Hiking Amongst the Treetops And Visits to Arabia and China!

Singapore Travel Blog

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Breakfast at Casuarina Curry.

My plan to sleep again backfired, so now I'm averaging about 2 - 3 hours a night.  Surprisingly I haven't passed out yet - anytime anyone mentions getting food, I magically perk up.  My love of food is an amazing stimulant!  Too bad I can't bottle it.  :)

V suggested that we do something less touristy (i.e., something she hasn't done before in her home country).  She mentioned a "nature hike".  We happily got dressed for a leisurely hike - but first had to grab some breakfast.  Today we went to a curry place near the reservoir - Casuarina Curry Place - I had 2 pratas (a grilled tortilla of sorts - very tasty) with chicken roti.  So yummy (and cheap! about $4) - but I still find it odd to eat such heavy savory foods in the morning, but you've got to go with the flow.

Delicious, freshly-made pratas.
  Also had coconut water from the husk - very nice.  I love the flavor of coconut (i.e., milk, water, etc.) but can't eat coconut - makes me gag - go figure....

After feeling energized, we headed to the trail area.  Not sure why the name of the walk HSBC TreeTop Walk didn't tip me off, but as we headed towards the top, I realized (thru V's conversation and photos along the hike) that we were literally going to walk "above the trees" and that the walk would be 6 - 7 kilometers (about 4-5 miles)!  Leisurely hike my butt!  Not to mention I'm terribly afraid of heights ....  but I perservered.  When we got to the top we had to cross a long (and I mean looooong) suspension bridge hovering above the lush and loud forest (chirping, beeping, tweeting of all sorts).

Spicy chicken roti - kickstart in the morning!
  I took a big breath and just looked ahead and kept going straight.  Thank god the bridge was very sturdy!  It was amazing and beautiful but I didn't really linger to savor - I just plowed on ahead doing my little yoga chant in my head.  My relief when we reached the other side was enormous!  Overall, the hike was fabulous - I think everyone should try it.  You see nature in its finest and you see real animals all over the place - monkeys, large lizards, a myriad of colorful butterflies and dragonflies, etc.  We were so proud (and horribly sweaty) when we finally made it to the car so we all voted to return for our 2nd showers of the day.

Poor V had wanted us to experience prawn mee (a spicy prawn noodle dish) but her favorite place was inexplicably closed.
Refreshing coconut water.
  Our 2nd attempt again met with failure but we were  happy eating all the other stuff available at the Old Airport Hawker Center  - we tried fried vermicelli with seafood, spicy fish cooked in banana leaf, a strange salad of fruits and veggies covered in a fermented shrimp dressing (sounds gross but it's pretty good, not a fav though) and yummy sugar cane juice.  We got to lunch a bit late so a lot of places were closing down (most close when they run out of food) and we were able to get some extras for free since the remaining shops didn't want to waste their inventory.  These hawker centers are usually pretty divey - but the food is tremendous and cheap.  You sit at a table (each has it's own number) and then you can go stall to stall to order food and they will bring it to your table.
Grilling the pratas.
  When we were done, I bought some pineapple tarts shaped in little mice (it's the Year of the Rat) - super cute!  Haven't had any yet, but they were just too darn cute to pass up.

V then drove us to Arab Street - a few lanes dedicated to the Middle Eastern way of life.  Again, very quaint and bustling.  We visited another temple there and then V walked us to one particular street which was filled with trendy boutiques, many of which were vintage shops.  It was a beautiful and harmonious blending of modern and old.  We spent some time shopping here.  It's well worth a visit, because after a while you do get tired of all the souvenir stuff.

After our little visit to "Arabia" we went to Chinatown to change money (we needed currency for all the countries we were visiting).
The TreeTop Walk. They look super fresh and happy here - this is before we realized how long this thing was!
  (Tip - we were told we would get better rates here and that they don't charge a commission, however, for Bali, at least, the rates seemed better in Bali, so I would just get some petty cash to tide you over until you can exchange currency there.)  After getting some Veitnamese duong, Indonesian money, etc.  we felt like "millionaires" (literally).  :)  Chinatown was fine, but again, it was mostly filled with the same cheezy souvenirs you find in all chinatowns around the world.  There was one particular shop that was quite interesting.  In Chinese culture when loved ones die, the living relatives burn things such as paper money, paper houses, etc., so that the deceased can have these things in the afterlife.  Growing up, it was pretty much basic necessities.
Wilting in the heat a bit.
  But we saw a shop here that went above and beyond that - with paper ferraris,  paper louis vitton bags, etc. so the deceased can be stylin in the after life.  That is certainly materialism and capitalism at its weirdest.

