We had a six-hour layover in Singapore. With international flights (immigration, customs, check in times, etc.) and the distance to get into town meant we had about 4 hours to kill–just enough to leave the airport and go into town to explore. My first impression as we were driving out of the airport, other than the steering wheel being on the right, was that it was so green! Ah, grass! Trees!
The traffic also seemed to be particularly light for such a large city and people were following the rules of the road which was so refreshing. (The two worst parts of Manila are the pollution and the insane traffic. If those two things could be fixed the city would be fine but as they are they make day-to-day life here very challenging). Driving from the airport into town in Singapore was a relaxing experience, comparatively. Nice that our taxi was a spankin’ brand new luxury car as well. Very nice.
I booked a package deal on-line before we left with a ride on the Singapore Flyer and a city tour and as we approached the flyer I got really excited. I had read it was the largest ferris wheel in the world, and that on a clear day you can see Malaysia, but upon approaching it I still was surprised at the sheer enormity of it. It was huge!
As the cab driver dropped us off I was concerned we weren’t going to have enough time to get on the flyer, do the tour and have lunch (also included in the deal) and get back to the airport in time. I wanted to hurry and get on before the next ride since I knew each one was 30 minutes. It took awhile to find where the tickets were and the whole time the flyer appeared still that I even started to worry that it might be closed. Turns out it is in perpetual motion and moves so slowly you can’t tell unless you are right up on it. We got our tickets and hopped on in an open door in the five seconds you have as it moves slowly by the platform. You sit in the glass capsule thing and enjoy the view of the city from all angles. Some of the capsules were set with tables and linen table clothes. How nice would that be to have dinner with this view!? As you can see, the view was incredible!
After riding on the flyer I thought we didn’t have enough time for the hour tour and lunch and I was so disappointed that I hadn’t calculated my time properly. I really wanted to do the tour, not only because I paid for it, but because I wanted to see the city and it was going to be in one of those cool bus/boat combo things. I will definitely do that the next time we are there. Turns out we did have enough time which really upset me but we will be back so it will be done one day. Since we didn’t take the tour there was time to do the fish spa before lunch. I was intrigued and Coco really, really wanted to do it so we tried it.
It ticked but my feet definitely felt smoother after the fish gnawed on my dead skin. It wasn’t until I got home that I read about the risk of infection. Hopefully, since it was in a very touristy spot, it has high standards and is regularly checked for cleanliness. 😦 Ugh. Well, what can we do now but hope for the best, right? After the foot spa we went and got some lunch. Singapore is known for their chicken rice so we both ordered that at the Food Trail. The Food Trail is a number of booths set up supposedly reminiscent of the 60s.
Seeing sights, the spa experience and a little something savory? Certainly a special and sensory-filled way to spend six hours in Singapore. Eh, okay, enough of the alliteration but really I must say it again: as short of a visit as it was I got a great impression of Singapore and we just barely scratched the surface. It’s so clean and green (must mention these again since I am missing them). It’s modern and organized and you can drink the water. There are loads of activities for kids like the zoo, theme parks, nature reserve, water parks, aquarium, planetarium, bird parks, city parks, butterfly park, even a crocodilarium! There are also tons of things for adults like restaurants, shopping, Little India, Chinatown, cruises, water sports, nightlife, green space, festivals, and museums. They even have beaches! I am very much looking forward to going back to check out some of those things but I am also highly, highly considering moving there if we decide to remain in Asia. I read it’s the third most expensive city in Asia, the highest expenses being housing and schooling. If that’s paid for through my job’s expat package then I only need to worry about the next highest ones: owning a car and food. The public transportation is supposedly very good and efficient so I may not need a car and, like I’ve learned here, if I stick to local, fresh foods I can save money there, too. Definitely somewhere to consider!