I landed at Changi Airport and after a very quick and easy immigration process, I collected my suitcase and got a taxi to my hotel; Conrad Centennial Singapore. Despite being a Diamond Honors member (the highest of Hilton's reward scheme), I didn't have a room upgrade or even one with a better view etc. Every time I stay at a Conrad property they don't do anything to recognize Diamond, which sort of makes me think 'well, aside from the free breakfast, what's the point of being loyal and having it?'. Anyway, the room was fine and the hotel itself was nice considering I was only there for a night.
I woke up early the next morning, had a delicious breakfast, and got ready for my mini-adventure! I was so insanely excited to get out and explore Singapore - I've been a few times in the past as we used to stop off for a few days enroute to Perth when I was younger, but it had been nearly ten years since I was last there! I honestly didn't even recognize the majority of the city as so much has changed.
We always used to stay on Sentosa island at the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa, and I have sooo many happy memories there. Unfortunately I didn't have time to go to Sentosa this time, but I still managed to tick off quite a few things off my list (aside from Little India, which I just didn't have time for).
I started by walking from the Conrad to the Gardens by the Bay via the Helix Bridge. All of this is completely new to me and wasn't there when I was last in Singapore! I found the Gardens by the Bay pretty easily, and bought a ticket for the trees. I didn't have time to go inside the greenhouses, but really wanted to do the tree walk. The ticket just for the tree walk was only $5, a total bargain! The trees were just stunning, soooo beautiful, and they had a great view over the other gardens and the Marina Bay Sands hotel.
I then walked from the Gardens by the Bay to the MRT to get the train to Chinatown. I'm always shocked by how clean, efficient, and well air-conditioned the MRT is in Singapore. I also don't recall ever seeing it busy! I got off at Chinatown, but got out at the wrong exit, so got completely lost trying to find my way to the main area! I eventually found the Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore's oldest Hindu temple, so paid the fee to take photos ($3) and had a wander around. It was constructed in 1817 and is still in use today.
Next up I made my way down the main little tourist street in Chinatown, and hopped on the MRT again to get to Clarke Quay. Once again I got lost when I got off and couldn't work out which way to go, so I went into the Starbucks I was standing opposite to use their wifi and Google maps where I was. I managed to figure out whereabouts I was (and what direction I had been walking in!), and so headed in the right direction towards the Quay. I'm not sure why, but it really unimpressed me. I remember it being bustling and colourful and full of an atmosphere, but actually it was a bit empty and dreary and not at all how I remembered it.
Nevermind. I took some snaps to show my parents, and then walked along the river towards the Fullerton Hotel. Opposite the Fullerton is the famous Merlion, an icon of Singapore. It was incredibly hot and humid, so I bought a Watermelon ice lolly from Frostbite. Oh my days it was just what I needed! Tasted so delish and was so refreshing!
I then walked back towards the Fullerton and across the bridge over to the colonial area, up past the National Gallery, and towards St Andrew's Cathedral. It was a Sunday and I got there just in time for the last half of mass. Even though it's an Anglican cathedral and I'm Catholic, I popped in for the last half. The previous day the news came that a friend of mine's baby boy had passed away after being born at 26 weeks, so it was nice to sit quietly in the church and say a prayer for her family.
I then headed up towards Raffles Hotel. You used to be able to go inside the hotel and have a look, but they only allow guests in these days. You can however go to the bar for the classic Singapore Sling, which was first created in the Raffles Long Bar in 1915. The Long Bar is currently being renovated, so the Bar & Billiard room is being used while it's closed.
I popped in and sipped on a Singapore Sling, and realized that it was the very first time I'd had the alcoholic version! I'd only ever had the mocktail version before as all of the previous times I'd been too young for the real deal. It was super tasty and so strong I struggled big time to walk in a straight line when I had to head back to the Conrad.
My five hours were up, and I had to get to the airport for my flight to Phnom Penh! I collected my luggage from the Conrad and got a taxi to the airport. Unfortunately my flight was delayed by a coupla hours, but thankfully Singapore's Changi airport is possibly the best airport you could be delayed in! I decided to go and see the sunflower garden, and then afterwards went to the cinema to watch a movie - yep, I told ya it was the best airport :P
Despite my short stay in Singapore I really enjoyed it and it was great to be back there. I'm pretty proud that I managed to see and do so much in just a few hours! One thing I love about Singapore is how easy it is to walk around the see everything. And even when you do need to get the MRT, it's super simple to get a ticket and work out which line you need to get on to.
If you have more time:
- Sentosa Island
- Little India
- Night Safari
- Botanical Gardens
- Shopping on Orchard Road
- Universal Studios
Stay tuned for my Cambodia posts!
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