A City in a Garden

The final stop on our Asian adventure is the exciting city state of Singapore. Immediately on arrival you’re struck by how organized, efficient, clean, and friendly the city is. The MRT (subway) has got to be the best single mode mass transportation system I’ve been on (as an integrated system, I think Paris takes the cake). There are signs in the spotless cars and stations reminding you to make room for those in need. In the stations, not only does the overhead tell you how long till the next train, it displays the passenger loading of each segment of the train. I spotted a travel ad with a picture of the Icefields Parkway in the Changi Airport station! The last figure tells little commuters “If you’re taller than me, you need a child pass to ride”. So cute!

We splurged a bit for these last nights, staying in the excellent Pan Pacific Singapore, which will easily end up being the best hotel we’re likely to ever stay in. It’s not the iconic Marina Bay Sands, but it’s got something the MBS will never have – an unrivalled view of the downtown core and the Marina Bay Sands! The rooftop lounge has an incredible view and was a wonderful place to have a drink after sunset – adults only though so we had to take turns.

It had a really great pool for families, too. No deep end, and a whole segment of the pool was shallow enough for children to walk in.

We headed over to Sentosa for a half day to check out just a slice of the many entertainment activities there, suitable for all ages indeed! You have a few options to get there – we took the cable car which rises high above the Singapore Harbour. More amazing views!

We visited the butterfly and insect park on Sentosa. It was really hot out so I admit we spent more time looking at the indoor exhibits than out under the humid Singapore sun.

The giant Merlion statue on Sentosa was an eye catcher.

In the afternoon we headed into Chinatown for some local fare at a hawker center. It’s a Singapore signature with all sorts of small stalls offering tons of local food and drink. It was really hot in there, hotter than outside, and all we wanted to do we sit down so we basically just stopped at the first place that had an open table nearby. Elinka had an ice cream sundae from McDonald’s across the street.

The next day we headed over to the Marina Bay Sands. In the upscale attached shopping mall, there was a digital light show on the floor for kids to run around or dance and watch the light trail and swirl behind them.

After that was a short visit to Gardens By The Bay, a huge futuristic park with not only local flora, and 2 domed areas with climate control to replicate more temperate regions of the world, but an amazing forest of artificial trees that are illuminated at night.

We would have loved to see the evening light show in the forest, but unfortunately our last day was a bit of a quiet one. A couple of us developed tummy issues (maybe from trying too many different local foods all over the place) and we were generally just feeling a bit run down from the heat and humidity. So we will have to save that experience for a future visit, which I’m sure there will be.

Another feature that I didn’t get a photo of, but wanted to comment on, is that driving on the non elevated sections of Expressway in Singapore literally feels like you’re driving through a park. Neat, broad crown trees line the road and in the median. Sure beats the brown grass and collision detritus that we see most of the time.

And by the way, check out how much data you can get for 15 bucks!!

And now, we’re beginning the long journey home. We may have a bonus stop if we feel better tomorrow.

A small world moment – at Changi airport in Singapore Blanka bumped into a girl from London who was in our hiking group on Mount Batur in Bali. Wow!!

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