Day 13 – Last day in Singapore & End of Trip

Check out was at 1pm, normally 11am but we were able to score late check out since we got our room late! We basically spent our whole morning in the hotel room, taking our time and slowly packing. We weren’t flying out until 11pm so we had plenty of time to kill.

We checked out exactly at 1pm and stored our luggage at Marina Bay Sands’ luggage storage. The best part about MBS’s storage was that you can use your luggage ticket to take one last shower in their gym facility before we pick up your luggage and fly to the airport. Pretty much a game changer so you don’t have to worry about sweating in the Singapore heat as we explore.

Surprisingly, the first thing we did was walk around the mall instead of food since we had plans for afternoon tea at 3pm. I wanted to buy last minute souvenirs or shop a little but the mall was just full of luxury brands, ones that weren’t meant for the average consumer. It was perfect that we had to walk through the mall to get to the ArtScience Museum. Basically killing two birds with one stone since it aligns with our schedule.

The ArtScience Museum is definitely on my list of favorite museums. I didn’t get any pictures of the museum itself but it was beautifully shaped like a flower. There were two exhibits we wanted to check out – Future World: Where Art Meets Science and Marvel Studios’ Ten Years of Heroes.

We started with the Marvel Studios exhibit. I am a huge marvel fan so much most the information wasn’t new to me. It was more of a exhibit to celebrate all the movies in the past 10 years leading up to Infinity Wars which we already seen. I would only recommend it, if you’re a big marvel fan!

I would say the main attraction would be Future World. The exhibit itself explains a lot, art created with technology.

We sped through the exhibit pretty quickly since we had an afternoon tea reservation at Pollen. Future World is perfect for kids since there were so many areas with interactive art created just for them. If I had kids this is the perfect spot to bring them in Singapore. Next stop was Garden by the Bay for afternoon tea and because we haven’t had the chance to visit the Flower Dome or Cloud Forest yet.

We walked to the mall from the museum to get to back to MBS where we took a shuttle to Flower Dome. The restaurant we were having afternoon tea was inside the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay. I was surprised that we were able to get last minute reservations since we weren’t able to the day before. Pollen was right by the Mediterranean Gardens in the Flower Dome. It was the perfect setting for tea and it basically felt like we were somewhere in the country side.

Our amazing spread at the Pollen

Our afternoon tea spread was beautiful. Absolutely made for pictures. They taste even better than they look! I highly recommend afternoon tea at Pollen, if you get the chance to visit Gardens by the Bay. If you eat at Pollen, you get free admission to the Flower Dome so it’s definitely worth it!!

After our lovely tea session, we took a stroll around the Flower Dome. It’s insane how many different species of plants they have from all of the world. It’s one of the biggest green houses in the world and you don’t really notice it when you’re inside the Flower Dome because of all the beautiful plants

After Flower Dome, we went to Cloud Forest. Cloud Forest is more of an educational dome, letting visitors learn about forests located high in the mountains. You wouldn’t believe that this is a man-made mountain when you see it in person.

Cloud Forest was more of a short hike compared to Flower Dome. You just follow the path that brings you up and eventually loops back down to the exit.

We only had a couple of hours left in Singapore before we catch our flight back to Kuala Lumpur to head back home to New York. Since Jacqueline didn’t get the chance to see the Merlion, we decided to take a short Grab ride to Merlion Park for one last activity.

I personally think it looks nicer at night when everything is lit up, but you just can’t capture the overall beauty of the Merlion and MBS at night.

Before we head to the airport, we took a nice refreshing shower at the Marina Bay Sands gym. Nothing feels better than a cold shower after a long day of activities in the Singapore heat.

The flight back to New York was rough, mainly due to our long layover in Malaysia. It was one of those airports where you wouldn’t be able to get through security until the gate for your flight is open. We spent 8 hours+ on uncomfortable airport chairs – which makes my lists of things I would never want to experience ever again.

