Sights of Singapore

Spring break was coming up and I knew I didn’t want to be stuck in Shenzhen for the month, so when my friend, Michael, asked if I wanted to join him and his family (his wife and father) for a short break in Singapore, I jumped at the chance.

We left Monday morning. Once we arrived, we got our SIM cards and money and took taxis to our hotels (I was staying at a hotel down the street). That night, we ended up having a last minute (last minute to me since I found out about it 5 minutes before jumping into the taxi) dinner at my friend’s wife’s friend’s house.

Now, you maybe wondering why I stayed at a different hotel. You see, I’m a sucker for a good bathtub, and this hotel had one to die for. Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong offers a premier room with a deep, round bathtub over looking the surrounding neighborhood. I had to book this particular room just so I could experience the tub, and it did not disappoint!

The second day, we got up early and headed to the botanical gardens. The weather was super hot, but the flora was beautiful as we strolled to our destination within the gardens: the National Orchid Garden. My mom and I have always enjoyed orchids so I wanted to make sure to see the array and variety these gardens offered. The entrance fee to the botanical gardens is free, but to enter the orchid section, it costs 5SGD.

As we entered the gates, we were surrounded by the most lush and vibrant orchids. They were everywhere, in every color imagined. Popular orchids were prevalent, but also orchids that aren’t as well known. I was in awe of the exotic environment.

After a few hours in the heat, we took a taxi (taxis were fabulously cheap) over to the Marina Bay Finance Tower to head up to Level 33, a brewery overlooking the bay, including the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Merlion. The menu offered jazzy appetizers (fish bites on roasted potatoes and steak bites on a sizzling plate) and a great selection of craft brewery. Now, I’m not one for beer really (maybe a cider) so I opted for a Shirley Temple first. Once I downed the ST, I ordered a Golden Rush…a drink made with champs (champagne), some sort of beer, and GOLD SPARKLE! I asked for extra sparkle in mine and they did not disappoint. The drink was okay; it would have been much better without the addition of the beer in my opinion, but I wasn’t asked. I mostly enjoyed the drink when I twirled the gold around. I’m also not one for heights so I had to take deep breaths at our seats. I was fine at first, but did start to feel a bit panicked after an hour sitting out on their balcony.

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Look at that sparkle!

The rain started to drizzle, so we headed off for a short visit along Orchard Road, the best high-end shopping area in Singapore. As we were waiting for my friend’s wife, Michelle, to finish her shopping, his father, Dale, and I headed for the Magnum Ice Cream shop; I’ve become quite a fan of Magnum ice cream bars since moving to China. In this particular shop, you got to decide what you wanted to dip your ice cream bar into (dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate) and up to three different toppings. I kept it simple with a dark chocolate shell with gold beads for my topping. It was delicious even though the gold beads were a bit too crunchy at times.

That night, we took off for Jumbo’s in Clarke Quay to enjoy some of Singapore’s famous chili crab. After ordering, we were given bibs and I knew then we were in for a messy meal. The crab came soaked in chili sauce and we got one cracker to share. I sauce was tasty, but my lips were tingling and on the verge of being numb by the end of the meal. The meal, in my opinion, was a bit overpriced for what we got, but I’m glad we got to try it since I’ve heard lots of people talk about Jumbo’s. In the future, I would try to find an alternative and cheaper place to enjoy this tasty crustacean.

IMG_0895Our next day started with a trip to Little India to walk around. The market was okay (I wasn’t looking for anything since I’d already spent money at the botanical gardens on souvenirs and gifts). We walked down a street to a Hindi temple, my first time entering a Hindi one. The temple had multiple carvings on the outer exterior, as well as within. We stayed for a few minutes, watching locals pray and worship, before deciding to walk along a few streets (offering interesting wall murals) to the metro station.

IMG_0904We took the metro to the Chinatown station. Michelle and I decided to try the fish spa while the two gentlemen explored the area. We timidly headed up the narrow stairs to the spa. Inside, a couple already had their feet inside open aquariums with fish sucking their feet. We were shown where and how to sit. The owner counted to three and we quickly put our feet into the tanks. Have I mentioned that I don’t like the idea of touching fish? Yeah. So I’m not sure where my head was when we decided to try this. I closed my eyes and tried not to focus on the fact it was fish causing the tickling sensation. Once in a while, I could feel a fish go between my toes. Apparently these fish are in the carp family and originate in Turkey. The owner claimed he ordered his fish directly from Turkey; I didn’t care. All I knew was that it was weird. Would I try this again? Probably not. Once is good enough for me, but I do think it was something different and fun to try.

Following a quick trip back to the hotels for some much needed naps, we went to Gardens by the Bay to see their “trees”. It was dark out and the trees soared above us in sparkling lights. All of a sudden, the lights went off and music came on. A show! I spotted numerous people laying on the ground in the center of the trees so I joined them to watch this synchronized light show. This was by far my favorite thing from this trip. In the future when I come back, I would like to visit the Cloud Forest (and indoor rain forest surround a small mountain, complete with waterfall) and explore a little more. Unfortunately, we were short on time that evening and some of the park had closed. Afterwards we went to Satay by the Bay for some grilled satay and food…I tried chicken and lamb satay, along with an Indian desert that was similar to a crepe with chocolate and bananas.

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The next morning, it was time to head to the airport. Since moving to China, I had seen pictures of a dancing raindrops exhibit within one of the terminals. So, I went to the airport a few minutes early so I could check it out. I was in Terminal 2 for check-in and asked where I could find the raindrops. I was pointed in the direction of Terminal 1. I will admit, the raindrops were graceful as they moved smoothly, but I was expecting something a little grander. I was surprised and excited to discover a sunflower garden back in Terminal 2, as well as a orchid garden and koi pond.

Overall, I have to say my trip to Singapore was awesome. I had great travel companions and we got to experience a lot of what the city country had to offer. It’s a place I’d definitely go back to should the opportunity ever arise again…especially for that tub.

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So long, my friend. 

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