Fort Siloso is a decommissioned coastal artillery battery in Sentosa, Singapore. It consists of 12 such batteries which made up "Fortress Singapore" at the start of World War II, and saw action during the Battle of Singapore.
* 2023 Update: The Jurong Bird Park has been permanently closed and its birds will be transferred to the Mandai Wildlife Reserve *
In a past trip to Singapore, which was more years ago than I care to remember, I had visited Jurong Bird Park and was left with a lasting memory of how many amazing birds were there and many were free-flying. So, coming back (yes it was 25 years ago!) I wanted to revisit and see if it was a good as the first time.
The next few hours we spent wandering around the bird park. I loved many of the large open aviaries where the birds could move freely. Also, there we some wonderful outdoor enclosures for the waterfowl, especially the pelicans. We also had some fun in the enclosure with the parakeets who greedily guzzled on the nectar we bought on the way in, despite being told they were not feeling very hungry.
Sadly, some of the birds were in enclosures that I would say have not been updated for years and had wire meshing that made it hard to clearly see the birds. I assume putting the birds behind glass might not be ideal in the Singapore climate.
Overall, we had a good time but in some ways, my previous memories were tarnished. This may be down to the fact that in the intervening years since my last visit I had experienced so much more and this had put Jurong into this broader context. I don’t think I will be going back.
Planning your visit
Opened in 1971, Jurong Bird Park is Asia’s largest bird park, offering a 20.2-hectare hillside haven for close to 3,500 birds across 400 species, of which 20 per cent are threatened.
We decided to take public transport. Getting there took a while and was a little convoluted. Firstly, we took the MRT to Boon Lay Station and walked (about 1-2 mins) to the Boon Lay Bus Interchange. Things would have been easier if I hadn’t got us on to the wrong bus – but eventually, we caught bus number 251 and got off one stop later.
The best time to visit Singapore
Although Singapore is a year-round destination, the best time to visit Singapore is from December to June. The months of February to April fall within Singapore’s dry season and is typically when the country has the least amount of rain, the lowest humidity, and the most sunshine. Singapore has fairly consistent weather and welcoming enough for travellers all year round for sightseeing. However, if you wish to avoid any crowds flocking the places, the best time to visit Singapore is from July to November.
Monsoons prevail from December to March in Singapore, with December recording the highest rainfall. The weather is generally windy, cloudy with low sunshine and humid. There are chances of thunderstorms during these months.
Where to stay?
1. LLOYDS INN
During our last stay in Singapore, we stayed at the Llyods Inn. Our stay was quite short but we found to staff welcoming and the facilities were great. The decor was clutter-free and the design contemporary, with industrial-chic concrete walls and muted pallets and plenty of white – which Karen loved – yet it was also very comfortable. There is a roof terrace, modern garden deck and dipping pool surrounded by greenery.
Located off Killiney Road in a quiet residential area, Lloyd’s Inn is a short walk to the heart of Orchard Road. Somerset MRT Station, 313@Somerset, Orchard Gateway and Orchard Central shopping malls are within a 10-minute walk away.
2. WANDERLUST HOTEL
A couple of years back we stayed in the Wanderlust Hotel, which is housed in a historic 1920s Art Deco building (very cool!) At that time each of the rooms was individually decorated in quirk ways. Since then the hotel has been sold and bought and been remodelled so we can’t really comment on what the rooms look like now but the pictures look good!
What we can say is the hotel is located in a fabulous position to access the MRT. It is also in heart of Little India and all that it has to offer (did I mention we love Indian food). For these two reasons alone we would recommend the Wanderlust Hotel.
3. THE SCARLET SINGAPORE
We have not stayed in The Scarlet Singapore yet but it is on our shortlist for a future trip!
This luxury boutique hotel can be found in the heart of Singapore’s Chinatown (we also like Chinese food!). The hotel is one of the oldest conservation buildings in Singapore and comprises a row of 13 1868 shops and a 1924 Art Deco building (see why we are interested in this). The exteriors are historic the interiors are bang up to date. If you want to use Chinatown as your base in Singapore this is a great place to stay. Scarlet Hotel is less than a 10-minute walk from Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar MRT Stations.