A Travellerspoint blog


Kong Meng San Hor Kark See Monastery

as intricate as its name suggests

I nearly wrote this Monastery off of my list...I've been to a lot of Asian countries that have a LOT of temples, either Shinto, Taoist, Hindu, or Buddhist, and pretty much everything else in between. I live in a country that has an equal number of Buddhist temples and Christian churches, so to go see yet ANOTHER temple with MORE Buddhist influence...well, I was less than enthused.

Keeping up with the rest of Singapore's spectacular diversity and unique ...everything, Kong Meng San Hor Kark See Monastery (which is MORE than a mouthful to say), close to Bishan park, is rich in its different styles of architecture and overall atmosphere (each temple had its own feel). Pristinely kept, it is a visual delight, with mosaics galore and different colors and styles everywhere.

Colorful detail

Temple flags

One of the deities

Temple flags closeup

Floor detail

Temple roof dragon

I really liked the flags.

Ceiling detail

One of the temples

Lawn full of little stone Buddhas

Crematorium / statue

Roof of one of the temples

9,999 Buddhas

+1 Buddha = Hall of 10,000 Buddhas

Colorful mosaic

Story mosaic detail

Monastery where the monks live their day-to-day lives.

More monastery




Roof detail

There are a lot of pictures. A lot. More coming soon...keep bearing with me!

Posted by lrbergen 20:52 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

World of Color

...amidst the concrete

And yet another thing I absolutely loved about Singapore was the intense diversity (are we all sensing a trend here?) of the architecture.

Ever since being in Spain (in general) and Barcelona (in particular), inspired by the works of Gaudi (genius anyone?!), I have started paying attention to the concrete jungle; the buildings, the angles, the colors, the extraordinary and the mundane.

As the title suggests, Singaporean buildings are NOT just the gray drab monsters you see in most cities. Nope. There are buildings of every size, shape and color.

















Stay tuned for the next post!

Posted by lrbergen 03:23 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Signs, Signs

everywhere the signs

Singapore wants to protect you. Really, it does. Hence why there are signs EVERYWHERE, gently reminding you to be careful. Don't break the law by eating on the subway! Remain vigilant! Beware of pickpockets! Please remember to be polite, please?

Some were helpful, some were beautiful...some were just odd.

DSCF8522.jpg (Buh?!)
DSCF8611.jpg (Earnest...not insincere!)

Singapore is polite, even in their signage...

Posted by lrbergen 05:56 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

People Everyday

doing what they do

Singapore is one of the most diverse countries I have ever been to. Ever.

Yes, America is also very diverse. But not when you live in suburban Indiana. Korea is nowhere even CLOSE to being considered diverse. If you are not ethnically Korean, you will usually stick out like a sore thumb. I still receive stares on a daily basis, on the subway train that I take every day, to and from work.

So coming to Singapore where I hardly stand out (except maybe in Little India, where I was staying) was certainly a breath of fresh air.

The people are friendly and polite and more than willing to help you if you flail around, looking helpless.
These are just things I noticed.

Also, no one spits on the street. (More so because it is illegal, I think...)

A grandma and grandson in Little India.

Drunk Irish Santas on Christmas Eve at Muddy Murphy's Irish pub on Orchard Road.

Street Musicians on Christmas Eve, Orchard Road.

Kids playing in a fountain on Christmas Day, near Bugis Station.

Making Dim Sum Soup, Chinatown.

Painting a mosque, Chinatown.

Decorating a Mercedes-Benz, Little India.

Chinese calligrapher, Chinatown.

Outdoor barber, Chinatown.


Posted by lrbergen 05:40 Archived in Singapore Comments (2)

Flora / Fauna of Singapore

...many photo blogs to follow!

With the purchase of a brand-new 1GB memory card for my camera (before, I was limited to 2 256MB cards, which limited my space), let's just say I went a little berserk...

So, as the title suggests, I will begin our photographic tour of Singapore with both flora and fauna of the city, something they have an abundance of. The flora was mostly taken in Bishan park or surrounding the countless temples I encountered, and all of the fauna is from the Singapore Zoo.

Let's start...ok-lah? (In Singapore, they add "lah" to the end of everything. EVERYTHING...it's mostly used to emphasize your point.)

Otter, which leaves a nasty smell to mark his territory.

The flamingos were getting a bit testy with each other.

They had several orangutans, which were allowed to roam pretty much where they pleased.

We managed to make it in time for the polar bear feeding, and on his birthday nonetheless!

One of the three white tigers.

Pygmy hippos...the little guy was freakin' adorable.

Kangaroo scrounging around for lunch.

