Day 8 - Mustafa Center, Sim Lim Square, Thaipusam at Singapore

Finally day, we were tanned, exhausted and also felt sad that the vacation had come to an end. We decided to do some shopping so we visited the Mustafa center. We bought some souviniers. Then we had an authentic South Indian food in Anjapaar. We also visited the Sim Lim Square and bought some electronics.

Little India being inhabited by Indians and majority by Tamilians, was vibrant on the occasion of Thaipusam. There was a separate lane setup for the devotees to carry the Kavadi (Decorative piece of Wood) and pal kudam (Milk Pot). From kids to adults everyone were carrying kavadi. The streets were flooded with tourists and devotees. Free food and soft drinks were being distributed at different places. It was a unique experience to see the festival being celebrated so well in Singapore.

Finally we checked in at Changi Airport and did last minute duty free shopping.I cherished the 8 days of mixed adventure and amusement as we headed back home. It will linger in our heart for ever.

Day 7 - Jurong Bird park, Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Singapore

We were totally exhaust on Day 7. However, as planned we left to Jurong Bird Park. We first headed to the bird show where we saw flamingo dance, macaw fly between the rings, pelican march and also a macaw speak. After a very entertaining show, we toured the park with the help of the map. We spotted many different birds flamingo, pelicans, macaw, swam, Lori, Cranes, ostrich, Emo, eagles, penguins etc. Watching so many bird birds in different colors was magnificent. The bird park was quiet huge and by the time we ended the tour, it was late in the afternoon.

We had planned to visit The Singapore Zoo and night Safari following the Jurong bird park tour. But the Bird park tour, we had no strength left to walk neither we had the luxury to spend one more day. Anyway we headed to Singapore Zoo to just see whatever possible and proceed to Night Safari.

The Singapore zoo was awesome. We spotted Tigers, Kangaroos, Wallaby, many species of Monkey, Polar bear, elephant, zebra, giraffe, lions, panthers etc. The beauty of the Zoo was how they have created an environment similar to forest, free and open, yet guarded and fenced. The cages had plenty of space to move around and were kept very clean. Even with less time, we ran around and managed to spot most of the animals.

Next we headed to the night safari. First we visited the show, where hygienes, snakes were brought out. Then we took a little walk into the jungle. The whole park was maintained typically like a forest and the walk was quiet scary. We were lucky enough to spot a tiger just a few inches from the guarded glass viewer. Next we boarded the tram which guided us through the whole area were we spotted many animals in the dark.

After a memorable safari, we headed back home extremely exhausted.

Day 6 - Temples, Sentosa Island, China Town, Singapore

Today our expedition started with visits to temples. First we visited Veeramakaliamman Temple, which was just across street. After a quick worship at this more than 125 years old Amman temple, we headed to China Town.

In the China Town, we visited Thian Hock Keng Temple, an oldest Hokkien Temple. The structure and the architecture of the temple was very beautiful. We were surprised by the similarity in sculptures and carvings of the Indian and Chinese Temple.

In Telok Ayer Green, we saw beautiful sculptures depicting the festival activity of Chinese immigrant and the arrival of Indians in Singapore. Then we proceeded to the Sentosa Island.

We reached Sentosa Island in a Monorail and first headed to Underwater World to once again enjoy the experience. As we entered the counter, we were informed that the Dolphin show has already started. So we rushed to the Dolphin lagoon. By the time we reached the dolphin show was half way through, we saw the fur seals performs. It was very cute to see the fur seals dance, run and act.

Next we headed back to the Underwater world. Again we touched the Star fish, baby sharks, feed the rai. Then we spotted crabs, fishes, turtles, jelly fishes, sea horse and many many species of aquatic life in different size, color and shape. Next we entered the Underwater tunnel, this underwater world had huge fishes. It was a feast to our eyes. We just loved it. I would not might visiting underwater world several times, its indeed an out of world experience.

Finally, we again headed to the Dolphin Lagoon to see the dolphins this time. The dolphins jumped, dived, clapped and danced. It was a great show. Spotting dolphins for the first time we were amused.

After resting for sometime in the Silosa beach, we headed to the spot the Southernmost point of Continental Asia. This is the southernmost point in Asia that can be reached on road.

Songs of the Sea was our next destination. It was a kind of a Laser show. The show was like a story. A group of kids were trying to find the princess with the help of an animated character Oscar. The 45 minutes show was mind-blowing. I have never experienced a show that was so amazing that I just couldn't leave the seat. After an marvelous experience, we headed back to China Town.

It was finally our time to shop. China Town is a wonderful place to shop and eat. The Chinese new year decorative materials were so beautiful that we got into a spending spree. With handful of bags we headed to the China Town Food Street, on the way we watched some typical Chinese selling acts. In the red lantern lite food street, we tasted some of the delicious Chinese food and headed back to the hotel.


Day 5 - Raffles Place, Boat Quay, Merilion Park, Esplanade Bay, Singapore Flyer, Singapore

We woke up late as our flight to Singapore was only at 11AM. Without any hurry we packed, had breakfast and walked to the airport. Within an hour we were in Changi airport Singapore. After buying tourist pass and calling card, we headed to Little India. First we treated our longing taste buds with authentic South Indian delicacies in Komala Vilas and then checked-in to Hotel Santa Grand.

