Singapore Travel

Stopover in Singapore – #squadSQ Journal Part 1

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On the finish of August, I launched into what appeared like on paper (and what turned out to be) one of many coolest tasks I’ve come throughout. Singapore Airways had this loopy concept to convey collectively four running a blog groups, then ship them away to totally different corners of the world, then deliver them again collectively, all of the whereas interacting with one another on Instagram and thru hashtags. They might weave four separate tales into one. Meet #squadSQ.

See Ya Later, Australia

The night time earlier than I left, Kynie and I stayed in Alexandria, Sydney, to be a) near the airport (as a result of the morning sprint from Newcastle to Sydney airport might be oh so irritating), and b) as a result of we will swing by Grounds of Alexandria on our approach. That is exactly what we did and attending to the airport an excellent three hours early meant that I had loads of time to benefit from the Singapore Airways KrisFlyer Lounge and have a strong breakfast.

Being so early meant that there was nobody in entrance of me in the check-in queue, and being in Premium Financial system meant I had an categorical move to get by means of safety and immigration forward of the queue, so this helped get me to the SilverKris Lounge with even much less resistance.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Lounge in Sydney AirportSingapore Airways KrisFlyer Lounge in Sydney Airport

Within the lounge, I met fellow influencers Phoebe and Chris from the Curious Assortment (to not be confused with Phoebe and Matt of Little Gray Field, who we’ll meet later). Over breakfast and a fantastic view of the airfield, all of us caught up after what we estimated to be no less than 12 years with out seeing one another as a result of coincidentally, Phoebe and I went to main faculty collectively (and I went to highschool with them each for two weeks earlier than I modified). 

It was nice accessing the SilverKris lounge. Not that ready on the Sydney Airport cafes is actually all that dangerous, however there’s simply fewer individuals, it’s extra personal, there’s snug lounges, personal cubicles with desks, actually good meals, and I don’t have to increase my mortgage in order to purchase a sandwich and a espresso. I waited till the suitable beer-consuming time of 9:30am to crack my first Tiger of the day and Chris dutifully joined me.

The flight with Singapore Air was truly superb. This was my first time in Premium Financial system and I used to be genuinely stunned how a lot of a step up it was to common financial system. It deserves its personal weblog submit, however simply to tug out a couple of highlights, the seats are wider, there’s considerably extra leg room (essential for individuals 6 foot three like myself!), you possibly can pre-order chef-cooked meals, the display is greater, the headphones are noise cancelling, and the chair reclines additional. It’s a whole lot of little issues, however all of them add up right into a genuinely satisfying expertise. For the added consolation, it’s completely well worth the little additional.

Past the in-flight expertise, the bodily flight from Sydney to Singapore was simply lovely. We shot throughout the Aussie desert in a north-westerly course from Sydney; over Uluru, previous Alice Springs, over some candy salt lakes which I nonetheless can’t determine, (thanks for nothing Instagram followers), then shot off the WA coast by Broome. I had no concept the world of Broome was so lovely, no less than from the sky. Technically what I used to be seeing was Derby, the Dampier Peninsula, and the Prince Regent Nationwide Park (based on Google). We have been seeing two large inlets of stark blue water surrounded by sandy bays. It was spectacular.

Flying Over Salt Lakes in Australia's red centreFlying Over Salt Lakes in Australia's red centreFlying Over Salt Lakes in Australia’s purple centreFlying over Broome on Australia's west coastFlying over Broome on Australia's west coastFlying over Broome on Australia’s west coast

The magic continued north-west, over Indonesia, in reality, we flew instantly over Lombok and Bali and I’m fairly positive it was over East Java that I noticed a number of volcanos poking out by way of the highest of the clouds. The on-display flight path and Google Maps helped me work this all out.

The remainder of the battle was principally water till we hit Malaysia, at which level it become a number of islands (you get that with archipelagos typically). We approached from the north, and I had a good time making an attempt to work out once we truly entered Singapore airspace (trace: I received it flawed many occasions and for those who noticed my Insta-story, I truly introduced it improper there too haha).

