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Old 14 Jun 20, 01:23 PM  
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Wordsworth
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(Complete!) Singapore Fling: October 2019 food & trip report

I have decided that to deal with the disappointment of not being in the USA to visit several national parks as planned, I will write a report for our flying visit to Singapore last year!

The travellers are me (41) and DH (46). We don’t have children, We love travelling and eating good food, and I’ll admit I indulged my love of a bit of luxury on this trip!

Singapore was somewhere I’d wanted to go for a while and had always imagined we’d do it as a stopover on a longer trip, but when we were able to get return BA flights in Club World with our Avios and American Express 241 Voucher, we decided why not just go for it! Life is short.

We flew EDI - LHR - SIN on Sunday 5th October, arriving late in the afternoon of Monday 6th October. We left late on Friday 11th October and were back in Edinburgh by 12pm on Saturday 12th October.

I will keep all of the posts in this thread as it’s only a few days. Index for ease of reading is here.

Edited at 08:31 PM.
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Old 14 Jun 20, 02:47 PM  
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Day 0/1: Travel Day(s)

Warning: today’s shots are mostly poor and dark iPad shots of airplane food, until the end anyway.

As we’ve holidayed a lot in the USA in the past, I’m used to having to get up at ridiculous o’clock to catch the first flight to London. Our flight to Singapore, however, didn’t leave Heathrow until almost 8pm, meaning our Edinburgh flight wasn’t until late afternoon.

We therefore had a leisurely morning at home, eating breakfast, gathering the last few bits, and straightening my hair so it would look decent for one last time. I knew I’d be surrendering to the frizz immediately on arrival in humidity!

Our trip was so short we had decided we could fly out hand luggage only, so we could go straight from our airport taxi to security. It was fairly busy, but we got through without any secondary screening and were soon in the BA lounge, where we grabbed a late lunch. Oh and the first gin and tonic of the holiday!



We boarded the flight to London in time and thankfully had no problem stowing our hand luggage given we were in the Club Europe cabin. We hadn’t paid to prebook seats for this leg and we ended up separated in two window seats (one behind the other), but i don’t care on such a short flight.



We were served afternoon tea but looking at the photo I have no recollection of what it tasted like! Although now I think about it, I both DH and I commented afterwards that we liked the little cake in the bowl.



I do know I had another gin and tonic though, because I asked if they had the special Pickerings gin to celebrate BA 100 (I knew it was in the buy on board offering), but they only had a Gordon’s. Disappointing but I was able to soldier through it.



We landed on time at T5 and were soon through the straightforward flight connection lane. I don’t do much duty free shopping these days so we went to the South Club lounge, where because it had been at least 20 minutes since I last ate, I had some more food.



I’m sure I had another gin and tonic too but alas, no picture!

Now onto the SIN flight. I had prebooked seats for the longer flight, because we were flying on an A380 again and I wanted to ensure we were on the upper deck. Have you see the size of the club world bathroom up there? (I did in fact take a video of me walking around in there to show my mum the space, but I’m not going to share that here!)

For my welcome drink I ordered one of the special cocktails on offer - It included gin and cranberry but tasted incredibly weak and I wasn’t that impressed (and I was honest about it with the cabin crew when they asked - from their reaction I don’t think I was the first to say so).



The first part of the flight was quite bumpy - the above and the meal photos below were “live” iPhone pics and i can see the liquid moving around in the glass!

After the disappointment of the cocktail, I was much happier with the meal service - the soup to start and the prawn main were both delicious. In fact the prawns might be one of the best dishes I’ve ever had on a plane. DH had them too and agreed.





After white wine with my first two courses, I ordered a baileys to have after my cheese course. Something go lost in translation, because as well as the baileys I was also presented with a glass of port! Not one to make a fuss, I drank both, obviously.



As this was an overnight flight, I tried to sleep a bit, but I found it was still too choppy for me to be able to relax into it - I’m a bit of a nervous flyer. I was also mindful that due to the time difference, it would be late afternoon on Monday when we arrived and I didn’t want to then lie awake all night there. After a while I gave up and read my book.

I know I had a Diet Coke, crisps and chocolate from the Club kitchen during the flight, and looking at the pics we must have been served breakfast before landing, but I don’t remember much about it.



It was an uneventful flight, the bumps having eventually smoothed out; we actually landed early and were able to clear immigration fairly quickly. As we didn’t have to wait to collect bags, we went straight to the taxi queue.

This was the point at which I was reminded that things can be culturally quite different in other parts of the world - our taxi driver spent the whole drive talking only to DH and ignoring anything I said, going so far as to specifically address his questions to “Sir” and sir alone. It was weird but equally meant I was saved having to make idle awkward chit chat, so I’m choosing to look on that bright side.

We were starting our stay at the Intercontinental Singapore and we almost immediately loved the hotel.



