Marina Bay Sands
Charming by day; magical by night.
My time in Singapore was brief but delightful. I really loved the city/country/island. Singapore is practically spotless and offers an extensive, well run public transportation system. It was really easy to get around, and actually small enough to walk most places. I arrived in the afternoon of Sept. 14 and headed straight from the airport to my hostel @The Little Red Dot. I contemplated getting a tourist 2-day metro/bus pass but opted out when the cheaper option was sold out. There was one for $26 ($10 of which was a refundable deposit after returning the card) for unlimited use of the public transportation system and another for the same price, but with no refundable deposit; rather, including passes for two attractions in the city. Had the cheaper one been available I certainly would have gotten my money’s worth by using the metro extensively, but I am actually pleased I chose not to purchase it, because I was easily able to walk around the city, seeing much I would have missed in the train.
I arrived at the hostel around 1:30 p.m. and had to wait around until 3 p.m. to check in. The timing worked out rather well as I did a bit of research and planned my path for the day. I set off around 3:30 p.m. and walked from the hostel (on Lavender Street) down to the Bay, making several stops along the way. I passed through Bugis area and walked around the Colonial District, which wasn’t all that impressive but had some interesting buildings. I also passed through the construction preparing for the Grand Prix Formula 1 races, which were set to begin the next week. Once I got to the bay, I admired the Marina Bay Sands hotel and ArtScience Museum buildings as well as the Singapore Flyer.
I then headed over to the Gardens by the Bay, where I spent much of the rest of my day. The gardens were really beautiful and offered a great variety of flora. There were two conservatories and a skywalk you could pay for ($28 for two conservatories, $5 for the skywalk), but I decided to skip them as the rest of the area was free and rather extensive. I walked around the extent of the gardens, admiring the lake and various plants. Happily, I arrived when the Chinese community was celebrating the mid-autumn festival, so I was able to catch a cool acrobat show and enjoy several lanterns along the paths.
Gardens by the Bay
The supertrees, though not really trees at all, were my favorite part of the gardens, namely because of the light show. Each night at 7:45 and 8:45 p.m., the trees are lit up in time with music. It is spectacular and was my favorite part of my time in Singapore! I can’t describe the experience justly, but it was such a beautiful, serene moment. And the music they used was great. After I went to see the laser light and water show in front of the Marina Bay Sands, but I didn’t find it as impressive. It was great in its own right, but not as magical. Though I was impressed with the images, almost like an artistic documentary of Singapore and its people, that were displayed on the fountains. It was definitely worth seeing, but if you only had time for one I would undoubtedly recommend the supertrees light show. After the second light show, I headed back to the hostel to get some rest.
Chinatown Food Street
The next day I got up early and grabbed some food from Fair Price, a grocery store near my hostel. It was a great place to find, because I was able to get fruit and snacks for cheap. Definitely a good way to save a bit of money (and before leaving, I ended up buying a small jar of Skippy peanut butter, which has really come in handy since)! Then I headed out to Chinatown. I walked around the area, which was filled with shops and restaurants. It was an interesting area to visit, but not all that pressing to check out unless you want to shop or eat. Though there is also the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, which was fairly interesting.
Maxwell Food Center
I then headed to Maxwell Food Center for lunch. I made several laps around the food stall, trying to figure out where to eat. Finally I settled on trying porridge from a place that had a long line. It was definitely worth the wait! The chicken porridge was delicious and quite unique from other things I have eaten on this trip. I also had some popiah, which is like a sandwich wrap meets a fresh spring roll. It was really tasty.
I ended the day by journeying back to the Burgis area and visiting the Albert Center and Albert Street, which I was quite excited to see. They didn’t have much to offer, but I was particularly partial to the name. Time was running short, so I headed back to the hostel to rest for about an hour before taking the metro to the airport to catch my next flight.
Singapore was a great break from the sometimes craziness of Southeast Asia, though it did come with a higher price tag. Though my time was short, I felt like I was able to see the most significant parts of the city and didn’t leave with regret or a need to see more.
Singapore Gratitude Journal
1. I’m grateful for sidewalks.
2. I’m grateful for light shows.
3. I’m grateful for grocery stores.
4. I’m grateful for hawker stalls.