When friends invited Ke and I to their wedding in Bali, we immediately started planning another trip around it. There aren’t direct flights to Bali from San Francisco and we knew we’d most likely have to transfer through Singapore. Neither of us had ever been to Singapore before so we excitedly began planning a long layover!
The Flight Over
We knew immediately we should try to fly business class on Singapore Airlines! We are both avid credit card point hoarders and spent a good year racking up points with the hope of one day flying business class internationally. This trip was the perfect time to cash in the points.
We have both an Amex Platinum card and Chase Sapphire Reserved. We transferred points from both cards directly to Singapore Airlines to purchase the tickets. We couldn’t do multiple stops so we bought the round trip flight between SFO and Singapore and then purchased our Bali flight separately.
The business class experience was amazing! We were treated with champagne as we boarded, given noise cancelling headphones and since our flight included a stop over in Hong Kong, we had 3 full, delicious meals. The best part is that your seat turns into a bed! Can’t wait to fly business class again, it was a highlight of this trip alone.
Marina Bay Sands
Ke and I are polar opposites when traveling. I like to relax as much as possible and go through the sights with ease while he likes to cram in as many things as possible and rarely sleeps in. We have fun traveling together by balancing the right amount of time spent relaxing vs. hustling around. And as a hotel lover, I like to spend our time relaxing at nice hotels! We balance our time and money by staying at hostels as well for the fun and experience.
One of the most iconic hotels in Singapore, and in the world, is Marina Bay Sands. It’s most famous for its infinity pool overlooking Singapore’s skyline. We spent the first day in Singapore relaxing at this hotel to maximize our time there awhile recovering from jetlag.
After spending most of the day at the pool, we went to the Shops at Marina Bay Sands to check out the food court. Most food courts in malls in Asia tend to have amazing food and we weren’t disappointed.
Later that day we also went to Maxwell hawker centre. We tried to get Tian Tian Chicken Rice, probably one of the most famous stands in Singapore, but they had already closed by then. We grabbed chicken rice at another stand and it may not have been as good as Tian Tian but it was still delicious!
Gardens by the Bay
On Day 2, we checked out of Marina Bay Sands and walked over to the Gardens by the Bay. The Gardens by the Bay is a large park with multiple gardens, the Supertree Grove, and two large indoor conservatories, the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.
This is a must see if you are visiting Singapore. In all, we spent about 3-4 hours here. We went to both conservatories and the Supertree Grove. I wish we could have seen the other gardens but frankly the weather in Singapore can be miserable haha and I could only handle being outside for so long.
There is also a night show every night at the Supertree Grove. We saw the light the night before from our hotel room, but next time I’d definitely go to the gardens for a view from below.
The Cloud Forest is one of the two conservatories in the gardens. While the gardens are free to the public, you need tickets for the conservatories. The Cloud Forest recreates the tropical, mountainous climates where clouds play an important role in the ecosystem. It was a fun walking in the “Cloud Mountain” and on the elevated pathways. The best part is the huge waterfall right when you walk in!
The second conservatory is the Flower Dome. This place is so lovely! There are multiple sections featuring different regions of plants that normally wouldn’t be able to survive in Singapore’s climate. The dome is climate controlled and a nice break from Singapore’s humidity.
Lau Pa Sat Hawker Center
After exploring the gardens for a few hours we made our way to Lau Pa Sat Hawker Center for some delicious food!!! The most popular stand was the Thunder Tea Rice pictured below. I decided to get some chicken biryani rice from a stand nearby and it was probably the best Indian food I’d ever had. I highly recommend both!!
After lunch we walked over to Merlion Park. Despite how pleasant the pictures below look, the weather was miserable!!! Be prepared for intense heat and humidity when visiting Singapore. But visiting the iconic Merlion statue is a must! There is even an adorable miniature sized statue in the park.
That night, we went to Dempsey Hill for dinner. We went to Long Beach Seafood Restaurant to try their famed Black Pepper Crab. Afterwards, we had the pleasure of meeting up with a friend at Dempsey Cookhouse and Bar for drinks!
After checking out of Marina Bay Sands, we decided to stay in a quirky boutique hotel in Little India called Wunderlust. In the morning, we explored Little India and grabbed delicious vegetarian Indian food at Komala Vilas restaurant. Highly recommended!
I LOVE afternoon tea and with Singapore’s British history, it’s a great place to indulge in unique afternoon tea experiences. For this trip, I made a reservation at Anti.dote, a popular spot for afternoon tea at the Fairmont.
This was a fun and different experience. We were served a light appetizer before the tea and the sandwiches and pastries were presented in a cute jewelry chest. The top of the chest were the cakes and pastries. The first drawer contained all the sandwiches, the second contained the scones, while the last drawer contained the jams and butter.
For the price, $48++ per person, this was an amazing experience. I thought some of the desserts were a bit too sweet but the sandwiches were amazing. Overall, I highly recommend this place just for the experience alone.
After tea, we walked over to Chijmes. Chijmes is an old historic building complex that used to be a Catholic convent. It’s now used to house many commercial shops, restaurants, and event space. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I wish we had had the time to return in the evening for dinner.
After wandering around Chijmes, we went to Chinatown to eat even more food. We had to get the iconic Hawker Chan soya sauce chicken rice. We were so stuffed from breakfast and from afternoon tea that Ke and I just shared one plate but it is a must try when you are in Singapore.
National Orchid Garden
After our second lunch, we headed to Singapore’s National Orchid Garden. This garden is stunning and has some of the most beautiful and rare orchids in the world! I unfortunately didn’t take a lot of pictures just because I was way too hot to focus on my camera haha. I’d recommend visiting the garden as early or as late as possible to avoid peak Singapore humidity and heat.
Once the sun set, we made our way to Singapore Zoo for the Night Safari. I must admit, I was not excited at all to go to the night Safari. I head read about long queues and had zero expectations of being able to see any of the animals.
To my surprise however, the night safari was amazing! First off, the weather at night is very manageable and pleasant. There are long queues but you have plenty of time to see all of the park and to my surprise, it’s quite easy to see most of the animals! In fact, we saw all the animals except one. At some points, the animals just say directly under the spotlight in plain view of visitors! It felt like walking in the wilderness was a lot of fun!
I Love the Lion City
I had a great time in Singapore! We ate a ton of delicious food, relaxed in one of the best hotels in the world, had fun being tourists and seeing Singapore’s attractions. My only regret is my stomach was not big enough to try more of Singapore’s top dishes. Next time we come back, it’ll just be an eating trip!