There's a bus that runs from Orchard road, stopping at various hotels and goes to the zoo, so I decided to take that. The first problem came up when the bus arrived outside my hotel and it was almost full. There was a large crowd waiting, and clearly the operators had not expected that many people. They scrambled to get those of us who could on board, and tried to soothe the people who couldn't by trying to arrange for another bus to arrive. The people at the other stops were also a little miffed to put it mildly, specially the German and Danish tourists.
Well, we got to the zoo and I walk in, there's a tribal dance with fire eaters going on in the outside courtyard. There are also fast food (local equivalent) restaurant selling $4 bottles of water. Inside the paid area, there was a line of around 400 people waiting for the guided tour.
The guided tour takes place in a "tram", which is essentially a low slung, electric "bendy" bus, with the sides cut away. I wait, get on and we set off with warnings about not using the flash on your camera and dire warnings about keeping all your body parts within the confines of the bus.
We set off and soon the atmosphere changes. Parents hush their kids, other parents get into long winded descriptions of what their kids should expect to see and the couples start cuddling. Us foreign tourists just look around with bemused expressions and smile at each other.
The zoo is simply amazing. They have managed to replicate the natural habitat of different asian and african wildlife, from the spotted hyena, to the giraffe and the elephant. There's also nothing like rounding a corner and coming face to face with a rhino. Those things are scary. (That's when a few children started screaming.) The hippopotamuses (hippopotami?) were cute, snorgling in the water. The papa elephant seemed a little depressed, was shaking his head from side to side, and mama and baby elephants were nuzzling over in the meadow on the other side.
About a tenth of the way into the tour, we were given the opportunity to get off and go on walking trails. These were marked trails through the jungle. On foot, the experience was completely different - I was much closer to the smells and sounds (and in the fruit bat habitat, the touch). It was funny watching some people get freaked out by the fruit bat. It's a fruit bat people, it's not going to suck your blood. It was also amazing watching someone trying to impress his friends by leaving the trail on the "leopard trail". It's a leopard fella - to it, you are prey. Do not leave the trail. Fortunately a trail warden prevented disaster. (And no, I'm not sure if he was 'fined' :) ).
While leaving for Singapore, I was debating whether to carry my fast lens. I decided to save weight in my bag and not carry it. So, unfortunately, I don't have too many good photographs.
Pictures from the night safari
I'm hoping to get better ones today at the bird sanctuary and the orchid garden.