Weekend Trip from Hong Kong Part III: Singapore

We loved our time in Melaka (read about it here), but after breakfast it was time to continue our journey, and so we carried on our way south to Singapore. Daren did a lot of driving for us (neither of us were interested in driving on the other side of the road on a major highway in his car). It took forever to cross the border, but we finally made it by midafternoon. If you’re interested in improving you geography knowledge, take an look at the map here to check out where Singapore is – it’s tiny!

Maybe you stopped by the blog for an easy read today? No such luck! Here are some interesting facts about Singapore you can use to impress your friends.

  1. Singapore is 142km north of the equator.
  2. Singapore is a one of three modern city-states in the world (the other two are Monaco and Vatican City)
  3. With a density of 5.2 million people in 700 sq. km, Singapore is the 2nd most densely populated country in the world (the first is Monaco).
  4. Singapore merged with Malaysia in 1963 but separated in 1965.
  5. Singapore is one of the world’s major commercial hubs and the second busiest container port in the world (number 1 is Shanghai).
  6. Singapore has conscription for all healthy males at age 18.

By the time we arrived at our hotel (Hilton – we found at a great rate on Priceline we headed out to explore Orchard Road, a huge popular retail street. But first, cash! Braden grabbed some Singapore dollars (we call them Singies) from the bank (rough exchange is basically 1 SGD to 1 CAD, which made it easy on my brain) and we were ready to find lunch. As we are starting to learn in Hong Kong, head to a mall or building tower to find restaurants. We went to the nearest mall we could find, saw it had restaurants and decided to just go to one of those. We chose I Want My Noodle based basically on our fondness for the name, but it turned out to be an excellent choice. They make fresh egg noodles every day and they were delicious.

My tasty meal at I Want My Noodle!
My tasty meal at I Want My Noodle!

Feeling fuelled and happy, we quickly went back to the hotel to change and then started off on a walk to explore the city. Daren was on a project assignment in Singapore for a number of weeks a while back and suggested that we walk along a river path to see the sights and make our way to the waterfront to see the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Though I had been to Singapore previously for work last year, like most work trips, I saw a limited amount of the city – basically just the mall and the hotel. The walk was great because we got to enjoy the sights at a slower pace. There were a lot of residential towers along our route, and everything felt very clean and organized. Very high-end. In fact, if you’d dropped me there with no history of where I was, I wouldn’t have guessed Asia. It felt almost European where we were and also a bit like Vancouver. When we were walking along the river it could have been Vancouver along False Creek. It was a great walk!

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We missed the river cruise here…next time!
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Loved this riverside walk lined with shops – we could have been in Europe!
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Are these two brothers, or what!?!

We walked to the waterfront to see the famous Merlion statue and a huge crowd had gathered. We had no idea why, but when there’s a crowd gathered, it’s always a good idea to linger to see what’s going on. As events progressed we realized that there was floating artillery moving toward us. We waited a bit longer, the artillery stopped right in front of us, and then a group of choppers flew past with the Singapore flag suspended. Then a military airshow started, all flying up from being the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It was incredible. We learned that it was a practice run for Singapore’s 50th Anniversary, which will take place next month. We totally lucked out seeing it!

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The well-known Merlion statue with the Marina Bay Sands in the background.
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More Merlion.
The first choppers rolling by with the Singapore flag. I love the building in the background looks like a durian fruit.
The first choppers rolling by with the Singapore flag. I love the building in the background looks like a spiky durian fruit.
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Planes in formation.
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More planes in formation.
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More formations.
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The whole thing was like an airshow. We loved it!

After the show we heard there were going to be fireworks, so we went for a bite to eat. We found a super busy plaza filled with tables and chairs, lined by a row of food stalls. We all gathered a few dishes (satays, pad thai, grilled veggies, noodles) and met back to eat. It was a tasty meal and we finished just in time to catch the fireworks show. They didn’t last very long, but they it was cool to see the choreography between the barge on the water and all the surrounding building. My guess is they’ll last longer for the real celebration in August.

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The bustling food stalls in the background.
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It took a long time to score a table – the place was packed.
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Part of our dinner: Braden’s trusty satays.
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Not a great pic, but you can see a couple of the buildings that had fireworks on them in the background.

Next stop: The Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It is an incredibly iconic casino / resort hotel and absolutely defines the Singapore skyline. It also houses a mall, restaurants, theatres, among many other things. However, perhaps the most impressive feature is rooftop infinity pool (capacity: 3900 people!!) The building structure is absolutely incredible and amazing to see in person. We went up to the rooftop bar to get a view of the city. We took our time up there an enjoyed a drink, then headed back to call it a night.

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Another unimpressive photo, unfortunately. The skyline is impressive in person.

The next morning we were nervous about how long it would take us to cross the border. If the line to get in to Singapore was any indication, we’d have a wait heading north; and we had a flight to catch. We hit the road early and did end up waiting for quite a while. It all worked out though, as we made good progress. The airport is outside the city, so if Daren were to take us back to our place we basically would have had to turn right around and head out. Instead, we decided to stop in Seremban for a bite to eat. We had read online  Siew Pow Master was the place to go for famous siew pow (also known as siu bao, or pork buns) from this baked-fresh-daily destination. We also got some egg tarts, then walked across to the street to get a cold drink and sit down to eat.

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The open air bakery.
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Braden and Daren figuring out what to buy. Most things cost 1-3 ringgit (less than $1 CAD).
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Our spot under the fans to enjoy our snack. Everything was delicious!

Daren took us back to the airport, which is outside the city and on his way home. It was a great little weekend trip and we loved catching up with Daren! We both really liked Singapore and hope to make it back there, maybe for a weekend trip, to explore Singapore a bit more. Big dream: swim in the pool at the top of the Marina Bay Sands!


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