This June I found myself in Singapore with 30 hours between flights. This island-nation is a bit of a hub in Southeast Asia and this situation is not terribly unusual. This is fortunate because Singapore is the perfect place to spend a day or two.
I arrived at 1:30pm. It took 2 flights to get there from Vancouver; the first was to Taipei on Eva Air. I was seated on the upper deck of the 787 Dreamliner and the wider seats and greater leg-space was much appreciated on the trans-Pacific flight. From Taipei I changed planes to Eva Air’s “Hello Kitty” Boeing 777. If you haven’t seen photos, this addition to the fleet features Hello Kitty inside and out. It’s a fun, charming touch for the routine experience of air travel these days.
My schedule was jam-packed as I was there for work. I had several meetings planned but luckily my work schedule also included plenty of sightseeing and tours. After a meeting that I had right at the airport I transferred to the Hotel Grand Copthorne Waterfront and checked-in just in time for another meeting.
A third meeting and then it was time for some tasty skewers and the famous Singapore sling. This gin-based cocktail is a must-try on any trip to the city, but was a little sweet for my taste.
Next up was a Singapore by Night city tour which takes about 4 hours. First, we visited Gardens by the Bay which hosts a dazzling evening light show. This was one of the highlights of the city for me. Lush, green and simultaneously futuristic with its giant ‘tree’ structures, the Gardens are a perfect encapsulation of Singapore itself. The whole city is surprisingly green. Tons of green space and even green, urban skyscrapers! It truly does feel like the city of the future in this regard. Continuing the tour we stopped by the Marina Bay Sands hotel & went up to the observation deck. I visited the Burj Khalifa last November and the experience was similar: you line up and an elevator whisks you to the the top in under 1 minute. If this hotel sound familiar it is because it is one of the iconic landmarks of modern Singapore: it is the 3 towers (designed to look like 3 decks of cards) attached at the top by the massive SkyPark. During my visit the evening light show featured a Star Wars theme and corresponding music.
The tour commenced with a traditional cruise in the canal within the city – a rather appropriate way to take in a city surrounded by water.
Finally, I managed to head to the hotel and get a few hours of shut eye.
The next day began with a morning City Tour. It’s great to be able to do both a nighttime tour and a day tour of cities because not only are different sites available at different hours of the day, but some of the same sites look and feel very different from day to night. However, there is so much to see and do in Singapore there was not really room for any repetition.
The morning tour had a multicultural flair. We visited Little India and the Chinese township and markets. This is a great opportunity to do a bit of souvenir shopping if that’s of interest to you! Singapore attracts business travellers and tourists from around the world and as a result is an incredibly multicultural place; it is exciting to see how that influences the culture and architecture of the nation. Singapore’s mix of cultures is vibrant and exciting. And the food available throughout the city is fantastic and varied. Local food is delicious and flavourful but there are also options available from around the globe. The only problem is an over-abundance of choice.
The tour ended with a visit to the Merlion Lion and Botanical Gardens. This Garden has over 60,000 kinds of orchids. I had no idea there were 6000 kinds of orchids int he world, let alone 60,000. Did I mention before that I love how much nature is present in this city? It’s just incredible, especially considering the density of the place.
I squeezed in a couple more meetings and while I one day hope to return to Singapore to swim in the pool high atop the Marina Sands Hotel (open only to guests), I had to continue my adventures. I returned to the airport and boarded a plane headed to Bali, but that’s another story…