A Travellerspoint blog

Singapore, Day 3 of 3

Orchard Road Shopping Malls, Raffles and Clarke Quay

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We took a free city shuttle bus this morning to the Orchard Road shopping area. I have no idea what either of us thought we might buy since both of us has luggage so stuffed you couldn't get a fag paper in. Nonetheless, it was worth a look around. There are numerous malls on the Orchard Road and some seem to specialise ie hairdressers, nail bars and Botox clinics in one mall; another was very high end jewellery where the store doors are locked and a besuited man looks at you suspiciously before deciding whether to let you in or not - you know the stores I mean - Tiffany, Cartier, Mont Blanc, Louis Vuitton, blah blah. Anyway, we didn't buy anything and headed for a bar for a drink and tapas. Next stop Raffles. We decided to give the metro a try and went to Queenstown MRT and travelled two stops to City Hall, I'm sure we could have walked it just as easily. Raffles was just a short walk from City Hall MRT and we soon found ourselves seated at a table in The Long Bar waiting in anticipation for our Singapore Slings, the must have drink when in Singapore. There's a little hessian sack of peanuts on the table provided "free" and a wooden box for you to put the shucks in, however it seems to be the norm to drop the shucks in the floor , must research this! Anyway, the Singapore Sling was delicious and the bar had no shortage of patrons, most who visit for one drink , take a few pictures and then leave. As you sit and watch the waiting and bar staff about their work, you can see what a slick, money making operation this is. I took a picture of the recipe and thought maybe I could try this at home but with maybe an extra slug of gin!

We walked from Raffles back to our hotel later in the afternoon and after a short rest to wash and change went out to find somewhere to eat. Clarke Quay is just a short walk from Havelock Road , we crossed a bridge over the Singapore River and walked for maybe 10 minutes after which we were in the thick of the activity. There are loads of bars and restaurants and many are riverside where you can sit and look at the river cruises coming and going and be mesmerised by the pretty lights. We sat by the river at Crazy Elephant bar and were able to see the laser light show from the Marina Bay Sands from where we were sitting. As it was happy hour we sat and had several drinks before moving on to find a place to eat - strangely a lot of the eating places seem to stop doing food around 10pm. We had gourmet burgers at The Butchers and then headed back to our hotel for an "early" night as we had an airport pick up scheduled for 4.20am!! Yes, didn't think that flight through very clearly when I booked it, did I!

Next stop Melbourne.

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Posted by Pollyaway 04:06 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Singapore - Day 2 of 3

Gardens at the Bay and Chinatown

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Gardens at the Bay and Chinatown

From the MBS Hotel there is a walkway which leads you across the road and over the dragonfly lake to the Gardens in the Bay. There are photo opportunities all along the way with pretty much everyone stopping to take pictures of themselves with the iconic MBS or the Singapore Flyer behind them (Singapore's version of the London Eye). We took a leisurely stroll through the beautiful themed gardens and admired the many pieces of artwork and sculptures. It was so hot and humid that we took advantage of shaded gardens wherever possible. We headed for the domed areas of which there are two; the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest , well worth a visit, the flowers and plants are spectacular. If you like Orchids, you'll love the Cloud Forest.
We walked around the super tree grove and paid 20SGD each to take a lift 16 floors to the top of the tallest tree which basically gives you one of the supposedly best views of Singapore. The ticket price includes an alcoholic drink (12 SGD for a soft drink). IMHO we had better views from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the rooftop bar of The Indo China restaurant at the top of the tree was closed on the day we visited so had to have our drink inside, bit of a rip off really, shame we weren't told this at ground level. Also, I also think the super grove trees are more spectacular to view from a distance and at night when they are illuminated. Nonetheless, Gardens at the Bay are a credit to Singapore.

We returned to MBS around 3.30pm and collected our luggage, the Concierge called a taxi for us and loaded our luggage into the taxi. Just as an aside, the ground floor concourse of the MBS Hotel is almost like a shopping mall, it is vast and a buzz with activity. Outside, there is a constant stream of taxis arriving and departing so getting a taxi is a simple process. During the taxi ride to our next hotel, we learned that you can only be a taxi driver in Singapore if you come from Singapore and our driver told us that he works 7 days a week without a break, he said he had never been to the Gardens in the Bay but heard it is very nice; I shall try not to complain about my working hours again.

