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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 5: Bangalore (India) - Singapore

Our driver came exactly at 10am and thank God, he can speak English quite well! Our car was a Tata (an Indian brand like Proton in Malaysia), had air conditioner and equipped with dvd player. Not bad huh?

The dvd player was playing Michael Jackson's MV. Our driver is a MJ's fan.

Bangalore Palace
This palace was modeled after Windsor Castle of UK. Nowadays the king doesn't stay here anymore and the palace ground is only used for music concerts.

Photo taking is prohibited unless you pay the photography ticket for SGD 15. We didn't buy that ticket and only bought two tickets for viewing the palace. Once we got our ticket, a guide was assigned to us to explore the palace.

Durbar Hall
This hall was amazing, I started to regret not paying for the photography ticket hehhe... The guide explained to us that furnitures, chandeliers, and stained glass windows were all imported from Europe.

Then he asked whether we want to take photo, we said yes but we didn't have much rupees with us and this was only our first stop. Then he told us we could take a few if we want. So, here they are...

Durbar Hall

See how beautiful the pillars are.

I really like how they use different shades of yellow to paint the pillars.

Hand painted wall paper, see how intricate the design is.

Spanish mosaic bench

Arts collection

Hunting photo

Elephant trunk as a decoration

Stools made from elephant and deer legs

Fridge in olden days

To operate the fridge, they use ice that came from the mountain. But it's still a mystery to me on how they could transport it to the palace without melting.

Weighing machine, cool right?

Our tour lasted for half an hour and then we explored the palace ground ourselves. We had to play hide and seek to take the photos of the palace. :P

Bangalore Palace

Ulsoor Lake
Our next stop was Ulsoor Lake. But before that, our driver started to sell us a trip to visit the handicraft shop. We actually didn't want to do any shopping because we didn't have much time to spare, but he said it's on the way. So we went in, asked whether they got fridge magnet and they didn't. We were already out before our driver finished parking his car. He must be pretty disappointed with us. :P

Ulsoor Lake

Holy Trinity Church
This was when I felt frustrated like those contestants in Amazing Race. We asked him whether he knew this place, and he said yes. And you know what, he actually didn't know and brought us to ANY church that he knew. The second time he did it, we scolded him and told him directly just say don't know if you don't know. In the end, hubby was the one directed him the way. This is a well known local problem, many had discussed it in the travel forum as well.

This church was just so so, it was a waste of time. :(

Mahatma Gandhi Road (MG Road)
This is the most famous road in Bangalore. The pillars are for the future metro tracks.

Mahatma Gandhi Road

Pinxx cafe at Royal Orchid Central Hotel
We actually planned to have lunch at Paparazzi which is the highest restaurant in Bangalore. But unfortunately, it was closed in the afternoon for the preparation of Valentine's Day tonight. Such a disappointment. :(

So we had lunch at Pinxx, another restaurant of the hotel. We saw many couples here, I'm quite surprised that the locals are quite westernised.

Dining area decorated with red and white heart balloons

Buffet area

I wasn't interested in their buffet offerings and ordered prawn curry. Hubby had the buffet.

Prawn curry

Pretty desserts

This would be memorable, celebrating Valentine's Day in Bangalore, hehehe...

Vidhana Soudha
This parliament building is the most famous landmark in Bangalore.

Side view

Close up view, a sentence above the pillars read "Government work is God's work". But according to our driver it is "Government work is money's work" hehhee...

Vikasa Soudha
A new parliament building next to Vidhana Soudha.

High Court
Located opposite Vidhana Soudha.

Cubbon Park
Nothing much to see here, this is also not far from Vidhana Soudha.

Lalbagh Botanical Garden

Kempegowda Tower at Lalbagh higher ground.

View of Bangalore from the higher ground.

Tipu Sultan's Palace
It is a norm in India that foreigners pay more to get into a tourist attraction. Like this palace, we paid SGD 3 and the locals only paid SGD 0.30.

Bull's Temple

This temple is so commercialised, they are selling memberships, books, videos, souvenirs, gods statue in any shapes and so on. I don't know why it is so popular, we even had to queue to get in, but for tourist we could pay and go through express line.

See the crowd

Many other small temples

Sights on the road

Cow is a sacred animal in India. It is a common sight to see cows in the middle of the road.

Literally, "airing dirty linen in public"

We finished our sightseeing and heading back to hotel. They were kind enough to let us use one of their room for shower. After that, we went for dinner before going to the airport.

Spice Island at Goldfinch Hotel

His meatball lasagna was ok.

My beer battered fish and chips was a disaster. It was too salty. :(

Airport Lounge
This lounge is managed by The Oberoi Group. I saw many great hotel photos on the wall that made me want to visit India again. :) Their properties in Rajasthan are world's top ten best hotels. It is another side of India that I never imagine could exist.

Lay's Indian flavour

On our flight home, hubby let me try the SQ business class seat. It wasn't as luxurious as the one I had from TG but it sure beat any economy seats. For the drink, I ordered a mango lassi, this cold drink is made from blended mango and yogurt and very popular in India. Since I didn't dare to have any cold drinks in Bangalore, it should be safe on the flight. The drink was thick and creamy, very very nice. :)

And then when it came to earphone, there was really a big difference. Here, the earphone was the noise reduction type. The sound was crisp and clear, compared to the one in economy, I had already maxed the volume but still the engine noise was louder. :(

And I felt that there was less turbulence when I sit in front. It happened when I tried to walk to the economy section, the turbulence was getting worst but it felt lesser when I walked back to the front. I wasn't sure whether it was a coincidence or this theory is really true.

A few more information if you would like to visit Bangalore:
1. Taxi is hard to find, we hardly saw one on the road. The only way is to rent a car for a couple of hours or use your hotel's car and pay per destination. But instead of charging one way, they will charge two ways because once the driver sends you to your destination he need to return to hotel. Auto rickshaw is much cheaper but the driver is not so trustworthy, so take it at your own risk.

2. The tourist map is not complete. There are many streets/roads not drawn on the map.

3. The locals could speak English quite well especially those in service industry, so I don't think language is a problem.

4. The locals are quite friendly and willing to help. But sometimes, they are quite embarrassed to admit that they don't know where it is and will point to any direction. It's best to ask a few people to get more answers and get more confused. :P

5. Bring your own soap. I didn't know why the soaps smell quite bad, yeah in both hotels that I stayed. So, I used my shampoo as a soap instead. :D

6. And lastly, I never use my Vicks. :)