Since we had our daughter, we have not been able to travel by air. When I got the chance to attend a training in Malaysia, my husband and I decided to have a side trip to Singapore so we could finally have some time for ourselves. After 13 years together, this was the first time we had a trip outside of the country together. It also gave us the chance to visit some friends who were living in Singapore. Definitely exciting, right?
It was a short 3-day stay so we had to choose which places to visit so we could maximize our time. What were my impressions of Singapore? It was a very clean city. Does City of Fines ring a bell? Who would even dare to litter in public? Transportation was of course very efficient and quite easy to understand. Prices? Well definitely a lot more expensive. We tried looking at electronics/appliances and it still seemed cheaper in Manila. Food was okay, nothing I was craving for when I got back, even the cereal prawns and chili crabs. Quite a let-down actually 😦 Maybe my expectations were too high.
Now with all the horror stories of Filipinos being treated badly by native Singaporeans, nothing really stood out while I was there. The people were definitely less hospitable and sometimes rude but again I kind of expected that. No surprises there. It just made me appreciate Filipinos more.
We booked our stay at the Hotel Ibis over on Bencoolen St. It is definitely not a 5-star hotel but for the price and with buffet breakfast included, it was just right. They also offered a free ride to the Resorts World over at Sentosa.
On Day 1, we decided to see the Marina Bay. Seeing the area, I would have to say that Singaporeans have a good eye for architecture. None of the their bridges or buildings ever looked ordinary. Each structure drew the eye. Unfortunately, I ran out of battery power and the rest of the photos taken via my iphone were too grainy 😦 I really loved the helix bridge and of course the merlion.
It was quite a long walk around the area and by the time we got to the merlion, we were quite tired. It was just the right time to try some of the food at the hawkers station. It was great to see Gerry’s Grill from Manila as well as some of the Singaporean restaurants already in the Philippines like Wee Nam Kee. At the small amphitheater, there was also a show going on and later on, some fireworks.
On our way back, we also explored part of the Marina Bay Sands Mall which is quite impressive. It has a lot of the branded stores and popular restaurants. It’s also open quite late in the evening. Going back to the hotel by train was quite easy.
Day 2 found us early on board a bus going to Sentosa. We took the bus just across the street from our hotel and we were on our way to Universal Studios. There are a number of attractions in Sentosa such as the Resorts World, Universal Studios, beaches, Marine Life Park, cable cars and a lot more. To see all of the attractions, one would need to spend three days or more to enjoy all of them.
Since Espie had never been to Universal Studios, we decided to go there instead. Having visited the Universal Studios in Japan, I think the one in SG was slightly smaller. We tried all of the popular rides such as the Transformers (which Espie really enjoyed.. and that’s saying a lot since he is not too fond of rides). We also tried the Jurassic Park Canopy Flyer (which I really enjoyed), and got drenched in the Rapids Adventure. I also mustered enough courage to ride the Revenge of the Mummy. By far, one of the scariest roller coasters I have ever been on.
We had our lunch at the Friars and enjoyed the yummy fish fritters, chips and chicken tenders. I would definitely go back 🙂 It was a hot day and all over the park they sold tall plastic tumblers of soda or iced tea which you could refill for just 2 SGD.
There were also other attractions such as the Sesame Street shows and the street parades and dancing. A lot of different characters could also be found walking the streets like the minions and Frankenstein. Souvenir shops were also scattered around the park and we were able to buy some t-shirts, key chains and other stuff for our family and friends. We had our dinner in one of the restaurants inside Resorts World and going home we took a free ride on their bus which stopped directly in front of our hotel.
The great thing about our hotel is that it’s just a short walk away from malls and souvenir shops. This was convenient for us since we had limited time to shop and having it close by made it easy to go back when we forgot something. They had some pretty nice t-shirts, key chains and bags that were good for souvenirs.
On our last day, it was easy for us to grab a cab to the airport right at our hotel and it didn’t cost us that much. Since my post is drawing to an end, I think I have to talk a bit about the Changi airport. It is definitely one of the best airports I have been to. It’s very clean and quite large with a nice duty free shopping area and a few restaurants and coffee shops where one can spend the time waiting for their boarding gates to open. They have free wi-fi and it’s pretty fast and they also have a lot of stations where one can surf the web. Overall, very traveler-friendly. It’s a far cry from Manila’s Terminal 1, and I hope someday we might have something like it.
Even if it was just a short trip, Espie and I really enjoyed it. We will definitely pay Singapore another visit and hopefully stay longer to enjoy the sights and sounds and of course the shopping it has to offer.