Day 22. Mon 5/30
Marina Bay Sands, Hawker Court, Sunset at the pool, Gardens by the Bay, Karaoke
Singapore is hands down the coolest city I have ever been to. We almost didn’t include the stop in our final itinerary but it was such a different feel than other places we were visiting and we had a recommendation from a friend (thanks Dave!) so we decided to splurge for a night in the heart of the city.
By splurge I mean we booked a room in the Marina Bay Sands, a hotel that was compromised of three towers of rooms and a rooftop infinity pool overlooking the bay and city from the 57 stories up. We debated staying two nights – thought it might be nice to have a break to a more developed city in the middle of our trip around Thai and Vietnamese countrysides – but decided that we could see everything we wanted to in 24 hours instead.
Then our plans changed dramatically. As we side in line to register, a concierge pulled us out of the registration line and brought us to a separate check in desk. He collected our passports, a credit card, and then let us know that rather than checking in to two separate 3-person rooms he could upgrade us to the presidential suite, which slept 6, if we were interested. We were interested.
It took a minute for that to register with me after we walked through away from the desk through the giant and luxurious lobby of Tower 1.
By the time we hit the Tower 2 elevator though, a huge smile had spread across my face. We all had to be grinning like idiots after we saw that our suite had a separate, private lift because the first one didn’t reach high enough. We shot up 53 floors so quickly in that thing that our ears popped, and then we hurried to our door to enter into what was probably the nicest hotel room I will ever set foot in. We did that thing where you slow step forward into the living room, staring ahead at the wall-to-wall glass window overlooking the bay in front of us, dropping our dirty and overstuffed bags as we neared.
The city looked amazing. From our view it truly looked like a concrete jungle, with green trees and plants tangled among sleek skyscrapers as far as the eye could see. To our left you could see the ports, with giant cranes littered along the coast for miles while ships constantly moved in and out of the water. Below was a beautiful body of water surrounded by stores (read: Louis Vuitton), boat and ferry docks, a large soccer arena, and some museums with cool architecture (aka the blooming onion-looking building). I took a video before we left the next morning from the rooftop infinity pool. Yes… 👏 rooftop. 👏 infinity. 👏 pool.
After drinking in the awesome view we all darted different directions, yelling about how big the place was and whatever we were discovering in the newest room (me mostly yelling not to touch anything in the weight-sensored mini fridge bc my card was on the room). After about ten minutes of this, Max was in a huge bathrobe, Josh was reading the room service menu, and Mike had uploaded twenty new snaps. We all logged into the wifi and chilled out on the big comfy couches before remembering how hungry we were. We made plans to try some street food and then post up by the pool to watch the sun set over the city with some overpriced drinks.🍹 Priorities.
Food vendors in Singapore are organized into Hawker Centres, where small businesses set up stalls in an open area, like a food court, serving delicacies from all over Asia. Singapore has immigrants from many different places, so there is some amazing cuisine all over the city, and different Hawkers are known for certain dishes or types of food. We tried out Tiong Bahru for dinner #1, which is known for their Chwee Kueh, a breakfast favorite in Singapore.
We also tried roasted duck, fish ball soup, chicken rice, and a mixed fruit mango pudding. All new and soo yummy.
We made it to the roof in time to grab a good spot to watch the sunset and settled in for what was an incredible view as the orange sun settled behind the pink and yellow clouds and the blue glow of the city lights came to life. I have always loved watching the sun go down over water, but this was like a whole different kind of sunset. Definitely the coolest sunset I’ve ever experienced.
We got back in the room and decided that we couldn’t just sleep when we had such nice amenities at our hands. We loaded up on beer and Redbull and fired up the stereo to keep ourselves awake. For a little bit we watched a cool light show happening on the water (and also the start of some thunderstorms in the sky), Saffy took a bubble bath, Kaija and I looked through the free toiletries all over the bathroom, and I even got a little laundry done. Once we were hungry and a little restless, we cabbed to Lau Pa Sat (another Hawker Centre) and scarfed down some more food.
Then we wandered around the Gardens by the Bay, which was connected to our hotel but was located on the opposite side of the bay. A lot of the gardens were closed, but we were still entertained by the giant leafy and metal structures and sick view of our hotel. I still can’t believe how huge that building was.
We ended the night with karaoke (although we had a really interesting selection of songs) until we almost literally passed out. We also made a video tour of the suite because it was too hard to take pictures of each room. And it seemed like a good idea at 4am.
Here is a much more boring video tour:
Our first cab driver had described Singapore as clean, green, and safe (emphasizing the safe). All three of those adjectives were true, but I would also add welcoming. We had six of the nicest cab drivers I’ve ever met, and one even offered to give us more tips and recommendations when we come back to Singapore again (when, not if). We did stay at an extremely nice hotel, but all of the staff there from the concierge at the front desk, to the IT specialist to the room service waiter were so polite and friendly too.
After our tough weather luck last week, we kind of got down on ourselves about plans we’d made not working out. Singapore was a nice little reminder that there are both lows and highs, and I think it has gotten us all a little more excited to travel during week 4 in Vietnam. Things were already looking up as we got in the plane to Hanoi this morning – my eye is looking much better and I got a window seat in the exit aisle! I swear these things never happen to me.
- Peanut butter-nutella-honey sandwiches in the airport
- Tiong Bahru Hawker
- Chwee Kueh
- Roasted duck and rice
- Fish ball soup
- Chicken rice
- Mixed fruit mango pudding
- Lau Pa Sat Hawker
- Chicken biryani
- Chicken and pork baos
- A nameless (and tasteless) noodle & dumpling dish