Our plan for the day was to walk from Raffles Place to Singapore flyer and explore the places inbetween. From Raffles MRT station, we walked to Boat Quay. We sat in the benches near the bank of Singapore river and strolled near the Quay and saw some beautiful statues. Next we proceeded to the Merilion Park.

The Merilion statue overlooking the Singapore sea instilled a unique emotion of Singapore. We observed the imaginary creature for sometime and continued on the Esplanade bridge. On the way, we saw the stunning Esplanade theater on the Marine bay. 

Finally we reached the Singapore Flyer, as planned in the evening just before sunset, to catch the glimpse of the city in sunlight and twilight. Singapore flyer is the tallest Ferris wheel, with 28 AC capsules that can hold about 28 passengers and takes about 37 minutes for a complete rotation.

While we boarded the capsule, it was just before sunset and the city was already glowing. As the flyer started rotating slowly and the darkness crept in, the city lighten with different colors and looked absolutely gorgeous. The Sea, Singapore river, the Business district buildings, even the trees around the place was decorated and beautifully lite. We thoroughly enjoyed the 40 minutes ride in the capsule.

Finally we headed back to the hotel and rested to continue the exploration the following day.


Day4 – Island Hopping Tour, Eagle Feeding, Langkawi Cable Car, Langkawi Suspended Bridge, Langkawi

Today, we set off on a tour to the Langkawi Islands. We were picked up from the hotel and transferred to a jetty point. It was a trip in speed boat. I have traveled in speed boats before, but nothing was like this. It was very fast and it jumped every time we hit a wave. During the ride, we also got to see many beautiful tiny rock islands as we wave surfed in the speed boat.

First the speed boat halted near the Pregnant Maiden, it is a mountain shaped like a pregnant women resting. After quick photo session, we were dropped off at Pulau Dayang Bunting Island. It is a small intriguing island with a freshwater lake. We did activities like Pedal boat ride and fish reflexology.

After about an hour, we went back and set off to see eagle feeding. As the boat slowed down and driver threw fishes into the water, there were eagles from every direction flying down to feed on the fishes. Within a couple of minutes, we saw hundreds of the legends of Langkawi (Eagles of Langkawi) glide down and pick up the fishes in their beak. It was a spectacular sight.

Next we cruised to Pulau Beras Basah, a paradise tropical beach with crystal clear water and white sand. We walked on the rocks to the tip of the island to spot the end of the land and the infinity sea. We didn’t want the tour to end, however we left the breathtaking uninhabited island and motored back to the jetty.

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After being exposed to the harsh sun for around 4 hours, we were totally dehydrated and starved. So we had a nice meal in an Indian Restaurant and headed to do some shopping.

Our exploration wasn’t over for the day; next we headed to the Oriented Village to enjoy a ride in the Langkawi cable Car. The cable car glided above rainforest to the base station which is located in the foothills of the Machincang mountain range. The ride in the cable car was incredible. After enjoying the view points we took another cable car which transported us the top station, the Peak of Machincang Mountain. Then we climbed a fleet of steps to the observatory decks to be mesmerized in the stunning views of the islands and the beaches. The 360 degree panoramic view of the archipelagos was magnificent.

After enjoying the view for a while, we moved on to the suspended bridge that linked the top station to the Machincang mountain range. Walking through the pedestrian bridge, we enjoyed more ravishing seascapes.

Then we returned back to the oriental village, did little more shopping, and relaxed for a while. Satish even dared to carry a python for snaps.

Finally we check-out of Langkawi, arrived at Kuala Lumpur and checked-in the airport hotel, The Tune. Then, it was a black-out before heading to Singapore the next day.


A Catastrophe

Hi All,

I didn't want to interrupt my Singapore-Malaysia Vacation blog, but this post was important and should be shared. So, I forced myself to find a little time in my fully packed schedule [:(]. Here is the catastrophe.

It was around 10 AM Sunday morning. I was in the kitchen preparing breakfast. Suddenly I heard a loud blast outside. At once heard shriek cry of a women. I ran to the balcony to check-out what was going on. In the opposite street, four building to the left, I saw a lady sitting in the stair-case and crying. Then people from the floor below were running up to the 4Th floor of the building.

I thought it might be a cylinder blast. I didn't see any fire. But, saw people carrying buckets of water and hose pipe. Soon people from neighboring streets gathered. Many even went up to the 4Th floor to take the glimpse of the havoc. The atmosphere was tensed.

I went to my room, one floor above, to alarm my husband of the tragedy. He was already in the balcony and he informed that when he heard the blast, the electricity switched off and switched on after a while. He assumed it might be electric shock mishap. Soon, a car rushed to the building to take the casualty to the hospital.

First,one man walked down with the carpet covering him. It was little relief. Then we saw four people holding the corners of a carpet and carrying a person down. We didn't know whether the person was male or female, kid or adult. It was a disturbing sight. The car rushed them to the hospital.

After a while, my father in-law came up, he said they were electrocuted while setting up the DTH connection. We discussed for a while the possible reasons and then set off to do our daily work.

