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In 2018 we celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. On Christmas morning my clever husband sent me on a huge scavenger hunt around the house to finally unwrapped a package with numerous books about Singapore and tickets to leave the following morning!
I could not believe it. We were heading to Singapore on a kids free vacation! To give a bit of history, I had just spent a month devouring the Crazy Rich Asians series and since I started reading I placed Singapore on the TOP of the list of places to go. I am also completely sure when deciding on said trip my awesome husband never considered the fact that he has an insane love for Asian cuisine that is only rivaled by his love for beer and travel to EPIC cities. In marriage when things like this occur we refer to it as a major win-win!
After the post-Christmas morning mania with our girls calmed so basically 5 PM. I began packing for our Singapore adventure. What exactly does one who is 16 weeks pregnant and exhausted pack? You ask! Well, I filled my suitcase with almost every sundress I owned ranging from super casual to a bit dressy, a few pairs of jeans, some tops and some sweaters. I also packed a variety of shoes as I had no idea what all was on our agenda. (It is RARE moments like this my man appreciates my laid back ability to pack a suitcase the day of travel.)
We began our trip the next day by getting to Abu Dhabi Airport in advance to enjoy the lounge. If you are a frequent traveler and you don’t fly business and do not have access to your airlines lounge, I highly recommend getting a credit card with Lounge Key access or Pass Key. It has been a great tool for us at airports across the globe. It offers, free food and beverages as well as free wifi. We had some pre flight beverages and snacks and then headed to our Etihad flight. We flew directly to Singapore from Abu Dhabi and had a pretty easy flight.
When we landed we purchased MRT tickets at the airport. Singapore may I just give you MAD PRAISE for your public transportation! I cannot tell you how impressed I was at the efficiency, the cleanliness (bathrooms too), and affordability. You have mastered the art of helping people get around your city well. PROPS!
The MRT took us straight to The Intercontinental Singapore which is connected to Bougis Center. When we arrived we went to the Club Intercontinental to have refreshments while our room was set up. When our room was ready, the concierge came and met us to go over things to do in the city.
He also introduced us to the handy phone available to us during our stay. The handy is AWESOME! It allows you to call up to 20 countries FREE! It also offered many discounts on tickets to various attractions as well as interactive maps.
The device allowed me to feel so secure being in a new country and city which is always so helpful! NOT TO MENTION…it helped this mama feel at ease as she knew her babies were only a phone call away! After a quick call and freshen up we were ready to start exploring!
It is true, my husband loves yummy Asian food and beer, but he also thoroughly enjoys a good deal equally as much. Singapore Hawker Centers are basically his heaven on earth. Our first stop at the Hawker Center was the cheapest Michelin-Starred restaurant in the world, Liao Fan Hawker Chan. The line was not miserably long due to our arrival time and it was more than well worth the wait . We heard it could be up to an hour or two long so we were thrilled for a short less than 45 minute wait. I loved that the lady in charge also walked the line to tell exactly how many chickens were left in total when she got down to 4 chickens we were a bit nervous, but thankfully we made it with two chickens left. We were hungry at this point and eager to eat so we ordered 2 orders of the Chicken and Rice, one order of the Pork and Rice and one order of Bok Choy. It was phenomenal and made us super excited for our Hawker Center tour we had arranged for the following day.
Then it was off to explore! After a bit of exploring and placing my dreams on the dragon it was back to the hotel. Later that night we checked out TAP Craft Beer Bar which had a cool chic no nonsense vibe and lots of fun beers for my husband to try. We decided on Hakata Ikkousha Ramen Restaurant for dinner which was located next door. Ikkousha Ramen is known for its pork bone broth ramen and it was delicious and made me feel warm and fuzzy and completely satisfied.
The next day we spent the morning hours exploring Arab Street and Haji Lane. (Let’s be honest, when you travel kid free you sleep in-or at least we do!) We are big fans of walking cities so we usually try to walk if at all possible. Our first stop was Arab Street which was so cool. It felt a bit like a little street from the center of Abu Dhabi and had several cute shops. I purchased some super cute oriental rug pillow covers that I still am in love with today. Then it was off to explore the famous Haji Lane.
Haji Lane was ADORABLE and reminded me a lot of Magazine Street in New Orleans. I think my husband felt a bit nostalgic and like it was a little piece of home right in the middle of a new city. I was interested to learn that it is the only place in the city which allows graffiti. Commissioned of course. We walked in just about every shop and I was very excited to find several super cute dresses which were very affordable. I always like to purchase from local designers when we travel and was thrilled to find adorable dresses for my girls from a local designer, March and Molly’s. After shopping a bit it was time to wet our whistles at The Singapore Club where we chatted it up with tourist from Australia on a pit stop on their way to Bali.
At the Singapore Club, I had the Original. If you are from the Deep South in the USA, you know just how hard it is to find LEGIT SWEET TEA with just the right amount of lemon. When we are traveling I have basically given up on finding it, but that day-I did and it made me so very very happy. The husband has a thing for IPA’s so pretty sure he was thrilled to have a few cold ones after all my shopping. On our way home we made silly pictures at the MerLion Statue. Thankfully after 10 years we are both still up for making silly photos.
