Getting to Singapore
Upon arrival to Singapore Changi airport (voted best in the world), I noticed how calm of an airport it is. The music playing was much like a mall and it was a bit soothing… the staff were extremely attentive and made sure the lines moved efficiently through immigration. Once again, I withdrew money from an ATM and headed to a taxi. There is a train into the city but for convenience, I took a taxi to the Marina Bay Sands hotel which only cost $12 and took 20 minutes.
Marina Bay Sands
The Marina Bay Sands hotel (MBS) is an architectural marvel and has been included as one of the most extraordinary hotels in the world for its design and more importantly its infinity pool on top of the hotel at Skypark. This hotel has over 2,000 rooms and is very much like a Las Vegas hotel with multiple restaurants, upscale shopping, a theater, and casino. I had read some reviews on MBS and it was a mixed bag as many people complained that the service was not reflective of a 5-star hotel which it is; however, my experience was a 5-star experience. If you saw Crazy Rich Asians, this hotel was shown in the movie.
Upon entering the hotel, I saw the dreaded line for check-in and it was long. By luck, a hotel attendant took about 5 of us at the end of line to the VIP check-in which had no line. I was excited to relax in the room and the see the views as I had booked the King Deluxe Harbor View. It did not disappoint. The room was spacious, and the balcony overlooked the harbor filled with many ships and Gardens by the Bay. I also got lucky with my room being in Tower 1 on the 45th floor which is the tower with direct access to the infinity pool on the 57th floor. There are three towers.
I immediately headed up to the pool to take advantage of my one night stay here. As you can imagine the pool area is crowded but not chaotic. You must have a hotel key to get in and out of the pool area. After I found a poolside chair, it was time to enjoy the pool and the view. What a view overlooking all of Singapore. As scary as it may look, there are many safety features past the elliptical pool to keep anyone from going over.
Just like in Vegas, this place likes extremes as represented by the Black Tap restaurant. So long as you purchased a burger, you could get a free Crazy Shake (many to choose from). I picked the Cake Shake… so good and over the top. That’s a slice of cake on top of the shake. I have a feeling there will be some additional burpees in my next workout when I return home (sorry Jill).
Each night, there is a light and water show called Spectra right outside the Marina Bay Shoppes. It’s worth seeing and only lasts 15 minutes. Here’s a short clip.
After checking out at MBS, I took the subway one stop to the Conrad Centennial hotel. The public transportation in Singapore is phenomenal, very clean and easy to use.
Travel tip: The MBS is not a cheap hotel, but you must indulge for at least one night which is what I did before moving on to a more reasonable hotel the remaining two nights.
Hot and Humid Weather
The weather in Singapore calls for rain every day and it is very hot and humid… I cannot overstate this. During my time here, it was high 80s and you sweat as soon as you go outside. Be prepared to take many showers and dress accordingly. I took the approach of hanging out at the pool or my room during the day and sightseeing in the evening when it was a little cooler and less sun plus I got sucked into the Elections coverage. It only ever rained late in the evening… perhaps my good karma with the weather continues.
After continuous sightseeing for a week, it was nice to take a break and enjoy the hotel room and its amenities. I can see why many people come to Singapore for vacations as the hotels are very plentiful and nice, weather is warm, and there is endless entertainment and food options.
Gardens by the Bay
Singapore is a very progressive city and seeks ways to reduce its carbon footprint, utilize better means of energy and promote conservation. Gardens by the Bay (GBTB) (located behind the MBS) is both an entertainment and educational attraction for what we can do to better our planet.
GBTB is free to explore except for the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest which cost $20 USD to visit both. Both are air-conditioned, so a tip would be to visit these during the day to get out of the hot and humid weather. Flower Dome showcases flowers from all around the world in natural settings and was decorated for Christmas. It smelled very good in the Flower Dome as you can imagine. The Cloud Forest was impressive as it has a tall waterfall and explores different ecosystems around the world and includes a cloud forest walk taking you to the top of its dome as you meander down.
GBTB also has the Supertree Grove which includes 18 supertrees with plants growing from top to bottom and are the main attraction in a light show in the evening. The highest supertree is 16 stories tall. The light show was pretty good and was coupled with retro music. This show takes place every evening at 7:45 and 8:45.
Here’s a short clip of the light show:
Cruising the Singapore River
Throughout the city, you can catch a bumboat cruise that will take you through the different neighborhoods for $18 USD. It was cool to see the city at night as it’s well lit. Clark Quay seemed to be a popular place to dine by the river.
I expected Singapore to be very progressive, clean, and entertainment filled, and it was. It was also a great city to relax and enjoy some downtime at the pools. I didn’t venture out to the historical parts of the city or any shrines/temples and there are plenty to see. I spent three days in Singapore and that felt about right. There is still so much to see that could easily take a week or two.
Next Blog: Tokyo and Mt. Fuji