I can’t believe it took 44 days to wrap up the last post of my Malaysia & Singapore post. Better late than never I guess! (It has been a busy month with a lot of big changes). I definitely need to visit Singapore again someday. 3 days was just not enough to get the most out of it.

P.S. I’ll be heading to Rhode Island for 3 days, so the blog will continue! I promise I’ll try to share my adventures with y’all ASAP!

Day 12 – The Amazing Marina Bay Sands

When in Singapore, you just have to splurge a little. How often would I be in Singapore especially since it’s a 20 hour flight? We checked out of Hotel Fort Canning and headed towards our final hotel of the trip – the famous Marina Bay Sands.

Marina Bay Sands is Singapore’s most iconic hotel with the world’s largest rooftop Infinity Pool. One of the reasons why we decided to stay here was because of the Infinity Pool since it was only for hotel guests.

Check in was at 3pm but we were still able to check in without getting our room until 3. When we arrived the line was quite long, but it didn’t matter too much since the staff was giving out drinks (water & mango juice) and icecream as you’re waiting in line. They sure know how to keep you happy while you wait!

We had 3 hours before we get our room and our luggage was stored away so we decided to explore the hotel a little bit before we went to get food. Marina Bay Sands is massive, I honestly think you can spend a solid 3 days walking around (including Gardens by the Bay and the surrounding area of the hotel) and finding new things to do.

Here are some pictures I took when we walked around:

Even though we didn’t have a room yet, we were given guest card keys that allowed us to access the elevators and check out the Infinity Pool at the roof, so that’s exactly what we did. Idea for an upcoming blog post after the end of this trip series: Tips/advice on maximizing your time and getting the most out of Marina Bay Sands.

The Infinity Pool is absolutely amazing. I was pretty excited to come up here ASAP once we get our room. Pics will be included below when I get to the part where we went to the pool, but here’s a teaser:

After checking out dinner options in the hotel, we decided to grab food outside and so that we can explore Singapore a little bit more before we spend our entire day I Marina Bay Sands. It just didn’t make sense to not stay in MBS the whole day after getting our room – there was so much we had to take advantage of!

We took a Grab to Chinatown to eat at the famous Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle known for the cheapest Michelin Star. We got the iconic chicken rice dish, char siew noodles, a herbal tea drink and a fresh coconut for around $15 Singaporean dollars – a steal.

I wanted to find the outdoor street stand but didn’t see it so we opted to eat at the indoor restaurant. The quality of the food is exceptional for the price. I personally think the char siew noodles is the real winner. Maybe the chicken rice taste better from the actual street stand.

After late breakfast/early lunch, we decided to check out an area called Yong Siak St, because I wanted to look at books at a bookstore, BooksActually. I was surprised to find so many unique books there, mostly poetry and probably self published or by a local publishing company. I kinda regret not getting anything now that I look back. I wish we spent more time around the area since there were so many quaint boutiques and hipster coffee shops.

We got back to MBS at 3pm but I still didn’t get an email about my room being ready yet. 30 minutes later, I just had to go ask about it since it was cutting into our day and mostly because we shouldn’t be having this problem since this place was so expensive! I talked to one of the employees and they apologized that it wasn’t ready yet and I was able to score a late check out for 1pm and got bumped up a couple of floors. I was excited since that meant we’ll get a better view of Garden by the Bay.

Garden view from our hotel balcony

Once our luggage got delivered to us, it was time to head to the infinity pool. It was late noon and the sun was beaming at us. Unfortunately for us, the view wasn’t too clear so I wasn’t too happy with my pictures.

It was great that the pool was divided into two sections, one for adults only and one for everyone else. Of course we stayed at the adult section, but I ended up going to the other section because it had a better view of the buildings. The water was surprisingly warm, but I wasn’t too surprised since we were so far up and close to the sun.

Pina colada in a pineapple

Normally, I’m not a big fan of pure R&R type of traveler. When I was at Blue Lagoon in Iceland, I was pretty much over it after half a hour. Here, we were chilling in the Infinity Pool for a good 3ish hours, soaking in some sun, enjoying the view and the amazing drinks. Honestly, just relaxing in the Infinity Pool felt like a once in a lifetime experience. I would say it’s probably the highlight of the trip.

