***This is part 7 of my “Big Fat Indian Wedding” trip report detailing a recent trip to Singapore and India***
2. United Global First Lounge at SFO
3. Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Lounge at SFO
4. Singapore Airlines First Class San Francisco to Seoul
5. Singapore Airlines First Class Seoul to Singapore
6. Conrad Singapore
7. Eating Singapore Part 1 – Flowers, Supertrees, and a River Safari
8. Eating Singapore Part 2 – Hawker Stands, Chili Crab, and Kouign Amanns
9. Dinner At Singapore’s Best Restaurant, Restaurant Andre
10. Premier Lounge at SIN, SilkAir Economy Class to Hyderabad
11. Part Hyatt Hyderabad
12. Exploring Hyderabad
13. Etihad Airways Business Class Hyderabad to Abu Dhabi
14. Etihad Premium Lounge at AUH
15. Etihad Airways (Jet Airways Config “Jetihad”) First Class Abu Dhabi to San Francisco
Our time spent in Singapore can basically be broken into two buckets – the times when we were eating, and when we weren’t eating. It’s probably a 50/50 split. Let’s start with the non-eating portion.
It’s funny to hear that many people argue that Singapore isn’t really “real” Asia, whatever that might mean. To them, a trip to the “real” Asia probably involves navigating the sea of scooters in Vietnam, climbing pagodas in Bagan, or visiting rice paddy fields in Bali.
Sure, Singapore doesn’t exude culture or history as those cities do, but to me it’s actually a great way to get exposed to Asia. Along with Hong Kong, it’s probably one of the least intimidating Asian destinations for Western tourists to visit and was incredibly clean, orderly, and safe. Oh, and literally everybody speaks English.
In other words, its basically the Disneyland of Asian cities. Who wouldn’t want to go to Disneyland?
We started our first day of sightseeing by walking along Marina Bay, which took us over to the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay which was incredibly unique from an architectural perspective with its durian shape.
The Singapore skyline was beautiful, even more so at night.
Across the bay was the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel. We planned to visit the rooftop bar at some point during our trip couldn’t find the time.
We stopped at one of the iconic Merlion statues around Singapore for a photo op.
And one last stop on the way to lunch at the Fullerton Bay Hotel lobby which has one of the best looking hotel lobbies I’ve ever seen.
In the late afternoon we went over to the Gardens By The Bay, located near the Marina Bay Sands hotel. It was recommended to go a couple hours before sunset so that we could visit the gardens, and then move over to the Supertree Grove after sunset.
Apparently weaher in Singapore is perfect for growing flowers, and orchids in particular. Although I’m pretty sure that the Lego flowers at the entrance could grow in any climate.
There were two primary exhibits at the Gardens by the Bay, the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. The Cloud Forest provided a nice escape from the heat, and the mist from the waterfall was an added bonus. Starting from the ground floor, you’ll make your way up about a three-story walkway surrounded by unique flora from all over the world.
The Flower Dome also had flowers from all around the world, and featured several different types of orchids.
The other big exhibit was the Supertree Grove, where we camped out starting about half an hour prior to sunset. The light show started at 7:45 and was really cool. It’s definitely a unique experience and something you’re not going to find elsewhere in the world.
On the way home we walked along the Helix bridge back to the hotel, which provided a great night view of the Singapore skyline.
The next day we were off to see more flowers at the National Orchid Garden. There’s no fee to enter the park, and from the park entrance it’s a 15-minute walk over to the Orchid Garden. This took us along a beautiful and picturesque swan lake that looked like it was out of a painting.
There is a $5 SGD fee to enter the National Orchid Garden but it’s definitely worth it.
From the entrance, you’ll walk through a flower-lined arched walkway leading into the gardens.
I’m far from an amateur botanist so I’m not going to pretend like I really knew much about the flowers here, and in particular how special or rare any of the orchids were.
But some of the orchids were really cool, including a couple of my favorites below.
Afterwards we decided to punish ourselves for being so gluttonous on the flights over and walked back to the hotel. This ended up being a 5-mile walk, and in the process I’m pretty sure that I lost half my body weight in sweat.
The walk started along Nassim Road, which contained a number of gated homes and mansions. Many of them were flying flags from various countries around the world, so we surmised that this is where the diplomats and ambassadors lived.
Along the way, we had to take a break to give our howling feet some rest. We ducked into Kenko spa for some reflexology.
Our final sightseeing adventure took us on a half day-trip to the Singapore Zoo and River Safari. I’d plan to buy tickets online in advance, as the night safari that we wanted to also do was already sold out.
For those that are planning to visit both, I’d recommend starting with the River Safari.
There’s no doubt about what the main attraction is here – it’s the giant pandas, Jia Jia and Kai Kai. The panda-life of sleeping and eating all day looks pretty appealing if you ask me.
You can’t blame the zoo for trying to monetize on their star attraction.
You have to buy an extra ticket for the Amazon Riverquest but it was worth. This takes you on a 10-minute ride where you have a front-row view of many different exhibits.
Something clicked in my wife’s mind at this exhibit. She’s been calling me a manatee ever since, and I’m pretty sure that’s an insult.
The Coca-Cola Polar Bear was on loan as a special exhibit, and he did not disappoint with all his dancing and swimming.
I was enjoying a nice quiet day at the zoo until these little punks cut in line as I was trying to pet the iguana!
We moved over to the zoo afterwards which was just next door, and spent another hour or so there. There was a lot to see, highlighted by the big cat exhibits.
And my favorite one of the day, the baboons. Apparently during mating season, the female’s butts get extra red and swollen. My wife and I had a good time trying to figure out which ones were most in heat.