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Uniquely Singapore - 4 cousins, 4 days in the Lion City

Singapore, Singapore
6 Kudos
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Haven't seen my cousins in 7 years, I was thrilled to hear of the plan meet up and travel to Singapore together. The first thing that came to mind was that I needed a credit card for international travel. After combing the internet, I stumbled across the Barclaycard Arrival+ World Elite MasterCard and it more than fit the bill. No Foreign transaction fees, Pin and Chip technology (an ever growing important technology when traveling outside the US), and a great mileage rewards program. This card has truly been wonderful and I seem to be discovering new perks of being a card member each day. MasterCard is widely accepted in Singapore and I had several opportunities to take advantage of earning miles, from Taxis, to the MRT, to coffee shops, it made it that much easier as I did not have to convert and carry around as much foreign currency as I typically would when traveling internationally. In addition, I also got some great deals from Asiatravel.com which included combo discount tickets for Universal Singapore, Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay and the Night Safari. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all these purchases were eligible for redemption using earned travel credit. So far I have nothing but good things to say about this card. I also have nothing but good things to say about Singapore. It is truly an amazing city. Immaculately clean, easy to get around, stunning sights, delicious and diverse food. Here is a summary of our trip:

Day 1

Checked into to Hotel. Room was not ready so we received complementary drinks at the bar and upgrade to deluxe room. Naturally I had to order a Singapore Sling. After dropping our stuff off we realized we were starving so we asked the concierge on some recommendations for early dinner. She was very helpful and gave us a detailed map. Our best closest option was the food court at Ion Orchard mall. A short walk from our hotel. The walk was just awe inspiring, from the building architecture to the holiday decorations to the bustling crowds. The food court was just as impressive in what seemed like endless shops. Word of advice, make sure someone in your party grabs a table first before buying and food because it can get pretty packed. We got Prawn and Stewed Pork Mee soup and a Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwich. Afterwards we grabbed a cab to the Night Safari. Very exciting. Upon entering there were performers on stilts in animal costumes dancing and juggling lighted pins. Inside there was a tram ride that gave a guided tour of animals in their habitats. You could also break away and go on the various walking trails on your own. After the tram ride we caught the fire dancing performance which was very impressive. We also picked up some gelato ice cream and checked out their pretty cool gift shop.

Day 2

We figured taxis would get expensive so we decided to take our shot riding the MRT. Purchased 3-day tourist passes which allowed unlimited rides for about $20 each with a $10 refundable deposit. Took the train to Chinatown. Walked though Chinatown, got some great souvenirs at great prices. Walked past Sri Mariamman Temple and Buddhas Tooth Relic temple. Grabbed lunch at the Maxwell Center at Anthony Bourdain's favorite chicken rice shop - Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. After lunch walked to Thian Hock Seng Temple then took the MRT to Bayfront Station to see Gardens by the bay. Upon exiting the MRT station we were greeted with the incredible Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Supertree grove. Our tickets included Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. Both were indoors and air conditioned so we could escape the harsh tropical heat. Flower Dome was specially decorated for the holiday season with snowman, reindeer and pine trees. Just as we were finishing the Flower dome it started pouring rain. We continued to the cloud forest which was just breathtaking, waterfalls, tunnels, bridges and walkways into the clouds, just amazing. The rain died out to a drizzle. We walked over the the Shoppes at the Marina Bay Sands, was meeting a friend for dinner later but were hungry again so we grabbed "light" snack at the food court, Nasi Lemak, Soup dumplings, Duck over rice. Walked across the Helix Bridge got our first view of the Merlion and the iconic durian shaped esplanade. Walked to the Singapore Flyer just as it was getting dark. Perfect timing to see the city skyline all lit up. The ride was incredible! Sweeping views in all directions. The barges, the Merlion, the Marina bay Sands, the Esplanade. Afterwards we walked over to Makansutra Gluttons Bay and met a friend for dinner. Grabbed a number of different dishes, Grilled Stingray, Stir-Fried Noodles, fried oysters in batter. After we walked over for an up close and personal view of the Merlion and enjoyed the light show. Then finally, we took the MRT back to Hotel and called it a night. What a productive day!

