27-28 Dec, the temples, the river cruise and departure
We met with our travel team in breakfast table and agreed that today we will visit temples. We took the taxies and drove towards Little India. As we are 8 we always need to take two taxies. We have noticed that then taxi drivers realize that we are together they agree with each other the driving directions and price.
First we visited Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, the largest Buddhist temple in Singapore. It is located at 88 Bright Hill Road at Bishan. The main function of the monastery is crematorium; we also saw one ceremony there. We read from Lonely Planet guide that there should be 10,000 Buddhas in the highlight of the monastery - Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas. We found a huge Buddha, though the rest 9 999 we did not see. One local turned our attention to the ceiling where they were. We walked in the monastery two hours and made a lot of photos.
After walking in monastery we visited three other temples. All areas in Singapore are filled with different temples - Buddhist, Sikh and Hindu - among many. It was just relaxing to stroll around these beautiful places, the smells, colors and shrines were truly beautiful.
After temples we took a subway and drove towards Swissotel, the highest building you can go to top. In Swissotel we were informed that 70th floor will be open only in 45 minutes and men need to wear long trousers. As our men all had shorts, we skipped the attraction, although I believe that the view from top should have been great.
As there is a river in the Singapore, we decided to take a river cruise, because we thought this would be a good way to get a feel for Singapore and its history. Bumboat cruise started from Boat Quay. We enjoyed the interesting scenery, taped it on video and made photos. During the cruise we decided that tonight we will have a dinner in Clarke Quay.
Back in hotel, we saw from CNN how terrible the situation in Asia due to Tsunami is. One taxi driver who took us to the hotel suggested us not to go to Penang, which was the destination we have planned to go next day. We also called to our tourist agent to understand what other options we have.
Before the dinner we did some shopping at Orchard road. We realized that as broadly known, electronics is cheap in Singapore, but clothes are rather expensive. We made some good shopping and went to dinner. It started to rain.
During the dinner we discussed how we will continue our vacation considering what the tidal wave has caused and what might happen further. Some of us wanted to continue the original plan and fly to Penang next day, some wanted to go home or have the vacation in some other area. We did not reach any conclusion at dinner table. Finally our agent called and suggested that we will stay for additional day in Singapore when he will explore for other options.
Next morning we met again in the breakfast table and started to plan our additional day in Singapore. We ordered the minivan for 13:30 to go exploring Singapore. Then we went to our rooms. Our TVs were of course at CNN which accidentally showed the situation in Penang. It was told there that situation in Penang is stable and the destructions are in the process of liquidation. So, at 12:45 we made a quick decision, that we will follow our original plan and we will go to Penang now. Now it was very quick packing, because by the original plan airport transfer was waiting us at 13:15.
In half an hour we were packed, checked out and on the way to airport. Penang waited for us. And we waited for it too.