Our hotel on the Havelock Road was booked via Singapore Air as a stopover holiday. Hotel Miramar is surprisingly well located but I can't deny that after MBS It felt very second rate , pretty much like a travel lodge. However, credit where credit is due, it was clean and comfortable, value for money and had all the facilities you would need.

2017 is the Chinese year of the Rooster and New Year celebrations started on 8/1/2017. Since Chinatown in Singapore is literally a 10 minute walk from the Miramar Hotel that's where we headed for our second night. A colourful array of side streets with food stalls and market stalls selling all kinds of Chinese products (fluffy roosters aplenty). After walking many streets admiring the merchandise (tat) we sat at a table outside a restaurant (melamine tables, plastic chairs tiled floor, that sort of thing) for a beer while we pondered about where to eat. Some of the dishes pictured at the restaurant we were sitting at left me feeling a bit queasy; whole fish head soup, pigs entrails and pig trotters to name but a few. However, being the lazy items that we are we stayed put and took a table inside where we enjoyed a delicious meal of chicken with roasted chilli and peanuts and vegetables plus steamed and special fried rice. Together with our beers the meal was a bargain at SGD 56 around £20. Around 11pm we headed back to our hotel, exhausted from another busy day. Unfortunately, another sleep deprived night was waiting for me and so I Whiled away my time by writing entry number one of this blog and catching up with the boomerang kids back home via What's App. Every cloud .....

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Posted by Pollyaway 04:01 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Singapore stopover - Day 1 of 3

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

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8 January 2017. We arrived at the Marina Bay Sands around 10.30am, although our room was not ready we were able to check in and leave our luggage with the concierge. We were given temporary passes which gave us access to the infamous infinity pool which has the most amazing views over Singapore.

We sunbathed for an hour or so, had a drink and, of course, swam in the pool and took the usual touristy pictures. By 2pm our room was ready and after collecting our bags from the concierge we made our way to the 37th floor where we had a Club 55 room with city view. What a surprise, We were lucky enough to have been allocated a corner room with views from two different aspects so we had the most amazing view from the bathroom over The Gardens in the Bay and from the bedroom a view over the bay.

So let me tell you a little more about this hotel stay. Who goes away to a beautiful city with a plan to spend their day in a hotel room you might ask? We did, and this is why. The MBS hotel first came to my attention when I saw it featured in the Telegraph Travel list of top 20 infinity pools. So I determined that on this trip we should experience it for ourselves. Knowing that we would be pretty tired after a long flight from Heathrow, I booked the Club 55 room to take advantage of all the complimentary extras that it gave us; afternoon tea from 2pm to 4pm and canapés and alcoholic drinks from 5pm to 7pm and then to be able to relax and rest in luxury surroundings. I wasn't disappointed. Afternoon tea provided delicate sandwiches, an array of cheeses and biscuits, pastries both savoury and sweet, fruit and a delightful selection of different flavoured macarons, plus more. I tried the lot and afterwards we returned to our room to rest and prepare ourselves for the next session an hour later, what gluttons. So around 5.45 we duly returned to the Club 55 lounge area (strangely enough located on the 55th floor) for canapes and alcohol. I started with a glass of champagne and followed this up with a very refreshing gin and tonic, Graham settled for brandy and coke. We sat on bar stools looking out over the Gardens in the Bay drinking and eating to our hearts content with staff attentively asking if there was anything they could do for us . Just before 7pm a nice young waiter came and asked if we wanted another drink before the session ended, he didn't need to ask twice and duly returned with generous double measures for both of us. Needless to say, the jet lag and alcohol took its toll on Graham and by 9pm he was in the land of nod. This is where the benefit of the luxury room kicked in for me. Unable to sleep quite like Graham can, I made use of the luxury shower, I familiarised myself with the nespresso machine and then flitted from bathroom to lounge taking photos of the magnificent night scenery. I have to say I was quite chuffed with my results considering the pictures are taken through a plate glass window and, while Graham slept, I watched what I could of the laser light show over the bay.