So the three of us landed safely in Singapore and made it via immigration with out being detained and picked up a Singapore Explorer Move to get us by way of the subsequent two days. After checking in to the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, I dumped my gear, took a number of pictures of the room, and raced right down to the Membership Lounge to satisfy up with my fellow #squadSQ members. Matt and Phoebe of Little Nice Field have been already there, a number of cocktails deep and chatting with a pleasant employees member referred to as Raymond; Phoebe and Chris of Curious Assortment arrived shortly after me, and at about eight, Nicola and Florence of Polkadot Passport arrived to finish the squad.

squadSQ on their first meetup at Crowne Plaza Changi AirportsquadSQ on their first meetup at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport#squadSQ on their first meetup at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport. Photograph by Little Gray Field

We spent the subsequent 2 hours catching up on previous tales and making new jokes whereas just about laughing all the stylish place down. It felt like a real welcome drinks session with pleasure and anticipation in any respect time highs. The one unhappy factor was we’d all be going our separate methods in simply 48 hours time. However that’s the gig and it’s going to be a lot enjoyable being a workforce, however exploring totally different elements of the world. Our first stops have been South Africa, Germany, Japan, and Switzerland.

Strolling My Legs Off at Singapore Zoo

I knew as we speak was going to be massive so I requested a wake-up name at 7 so I might eat and get out to the airport. This was a very good concept in principle, however since my physique was nonetheless on Sydney time, it awakened on Sydney time — about 7:30am. Sadly, this was 5:30 Singapore time. At round 6 I gave in to it, had a bathe, and was on the buffet by 6:30.

The breakfast was immense, and all the things you’d anticipate from the Crowne Plaza, with an assortment of native and western dishes out there. My favorite although, as all the time, is omelette man. I don’t how they do it, however each omelette man in the world is aware of find out how to make the identical omelette and I’m greater than comfortable with that.

Omelette Man at Crowne Plaza Changi AirportOmelette Man at Crowne Plaza Changi AirportOmelette Man at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

I requested the concierge for recommendation on one of the simplest ways to get to the Zoo and he advised me the identical factor that I’d labored out alone, and that’s it will take about an hour to an hour and a half and embrace a handful of transfers to get there. This appeared like flushing time down the bathroom so I opted to get a Seize cab (just like Uber) for about $25 and I’d get there in 30 minutes. Appeared like a great deal to me.

Within the cab, I learnt that Singapore principally speaks English, however will, relying on ethnic background, additionally converse both Chinese language, Malay, or an Indian language at residence. The Chinese language and Malays may additionally converse the opposite, however not often Indian as a result of it’s so exhausting to study.

Singapore Zoo - Giant TortoisesSingapore Zoo - Giant TortoisesBig Tortoise

The Singapore Zoo was completely unimaginable. Aside from home pets, I really like animals and there’s such an enormous number of animals there. Usually, I typically discover zoos a little bit of a bizarre idea (you recognize, balancing conservation and captivity), however the Singapore Zoo is completed rather well. The animals all look completely happy and the enclosures are all actually spacious and applicable for the animals, and the extent of care appears to be world class. This isn’t all the time the case.

The elephants have been most undoubtedly a spotlight for me. They’ve an enormous enclosure partly surrounded by a moat. There are about 6 or 7 of them in there and there a fairly a couple of vantage factors if a few of them aren’t instantly seen. I walked by way of when it was virtually empty, however it was nicely value doubling again to observe the Elephants at Work Present however I in all probability ought to have gone a bit earlier to get a superb seat; it was packed!

Singapore Zoo - ElephantsSingapore Zoo - ElephantsElephants, clearly

An sudden spotlight of the Zoo was the rhinoceros. They have been surprisingly lively, particularly the cub. I should have spent 15 minutes standing there, watching them, filming and photographing them. They have been only a pleasure to observe.

You might undoubtedly spend a lot of the day there, however you’ll be able to see nearly all the things in three hours when you don’t dawdle.

