2 Days in Singapore
Are you a long-term planner or spur of the moment? We knew Singapore was on our list of places to visit while in Thailand because it’s a short flight away. It was early January 2019 and I happened to see an advertisement that the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel was having special last-minute rates through the end of the month when booking directly. After getting the go-ahead from Tim, we reserved the rooms and got our plane tickets. We had a few weeks to plan and prepare, but it was enough time. Prior to this trip, I had looked at visiting Singapore several times. But it is an expensive city all around from food to transportation. Originally we had thought we would just stay at a normal hotel or even an Airbnb, but there was something about staying at the iconic Marina Bay Sands (and all the activities within walking distance) that kept us from visiting sooner. We were so thankful that we didn’t settle for staying elsewhere.
We only had 2 full days, so you can imagine how busy we were! One thing we have loved is getting to visit old friends on this side of the world… and it just so happened one of my friends from high school, Nick, and his wife Danae along with their 3 kids were living in Singapore during this time. It was a priority for us to find a way to spend time with them, and thankfully they were available! After arriving to the city in the afternoon we unpacked at the hotel then got a ride out to Nick & Danae’s place before heading to the Singapore Night Safari. It was lovely reconnecting with them, and for our kids to meet and have friends to play with for the afternoon. The zoo was quite busy, but the lines moved quickly. The night safari is set up as a tram ride through the zoo near dusk to get a unique experience seeing the animals quite active after dark. You get the pleasure of seeing the animals, without the effort of walking (or pushing a stroller) throughout the zoo. Danae is also the one who introduced me to the Ride Safer Vests as a seatbelt safety mechanism for kids since it's so easy to use in a taxi or other ride-share vehicle! After seeing how easy they were to use I knew we needed some as well.
Our first full day we wanted to hit up all the close by activities… and when I say close-by… I really mean within a mile+ walk in any direction. Things are further away than they seem, so it was a lot of walking. Once again, we always travel with our double stroller because we know that within a few minutes of hard walking the kids will give up :) so we need a way to move them when they don’t want to move themselves!
We started the morning at the Singapore Flyer which is about 1.5km walk from the hotel. Once we arrived, it was hard to navigate where to actually purchase tickets or check in. We spent 20 minutes wandering around trying to find what we needed (ticket booth! And then later the elevator!). You check your strollers at the entrance before going into the glass capsule which will take you 165 meters up into the sky for some amazing views of the city. The ride takes approximately 1 hour and to be honest, there were times I had a hard time looking at my kids leaning on the glass or even sitting on the railing against the glass for photos. But the kids weren’t phased at all, and I allowed my reasoning and logic to win over fear! It is quite the experience, and truly some beautiful views. Once you depart the capsule, there is a really fun gift shop with a wide range of items to buy. We definitely found some unique items there, although I’m sure you could find them cheaper at smaller shops.
The Singapore Flyer took most of the morning, so we walked back and visited the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and ate at the DC Comic Superheros Cafe at the mall, although it appears to now be closed. The kids thought it was a very cool place to eat, and of course very overpriced, but fun! Instead of paying for the $30 Batman burger for the kids (which they didn’t eat) we should have just got french fries, lol!
In the afternoon we visited the Gardens by the Bay which is one of Singapore’s top attractions. There are giant so-called "Supertrees" that are manmade within the garden area, which you can walk along the suspended walkway, or stay around for the free nightly Garden Rhapsody show (7:45pm & 8:45pm) when the tress light up to the music. It was a very impressive event. The Gardens are very large, and there is also a Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, which we did not have time to visit but also looks spectacular. After the show ended, it takes quite a while to get back to the hotel because of all the foot traffic and there aren’t many ways to cross. So just leave a few minutes before it ends if you care or it’ll take longer than expected to get a short distance.
The second day we took a taxi to visit the Science Centre Singapore. It was about a 20 minute drive from the hotel, so not close. However, it has some amazing activities and exhibitions for children, along with a fun splash pad too. It had a mirror maze, unique "art", lots of science experiments and some pretty amazing shows about electricity. We could have spent the entire day there. but instead we grabbed lunch at the McDonalds at the front of the museum and then went back to the hotel. I will add that there is no where close to grab a taxi from the Science Centre…. It was a very long and confusing walk to the opposite side of a near-by mall. This is when using Uber or Grab would have been very helpful, but we didn’t know you can’t just flag down a taxi anywhere… you have to go to the taxi pick-up lines.
After a short nap for Adele (who was 13 months at the time), while Tim and the older 2 kids swam at the famous infinity pool on the top of the hotel, we all ventured back to the hotel roof for the views of the city.
From there we decided to go back to the Gardens by the Bay and enjoy the free splash pad, since the kids really needed to enjoy something fun for them. Although it was a little chilly, they had a blast. Not too far of a walk from there is Satay by the Bay – Authentic Singaporian Food. It is a large food court with lots of foods to try. We didn’t realize it wasn’t necessarily “fast food” but more like a restaurant as far as the length of time for food to be prepared. We should have given ourselves more time (more on that later). You can order from as many restaurants as you want and then wait for the food to be ready. It was really delicious and we were thankful for one Italian restaurant to get pasta for the kids since they can be picky. We had to eat so fast in order to make it all the way back to the water show at the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. It was over 1.5km walk, which we pretty much ran the whole way while Tim pushed the stroller loaded with kids and had Adele in the ergo. Did I mention I was 23 weeks pregnant at the time? Yeah… we looked ridiculous, not to mention were out of breath when we arrived just in time for the impressive show!
The next day we had a later afternoon flight, so after checking out of the hotel and leaving our luggage there we took a short taxi to Chinatown. Since it was nearing the Chinese New Year the whole area was festively decorated. We walked the rows of shops, unique food items and just enjoyed the culture. All in all it was a packed full trip, but worth every second. In the end we were so thankful to have stayed at the Marina Bay Sands because of the easy access to the surrounding activities, not to mention the spectacular views.
At the end of our short visit, we finally understood why Singapore is such a popular destination in Southeast Asia. It is beautiful, with such a variety of food and activities and is very family friendly.