Later the day we heard many stories. We saw policemen and press investigating the event. Finally we heard from a neighbor, the true story:

The family had just moved in to the building two days back. Two men from the house were setting up the DTH connection. There is a High Density electrical line that passes very close to the building. During re-installation of the dish TV, they have tried to pass a cable between the HD lines. The cable had touched the HD line and hence electrocuted them. One person suffered 30% burns and other who was carried in the carpet suffered 60% burns. Both are hospitalized and under treatment.

Thank God, there was no death. But 60% burns isn't a good news either.

A gloomy day. But eye-opener for the hundreds who witness the catastrophe. I have tried to portray the events, believing it would bring alertness to more people. Please get an electrician while relocating. Is a few hundreds more precious than life?

Prayers for the injured and the family.


Day 3 - Pulua Mayar Marine Park, Langkawi, Malaysia

Next morning early at 8:00, we had an awesome breakfast at Hotel Helang and started in the Coral Island Tour bus to the Jetty Point to board the Cruise to Puala Mayar Marine Park. First we headed to a hotel where we got our hands strapped with the Coral Island ribbon and then we were taken to the Jetty Point. It was my first time Cruising, I was so excited. In the cruise we took a nice seat near the glassed window. Within 10 mins, we set off on the sea. Instructions were given about the tour, but I didn’t pay much attention, because I was not able to take my eyes of the window. The sea was so beautiful, just a blue sea till my reach. There were also small and tiny islands looked like a floating rocks with plants on them.

After the cruise crossed the Langkawi sea limits, we were allowed to go to the upper open deck and enjoy the beauty of the sea. Air turbulence was pushing us in every direction. We stood there for sometime and went back to our seats. We reached Puala Payar Marine Park after 1 ½ hours of cruising. From the Cruise we took a speed boat to reach the shore. In the shore, the snorkeling equipments were distributed. Then we hit the beach.

The water was clean and cold. We were able to see some fishes with the bare eyes. Wearing the mask and snorkel, I dived into the water. Once the bubbles cleared, I was able to see the beautiful white sand and some pebbles, and I was about to stand up, I saw a group of fishes fishing under me. As a reflex, I tried to grab them but obviously it was not possible so swam with them for a while and stood up.

Initially, I was not using the snorkel correctly, so I was not able to dive for long time. Then, after I got it correct, I was not able to come out of the water. We snorkeled for a couple of hours. Swimming with fishes, seeing the beautiful corals and other aquatic life was an awesome experience. Next we fed the baby sharks. It was amazing to see the sharks rushing to fed at once the bread crumbs were thrown in the water. Around 3 PM, we started back from the Marine Park and reached the hotel. We had a quick shower and took a power nap.

Around 7 o’clock, we went to the Orkid Ria Restaurant. The food was awesome. I tasted the lobster first time there. Then after a good dinner, we went back to the hotel and rest for the day.


Day 2 - Batu Caves, Aquaria, KLCC Discovery Center, Malaysia - Langkawi

We woke up early and after a good breakfast at Hotel Sentral, we headed to Batu Caves. Batu caves is a limestone hill with Lord Muruga's temple. It's the tallest Statue of Muruga in the world. We took a train to Terminal Putra and then a taxi to the caves.

It was a week before "Thaipusam", and the celebrations had already begun. The cave was flooded with devotees and tourists. After checking out people carry kavadi for a while, we climbed up to the base temple. The base temple was jam-packed with people, so we ruled out the option to visit the base temple and climbed further to the main temple. The locale of the main temple was beautiful, light from the cave holes falling on the temple roof and the limestone rocks with calcium dripping added to the beauty.

After darshan, we came down drained, thanks to the humidity and the temperature. After clicking few snaps in front of the Statue, we headed to the Suria, KLCC. Chinese New Year was a few weeks away so the Suria Complex was beautifully decorated with lanterns and lights, everything in red.

Aquaria was our next destination which was also in the Suria Complex. Aquaria was awesome. First we touched and held starfish, Ray and Baby Sharks. Next we explored the aquarium spotting different fishes, crabs, turtles etc. Finally we ended up at the underwater world tunnel. Its a huge aquarium of fishes with a tunnel passage to experience the underwater water. Seeing family of fishes swimming inches away, Ray and sharks above the head was quite an experience. I couldn't leave the underwater world even after two trips into the tunnel. However, we moved on and had a good Thai Lunch in the foot court in Surai.

We had planned to visit Bukit Bintang and do some shopping, but we were dead tired. So we headed to the Suria complex for window shopping. After roaming for a while, I and Satish headed to explore The Discovery Center leaving my in-laws in a coffee shop. Discovery center is a science exhibit and game type center, a good place for kids. Considering our exhaustion and the outstretched display, it was definitely not for us. Initially we examined some expo, tried some scientific games and latter we were just hunting for the exit.

Finally we returned to the hotel collected our baggage and traveled to the airport to fly to Langkawi, a small island in Malaysia. Landing in Langkawi, we checked-in to Hotel Helang which was 2 minutes walk from the airport and rested our tired bones.
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