What I really like about zoos is that there are the large attraction animals (at the least for me): the rhinos, the giraffes, the lions, the elephants. The animals which might be massive, unique, and uncommon. However then there are the animals that I’ve by no means heard of, which are simply as distinctive, just like the tapir. I’ve by no means heard of a tapir earlier than at this time, nevertheless it’s fairly distinctive wanting animal. And whereas I learnt completely nothing about it, I nonetheless loved watching it in its enclosure.

The Explorer Cross acquired me into the Zoo without spending a dime and it additionally received me into River Safari, which is a river-themed zoo, additionally run by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore and simply subsequent door. River Safari was smaller and is a one-means strolling path down and throughout the river and again. There have been many various tanks with fish, rays, and turtles of all sizes. My favorite was the pink panda although. I spent about 10 minutes making an attempt to get the right shot of him however he simply wouldn’t transfer. Nonetheless fairly proud of it although.

The opposite spotlight was the Amazon River Quest. It was a sluggish boat journey and went previous about 15 totally different animal reveals together with flamingo, jaguar, big anteater, and monkeys. It was an additional $5 and completely value it.

Red Panda at River Safari, SingaporeRed Panda at River Safari, SingaporePink Panda at River Safari, Singapore

Chinatown

By the point I’d completed on the zoo, it was about 2:00. This time, with time extra on my aspect, I caught public transport into the town. I all the time discover its simpler to go away someplace on public transit than to get someplace. I obtained the 138 bus to Ang Mo Kio and transferred to the subway, which took me to Chinatown.

Beneath a whole lot of purple lanterns and a burning solar, I started wandering with out a lot function. I occurred upon the Chinese language Heritage Centre, which I recalled was included on the Explorer Cross. I wandered in and learnt a bit of concerning the founding of Singapore, and the way the early Chinese language settlers lived with lifesize reveals of the recreations of the rooms they might reside in. So many individuals left China in search of higher life in Southeast Asia and lots of ended up in Singapore.

It was time for a relaxation, so I had a beer simply outdoors the Heritage Centre. I couldn’t inform the identify of the place nevertheless it had a number of beers from an area brewery referred to as Archipelago Brewing Co, which so far as I might inform appeared like an honest sized Singaporean craft brewery. I had the Summer time IPA and it was very respectable.

Archipelgo Summer IPA in Singapore's Chinatown

Archipelgo Summer IPA in Singapore's Chinatown

Close by is the Chinatown Complicated, a multistorey complicated of native markets. It was bizarre, usually I really like shopping markets and memento outlets, however I wasn’t feeling it as we speak. Perhaps it was as a result of I don’t need to spend money cash on junk (although it’s by no means stopped me earlier than), or perhaps it was as a result of it was principally stuff I genuinely might discover no use for. Or almost certainly, maybe it’s genuinely meant for locals relatively than vacationers.

The underside degree of the Chinatown Complicated is filled with junky stalls and lots of vacationers. I went upstairs to the meals courtroom and I used to be the one one. It’s as if we’ve got by no means learnt to climb stairs, bizarre.

Regardless that it was not one which was on my listing, it was clear I used to be in a hawker centre so I felt obliged to take a look at the meals. I acquired a hen and rice for $three and whereas it seemed fairly plain on the floor, it tasted actually good, notably the rice. We have to study what they put in their rice to make it truly style like one thing.

Chinatown festivity SingaporeChinatown festivity SingaporeChinatown in Singapore

I’d been made conscious of a spot that has craft beer on faucet in Chinatown. It was referred to as Smith Road Faucets. After taking a better take a look at the Google Maps itemizing I noticed it was truly contained in the Chinatown complicated. So I did one other loop of the stalls and located nothing resembling it. Then I noticed that it may be on degree two, this reality I turned sure of that based mostly on the stall quantity system. Regardless of this, and regardless of understanding that stalls are in a obscure numerical order, I couldn’t discover the factor.

