Having jumped back from Bali in mainland Asia my first backpacking stop off was in Singapore.
I won’t lie – I landed in Singapore feeling like shit. I had a pounding headache, sinus infection, ear infection and hadn’t slept properly for the best part of 4 days!
Needless to say I wasn’t really in the mood to run around a city, getting lost on the tube network or doing anything that involved leaving the relative air con comfort of my hostel dorm!
There was one thing I really wanted to check out whilst there though – something that numerous backpackers had recommended to me and one of the things my parents raved about after stopping over here after our south island New Zealand adventure…
…the night safari.
Now given the fact I’m a poor backpacker, Singapore is expensive and I was feeling rubbish I wasn’t really in the mood to go wandering around and spending money. However my parents were so impressed by it that my mum dropped me an email
“go for it – we’ll pay”
Well how could I turn down that offer? I am a backpacker after all and turning down free stuff is a big no no. I love my parents!
So despite coughing up all kinds of lovely green stuff I dragged myself and my bro into a taxi at half 7 at night (which is usually drink o’clock!) and headed off to the zoo.
Now I really had no clue what we were getting in for.I’d done no research and hadn’t really enquired too much with my parents about it, which was slightly tactical on my part. Having experienced various zoos and seen a lot of incredible wildlife in their natural habitat along the way I’d rather go in blind – with no expectations.
Into The Night
On arriving I was immediately impressed with how busy and how awesome the whole place looked. Blazing tiki torches lit the pathway through the entrance of the open air wooden structure which wouldn’t have looked out of place on an African game reserve.
Our first port of call was the train. Again I had no clue what that was, where it would take us or anything – we just blindly followed my Mums advice like the good children we are!
On board and surrounded by people from seemingly every part of the world we started our journey into the night and around the park.
The whole experience seemed to fill the gap between zoo and safari park. As we wound our way through the malaysian jungle we slowly passed by creatures ranging from wild deer though to hyenas, hippos and tapir.
Experiencing them during the dusk meant they were heaps active and their enclosures seemed to promote alot of activity. Many spots we simply passed by as the inhabitants of that area has decided to disappear into their slice of jungle – it’s a welcome change knowing the animals have that option.
Each zone – whether filled with elephants, water buffalo or even the humble otter was a great experience and our tour guide passed on snippets of info – be it the animals habitat, food sources or conservation.
He also did a great job of burning the people repeatedly using their camera flashes (which is strictly not allowed, hence the lack of images in this post!) rattling off “please refrain from using flash photography” in no less than 7 languages – no one had an excuse!
After our journey had concluded (it’s around 30 minutes in total) we were free to explore the park on foot – revisiting our personal favorite and taking in the trails which uncovered new areas.
For me this was the best bit – taking it at my own pace and being able to sit an watch as otters swam around juggling stones, fruit bats swooped over head and fishing cats sat patiently by the waters edge waiting for the unknowing fish to get too close…which unfortunately didn’t happen before my own patience grew thin!
Exploring it by night gave the whole experience a very unique feel and it was completely different to any other park I’d visited. The animals seemed a lot more active and paid little attention to the visitors.
And of course it being night meant the nocturnal animals were out in full force.
Walking through exhibits such as the Malayan flying squirrel (which is surprisingly big!) proved amusing as one nearly landed on my brothers head and the wallaby enclosure meant you could get really up close and personal. There was heaps of “awwwwwws”going on too as people flocked around the every adorable sugar glider enclosure (seriously those things are so freaking cute!) and watched as the slow lorris’ gorged themselves with bellies that seemed as big as their bulbous eyes!
And for those who like something a bit more sizeable the roars of lion, tigers and jaguar echoed throughout the night alongside the chuckling of the hyena and grunts of the hippos.
Overall the Singapore Night Safari was a really enjoyable and unusual way to spend an evening and given that it’s open until 1am you could spend alot of time wandering around. There are of course the standard ‘shows’ such as feedings and even a fire show – but they weren’t something I managed to catch.
It’s not even that expensive either, with an adult ticket costing $30 Singapore – roughly £15 and a taxi was about $25 each way (£12.50). Not the cheapest thing you can do on your travels, but mind you nothing is backpacker cheap in Singapore!
Have you checked out the night safari? What did you reckon to it?