So, this year we decided to go somewhere we've both wanted to visit for a long time - Singapore!
'Anniversary Trip 2018, Day 1: A Brief Glimpse of Singapore'
Honestly, we had very little knowledge of what to expect despite my usual extensive research both online and through our friends who are from/have lived in SG, "It's like Hong Kong but cleaner," was the most common comment I received, but it was so much more than that! I suppose this is always the case when you go somewhere completely new; you don't really know what it's going to be like - but thats the wonderful thing! That feeling you get when you finally experience a new place first hand is the best part of travelling.
We arrived at Changi Airport at around 2AM with a burning determination to check-in to our room at Hotel NuVe Urbane as fast as possible. Luckily, it took less than 20mins via Uber to get there! Our driver was super friendly too, suggesting places to eat and attractions to visit, a trait that we came to realise was common with most Singaporeans. Despite it being the middle of the night, the lady stationed at the front desk was wonderful and checked us into our room - the last one available - efficiently with a smile.
Read: Hotel NuVe Urbane Review
I'd describe our first day in Singapore as a fun packed glimpse into how incredible the city is. By the way, it is as clean as you imagine it to be, in fact, cleaner. Honestly people, the rest of the world needs to take note on how not to litter because Singapore has got it down.
Visit Merlion Park
We got up and decided to try and find Merlion Park - at that point one of the very few 'things to do' we knew we had cover. It was beautiful! There it was, the Merlion itself. The majestic, mythical symbol of Singapore in front of a gorgeous modern backdrop doubled as a cooling strategy for us tourists, or shall I say near-heat stroke victims with the spray from its mouth blowing in the breeze. It was a very nice first pick. After taking our pictures, we ventured further and crossed Jubilee Bridge to the Esplanade area.
We came across goScoot, a company that rents out electric
scooters and action cameras, and decided it would be fun to get a couple of scooters for an hour! It cost SGD$25 (USD$19) each and was brilliant way to explore the area, even for me. They guy running the stand was very friendly, informative and patient in teaching us how to operate the scooters. They're very easy to manoeuvre once you get the hang of it! I have the worst sense of balance in the world and I loved it so much that I wish I had my own. We made it all the way down to the F1 track, and then back past Merlion Park to Marina Bay Sands, zooming around and taking in the view around us. Check out the video!
When our time was up, we returned our scooters to the stand and walked back to MBS for some refuge from the heat and to grab some food.
Since James is a HUGE Batman fan, there really wasn't any question as to where we were going to get food - we basically beelined our way to the DC Comics Super Heroes Café. The café, which is connected to a store that sells tons of DC merch, serves DC themed food, drinks and ice cream so if you're a DC Comics fan its definitely worth a visit.
Right. Initially, we took one look at the prices and started to discuss which one of us should put their kidney up on the black market first, but then discovered a high tea set menu that wasn't too expensive and decided to order something to share off of that.
We ordered an Aqua Man fish burger set that came with Superman (or shall we say, Soup-erman?) mushroom soup, fries, a side salad and a Sprite in one of those Superman glasses with a cape on them! We also shared one of their 'Man of Steel' drinks too, but didn't have any space left for their superhero themed ice cream. Taste wise, the food was great; it's not the best burger we'd ever had or the best meal we had in Singapore, and while definitely more on the pricey side, the novelty is worth the visit - even if you pop in just to have The Flash's Espresso.
Visit Gardens By the Bay
Fuelled up and ready to go, we decided to hit Gardens by the Bay.
Ranked 3rd on TripAdvisor's 'Things to Do in Singapore' list after the MRT (which I wouldn't call an attraction) and the National Orchid Garden respectively, its safe to say that the Gardens are definitely a 'must do' while in Singapore. The moment we stepped into the Cloud Forest, we were awestruck. This beautiful, gigantic indoor waterfall towered over us; definitely a sight I'll always remember. We walked on surrounded by various unique cool-climate plants, trees and
flowers - it was like walking through one of those 'Enchanted Garden' colouring books but better. We took the lift up to the top and made our way around the 'mountain' using the aerial walkway wrapped around it, giving us perfect views of the city outside the glass dome and the plants below us. Dotted throughout the walkways were facts and reminders about the plants and most importantly how vital conservation is. One thing James and I loved about Singapore was how much emphasis they put on the city's connection with greenery in terms of peoples' wellbeing AND the environment. It really is a 'City in a Garden' and the rest of the world should take note!
The Flower Dome was similar; like the biggest, most beautiful and varied garden. Again, flowers and plants from all over the world surrounded us and since it was Sakura Season in Japan, featured a cherry blossom exhibit accompanied by an expo for Japanese culture. It was absolutely beautiful, and honestly, a great break from the heat.
We bought our tickets to both the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome for SGD$28 (USD$21) each and spent about an hour in each conservatory. Child tickets can also be bought for SGD$15 (USD$12) Both conservatories are great, but if I had to pick between the two, I'd definitely go with Cloud Forest!
Have Satay for dinner at Satay by the Bay
We decided to have dinner at Satay by the Bay, a hawker centre (more on that in a later post) located within Gardens by the Bay. There were tons of food stalls and different types of foods to choose from, but after a lap around the vicinity we decided that we had to have satay. We bought 10 sticks of chicken, pork, beef, mutton and otah (a fish paste mixed with an aromatic blend of fresh herbs and spices, charcoal grilled in coconut leaves) with rice cakes and peanut sauce from City Satay. This was the start of my satay obsession that lasted our whole trip. There really isn't much to say except the food was SO fantastic that we ended up getting another 10 sticks. James was really into his chilled pint of beer here, as you can see!
Catch 'Garden Rhapsody' at the Supertree Grove
By the time we finished eating and felt ready enough to walk again, (our legs and feet were screaming by then) we headed to the Supertree Grove. The advice we'd been given was to see the 'trees' lit up at night - what great advice. The view was amazing, yet another incomparable sight. We stayed for 'Garden Rhapsody', an epic light show to some of the greatest pieces of cinematic/pop culture music. It was literally jaw dropping; James and I watched gaping the whole way through (watch the video for a few snippets). It was definitely the perfect way to the end the day.
Happy but physically shattered, we headed back to the hotel via MRT and settled down in our comfy room to recooperate for the following day's activities. Next on our itinerary was a weekend in Batam, Indonesia - stay tuned for our post and video on that!
'Anniversary Trip 2018, Day 1: A Brief Glimpse of Singapore'