Highlight: Too many to choose from – Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay, World’s cheapest Michelin Star meal, Indian food in Little India, staying at Marina Bay Sands…
What. A. Place.
We loved Singapore.
We spent a lot more than we have been doing in other places on this trip, but it was justified.
Marina Bay Sands…
On night one we stayed at the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel, which stands magnificently across the Bay from the Central Business District.
There is an infinity pool on the top which has badass views over the bay, which got even more badass as the sun went down and the skyline lit up.
As we entered our bedroom for the first time the curtains withdrew to reveal the skyline. We were even lucky enough to be given a free upgrade to a room on the 43rd floor because we asked for one at reception and they kindly accepted!
Our night in luxury was rounded off the next morning with an all you can eat buffet. We were first in and last out, and our bellies were incredibly uncomfortable with the amount of delicious food we had eaten from all around the world.
… to 16 bed hostel
After a near-vomit inducing tube ride (it was very slick, as all transport is in Singapore – we were just overfull) we had scaled back our accommodation spending by 95% and we arrived in our 16 bed hostel room (about half the size of the last room we stayed in and 43 floors lower to the ground) and took our two births.
After the first night of struggling to sleep thanks to a snorer and someone who felt the need to keep his phone notifications on while he carried on his texting conversation (though we’re grateful that these are better reasons than those we had in Koh Rong), we decided we needed to go out the next night for a couple of casual drinks to ease us into our slumber. So we went to an inexpensive joint in Little India and ordered an innocuous sounding “Kingfisher”, took one sip and it really packed a punch. 8% abv! Nearly double what we’re used in London. A couple of those and we were well on our way.
Michelin Star Street Food
The next day, fresh after a perfectly unaffected night (other than a hangover) we headed to one of the 5 cheapest Michelin Star Restaurant in the World! Singapore has two, and we wanted to spread them out over two days. The other food we had so far in Singapore has been some of the best we’ve had yet and some of the cheapest too, so we wanted to know what stood these out from the rest. After 40 minutes of waiting in a queue we ordered the speciality soup with balls of meat (we think) and tongue (we think). It was tasty but nothing to write home about (irony alert!). The next day’s Michelin Star dinner was really great, another long queue but the BBQ pork with rice and chinese greens in oyster sauce was incredible, and all for <£2 or so. What a place.
Surprisingly to us – given that Singapore isn’t a predominantly Christian country so we weren’t expecting much of a song and dance around Christmas – Christmas was all around us. We visited Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay and were serenaded by lovely carol singers and we marveled at the giant trees and scaffolding lit up around. A brilliant light and music display came on suddenly and wowed everyone around, followed by snowy bubbles being blasted into the air.
Cloud Forest and Flower Dome
The next day, Tom – on the hunt for tree inspiration for the book he’s writing – visited the attractions “Cloud Forest” and “Flower Dome” which are large scale natural installations with a huge variety of flora and fauna. The Cloud Forest had a giant indoor waterfall and pumped steam into the room regularly to create a cloud atmosphere for the plants.
The flower dome was full of plants from all over the world, every day’s a school day and a lot was learned on this one.
A little island to the south of Singapore which is accessible by tube was our next stop. It is home to water parks, Universal Studios (that’s a tempter…) and shows, but also a lovely man-made beach which we watched the sunset from.
At the risk of having too much fun in four days, we decided on our final day that we would grab some roller coasters at Universal Studios.
Having researched the best way to do it to avoid queues last night, we set about following our game plan of getting there before the gates open and heading straight for the main attraction – Transformers 3D.
IT WAS MEGA.
We had nothing more than a 15 minute queue and saw that it was at least 2 hours later on, and the ride itself was an action packed, thrill-a-second experience. Neither of us had seen a Transformers film so didn’t know anything about the characters, but it was a visual masterpiece and tied in so well with the jerking of the car we were sat in and the blasts of air/water.
Only one long queue of 2 hours for a ride which was only operating at 50% capacity – Battlestar Galactica. It was the main roller coaster in the park and it was a lot of fun.
One of the highlights for us was watching a show called Waterworld, it had pyrotechnics going on all over the place, we were soaked by speedboat spray as we were sitting in the wet zone (legends).
But before all of that happened, a group of 20 or so Japanese tourists were sitting with us, and the women would take it in turns to take sneaky selfies with us before asking us outright whether we would have a photo with them. One by one they would sit between us and have a photo with us. Very odd behaviour we thought to ourselves while making peace signs at another overly decorated phone’s camera.
Then as the water splashed up, one of the women was not happy at all about being soaked so spent the rest of the show huddled behind her friends and trying to reapply makeup. That really ticked us.
We will be back again, Singapore, we have no doubt.
Next stop: Bali, Indonesia
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Late 20’s Crisis