Singaporean Experiences

Let me first say, luxury is not how I usually roll. I’m more of a bucks for value kind of girl.

It’s the first time I’ve traveled in Business Class, and I obviously enjoyed every second of it! Starting with the small but cozy business lounge in Brussels and then the welcome on board champagne, I will admit I was a bit tipsy by the time the Qatar Airways 787 Dreamliner took off.

In this post I will cover travelling in luxury, how it’s actually manageable if you pick your battles wisely and how you can still mix and match it with your own personal travel style for a satisfying experience.

Singapore: Getting there

There is a wide choice of flights into Singapore, regardless of where you’re located. Check out the list of airlines serving Singapore Changi airport on Skyscanner here.

Being in Brussels at the time, we flew with Qatar Airways, so I’ll be talking mostly about my experience with them.
 img_6007
img_6010
img_6027
img_6036
First off, it’s not as unimaginably expensive to travel business class anymore. A Qatar Airways Economy return flight, Brussels to Singapore with a layover in Doha is already decently priced at 540 €.
img_6039
If you’ve never experienced Business Class before and you don’t entirely write it off as being snobbish, you can easily upgrade one leg of your Qatar flight with roughly the same amount of money.

That being said, I am not saying it’s cheap, I’m simply saying that you can also save 6 months worth of Starbucks lattes, if  you do want to try it out once; and like ice cream; and champagne; and legroom.

Need I say more?
 img_6014

The Singapore Rooftop Experience

We decided to go all the way and chose the 2 most over-hyped rooftop bars in town, Altidude and Spago. Here’s my take on the experience:

Altitude 1

Altitude Gallery, in their own description, stands at a peak of 282 meters and boasts a spectacular 360-degree view of Singapore. Very true:  We went there at sunset and the views were indeed spectacular!

Overview: You get what you expect of such a location i.e. overly expensive drinks, but I should say of mediocre delivery ( don’t order their gin Hendrick’s, they don’t seem to have a clue on how to serve it) and in a bit too crowded terrace.

Tip: Go at around 9:30 PM, as the restaurant closes at 10 PM, so you may get the chance to grab a table as they are cleared. If you manage to do so, you’ll enjoy the experience more, especially since they have pretty good DJs.
The downside : Way too crowded for a weekday, and if you’re not planning to have dinner then expect no or little seating availability.

Spago

Overview: Spago is located at the 57th floor  of the infamous Marina Bay Sands, Spago has an unobstructed view over the Singapore skyline, bordered by their infamous infinity pool (access granted to hotel guests only, for obvious reasons)

We went there in our last day, and completely lost track of time whilst sipping on gin tonics and admiring the stormy skies.
Spago has a lounge-y feel to it, making the experience different from the clubbish Altitude 1. Also, it’s somehow cheaper than Altitude.

Tips: For food, if you’re there in the afternoon just after lunchtime, but are in need of a snack, do order the tempura and spicy tuna rolls. Also, the burger seemed to be very popular and came in decent size.

There’s a very good selection of gin, all priced relatively reasonable (ahem, given the location I mean) at 26 $ ; try Tainted Love (below)
 
Tip: Unless you’re so low on sugar bordering hypoglycemia, Don’t order Forbidden Kiss.
Dress code is smart casual, the atmosphere is relaxed, and between good drinks and an exquisite view, I’d say it’s worth your money.

 Accommodation

We decided we’ll spend our money elsewhere and skipped the fancy Marina Bay Sands, and chose a solid 3 star hotel called Hotel Boss , half an hour walk away from the Gardens by the Bay.

Hotel Boss is one of the the newest hotels in Singapore, opened at the end of 2015 and boasting more than 1000 rooms.

The hotel also has a semi-rooftop (and quite large) swimming pool, if you have time for some soaking in the sun – however I recommend you do that before 11 AM, after which the sun gets to hot to bear.
IMG_6867.JPG

The listing price for a standard double room falls at around 90€ and within the 108 € average price per night on Booking.com, but you’ll find plenty of promos as well.

Our standard room was quite small at 14 sq meters, with the disadvantage of not having a proper wardrobe, but other than that it served its purpose perfectly.
Now, do mind the fact that there is a 7 % Tax & 10 % Property service charge, not included, and you’ll have to take that into account regardless of where you book your stay.

If you’re on a tight schedule in Singapore, Hotel Boss is in a good location and well connected by metro – it’s why we chose it.

Where to go

Gardens by the Bay – Where Wonder Blooms

This is the single most amazing place in Singapore, and the main reason I as many others wanted to visit in the first place.

5 years in the making and open to the public in October 2011, Gardens by the Bay Cloud Forest and Flower Dome hold the TripAdvisor 2016 and 2015 Certificate of Excellence  and were Traveler’s Choice and the most visited attraction in Singapore in 2014.

Flower Dome
 

Here’s a snapshot of the different attractions it offers:

Gardens by the Bay is an oasis of green and, despite the numerous visitors, calm in the middle of a bustling city.
Watch the Supertrees of the Supertree Grove seemingly dance in a dazzling display of lights, every night in the Garden Rhapsody

I recommend you see the show at least twice, from different angles; I personally loved the under the tree experience, lounging on the sitting decks and admiring the trees as the classical music engulfed me from all sides.

img_6122
Supertree Grove Singapore, Gardens by the Bay
img_6246
Supertree Grove up close – Light show

If you’re also one for taking pictures though, sit somewhere close to the metro station at the exit of the Gardens, next to the water. You can still hear the music, and you’ll have a nice view of the canopy.

Watch out for the schedule of the show, and make sure you’re claiming your spot some 30 minutes before it starts.

Singapore Zoo: The World’s Best Rainforest Zoo

I’ve seen some pretty amazing zoos, such as Zoo Praha in the Czech Republic and Pairi Daiza in Belgium, but the Singapore zoo is something else. This zoo is humongous, give it a full day.

My favorite was the Fragile Forest – a massive biodome hosting a diversity of birds and animals, among which lemurs, sloths and flying foxes.
Other zones include, Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia, Treetops, Primate Kingdom (Orangutans are awesome) to name just a few.

Skip the river safari, with all the things you can see, it’s just not worth it.

S.E.A. Aquarium on Sentosa Island

IMG_6727.JPG
Amazon’s Sunken forests @ S.E.A. Aquarium
By their description, the Aquarium holds 100,000 marine animals and over 800 species, spread across 49 different habitats, and it is indeed impressive.

You’ll sea (wink) everything from Manta Rays to Sea Dragons to Hammerhead Sharks.
My favorite was the Open Ocean habitat is 36m wide and 8m tall and holds squadrons of manta rays, sharks and diverse fish.

If you find a comfy spot, you can spend all afternoon there and not regret a single minute.

Aquarium Sleepover

Oh, and this wasn’t on when I was there, but definitely keep an eye out for OceanDreams, the Aquarium Sleepover !

They don’t have the sleepover as a regular thing, but if you’re just lucky enough.. for the mere price of S $158 you’ll have an unforgettable experience that tops the best underwater hotels!

Tip: For visitors outside Asia, I suggest you also skip Madame Tussauds, unless you know your way around regional celebrities. There are some global figures, such as the UK Royal Family or E.T. , but when you draw the line, it’s really not worth your trouble.

IMG_6792.JPG

I’ve covered Food in Singapore in a separate post.

Send me your comments below, or let us know if you find your own hidden gems.

Happy wandering!