After washing up from the pool, we walked over to Gardens by the Bay to walk the light show at the Supertree Grove. We sat on the floor waiting for it and it kinda felt like sitting at Disney’s magic kingdom for fireworks. There was music, opera music to be exact and it definitely set the mood.

When it was still bright outside

We walked over to where the Flower dome and Cloud Forest was, but by that time it was too late so we decided to go the next day. Instead of walking back, we took the trolley which was just way more efficient for only $3 Singapore dollars.

We didn’t want to go out for dinner so we opted in for a dinner buffet at one of the restaurants in Marina Bay Sands, Rise. The theme of the buffet was around the world, so it was pretty insane how many options there were. From Japanese and French food to Chinese, Indian and Italian. It was GOOD buffet food too. Like every other buffet meal I had in the past, I could never eat enough.

Japanese food section

After being defeated by the buffet, we wanted to check out the Infinity Pool at night since the view of the city would be lit up.

I can’t decide, the view in the morning and night are both worth it. It made me want to check out Merlion Park at night and since Jackie didn’t want to come. I took a Grab myself and took my time enjoying the view. I just wasn’t able to get good shots of the city and the Merlion at night. These were the only two pictures that would do..

Day 10: Next Stop – Singapore!

Originally we were planning to stay in Port Dickson for two days which was why we booked a late flight to Singapore. It was to buy us some time for my parents to drive us to the airport. Since we were at Melaka now, the distance to the airport is actually shorter because of the highway. We basically had a whole morning and a couple of hours to kill, since our flight was also delayed by a hour.

We wanted dimsum but the place wasn’t open on Tuesdays so we settled for Brother John Kopitiam. It was a cafe we passed by the night before and it was a mix of Malaysian and western.

I got the delicious salted egg chicken rice dish.

Kaya Toast!

Mee Goreng that my sister got.

After breakfast, we still had a hour to kill before heading to the airport, so we stopped by Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall. This mall was no Pavilion, but it was enough for us since we were just browsing.

After my parents dropped me off it was a bittersweet moment. I enjoyed traveling with them around Malaysia and it would’ve been nice if they could’ve came to Singapore too. They didn’t wanna pay too much for the flight since they didn’t book it and they were also flying back to New York two days before we did. The sweet part was now Jacqueline and I could have some traveling alone time.

The flight itself from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore wasn’t bad, it only took a hour. The only bad part was that since our flight was delayed by a hour, we got that even later than usual.

Singapore

You probably heard amazing things about Singapore’s airport – it’s true. There’s so many things to do and see, and it’s absolutely beautiful. It smells better and it’s so clean that you feel like you’re walking in some 5 star hotel. I really wanted to explore it a bit but we just wanted to get to our hotel at his point and see what we can do at night.

I downloaded Grab, since Uber no longer exist in Singapore since the merger. I’m an avid Uber/Lyft user and I found Grab to just be as good. The app was easy to use, the drivers were amazing and you can earn points after each ride! That’s something I wish Uber or Lyft had.

Our hotel for the first two nights in Singapore was right in the middle of Fort Canning Park. Hotel Fort Canning was lovely and has a charm to it. I love how the building has history and that there are even artifacts on display!

Location wise, it was a hassle since walking through the park was not fun at night nor was it good in the morning since it’s a trek. Our room however was beautiful, with a great view of the park and I love the marble bathroom.

If you don’t intend to call a Grab or taxi each time you want to leave the hotel or come back – I wouldn’t recommend the hotel. I think for convenience issues, I would not stay at the hotel again. Everything else was perfect, service wise and the rooms.

It was basically 10pm once we got settled. We have Clarke Quay saved for the next night with Jacqueline’s friends who live in Singapore so we decided to check out Boat Quay.

Lots of big crabs!

The street down Boat Quay.