One of the elephants snatching her trainer's hat.

Baboons grooming / being groomed.

White rhino

Zebras. Duh.

Ostrich pecking for food.


Female African lion lounging in the shade.

Proboscis monkey, the animal kingdom's comedian.

There were countless others from the zoo, but I had to pick and choose to save everyone's sanity.

Now, the flora of Singapore (a small percentage of it). There are parks and botanical gardens all around the small island, full of beautiful flowers and trees. Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about flowers (I say "next to", because I know an orchid when I see one, and there were many), so most of these will go unrecognized. It's not for lack of trying by any means, and if anyone happens to know what the heck these are, let me know!





Enjoy! Keep looking!

Posted by lrbergen 04:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Don't Believe the Hype

...sometimes it's WAY better...

Merry Christmas from Singapore!
For several reasons, it was almost easy to forget it's even that time of year! One, it's a tropical climate; two, Singapore is full of Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim people, who don't celebrate Christmas; and three, with the exception of the posh Orchard Road, there have been few, if any, decorations. But honestly, I can't think of a better place to be.

Due to the absence of pictures, and the terrible Richard Marx-era music playing in the Internet cafe (every time!), I will give a brief rundown of the very best and worst of Singapore (so far!):

- Beauty: Singapore is full of both natural and architectural beauty. They have managed to maintain a harmonious relationship between man and nature. There are trees and flowers EVERYWHERE, (the trees are huge, so you know that they have been around for a long time), the air is fresh and clean, and the buildings are almost always surprising in their uniqueness, simplicity, and character. You will see what I mean once I post pictures.

- People: Like so many other countries, Singapore is full of a wide variety of people. There are people from India (and surrounding countries such as Nepal and Pakistan), Malaysia, China, and everywhere in between. It is literally impossible to guess where someone is from. Unlike most countries, however, Singaporeans maintain a calm philosophy of "live and let live." People are kind and helpful to each other; one only need to take the subway or walk down the street to witness this. It is an amazing and nearly emotional experience to be surrounded by this.

- Food: OH! MY! GOD! The FOOD! As you all know, I am a foodie and that is one thing I was told to look out for in Singapore. You can get pretty much anything: from Indian to Chinese to pizza to Malay...and it is all DELICIOUS. Aside from the variety, there is also a range of prices. You can spend anywhere from $3SGD up to $50SGD on a meal, but no matter. It is all good, which is for sure the mark of a great culinary city.

- The Sights: There is never a dull moment in Singapore. I have been here for 4 days and have been on the go, doing things the whole time. There is a wicked Science Museum with an amazing Omnimax theater that plays documentary-type movies. I saw one about Mummies, and am going back tomorrow for the award-nominated "Hurricane on the Bayou" because it is just THAT COOL. If you feel like relaxing and enjoying nature, there are a plethora of parks here. For Christmas Eve, I rented a bike and scooted around Bishan Park for only $9SGD. There are different areas of town, all different; Little India, Chinatown, Orchard Road, etc., that just beg to be explored. One not even need visit a temple or other attraction. Just walking down the street is entertainment enough. However, the temples are very beautiful and each one is different.

And the BEST thing, which deserves an entire paragraph devoted to itself, is the Singapore Zoo, billed as one of the world's best. At the daunting-at-first price of $30SGD ($45, combined with the Night Safari), one would think that such an attraction would be over-hyped. I had heard from everyone that this was a sight not to be missed, and the skeptical person that I am, went in with a bit of a cynical edge.

But the 5 hours that I spent there today were hours spent in awe. The animals, of course, are amazing. My favorites were the white tigers, the pygmy hippos, the polar bear feeding, the tree kangaroo that licked my arm, the orangutans that are free to roam the trees, the elephants at work and play show, pretty much all of the monkeys (especially the Proboscis Monkeys and Chimpanzees), and the otters. But it wasn't just the animals that were impressive. The Singapore Zoo is set over 28 hectares of land and is a beautiful place to be, animals or no. You can even walk up to some of the animals; as they say, they use moats where possible instead of bars. These animals don't look depressed, don't pace, don't look like they are in prison. There are trees and plants everywhere, and the animals' areas are pristinely maintained.

I really can't say enough about the zoo...it was amazing to see these wonderful animals in the closest thing to their natural habitats. And don't worry, I have almost an entire 1GB memory card full of pictures to show.

I'm about halfway through my time here, and I'm enjoying every minute. Singapore is every bit as amazing as I had heard, if not more so. So...sometimes you shouldn't believe the hype and maybe you'll get more than you thought.

Posted by lrbergen 05:40 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 6 of 6) Page [1]