I gave up and determined to take a look at the native temples. First up was Sri Mariamman, which was a Hindu temple. Above the doorway is a really intricate tower coated with little vibrant statues of dozens of individuals and – I presume – gods, which were pale from the tough Singaporean solar. As I learnt all through this journey, this can be a fairly widespread means of making the doorway to the temple. I didn’t go in as a result of at that time in the day I didn’t really feel like taking my footwear off and because the solar was in a suboptimal place for photographing, I made a decision I’d come again one other day since I’ll be staying close by later.

Only a block away is the Buddha Sacred Tooth Relic Temple. This can be a Buddhist temple and significantly some of the jaw dropping I’ve ever seen. The exterior structure is unimaginable, the purple Chinese language tiers cascading as much as the highest. Nevertheless, it was the within that was really breathtaking. As I stepped inside my eyes instantly met with three giant golden statues of, nicely I’m guessing at the least considered one of them was Buddha. I’ve been to different Buddhist temples on my travels and sometimes I can discover them somewhat a lot, too heavy on the gold, however this one was simply spectacular. It’s a disgrace that images shouldn’t be allowed although, not that that stopped some individuals.

Buddha Sacred Tooth Relic Temple SingaporeBuddha Sacred Tooth Relic Temple SingaporeBuddha Sacred Tooth Relic Temple Singapore

As an lively temple, there have been individuals (virtually solely feminine, I observed) praying so I did really feel like displaying them the respect by not taking pictures. A real out of character gesture on my half.

Throughout the street is the Maxwell Hawker centre, or meals courtroom. Being a Sunday, in all probability solely 30% of the stalls have been open however that didn’t cease me discovering some fantastic meals (and beer!).

At one of many first locations I noticed I picked up some Jei Ping hor enjoyable with four fried dumpling on the aspect. It was so flavorful, so filling (I couldn’t end it) and so low cost at simply $6 for the lot. I’ve by no means thought-about myself a foodie so when touring I might significantly reside on stuff like this.

About to go away, I felt obliged to see what else was round. I began to do a lap once I got here to a spot referred to as third Tradition Brewing Co. It feels like a brewery however it got here throughout as only a bar. Both method, the beers on have been phenomenal. I had an enormous IPA then a hoppy bitter and will have had them once more. That’s, I might have if Singapore beer costs weren’t as excessive as they’re in Australia. It was such a singular expertise. Sitting in this shed, surrounded by stalls with locals promoting genuinely native meals for cents on the greenback, loads of locals consuming, then me (and no shock one other Aussie) sitting on a stool by the faucets consuming nice beer.

Beers at 3rd Culture Brewing Company SingaporeBeers at 3rd Culture Brewing Company SingaporeBeers at third Tradition Brewing Co

I might have stayed for an additional 2, however I figured I used to be right here to truly see a number of the metropolis so I left it there, and stated goodbye to my new bar tender pals and referred to as a Seize taxi to take me to the Singapore Flyer.

Singapore flyer

My preliminary ideas on the Singapore flyer was “whoa, $33 is expensive”, who’s going to pay that for a big Ferris wheel? Properly, in response to the lengthy queue I stood in round sundown time, lots of people. 

My second thought was that this complicated is about far more than only a Ferris wheel. There’s a 7/Eleven, a gelato retailer, a meals centre, and a 6D cinema expertise. I’d go simply so I can discover out what the fifth and sixth dimensions are. I really feel like they need to have at the very least given science the courtesy of letting them know they’ve been found. 

I missed the sundown by about 20 minutes however the view was no much less spectacular. The wheel sits out by itself away from the highrise of downtown and is the very best of its type in Asia, so the view of the skyline and Marina Bay is simply spectacular. It took simply over 30 minutes to do a full rotation so in the top I truly thought it was fairly good worth. 

The Singapore Flyer is one other exercise that’s coated by the Explorer Move, which means that up to now, I used to be getting actually good worth. 