Since we were un-touristy this morning on the hike, we had to balance that out with the ultimate touristy thing - which is to have a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel.  The hotel is quite beautiful, built in the colonial style.  We went to the Long Bar - the only place in Singapore where they encourage littering.  Each table has a bowl of peanuts and the custom is to discard the shells on the floor.  The drinks are quite expensive - actually I find everything rather affordable in Singapore except alcohol.
About to embark on the treetop bridge walk!
  The prices are probably comparable to LA prices, except beer may be even more expensive here than LA (imagine $30 for a pitcher of beer).  We each tasted a sling - quite fruity and sweet.  It wasn't great (but then I don't like fruity alcholic beverages usually), but better than the "cough syrup" described by some travel guides, and better than the even more syrupy sweet hurricanes in New Orleans. 

By this time, our legs were super sore from our hike and we were dragging a bit and my bug bites were getting red and swollen.  V suggested we grab dinner at a Peranakan restaurant.  I've never had Peranakan cuisine which was described to us as being derived from a group of a mixed Malay and Chinese descent.  The food is definitely "asian", but not as sweet and spicy as Singaporean or Thai cuisine.
A on the bridge.
  It was quite good - mostly stewed meats and vegetables in claypots.  We had:  a spicy pork dish, a chicken cooked with these specialty nuts (which were quite meaty - they literally scoop out the insides, cook it, and then scoop it back in when they serve it; not sure why all the work is required...), stewed cabbage, soup with minced crab balls, and a fried bean curd stuffed with minced pork and water chestnuts.  It's so rare for me to taste something entirely new - very cool.

We had wanted to go to Mustafa's - a 24 hour shopping bazaar, but we were all so wiped out, we decided to save that for another day.  Instead we walked a little around the restaurant, picked up some curry puffs from Parlor and some fruit (longines, similar to lychee, and guavas) for breakfast the next day.
Strange how you can't see the fear on my face...
 

All in all a very full day.  (i'm sure my legs will be ultra sore tomorrow - but it was worth it!).

Oh - almost forgot - we heard the funniest thing today.  Apparently the Singapore govt was concerned about the low birthrates amongst its citizens so has created a govt matchmaking organization called the Social Development Unit.  Essentially they sponsor mixers and invite their single citizens to attend.  But they organize the functions based on your educational level sometimes - i.e., only people with certain grad degrees can attend certain mixers, etc.  Sort of elitist, huh?  I guess the hope is for smart children - no dummies allowed!  :)  There's also a cash bonus for having children - quite an incentive, huh?

TRE69 says:
The treetop walk looks like so much fun...but I hate humid weather!!!:P
Posted on: Apr 25, 2008
reikunboy says:
love the blog
Posted on: Apr 22, 2008
rizky_wisnu says:
wow great job!!, very informative blog!!, hey i think its peranakan cuisine, not penankang, might sounds similar though. have a great day Doris!! :)
Posted on: Apr 21, 2008
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Breakfast at Casuarina Curry.
Breakfast at Casuarina Curry.
Delicious, freshly-made pratas.
Delicious, freshly-made pratas.
Spicy chicken roti - kickstart in …
Spicy chicken roti - kickstart in…
Refreshing coconut water.
Refreshing coconut water.
Grilling the pratas.
Grilling the pratas.
The TreeTop Walk.  They look super…
The TreeTop Walk. They look supe…
Wilting in the heat a bit.
Wilting in the heat a bit.
About to embark on the treetop bri…
About to embark on the treetop br…
A on the bridge.
A on the bridge.
Strange how you cant see the fear…
Strange how you can't see the fea…
Trying to catch up to V and C.
Trying to catch up to V and C.
Funny no trespass sign.
Funny "no trespass" sign.
Another monkey - they are everywhe…
Another monkey - they are everywh…
At a Old Airport Hawker Center for…
At a Old Airport Hawker Center fo…
I think this is the rojak - a stra…
I think this is the rojak - a str…
Grilled fish in banana leaf.
Grilled fish in banana leaf.
Fried prawn noodles.
Fried prawn noodles.
A enjoying her sugar cane juice - …
A enjoying her sugar cane juice -…
Temple on Arab Street.
Temple on Arab Street.
On Arab Street.
On Arab Street.
A strangely trendy street near Ara…
A strangely trendy street near Ar…
Chinatown!  Theres one everywhere…
Chinatown! There's one everywher…
Pretty!  I hear they only have sui…
Pretty! I hear they only have su…
Trying Singapore Slings at Raffles…
Trying Singapore Slings at Raffle…
Enjoying the colonial decor at Raf…
Enjoying the colonial decor at Ra…
Posing in front of Raffles.
Posing in front of Raffles.
Hanging in the courtyard at the Ra…
Hanging in the courtyard at the R…
Dinner!
Dinner!
Peranakan cuisine - very comfortin…
Peranakan cuisine - very comforti…
Cool fruit - theres star fruit, p…
Cool fruit - there's star fruit, …
Buying some longines and guava.
Buying some longines and guava.