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 11 – Exploring Singapore in the Day & Partying at Night

The first spot we explored was Chinatown and I was so excited to try Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken & Rice that I didn’t bother to check the times. A rookie mistake – it was not open on Wednesday’s.

Chinatown

I wasn’t completely disappointed since we wanted to explore Chinatown, but I was starving! Should’ve went to get dim sum instead. Instead of just leaving Chinatown for food, we decided to pick up a light snack from Old Chang Kee. Old Chang Kee sells a bunch of fried snacks like fried squid, chicken, etc. I got the chicken chunky pops with curry sauce and it was so goood. It’s like popcorn chicken from KFC but better!

Like every other Chinatown, there was an abundance of shops and food stalls. SO much food everywhere, it was great.

Funny enough, my favorite store was The Tintin Shop. I didn’t grow up with the Adventures of Tintin, but I wish I did. I just love the concept and the art of the series.

Haji Ln

Haji Lane was next and my favorite part about this area was all the cafes and street art. It was a much more narrow street, with a lot of wonderful stores. We couldn’t help but to stop by a couple stores to get souvenirs.

My favorite art in the area.

Loving these displays outside stores

We ended up getting a late breakfast at a cafe called Stateland Cafe. The food was a fusion between Japanese/South East Asian and western which was pretty interesting.

Soy & Sesame Potato Fries

Roasted Pork Belly

Herbal Duck Confit with Risotto

There was surprisingly a lot of food and we couldn’t finish half of it. The food was delicious which made it feel even more of a waste. We had to adjust from sharing between 5 people to just the 2 of us.

Muscat Street

After we left the cafe, it was the time in the day where it was scorching hot. We finally felt the heat and it was in Singapore. My sister was right, it’s WAY hotter than Malaysia. I didn’t mind it – I’m not a big fan of rain and good hot weather like this makes it feel like a real summer vacation.

Muscat Street was a few blocks over and it was where the Masjid Sultan and the Malay Heritage Centre was. In this part of Singapore, it was known for being a trading hub for the early Arab merchants and you definitely feel like you’re in another country when you’re walking down the street. It’s beautiful and definitely a surprise seeing how diverse Singapore can be.

Masjid Sultan

Malay Heritage Centre

Right around Muscat Street was a famous bakery called Rich and Good Cake Shop known for their Swiss roll cakes. Don’t be deceived by the name and how it’s a hole in the wall bakery. These Swiss roll cakes are amazing. We tried got a Kaya roll for around 8 Singapore dollars and we were expecting one slice but it was a WHOLE roll.

Definitely worth it as it was some good Swiss roll.

Bugis Street

From Muscat Street, we took a Grab to Bugis Street which I only found out because our Grab passed by it as we were going to our hotel the night before.

Bugis food street reminds me of Japan night markets. Kinda like street food but more modern than what we have been to in Malaysia. The food was interesting but the shops weren’t really the stores I would buy stuff from.

Next to the food street was Bugis+ and Bugis Junction which we’re two big malls connected. Bugis+ was the bigger and more modern mall with brand names and Bugis Junction was smaller with more mom and pop sort of shops. We also saw a Koi bubble tea shop that my sister took us to in Malaysia so we HAD to get it when we saw it. I messed up because I forgot to order the boba – it was still the best bubble tea I had.

We shopped a little and I did a lot of window shopping. It was one of my favorite malls since there were all these hobby specific shops. Collectible toys, board games, etc. It’s really fun to just look at these things. There were also a lot of arcades which reminded me of Japan.

After being exhausted from all the walking, we took a quick break at Mellower Coffee, which was a block away from the mall. I got one of the special drinks called Ondeh x Latte and it was so gooood. It was refreshing and so smooth it tasted like a milk shake.

The rim was coated with coconut shavings and after you drink half of it, you add the shot of espresso in.

After our short break, we took a Grab back to the hotel to drop our stuff off before heading to the S.E.A Aquarium in Sentosa. We got a surprise from the hotel and they sent a cake up because Jacqueline turned 26 the other day!

Sentosa

Okay, so I had no idea Sentosa was like a resort area. I knew that there was a casino and Universal Studios there, but wow it place is absolutely huge and there’s so much things to see and do. If we had more time in Singapore, I would prob stay two nights here.