As I had booked a club room to take advantage of a free night promo, we were taken from the general reception to the club lounge for check in, where it just so happened to be the start of the nightly cocktail hour! With such fortuitous timing, it would have been rude not to join in...



My first, but definitely not last, Singapore sling!

Cocktail hour lasted two hours every night and you could get wine, beer, spirits and cocktails alongside hot canapés and cold buffet items. As we had no other plans for our first night, we settled back and relaxed with more drinks and snacks. (I’ve hidden the octopus canapés at the back of the plate for those of a sensitive disposition .)



We did eventually start to flag and decided to head to our room, which was again lovely. The rest of the evening was spent watching Andy Murray playing in a tennis tournament on tv before we admitted defeat at 10pm and headed to bed (at least Andy won).

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Old 14 Jun 20, 05:49 PM  
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Day 2, Part I: Gardens By The Bay

First up on day 2: breakfast. We ate in the lounge, where you could order a hot dish from a menu - either a “local” flavour or a “classic” breakfast - and help yourself from a cold breakfast buffet.

We both went local today - mine was a chicken rice parcel and my husband had the vermicelli soup. His had a bit more flavour to it than mine but they were a good start to the day. I also had toast from the buffet but on the basis you know what that looks like, there’s no pic.





After our food we made our way to the MRT station (Bugis) a few minutes walk from the hotel and joined a short queue to buy a three day Singapore Tourist Pass for unlimited travel. We probably only just got our money’s worth from this if I’m honest, but for ease of getting around it was definitely the right choice to buy it.

The MRT was really easy to use - if you’ve used an underground system anywhere you’d be fine - and we were soon at Bayfront station.

From there we followed the signs to Gardens By The Bay, and bought our tickets for Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome at the window. You could get a shuttle from the ticket area to the domes, but we decided to walk to get our bearings and enjoy being somewhere it was warm!

We’d certainly get used to seeing this...









We had a lovely walk but by the time we arrived at the domes, we were definitely in need of some air conditioning.

We decided to visit Cloud Forest first, and I’m not sure exactly what I expected (having done fairly limited research for once, I just knew we would come here!) but I really enjoyed exploring the conservatory - the initial waterfall view gave a real sense of scale, there were lots of beautiful flowers in bloom on the lower levels, and then the walk along the clouds/treetops gave a different perspective.











We spent ages exploring Cloud Forest, only coming out when we started to get a bit peckish. We decided it was time for our first hawker centre experience, figuring that one near a tourist attraction would be less overwhelming and a good way to get into the swing of things. So round we walked to Satay by the Bay.

We had a look around all of the stalls (less are open during the day than at night) and ended up ordering chicken rice and chicken satay to share.



The chicken rice was good, although we’d have better later in the trip; I liked the hit of the chilli sauce on the side.

The satay sauce was also nice but thinner than I expected!



Lunch done and bellies full, we walked back round to the second of the conservatories - Flower Dome. I didn’t find this one as spectacular as Cloud Forest but there was still lots of plants to admire and things to spot!













When we came out of Flower Dome, we noticed a few potential rain clouds overhead so decided it would be a good idea to head back towards the MRT, walking through Supertree Grove on the way.



We also passed by some sculptures:





The MRT station is basically beneath Marina Bay Sands, and there is also a shopping centre (the inspiringly named “Shoppes at MBS”). One thing I had researched was the locations of both Sephora and Bath and Body Works in Singapore, so we took a quick wander round the shops and found both, but didn’t buy anything as I knew if I waited, a discount opportunity would arrive!

We headed back to the hotel to freshen up before our dinner reservation, to follow in part II.
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Old 14 Jun 20, 06:39 PM  
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What a lovely distraction, I haven’t read a trip report for ages. Singapore was on my to do list, I still regret not visiting here and Hong Kong when we went to Thailand. Really enjoying all the photos so far-I’m looking forward to reading more about your trip😊
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Old 14 Jun 20, 07:19 PM  
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Fab, can't wait for more x
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Old 14 Jun 20, 09:25 PM  
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Originally Posted by OB1LukeLucas View Post
What a lovely distraction, I haven’t read a trip report for ages. Singapore was on my to do list, I still regret not visiting here and Hong Kong when we went to Thailand. Really enjoying all the photos so far-I’m looking forward to reading more about your trip😊
I figured desperate times call for desperate measures!

Originally Posted by Kellea View Post
Fab, can't wait for more x
Thanks for reading!
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Old 14 Jun 20, 10:03 PM  
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Day 2, Part II: Chilli crab and Merlion Park

I knew that one of the things I wanted to try while in Singapore was chilli crab, so I had done some research into the best places and ended up booking a table at one of the branches of Jumbo Seafood in the city. I’d booked an early dinner because I’d heard it would get busier, with potentially longer waits, later in the evening.

