March 14, 2014

Flying with Chelsea Clinton on Singapore Airlines: Exploring Singapore

Exploring Singapore
Conrad Centennial Singapore
Singapore Airlines 777-300ER First Class Singapore to San Francisco

We arrived off Singapore Airlines flight # 11 which lands in Singapore at 3:00AM local time.  Singapore Changi Airport is often regarded as the world's best airport.  At that hour, it was mostly deserted.  We were both a bit tired and groggy after nearly 19 hours of flying and were ready for a shower and bed.  Luckily, the airport is hyper efficient and we were reunited with our checked bags and in a cab within 15 minutes.

It took a bit of searching for our cab driver to find the hotel entrance in the dark but once he found it, we were checked in and up in our room.  After a three hour snooze, we woke up to a gorgeous Singaporean sunrise.

Singapore Sunrise on Day # 1

Once we were awake, we had a great breakfast in the hotel (more on this in my hotel review) and set off to explore the Singapore Botanical Gardens.  The gardens are massive with one of the biggest orchid collections in the world.  They are absolutely stunning.  We both particularly loved the Golden Shower variety.

After exploring the gardens, we headed over to Marina Bay.  This is the "new" part of Singapore (I say that because most of the city-state has been developed fairly recently) and is full of architectural marvels.  We spent some time wandering through the massive Marina Bay Sands, gambled a bit, and had a couple of cocktails at Ku De Ta on the top floor of the hotel.  The hotel is known for its design and its rooftop infinity pool overlooking the city.  There are three ways to get up to the roof.  You can stay at the hotel, pay a fee to head to a small observation deck, or head to the bar.  Obviously, we chose option number three.  The cocktails were fine but the views were amazing.

Singapore skyline as seen from Ku De Ta
Looking over the Gardens by the Bay from Ku De Ta

We spent the next day wandering around The Gardens by the Bay.  The outdoor gardens with the "super trees" are actually free to attend.  The indoor "conservatories" range from $8 - $28 SGD ($6 - $22 USD) are definitely worth it.  Especially the cloud forest.

Cloud Forest
Looking up at the Marina Bay Sands Skypark
Super Trees at the Gardens by the Bay
Cloud Forest
Singapore is a fascinating place.  It is clean, safe, and modern.  People are friendly and English is spoken by nearly everyone.  I have heard it described as "sterile" and "boring" but I found it fascinating.  There is so much to do that I think you could spend a week or more there and not see everything.  Perhaps that's the reason we're going back at the end of our trip to Bali in July.  Beyond the greenery and great food, the city is a shining example of modern urban planning and we enjoyed ourselves just strolling around (although it is HOT!) and marveling at the buildings.

More on our hotel in the next installment.  Here are a few more pics for your viewing pleasure.

Looking across Marina Bay at the Sands hotel and LV Store
The Singapore Flyer

Famous Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel 

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