Great view of the city from Boat Quay

Originally we wanted to grab dimsum at a famous 24 hour dimsum spot called Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant. Unfortunately it was closed on Tuesdays so we settled a for a restaurant in Boat Quay called Tian Tian Fisherman’s Pier Seafood Restaurant.

I’m glad I read the reviews before ordering. One dish that Singapore was known for was the chili crab and I was going to order that until I read reviews about how it was sort of a trap and most customers end up paying around Singapore $600. We ended up getting three dishes, lemon chicken, string beans and fried rice which was mediocre but pricey. Definitely do not recommend this restaurant to anyone!

We decided to walk back to the hotel at night. It was REALLY clean and we felt super safe even though it was our first time here. The only regret we had was walking back to the hotel once we got to Fort Canning Park. The walk within the park to the lobby of the hotel probably took 30 mins since it was a trek. It was not fun, should’ve just Grab’ed it back.

It sucked that we got to Singapore so late and there want anything else we can do since majority of things were closed. For me, it just felt like a waste.

Day 9: An Unplanned Stay in Malacca/Melaka

We woke up to a beautiful view and wanted to take full advantage of our villa before we checked out so we basically stayed in all morning until we had to check out.

For breakfast we ate at one of the cafes within the resort. We redeemed our free drinks and ate a light meal. I got the Nasi Lemak which was probably the best food I had at the resort.

Before we left the resort, we stopped by the archery range to shoot targets. It was my first time and it’s way harder than it looks! I might stop by a range that one of my friends owns back in New York since it was pretty fun.

Since we had nothing planned, we could’ve head straight back to Kuala Lumpur or stop by Melaka first and take pictures of the historic red buildings before heading back. We ended up finding so many things for us to check out in Melaka that it only made sense to stay the night.

The first thing we did when we arrived in Melaka was eat. We ate at Mamee Jonker House which also had a DIY noodle package similar to the Cup Noodle Museum in Japan. For those who don’t know what Mamee is, its a Malaysian company that makes snacks and one of the popular snacks is uncooked ramen. Their mascot/character is a blue monster if that rings a bell.

Chicken rice balls.

Chicken!

The food was way better than I expected since it looked kinda tacky. Melaka was known for chicken rice balls and I’m surprised to say that Mamee Jonker House version was AMAZING.

Afterwards, we just walked around the area and I fell in love with the city. There were so many coffee shops and beautiful architecture. I would say that Melaka comes close to Penang as my favorite city in Malaysia.

There was this one coffee shop, The Daily Fix. I wish we ate here because I love all the decor and the ambiance. It was a mix of modern and traditional. The coffee was amazing.

Another beautiful cafe was Heesan. This was right after I stopped by The Daily Fix, so I didn’t wanna go in to look around holding coffee from somewhere else.

This whole area was north of the popular tourist spot, the Windmill Dutch Square Melaka. Afterwards we stopped by the square before walking south of it.

We walked around Taman Merdeka, which was a park with a bunch of attractions. There was a train and an airplane for people to take pictures of.

I was less interested in these since the plants were beautiful.

We decided to go on a rotating observation deck that overlooks the city. At first we were hesitant, but it was a good way to absorb the view in the refreshing AC and giving our feet some rest.

Here are some pictures taken on the deck:

We walked back to the square afterwards since we parked nearby and there were some hidden gems that I just couldn’t resist taking pictures of!

After settling in our hotel, we walked around Jalan Merdeka. Our hotel was surrounded by food stalls so there were tons of dinner options. We opted for Indian Malaysian food which had the best Roti Tisu (tissue), I ever had.

It was our last night in Malaysia which means our trip is coming to an end. I’ll miss all the amazing (and cheap) food in Malaysia, but I’m excited for Singapore.

Day 8: R&R in Port Dickson

We had an early start, waking up around 7am since we had dimsum plans my dad’s side of the family. Foo Hing Dim Sum House was a 40 minute drive from where we were staying. The restaurant only had small tables which defeated the purpose of dimsum with the whole family since we were split into 4 tables vs having one big one. It felt like it was just us eating dimsum.