Day 3

Breakfast at Ion Orchard, Rice and Fish ball noodle soup, Indonesian Barbecue squid and chicken. Took the MRT to Harbor Front and Rode the Cable Car into Sentosa, which may not have been the cheapest, but was definitely the best way to get there. Cars were decorated with DC Comic Characters, a fun touch. The ride was amazing, again more spectacular views. Once on Sentosa we walked over to resorts world, about (5-10 minutes), redeemed our Universal Tickets and entered the park. Lots of fun. We hit Sesame Street Space Chase (kiddie but definitely a weird trip) and The Mummy. Grabbed lunch at Jurassic Park, Laksa and Korean chicken. Got on Transformers the ride (long wait but definitely worth it) and Madagascar (a little too kiddie) and finally Shrek 4D. Met our friend for dinner at Makansutra Gluttons Bay. Wanted to try the iconic Singapore chili crab and fish head curry. Also tried Satay, Jumbo chili prawns, quite the feast. Back to the hotel, as if we hadn't burned off enough from all that walking, we decided to hit the bikes, treadmills and weights at the hotel fitness center in a attempt to burn off our exorbitant dinner.

Day 4

Did some early morning swimming in the hotel pool. Showered, packed, checked out and dropped our bags off at the front desk utilizing their complementary baggage hold services. Breakfast in little India at Banana Leaf Apolo Restaurant, Chicken Tikka Marsala, Lamb Curry Tandoori Chicken and Chicken Biryani. Back to Orchard Road for some world class shopping. Then picked up our bags, taxi to the airport. End of trip.
Story Details

Transportation

Mount Faber Leisure Group Pte Ltd
Mount Faber Leisure Group Pte Ltd
The cable car is definitely the coolest way to get to Sentosa

Culture and experiences

Thian Hock Keng Temple
Thian Hock Keng Temple
Beautiful Temple. Free admission. Pay your respects, walk around and take some pictures.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
Nice temple. No cost to enter.
Sri Mariamman Temple
Sri Mariamman Temple
Interesting Architecture. You can take pictures outside. There is a small donation if you would like to go inside

Entertainment

Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore
Great for the whole family. Lots to do. Get there early to beat the crowds.

Hotels

Orchard Hotel Singapore
Orchard Hotel Singapore
Luxury hotel. Great location on Orchard Road. Walking distance to the MRT. Great Service and Amenities.

Points of interest

Merlion
Merlion
Symbol of Singapore. You can't go to Singapore without visiting the Merlion.
Singapore Flyer
Singapore Flyer
Definitely do this at night. Views are Spectacular!
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay
Beautiful. You can be here for hours taking pictures
Chinatown
Chinatown
Great place to buy souvenirs and take some pictures
Night Safari
Night Safari
Great fun for the whole family. Not your typical zoo. A must see.

Restaurants

The Banana Leaf Apolo
The Banana Leaf Apolo
Another recommendation from Anthony Bourdain. Well spiced Indian food, good service.
Makansutra Gluttons Bay Pte. Ltd.
Makansutra Gluttons Bay Pte. Ltd.
Another great food court. Nice seafood selections. Close by the waterfront
Rasapura Masters
Rasapura Masters
Great food court inside the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands Mall.
Maxwell Food Centre
Maxwell Food Centre
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. Recommended by the one and only Anthony Bourdain himself. Yes, it was as good as he said. Fragrant rice, meaty chicken, tasty sauce.
Food Opera ION Orchard
Food Opera ION Orchard
Great Selection of food right in the mall. If you are looking for classic Singapore food options this place pretty much has it all

On The Map

1 Comment

by ProfFrancesca

04-25-2015

Thanks so much for sharing these phenomenal photos!