Singapore: October 2016

Long time no post!  After Thailand my parents joined me in South Korea for a week, then I traveled back to the states for a friends wedding a week after that.  Since then, I haven’t left the country!  I started to think I was going to go crazy – thankfully I didn’t!  A friend of mine joined my company, I got LASEK, had some friends visit S. Korea, and I worked to save up some PTO, so sticking around “home” made sense.

Since I get both US and some Korean holidays, we decided to take off during Columbus Day weekend and head to Singapore.  Singapore is next to Malaysia, close to the equator.  It’s about a 6 hour flight from Seoul.

Our return flight to Seoul had us landing at 10:30PM, which is after the last bus leaves the airport, so we decided to just drive to the airport and park in overnight parking.  We saved a few dollars this way over taking the bus, next time we’ll save even more with more people joining the trip.

Upon arrival at the airport, we checked in and promptly got our seats moved because of some “equipment malfunction,” and when I asked about lounge access she said that I could only get in one guest (no surprise there) and was adamant even after I pleaded my case so to make us shut up she gave us priority security passes which let us bypass the security line… So that was okay I guess.

We got to the lounge and the front desk lady felt pity for us and let us all in saying she would allow it “this one time.”  I have to say though, the Singapore Airlines lounge, while smaller than Asiana’s, has MUCH better food.

After an hour and a half in the lounge (our flight was delayed out of SFO, go figure) we proceeded to our gate and boarded the plane.

Overall an uneventful flight, and the food was pretty decent.  Actually I’d fly on Singapore Airlines every time if I could… I’ll have to look into it.

Of course you always have to exchange a little bit of moooolah.

So we arrive at our hotel at 3AM due to the flight delay and all that jazz.  We check in and my credit card gets declined because they swiped twice….  A call to Chase and a chat with their fraud department later, we head to our room and realize that we’re staying in a really, really nice hotel.

View from our room:

One thing that Singapore is known for is their food, and it definitely did NOT disappoint.  Two of the days we were there we made use of an amazing little bakery on the first floor of the hotel, and one morning we ate at their breakfast buffet ($100 for three people but SO GOOD) maybe the food isn’t all that great but since I’m used to eating Korean food every day it was literally heaven in my mouth.  Anyway I loved the bakery, I wish Paris Baguette (korean bakery) would take note and follow their example.

Breakfast buffet

It wasn’t until that first morning that we realized just how nice this hotel is.  As a pretend architect I really appreciate good design, and this place really, really exudes quality, beauty, simplicity, and thoughtfulness.  Everything was thought out, nothing was by accident, it’s an amazing building.

The three amigos

We decided to take it easy the first day, and check out the hotel, surrounding Marina, the subway, get SIM cards, go on the Ferris Wheel, and eventually end up in the pool.

Connected to the hotel is a giant mall with a river in it so we checked that out first.

We went up on the Singapore Flyer, which is a Ferris Wheel.

From there we walked along the F1 route and checked out the Marina.

It took a long time to make these panoramas because, well, we took it ourselves and had nobody to help.

We walked around the Marina and checked out the sights.  The main sight is the hotel, which was worth every penny we spent staying there.

By this time the sun was starting to go down, so it made it the perfect time to go check out THE POOL.  This hotel has an infinity pool on the 57th floor that overlooks the Marina and downtown Singapore.  This was by far the most surreal experience I have ever had in my life.

We ate a little bit poolside, so we left late to go eat dinner (like, almost midnight) so we ended up eating bar food…  Which was okay because it was still good.  The area we were in was called Clark Quay, known for it’s nightlife, so we checked out a couple of clubs and ended up back at the hotel around… 4…

The next day we set out to check out these famous “hawker centers” which are basically food courts but not the food courts that you expect.  All of them are small business family operations and the food is GOOD.  And, everything is CHEAP.  As in, my plate of food was $3.50.

They’re also located in really nice places and quite organized – here was one building where there was a center on the first floor.

Walking around the area we stumbled on a few temples as well.  I’ve always felt that if you’ve seen one you have seen them all, but it’s still nice to step in and check it out if you’re in a new place.

No trip is complete without a stop in… CHINATOWN.

It was hot walking around, the average temperature in Singapore (remember, equator) is about 90F, so we were sweating.  It was a perfect opportunity to head to the pool.

There is also a “SkyPark” where you can look and admire the view.  This was the view on the other side of the hotel, which is the same we had from our room, just a bit higher.

Poolside.

We didn’t want to spend ALL of our time at the pool… Although it was tempting… So we went to check out the vertical gardens next door.

The vertical gardens were, in a word, amazing.  Absolutely phenomenal.

That night we went out and tried the infamous “chili crab” which was… absolutely amazing.  The place we ate at did NOT disappoint.  I will say though, the guy who took our order gave the price for one type of crab but then talks us into another kind of crab but didn’t give the price, then at the end shows  us the price and it was over $500, $400 of those dollars being for this stupid crab.  Needless to say we changed the order to the cheaper one but it still ended up being $230 for the three of us.  Worth it though.

We went back to our hotel for a nap but fell asleep instead… Oops.

The next morning we wanted to check out the garden during the day time, so we ran over there and got to see the garden in the daylight as well as experience the skybridge thingy, which had an extremely long line the night before.

The park has greenhouse atriums as well, so we went into the flower one and saw some pretty cool plants and sculptures.

There is a “behind the scenes” to every photo….

The entire place was pretty photogenic.

Low on time, we headed to Little India and went to another hawker center.  Two of us got coconut soup and I got roast duck.

Take note of the prices.

It didn’t quite look like the picture… BUT the taste was AMAZING.

Alas… time to head to the airport.  Which by the way was the most amazing airport I have ever been to.

Another thing I’m not used to is being able to talk to taxi drivers… Our entire trip had very cordial taxi drivers!  And informative!

While our trip was relatively short, I really enjoyed it.  I’ll be back to Singapore at some point, it truly is an amazing place.

Once we landed in Incheon for the first time ever I was able to leave right away without waiting for the bus.  Although the walk to the car was at least a mile…  Luckily we even found it to begin with.

Until the next trip!

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