Jet lag got the better of me and I was awake until the very early hours. I eventually got off to sleep around 4am and woke 4 hours later to the sound of Graham sploshing around in the luxury bath tub with the magnificent view. By 9.30am we were back in the Club55 lounge for our breakfast another experience which did not disappoint. Unfortunately, we had to check out by 11am as we had not been able to reserve a room for more than one night. We subsequently learned that a large Singapore finance corporation had booked 1600 of the 2650 rooms for a conference hence the lack of availability. Oh well, at least we got to experience it for one night.

We checked out and once again deposited our luggage with the concierge with a plan to spend day 2 exploring The gardens in the Bay.

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Posted by Pollyaway 05:27 Archived in Singapore Tagged marina_bay_sands_hotel views_from_room_3792 marine_bay_sands_infinity_pool Comments (1)

And so the journey begins

London to Singapore


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See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

7 January 2017 - An early start was made on day of departure and we arrived at Heathrow Terminal 2 in plenty of time to sit and partake of the obligatory airport breakfast. Nothing exciting to say about this except the price; £56 for 2 X Mrs What'shername's full English , 2 small beers and a G&T and before you say it, yes, even that early in the morning although I did also have a cup of breakfast tea.

Anyway, on to the flight. So many people said that we really should fly Singapore Air - apparently an experience not to be missed in itself. So we did, and was it all it's cracked up,to be? Well, if the first of four flights is anything to go by, then I would say no, not really. Flight 1 of 4 was an A380; it's a great plane, so quiet. We had seats on the upper deck which is a smaller cabin and so was a lot quieter. We also had twin seats which is always good, it eliminates that debate about whether to risk having a stranger sitting in between you if you select an aisle and a window seat!! Flying home from Thailand last year with Emirates I watched the complete first series of Poldark; oh what joy and the flight seemed to whizz by. I was so convinced that the wonderful Singapore Air would have the latest TV drama on in flight entertainment that I saved the pleasure of ogling the delectable Aidan Turner especially to while away the 12+ hour flight in a romantic trance. Not a chance; I scrolled through the extensive list several times vainly hoping that I had missed it somewhere. I settled in the end for Bridget Jones Baby followed by episodes 1-3 of The Durrells. Airline food is airline food, the most novel thing on this flight was Christmas Pudding ice cream which tasted like a cross between gingerbread and Jamaica Rum chocolate (who remembers that eh?). To be fair, it was a good flight; I was just mega disappointed with the in flight entertainment, Back to back episodes of the Big Bang theory don't do it for me.

8 January 2017 - we arrive at Changi Airport around 8.10 in the morning. I've lost 6 hours of my life courtesy of a Southern Hemisphere time zone; I'm tired and achy from lack of sleep (read that as no sleep) and sitting in the same position for so long, my alluring flight socks are making me feel overheated and we now have to stand and queue to go through immigration. I was dismayed to watch the process of people ahead of me who were having thumb prints taken. Ten years ago I discovered I practically have no thumb prints due to using steroid creams to manage eczema on my hands; I caused a hold up at Disneyworld Florida whilst they tried to decide if I was safe to be let in or not. So, I just knew that I Was about to encounter a similar problem. Place your thumbs on the glass screen said the nice man staring at me so intently; sure enough the inevitable happened. "Oh, you have not good picture" he said "please try again". So I tried again and sadly nice man shook his head and said "oh dear, not good". However, Nice man clearly wanted an easy life and duly waved me through. The good thing about this immigration thing tho is that by the time we got through, our suitcases were trundling nicely around on the conveyor belt waiting for us - joy.

So the next step is ground transport a simple shuttle bus from airport to hotel for a mere SGD 18.
And so we arrive at our first hotel destination -. The Marina Bay Sands.

If I haven't already bored you to tears, M ore about our stay in Singapore in the next blog entry.

Posted by Pollyaway 08:17 Archived in Singapore Comments (1)

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