I was a bit sad to be sacrificing happy hour in the lounge but the thought of delicious food made up for it!

We decided to walk down to the restaurant, which was the Riverwalk branch. When we got there there were already at least 5 other groups waiting; we checked in at the podium while they also had a walk up line. More people were arriving all the time!

It was clearly a well oiled machine though, as they started calling people forward the minute opening time hit, and it wasn’t long before the place was full.

We ordered the classic chilli crab - and I think we picked mud crab (they have several options of crab) but I genuinely can’t remember now! The crab is priced by weight and having never ordered crab like that before, we weren’t entirely sure what to do, but the wait staff were clearly used to this and sorted us out, as well as suggesting how many steamed buns to get to mop up the sauce (in the end I did wish we’d ordered more buns though). We also stuck to soft drinks at this point.

We put on our fetching disposable bibs and waited, our panic over whether we’d be able to extract the crab meat from the shell growing with each passing minute. I of course watched everyone around us, to figure out what to do!



When the crab came, I was quite intimidated as it was a fair size, but we gave eating it a good go! The crab meat was fresh, and the sauce was delicious, so I enjoyed the meal, but honestly the whole exercise was a messy faff. My husband hated having to use his hands (to be fair, I’d expected that but booked anyway ) and I really needed a lot more napkins than they’d given me. (I had taken some hand wipes in my bag, so I was prepared!) I finally gave up when the effort of obtaining the last bits of crabmeat outweighed the pleasure I was getting from eating it.

I’m glad we had the experience, and I enjoyed the meal, but I don’t know that I’d feel the need to choose chilli crab again; I know it’s lazy, but I like my food being fully prepared for me.

We decided to walk off our meal with a stroll along the river; we passed lots of waterside bars and restaurants, with staff outside trying to entice you in. We couldn’t bear the thought of sitting down with our full stomaches though, so contented ourselves with taking pictures as the sun set.

















Then, as it got darker, we walked around to Merlion Park, to take more pictures and catch the light show from Marina Bay Sands.







When the show finished, we debated getting a drink somewhere, but we were tiring fast so instead, we walked back to our hotel.



On the way we passed both Raffles and a crowd of yellow-shirted people waiting at the Marriott; apparently that was where the Brazilian national football team were staying. We didn't spot any footballers - not that I could have identified them anyway.

An early night was on the cards, but before hitting the hay we had a look through our guidebook and decided to visit the Botanic Gardens the following day. More flower photos, yay!
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Old 15 Jun 20, 08:47 AM  
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The city looks beautiful at night, pleased you enjoyed the crab.
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Old 15 Jun 20, 07:57 PM  
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Originally Posted by OB1LukeLucas View Post
The city looks beautiful at night, pleased you enjoyed the crab.
I’m a sucker for a nighttime cityscape!
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Old 15 Jun 20, 08:23 PM  
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Day 3, Part I: Botanic Gardens & Chinatown

We had breakfast in the lounge again this morning and both went for a classic option this time. I had french toast and DH waffles.





Then it was down to the MRT station to head for the Botanic Gardens.

We were greeted by one of the residents! Lots of these guys were wandering around, scratching in the dirt.



The MRT station is a bit of a walk to the “main” attractions within the Botanic Gardens, but we are used to doing a lot of walking so that wasn’t an issue for us.



I was looking forward to seeing the Orchid Garden (which has an entrance fee) and we spent a fair chunk of time walking around; it was uncomfortably humid at points but there was an air conditioned building with “special” orchids (named after dignitaries including the Queen) that gave us some respite.









And there weren’t just flowers in the Orchid Garden!



We really enjoyed seeing the garden and it wasn’t expensive at all.

We then spent some time walking around the rest of the Botanics, including the “Walk of Giants” elevated path through the trees (which was less impressive than we expected, in all honesty).





You’ll see from the last picture that the rain clouds were gathering, so we decided it was a good time to leave the gardens and head back to the MRT.

We were feeling peckish so decided to go to Chinatown and grab some of the dishes we wanted to try at Maxwell Food Centre.





Our first stop was Zhen Zhen Porridge for chicken congee. I was expecting a much thicker, chunkier texture (more porridge like!) but this was smooth and tasty.



Then we went to Tian Tian Chicken Rice, which apparently featured on a Gordon Ramsay programme. There was a bit of a wait for this but it was well worth it!



And then we finished off with “white carrot cake”, which isn’t a sweet dish and doesn’t feature carrots. It’s actually radish-based.



Unsurprisingly we were quite full after all that, but on our way back to the MRT we picked up some egg tarts (4 in total - 2 regular and 2 with coconut) to take back to the hotel for a snack.



Two of the tarts soon disappeared and then DH took a nap while I smartened myself up for the evening.
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