere for those who doesn't have mats to sit on. Secret coves are also everywhere, this is the perfect spot for lovers to be cozy while enjoying the natural view of the park. Even when it rains, there are stalls and hideaways where you can sit and wait for the rain to stop. Our day at the park was a total adventure from finding the right bus to finding a shed to protect us from the rain. And we didn't spend much. We brought some donuts and bottled water. No entrance fee. So basically we only spend almost SGD2 for the fare.

Having fun in Singapore doesn't have to be expensive. You can ride the bus and explore the city. Ride the train and enjoy the view. Anything is possible even if you only have SGD5 budget for the day.

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