Date of Travel: 09/03/2012
In a bid to save a night’s accommodation, and yet be able to spend as much time in Tokyo as possible, we took the latest possible flight out from Narita airport (departs at 20:50) on the last day in Japan. Because of this, we arrived in Singapore at the ungodly time of 3:55 in the morning! After picking up our luggage and going through customs, we headed over to the Singapore Stopover Holiday desk as we had booked a hotel package with them. They arranged a van to bring us to our hotel in town. We took the van with several other tourists, and were somewhat shocked by the rude attitude of the driver to two elderly Canadian tourists for getting confused between “Royal Hotel” and “Royal Hotel @ Queens”. It was a stark reminder that the courteous nature of Japan was behind us.
After we arrived at the hotel, we arranged to have an early check-in. While they were preparing the room, we took over several couches in the lobby and had a quick nap. We took a further nap in our rooms after it had been prepared as the tiredness from the Japan trip finally caught up with us.
It was about 2pm before we finally got our day started. We headed across the road to a nearby food court. I ordered some noodles which was pretty average, and was slightly put off by the sight of a cockroach carcass nearby too. We then headed to a nearby bus stop to catch the SIA Hop-on bus, which was a tour bus that came with our tour package. The bus drove past tourist sites such as Chinatown, Clarke Quay, Botanical Gardens, and Orchard Road. It was a good way to have a quick taste on what the country has to offer; all in the comfort of an air-conditioned bus away from the hot humid weather.
We hopped off the bus shortly after Orchard Road (Singapore’s main shopping district) and walked towards the Marina Bay area by foot. Along the way, we walked through an attractive shopping mall in the Bugis area, where the facades were reminiscent of the typical design of older Singapore buildings. We also stumbled upon a store selling a Hatsune Miku cosplay outfit. We may be out of Japan, but its influence runs deep here too.
After Bugis, we continued eastwards to Suntec City. This was a shopping mall that my family would occasionally frequent back when I was living there as a kid. The round fountain is still pretty impressive all these years later. We were planning to just walk past the mall to the Marina Bay area, but decided to stop by for some ice cream at a Japanese restaurant. We were so comfortable there, and was starting to be drained by the humid weather (compared to the cool weather in Japan), that we also decided to eat here! Food was pretty average compared to the good stuff that Singapore had to offer, but we can chalk it all down to pure laziness…
After dinner, we continued past Marina Square to the Singapore Flyer, which is the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world (at least at the time we rode it). We had pretty good views of the Marina Bay area; particularly of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, the Helix Bridge, and the towering CBD in the distance. The ride took a good half an hour and was quite enjoyable. Afterwards, I headed straight for a nearby juice bar as my throat was getting very dry. Brownie and Jay-C gladly followed suit as well!
Our next destination was Marina Bay itself. It was my first time being there in person, as it had not been constructed when I was living there over a decade prior. We had arrived at a very good time as there was a light festival going on at the time. We walked along the Helix Bridge towards Marina Bay Sands, and watched the light show on the ArtScience Museum. Somewhere along the way though, Brownie and I realized that we had lost Jay-C!
Brownie and I decided to stop exploring and head back to the hotel in hopes that Jay-C would do the same eventually (which he did in the end). But we did stop to take some photos of additional light shows and of the area in general. Overall, if not for losing Jay-C, it was a good day overall!
Note: I was not as solid in my record-keeping as I was in Japan, and as such I do not have detailed information on attractions, food, etc. I will however post links to the respective websites where you can find more information instead.
Singapore Flyer – http://www.singaporeflyer.com/
SIA Hop On Bus – http://www.siahopon.com/
Peninsula Excelsior – http://www.peninsulaexcelsior.com.sg/
Singapore Stopover Holidays – http://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/special-offers/landingpage/