View from the Singapore FlyerView from the Singapore FlyerView from the Singapore Flyer

Day three — Journey Day

After a leisurely breakfast in the Crowne Plaza Membership Lounge I messaged round for an concept on what to do and Karl, my trusty Singapore skilled recommended heading down into the Changi Terminal three meals courtroom and getting a Ya Kun kaya toast set. This was absolute gibberish so far as I used to be involved. What’s a ya kun kaya and whereas I do know what toast is, what’s a toast set? I guessed it couldn’t be too onerous to determine so off I went.

For one thing much less candy he really helpful I get kopi see siew tie, which means “less sweet”. I did my greatest to not butcher the pronunciation (mission failed) and he stated “you want coffee C?” This sounded fairly shut so I stated sure.

So having lower than zero information of the native language (I assumed the native language was English, to be frank) I assumed I had fumbled my strategy to ordering some toast. What I acquired was a espresso. In line with my receipt, “coffee C”.

I feel the espresso was certainly the much less candy sort, and the toast set is toast and occasional. I imply, it appears actually, actually apparent in hindsight.

After a little bit of after the very fact analysis, there are various alternative ways Singaporean espresso is completed, and most of them are very candy as condensed or evaporated milk is a key ingredient. Sorta jogged my memory of Tim Hortons in Canada truly.

So I went and tried once more. After utilizing deduction expertise and a contact of on-line analysis I noticed a couple of issues:

Kopi = espresso (choices are espresso, espresso-o or espresso-c)

Kaya = a jam comprised of eggs, coconut milk, sugar, and pandan leaves

A kaya toast set = kaya toast, espresso, and a couple of gentle boiled eggs.

Kaya Toast set from Ya Kun in SingaporeKaya Toast set from Ya Kun in SingaporeKaya Toast set from Ya Kun in Singapore

A Kaya toast set is a reasonably candy meal, aside from the eggs, and I used to be stunned that the toast was chilly and butter not melted. I received the sensation that is by design although. I had no concept what I used to be in for earlier than getting there (clearly) and actually loved the meal slowly revealing itself to me. Who knew a easy meal in an airport terminal can be such an journey. 

I’m positive Karl’s sitting at residence now, studying this (hopefully!), and having a very good ol’ giggle and perhaps the odd facepalm thrown in. 

After my second breakfast I headed again to the Crowne Plaza — which is related to the terminal by the best way. I packed, triple checked the ground and cabinets and set out for the Membership Lounge to see Raymond, who had launched himself to #squadSQ on our first night time and invited me to take a look at with him to save lots of me from queuing at reception. He then invited me to have some meals, a drink and walked me all the best way to examine in counter four in the terminal with my bag. He advised me a bit about himself on the best way earlier than handing me over to a examine in professional who guided me via the method. The service thus far on this journey has been prime class the entire means.

The verify in was seamless after which I headed to the Silver Kris Lounge as I’d been upgraded to enterprise class! In comparison with the lounge in Sydney, this one was HUGE. Simply as good with a really comparable environment and it’s sectioned off in elements in an effort to nonetheless really feel like you might have some privateness quite than simply being in one other (albeit a lot nicer) ready corridor. The lounges have been cozy, the meals plentiful, and the beers have been self-pour from the faucet! Fortunately I solely had an hour and a half there in any other case this might have gotten ugly.

Use the hashtag #squadSQ to see the adventures from the remainder of the crew and regulate the weblog to see the place this journey took me.

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Singapore is a great place to stopover to break up a long trip. I had a full day and a night on either side. I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport for convenice, visited the Singapore Zoo, and explored Chinatown, found some good beer in a hawker centre and rode the Singapore Flyer. A great introduction to Singapore. #SingaporeZoo #VisitSingapore #PassionMadePossible #flySQ

Singapore is a great place to stopover to break up a long trip. I had a full day and a night on either side. I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport for convenice, visited the Singapore Zoo, and explored Chinatown, found some good beer in a hawker centre and rode the Singapore Flyer. A great introduction to Singapore. #SingaporeZoo #VisitSingapore #PassionMadePossible #flySQ