Later that day we set off with Gerry on our Hawker Center Tour, where he promised we would eat good food, drink good beer and learn a lot about Singapore. Gerry was fantastic and his tour did just as he said it would! (Yes, if you are curious my first question was “So, being from here–what were your thoughts on Crazy Rich Asians? I tried to resist, but I could not. I was interested to find out that he felt like it was a fun story and had done a great deal to bring positive attention to tourism in Singapore.) Our first stop was a Hawker Center where we had a ton of amazing food, and got to try some rare Chinese Beers that are only sold in few locations outside of China. Gerry dropped a lot of knowledge on us during our tour. One interesting fact he shared is that Hawker Center Food Booths are passed down from generation to generation and that they rarely change locations or ownership.
Next on our stop we tried Durian. A fruit held in very high regard. In my humble opinion, it smells bad and it tastes worse. In life you really do have to try somethings once. I tried it. I found it awful. It actually smells so bad you are not to eat it on the train. Next, we went to China Town where we stopped at Lim Chee Guan where we tried the Signature Sliced Pork. It is a pork that is a jerky and is often gifted at Chinese New Year. It was AMAZING! Just the right bit of salty and sweet. I could have it for a snack daily and be a happy girl. We ended the Hawker Center near China Town where we ate and drank more deliciousness. This time trying a variety of different foods that were just as yummy and where we learned even more about this super cool little city.
When in Singapore, go on a Hawker Center Food Tasting! You will be so glad you did! Hopefully your tour guide will be as awesome as Gerry. He was a wealth of information and really made sure we learned a ton and had a blast on our tour.
The next day we enjoyed that kid free sleep again as well as a leisurely breakfast at the Club Intercontinental. I always appreciate that the Intercontinental is so diligent in making the customer feel at home while also offering a bit of local flair. My husband really enjoyed the local breakfast while I stuck to my basic vacation breakfast of fruit, yogurt, poached eggs, bacon and coffee. When it comes to breakfast I am some what a creature of habit. I appreciate that all the Intercontinental Club lounges around the world offer those staples wherever we travel.
After breakfast we put on our trainers and geared up for an adventure packed day! The Cloud Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and more was all on the agenda!
Thankfully my husband is a master at schedules and figuring our cities! We followed his plan to the “t” and got to experience it all. The Cloud Dome, an indoor Greenhouse was phenomenal and really blew my mind. The way they had so many different environments in one place is so cool. I found the waterfall breathtaking and the whole place was really cool.
The AC was nice too as Singapore weather tends to be warm and humid. I made sure to grab a photo on the snail too, let’s be honest, The Never Ending Story, is still a movie I can quote so it only seemed right.
We then took a quick walk over to Ce’ La Vie for a drink on the rooftop. It has incredible views of the city. The cue was long, but it wasn’t too bad overall and if you arrive before 5:30 pm they are more ok with the tourist clothing. We did not go at night, but I could see them getting more strict as the night goes on.
You pay a $20 cover charge to get up, but you can put that towards your food or beverage tab at the end so it really does pay for itself. We had a little beverage and took some cool photos and talked about how if you had asked us 10 years ago we never would have dreamed our adventure would have brought us here. We took the MRT to Chinatown after for some light shopping for our girls and for a yummy afternoon snack of dumplings and a few beverages.
In the evening we headed to the light show at the Gardens by the Bay. It was done to Christmas music and fascinating. We opted for the later show. I do recommend getting to the show you choose early as it is crowded and cues are long. After the show we walked and ate at Marina Bay Sands. We actually opted for an American restaurant, Yardbird, that night which was a nice little taste of home. We rarely get really good fried green tomatoes or fried chicken so we were all too happy to run across this restaurant when we were tired from a long day.
The next morning we walked backed to Haji Street again where I did more shopping and we had beverages at the Singapore Club and chatted with some other tourist which was fun. We then hit up Ramen Keisuke for our last meal, which was amazing. I liked the bean sprouts and boiled eggs that were offered as an appetizer too. We both found a ramen dish that we liked and were not the least bit disappointed. The cue was about 20 minutes, but overall it was pretty quick and definitely well worth it for our last meal.
The Changi Airport was seamless and easy and after we checked in and hit up duty free we went to the lounge to relax before the flight home to our precious girls. Singapore overall was incredible and other than the durian I am not sure I tasted anything I did not enjoy except durian. However, I do promise if I am invited to your home to celebrate Chinese New Year I will bring the famous and highly regarded fruit for you to enjoy and I will not even try to share it with you.
I am eager to bring my girls now that the new addition has arrived! The city has a great deal for children and families. Our recent South East Asia trip got postponed, but stay tuned as we are definitely making it happen! So stay tuned for more from TeamRyanAdventrues as I am sure this will not be our last visit to Singapore!