Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ang Mo Kio Planned Residential Area in Singapore

ChongBee suggests that if I want to really see how people in Singapore live, I should head up to the Ang Mo Kio district, a planned residential area in northeast Singapore.  There will be no tourists here and I can see the people of Singapore in their natural element.  I take the MRT eight stops from Dhoby Ghaut to the Ang Mio Ko station, exit, and wander.

Ang Mo Kio was developed in 1973, fully completed by 1980.  Originally a mixture of forests and swamps, the area was transformed into the eighth most populated residential community in Singapore, consisting of blocks of twelve-story and twenty-five story buildings, two main parks, and a commercial center.

 Ang Mo Kio metro station and food stand in the station

Lots of housing

My first impression is one of very-high-density housing and well-maintained paths and gardens.  As I walk further into the area, I see more and more of the housing, wide boulevards, and schools.


Welcome to our town

 The proud story of our school

Across the street, Nanyang Polytechnic

Everything is here in a compact area, all I need to do is find the recreational facilities and the shops. They must be somewhere, I'll keep walking.  As I circle back above the Metro station, I find the Town Garden West, one of two main parks and a beautiful oasis in this urban setting.

 Town Garden West

People are walking the paths, sitting by the ponds, playing in the playground, and, my favorite, bringing their birds to the bird park for some air.

Bird park with a field of hooks for the cages

After the park, I head back toward the metro station and find the commercial area, with shops and restaurants, all together next to the station.

 The commercial area

It took a few hours to stroll around Ang Mo Kio, basically in a big circle around the Metro station, but it was quite interesting to see how Singapore built these self-contained communities to house their residents.  There are a lot of people here, with everything they need, but with also a lot of open space, parkland, and recreational facilities.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Singapore Marina Bay Gardens

Marina Bay is said to be the center of tourist activity in Singapore, with modern buildings, museums, shops, gardens, and great views from both sides of the bay.  I'm approaching the bay from Chinatown, walking through a deserted-on-Sunday business district.  As soon as I exit the tall office buildings, the vista opens up.

 Approaching Marina Bay

I have heard of the fabulous Gardens by the Bay in Marina Bay and I quickly pass the huge mall (back for lunch later) and enter the urban jungle.

 Sculpture and petrified wood on display at the Gardens by the Bay visitor center

Just off the visitor center is the Flower Dome, the largest greenhouse in the world.  I can see lots of plants through the windows as I walk by and only a little further is one of the most recognized displays of the park, the Supertree Grove, with eighteen art trees and an aerial walkway through the tops of the trees.

 Supertree Grove with aerial walkway

 Other sights in the park include great gardens and sculpture.

 Sculpture and lush tropical landscapes in the Gardens by the Bay

But, all this walking is making me hungry.  And, I know that just outside the park is the large mall I walked by on the way here and it must have food.  The stairs from the park lead onto the roof of the mall, where I have more panoramic views and I pause for a bit, then resume my hunt for lunch.

 View from the roof

The food court is in the basement of the mall and the selection is fabulous.  True to form, I choose the roast duck stand, order smoked duck with bok choy and rice, and head over to the drink stand for a Diet Coke while they prepare my lunch.

 Roast duck stand, smoked duck with bok choy and rice

 Well fortified, I head back to the hotel.