This is post 2 in a series on my recent Southeast Asia trip. To read about how we survived our plane ride from LA to Singapore, click here.
Before I dive into what we did each day, I thought about some tips that might be helpful for those of you thinking to travel overseas! I’ll post these for each country we visited in different posts.
Some Travel Notes About Singapore
– Climate: Singapore is a tropical country, meaning that the climate is hot and humid. We limited our time outdoors significantly after the first day! Like many countries in the area, it has a rainy season sometime around November through January. While we were there in October, the highs were in the low 90s (although it felt much hotter than that, thanks to the constant humidity).
– Language: Because of Singapore’s central position in banking and trade, everyone speaks English and all signs are in English as well. We had no problems asking for directions or ordering food!
– Money: Singapore’s currency is the Singapore dollar (SGD), and one SGD is approximately 80 cents US. We found that we were able to use our credit cards nearly everywhere (we had a travel card with no foreign transaction fees) and we took out some cash from ATMs to use at smaller restaurants and to buy souvenirs.
– Transportation: Singapore has an excellent and clean public transportation system, consisting of several subway lines and a multitude of bus routes. We took the subways everywhere and never got lost!
– On the Cheap: While Singapore isn’t cheap, we saved money by taking public transportation and eating at the hawkers food centers (more on that later). I wouldn’t recommend doing much shopping here, since we found that just about anything we could buy in the US cost at least twice as much in Singapore (clothing, bags, etc).
We arrived at the Fairmont Singapore on Wednesday at about 1 AM after our long flight from LA. To our surprise, the hotel offered to upgrade us to a suite since we were traveling to celebrate our anniversary! We were so grateful and amazed when we saw the room – I swear it was bigger than our condo at home.
My only regret was that I didn’t bring bubble bath with me from home, because I would have dearly loved to soak in that tub for an hour. We lost no time in washing up and getting to bed, but found ourselves much too excited to sleep, so we stayed awake and talked until we could go down for breakfast.
The suite included access to a club lounge, which served breakfast every morning and hosted a happy hour every afternoon. We immediately took advantage of it, and I was impressed with the selection of hot foods, baked goods, fruits, and all sorts of good eats – they even had overnight oats! Breakfast ended up becoming my biggest meal each day.
After a hearty breakfast, we were ready to explore the city! We walked to the nearest MRT (subway) stop and had no trouble purchasing EZ Link passes to access the subway system. Our first stop: the Botanical Gardens! We love nature and outdoorsy activities, so I thought that touring this free garden would be a great way to spend a few hours.
But while the garden was lovely and extensive, we found ourselves wilting after just a few hours. Thankfully, there’s a small food court nearby with cold refreshing drinks!
I quickly slurped down an icy refreshing chestnut tea, while we contemplated where to eat lunch. We hopped back onto the MRT and got off at the famous Orchard Street, which is lined with luxury good stores and malls. We had no plans to shop, but we did want to visit the food court in Ion Orchard. We’re all about the eating, see ;)
I had read online that the place to eat in a food court is the stall with the longest lines. So without reading any of the menus, I headed for the longest line, and ended up ordering fish ball noodle soup, which was one of the best things I ate the whole trip. Mike was more judicious and looked at the menus before selecting a stall, ending up with delicious chicken satay. Each plate cost about $5.
After our meal, we walked around the Ion Orchard mall for a little bit, and we ventured into the Gap to see whether the prices were really as high as we had been told. After finding that a button-up shirt cost $80, we quickly walked out and didn’t bother shopping the rest of our time in Singapore!
Our jet lag was beginning to catch up to us at this point, so we headed back to the hotel and rested, before an early dinner of dim sum at Din Tai Fung nearby. No pictures, this blogger was tired. We stopped by the happy hour in the lounge, explored the gym (more on that on Day 2), and called it a night.
Singapore Part 2 coming soon!
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