A few months ago, I had the pleasure of traveling to Singapore for work. The trip started off with a nonstop 16.5 hour flight from San Francisco to Singapore after a full day of work. You read that correctly. 16.5 hours in an economy seat on a U.S. airline is as terrible as it sounds. About the only good thing about it was the airplane itself. The Boeing 787s are awesome. For you nerds, it’s pressurized to the equivalent of 6,000 feet of elevation, or 11.8 psia. The typical airliner is pressurized to 10.9 psia. The extra pressure does wonders for minimizing altitude sickness and jetlag. The higher humidity and bigger windows also just add another level of goodness compared to traditional airplanes. Despite this, I arrived at 6 am Singapore time, 16 time zones ahead of Cali, without a wink of sleep for about 36 hours. And since it was Sunday there, I naturally dropped my stuff at the room, and headed out to explore with my coworker, foregoing a much-needed nap.
Located just north of the equator, Singapore averages 80F with a humidity of around 75% everyday of the year, making thunderstorms a common occurrence. Even still, we headed out on foot and walked a bit of the city surrounding the Marriott in Tang Plaza. The country is essentially one very modern, and thanks to very strict laws, very clean city. Even the architecture of normal condo buildings and malls is stunning.
For all those shopaholics out there, ION Orchard shopping mall is home to hundreds of stores including the highest of designer brands. It spans several city blocks with 8 levels of shops, 4 of which are underground. It’s pretty amazing, even to a guy who is happy in a t-shirt, jeans, and sneaks.
A few years ago, Singapore opened the Marina Bay Sands. This resort/casino is one of the most amazing architectural feats I have ever seen. It features three 55-story hotel towers spanned by the massive SkyPark which includes an infinity pool and club/restaurant. The view from the top is spectacular. The rest of complex houses more shops, casinos, and restaurants. This a must-see place for any visitor.
Just a short walk from Marina Bay, the Gardens by the Bay attract visitors and locals alike to take a walk through the beautiful tree and flower gardens. The Supertree Grove is awesome lit up at night. The two Flower and Cloud Dome conservatories are huge climate-controlled glasshouses that provide thousands of exotic species of plant. Once again, the design and engineering of these domes is as much an attraction as the exhibits within them.
Sentosa Island, located just south of the main island, is home to great beaches, golf courses, hotels/resorts, and Universal Studios Singapore theme park. We battled the heat and spent a day exploring the island. If you are a beach bum or amusement park enthusiast, this is your spot.
A day of walking the beautiful Botanic Gardens and Night Safari capped off the trip with a bang. The Gardens are filled with thousands of tropical flowers and plants that surprisingly kept my interest for several hours. The orchid garden was by far my favorite. The night safari is worth the wait just to see these nocturnal animals in their natural element. Most animals are kept from you with seemingly undersized natural barriers, which just adds to the unique feel of it all. It may make a long day, but definitely worth checking out.
All said and done, Singapore is a sweet place to visit if you’re looking for a mix of modern culture mixed with the beauty of southeast Asia.
Until next time.