The food itself wasn’t too bad, I just felt like there weren’t enough food options. After dimsum, I also got this giant bag for iced coffee for less than $2 USD, which was insane.

I also got to meet my uncle (my dad’s older brother) for the first time and he does look scary. Apparently he was the scariest one out of all of my dad’s siblings. I got that as my first impression too but he’s actually a really cool guy. We went to see his house afterwards, that he has been working on, which was huge but pretty much still a WIP.

After visiting his WIP house, we stopped by the house he’s currently living right now. He has some really cool decor that he has been accumulating from his travels.

I’m really digging this elephant plant holder.

After saying bye to my grandma, it was time for us to get back on the road to our next destination. The next two days was pretty much unplanned. Our original plan was to head to Singapore early with my sister and parents, but they decided not to since the prices of plane tickets increased.

Our plan B was to drive to Port Dickson which was a hour and 45 mins south of Kuala Lumpur. I ended up passing out for majority of the ride and woke up as we were close by. We haven’t booked an hotel yet, since my dad insisted that hotels would be cheaper when you book in person.

Lesson learned. If you ever plan on booking a hotel in person in Malaysia, it’s NOT cheaper. It’s better to just book online, and even reception would insist that you do so to get the best rate.

There wasn’t really much in the area of Port Dickson, which was a bummer. The beaches were super dirty and it seemed like a ghost town almost. There were a lot of abandoned buildings of hotels that ran out of business. I guess the place ended up like this due to pollution.

There was this hotel that had their villas shaped like a flower, called Lexis Hibiscus. A pretty famous tourist spot in Port Dickson which was expensive in Malaysian standards. We decided to just stay one night since we were here. It took us almost 2 hours to get everything sorted out, since it was insisted that we book online and when we did there was issues getting our credit card verified (we had to call the bank to confirm that it was actually us who making the purchase).

After a long unpleasant wait, we got upgraded from the cheapest villas to the imperial suites, which was the second highest tier villa they had, below the presidential suites. That pretty much negated everyone’s sour mood.

There was a buggy service that drove you to the doorstep of the villa since it was a long walk from the main building and it was an amazing experience to stay at a place like this since none of us had done so before.

How our villas looked, with a private pool with a view of the water

The view from our pool

It was a full on luxury experience, the rooms were amazing. Everything was provided for in terms of toiletries, some snacks and drinks. You could even order room service that they deliver via the buggy. I was so busy enjoying and taking advantage of the experience, I didn’t get much pictures of the actual room. I wish I did because I wanted to share how amazing it was!

After taking a dip in the pool and just relaxing in comfort, we all went out to get dinner. Originally, we were going to check out the more local area of Port Dickson, but we found that there was this street full of food that was walking distance from the resort. We wanted to take full advantage of the experience since we were only staying one night, so we went to the Hibiscus Walk, which was part of Lexis Hibiscus.

Of course it wasn’t surprising that all the food was way more expensive than what you could get outside the resort. I mean yes, it was still cheaper when you compare it to United States standard, but still… it only makes sense to compare it in terms of Malaysia’s standards.

The food wasn’t great, which was surprisingly since the food they had at the cafe was pretty good. Either way it was enough to satisfy our stomachs.

Sippin’ on a coconut

We were almost done eating when we started seeing a storm approaching…. While everyone was running back to get cover before the rain hits us, my dad was causally finishing up his meal which was hilarious.

There was so many indoor activities like archery, an arcade, bars, etc but we decided to just rest at our villas. Our night ended with Jacqueline and I watching some movies and taking full advantage of the villa. It was honestly the most relaxed I felt on this trip so far.

Day 7: Shopping Around Bukit Bintang.

Our Airbnb was around Bukit Bintang, but not the nice area unfortunately. Bukit Bintang is the shopping district in Kuala Lumpur. On the map it looked like the perfect location, 10-15 minute walk to all the shopping malls like the Pavilion. Who knew it was going to be a walk through an area that looks sketchy at night.

