In our last week in Asia, we moved around a lot and visited three different countries.
After our last day in Mui Ne, we made our way back to Ho Chi Minh City for a couple more days. On arrival, we took a short taxi ride through the rush hour madness to the Bitexco Financial Tower and as the savvy travelers we are, instead of paying the £8 each to visit the official Skydeck on the 49th floor we took the lift to the 52nd floor to Heliobar for free. We were then able to afford cocktails!
Our aim was to watch the sunset and the city light up. Unfortunately, sunset was a non-event but watching the city fall to the darkness and light up was great. We nursed our cocktails for a good hour to enjoy the views!
During our time in the tower, Francesca thought she saw someone she knew, which was later confirmed as we bumped into them as we walked past a bar near our hostel. A small, small world once again!
On our final full day in Vietnam, we visited the Emperor Jade Pagoda and Vietnam History Museum before taking a walk round the Zoo and Botanical Gardens complete with another deserted fun fair. I didn’t enjoy the small rollercoaster to be honest, much to Francesca’s amusement!
Francesca, felt she was becoming at one with nature, particularly the giraffes, until the rats returned to run amok around the gardens.
With our time in Vietnam at an end we made the short trip to Singapore courtesy of Tiger Air. A smooth flight took only 1 hour 45 minutes followed by a frustrating 2 hours to get out of the airport and get to our hotel. We were situated just two minutes from Little India, which does truly live up to its name and of course we had curry for a total of 12 SGD followed by a beer each for a total 15SGD in the homely named Prince of Wales. Naturally, this was our only drink in Singapore.
The next day, the first stop was the Botanic Gardens that was full of a wide range of flowers, plants and trees divided in areas such as the rainforest and orchid garden.
The gardens are very peaceful and home to some wildlife including Turtles, which we had the pleasure of watching swim around before feeding them.
After leaving the botanic gardens, we made our way for more tower savviness this time in the form of the ION Sky, a free observation deck with fantastic views over the city, including the Marina Bay.
Having seen it from above, we made the Marina Bay our next stop and enjoyed the skyscraper backdrop before heading the short distance to the Gardens by the Bay and Supertree Grove, which you may have seen recently on David Attenborough’s Planet Earth.
We opted to undertake the Skywalk through the Supertree Grove once darkness had fallen and the trees were lit up. I’d love to say we planned what happened next but in fact it turned out to be a fantastic surprise. As we got onto the skywalk, the lights all turned out briefly before a light show began.
Despite my legs being in a jelly like state for the duration of the skywalk, I did manage to enjoy the experience and it was one of my favourite moments from whole the trip so far! With the light show on one side and the impressive Marina Bay Sands hotel and skyscrapers on the other, we won’t forget it in a hurry!
On return to good old terra firma, we felt the urge to scale some heights again and try to get to the infinity pool at the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel! We knew that it was for hotel guests only but it didn’t stop me taking the lift to 55th floor to see what I could find. At the top, I was greeted by a glass door with a brief glimpse of the city but as I was feeling very scruffy and some well-dressed people were greeting people at the door I made a hasty exit.
On the final day of our Asian odyssey, we decided to release our inner children. No, no one is pregnant what I actually mean is we went on the Skyline Luge on Sentosa Island and visited the Art Zoo in Marina Bay.
Francesca had previously done the Skyline Luge about 10 years ago, and I’m glad that she suggested we do it! On our three rides, I ignored every single slow down or caution sign and went full throttle. On one occasion a large portion of my body was hanging out of the luge and I had to put my hand down on the track to push myself back in, whilst avoiding a couple in front and squeezing through a small gap! Great fun but didn’t understand why anyone was taking it slow?
Onto the Art Zoo next, which was a month long installation bringing together, you guessed it… Art and wildlife! In essence, it was twelve bouncy castles relating to different animals and habitats. Despite being probably the only adults without children inside we arguably had the most fun! It was made complete by the surreal backdrop of the skyscrapers once more.
After cooling down, we made our way to the airport for our flight to Australia, reflecting on the couple we’d seen spend 233 SGD (approx. £130) on sweets on Sentosa Island earlier in the day. Here’s the woman taking a selfie with a stuffed creature whilst the husband flexed the plastic!
Anyway, on arrival to the airport we discovered our 00:40 flight had been re-timed to 10:15am. Great! However, the airline did give us a night in swanky 4-star hotel, which helped to soften the blow! As did free breakfast and 7am swim before our flight!
We finally made it to Melbourne around 9pm on the 11th March and marvelled at the Melbourne skyline as we made our way to Francesca’s relatives for the start of our Australian adventure.