I was craving Din Tai Fung, after finding out there was one in the Pavilion. I had it a couple of times in Seattle and I loved it. I wanted to have it again in LA but heard it wasn’t too good there. Since we weren’t able to get it the night before, we got it for late breakfast/lunch.

Amazing Truffle Soup Dumplings

Sesame buns

Pork Chop Fried Rice

Spicy Tofu

The pork soup dumplings were pretty disappointing, but the truffle soup dumplings were amazing. They used a lot of truffle which made it even better. Another notable dish was the spicy tofu, which was my second favorite dish after the truffle. Overall, my craving for Din Tai Fung was satisfied. I NEED to try the one in Taiwan one day.

One of my relatives was supposed to join us for breakfast but was caught in traffic so my parents went to eat with her and left us in the mall to ourselves. The Pavilion was huge, and it felt bigger than Suria KLCC. I’m not too sure since we didn’t spend much time in Suria.

The view in the mall

The fountain outside the mall.

Hublot was having a World Cup pop up event

We shopped for a bit before walking out and exploring the area. We got bubble tea from Koi, since my sister said it was REALLY good. It’s pretty damn good, possible the best bubble tea I ever had.

We walked to another mall afterwards, Lot 10 and browsed around. There was a lot of Japanese shops in this mall which was kind of surprising. My sister was hungry and was craving Japanese food, so we went up to the food court and shared a katsudon.

The food court in Lot 10

Next stop was Berjaya Times Square, which was a more local market type of mall vs the Pavilion with all upscale brands. Jacqueline and my sister ended up getting a lot of things at Times Square, while I didn’t find anything that interested me.

There was a game where you can win money and prizes in the front of Berjaya Times Square

Around 6ish, we had to head back to the Airbnb to meet our parents to grab dinner with relatives on my mom’s side around Cheras Perdana. After dinner, we stopped by grandpa’s for a bit before heading home to prepare for an early day tomorrow.

Day 6: Stopping by Cameron Highlands Before Heading Back to Kuala Lumpur

We had to check out at 11am so we had plenty of time to pack in the morning and to get coffee at a cafe nearby. I’m going to miss Penang. For some weird reason, it reminds me most of New York or just other cities like Seattle or LA but with its own little quirks.

For our last meal in Penang, we decided to eat at Borneo Kopitiam and I got the delicious Wan Tun Mee again. I’m sad that I’ll never find Wan Tun Mee that would be this good and cheap ever again.

Cameron Highlands

3 hours later, we arrived to Cameron Highlands and of course it was time for lunch. We ate at a place called Wonderlite and we just ordered different kind of rotis to try.

Roti Kosong (plain) on the left and Roti Telur (egg) on the right.

Roti Boom (condensed milk) was my favorite

The first touristy spot was the Cameron Lavender Garden, which only Jacqueline and I went since my parents and my sister already went through it before we got to Malaysia.

Lavender icecream that tasted a lot like soap/candle since it the flavor was so strong.

The garden was quite small and the influx of tourists from the buses made the whole garden a little cramp. The top floor was kind of tacky with a color castle and characters. Cameron Lavender Gardens is definitely a place you only need to see once.

After another 30 mins or so of driving we finally made it to Cameron Valley. We didn’t get any tea but we did get a picture.

The drive out of Cameron Highlands was horrible. There were so many twist and turns, it’s hard not to feel nauseous especially when it took more than a hour to get back on the highway. The drive back down was pretty interesting. We saw a lot of stray dogs roaming around, which reminds me of Peru. There were also a lot of small shacks and homemade storefronts along the roads where indigenous people sell their goods to visitors.

The car ride back to Kuala Lumpur was rough and took roughly 2 more hours. Our Airbnb was around the Pavillion which meant loads of traffic. We were stuck in traffic for a hour and basically couldn’t get dinner where I wanted because it was too late. We ended up eating at a restaurant that was kinda bleh on the ground floor of the Pavillion.

Being in the car for majority of the day was rough and so tiring that I had a GREAT night sleep.