We only had a hour to walk through the aquarium before closing. It worked for us as it wasn’t too crowded and that it was smaller than we anticipated. We love the whole idea of how the aquarium providing information about sustainability and teaching kids to treat the environment with respect.

Wouldn’t be a trip to an aquarium without a picture of jellyfish.

It was pretty hard getting a Grab from Sentosa especially when we were at the casino lobby area. Our next stop was Orchard Road.

Orchard Road

Tired and hungry from waiting since we had a couple of cancellations on Grab, we settled for a light dim sum snack at Tim Ho Wan at Far East Plaza. It was okay, not the best… at least I can say I tried it but I wouldn’t have it again unless I’m in Hong Kong.

We walked around a couple of shopping malls – Pacific Plaza, Shaw Centre, Scott’s Square, Tangs, ION Orchard Mall and Wisma Atria until we were out of time.

Ion Orchard Mall

We had plans to meet Jacqueline’s friends at Clarke Quay for a night out. One of them was Jess who she met when she was visiting New Zealand. The other guy was Ken who she met when he visited NYC with Jess. They grew up in Singapore so we got locals to take us out for the night.

Clarke Quay

Apparently on Wednesday’s it’s ladies night and they get to drink for free. It felt like a Friday night in NYC. Clarke Quay was a night life spot full of bars and clubs. We started the night with drinks at Red Tail Bar by Zouk. Then one of Jackie’s friends, Kevin, who was also visiting Singapore joined us as well. We went a club called Zouk, which was also connected to another club called Phuture.

It was still pretty early around 11-midnight-ish but the music was good and there was a constantly flow of people coming in. We took a couple of Jagerbombs and to my surprise they actually give you the left over Red Bull. They would never do that in NY.

We hopped to another bar after called Level Up which had arcade games, beer pong, etc. We played a round of beer pong, finished a beer tower and played the basketball hoops game before heading back to Zouk. When we got back it was pretty lit.

I thought it was going to be a slow night of just drinking at a bar and grabbing dinner afterward but it ended up with us getting back around 3am. We were originally planning to get dimsum afterwards too but Jacqueline was a little too done for that. Singapore’s night life is great.

This night pretty much set my blog posts back by two days!

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.

Rambling Before My Trip

“Travel is the departure from one’s little pond.

It is the bold renouncement of the petty comforts that hold us prisoner.

It is a movement away from the known towards the unknown and unimaginable.

Travel is expansion, widening, opening-up. It is the conquering of one’s fears, insecurities, prejudices. It is the hovering above one’s life, past and present, and seeing it in the larger context of the world. It is the fierce struggle against our already formed concepts of the “other”; the vanquishing of our dearly held beliefs, of what is familiar, intimate, cherished.

It is the seed of our childhood imagination breaking open and facing the sun after a long sleep. It is our soul becoming free and unbound once again – alive, powerful, open to surprise.” – Destination Earth A New Philosophy of Travel By a World-Traveler by Nicos Hadjicostis

Many of you would probably be surprised that I would call New York City, my little pond. Mad even, how dare you compare New York City to a little pond, some random town in the mid west that no one ever heard of is a small pond. Not New York City, you idiot, that’s like the center of the universe (debatable depending on which big city you live in or affiliate yourself with).

No, I don’t hate NYC – I love it. I love everything about it even how much it smells like garbage in the summer, how expensive it is to live here and how shitty the MTA is. There’s no other place I can see myself living in. My point is the world is bigger than you think and there’s so much more out there that’s worth experiencing.

Yes, I know New York City is one of the most diverse cities out there, you can basically get any kind of cuisine you want for dinner! Whether it’s Ethiopian, Mexican, Chinese, Greek – the possibilities are endless! But it’ll never be the same as eating ceviche in Peru or pasta in Italy. Traveling enables one to immerse themselves into a new culture and gain experiences that wouldn’t have been possible if you stay within your comfy bubble. It’s eye-opening and you realize that’s there’s so much more out there than work and materialistic things, even though I’m guilty of always prioritizing work and I want nice things.

My first eye opening experience was when I went to Peru. Part of it was from the 3-5 day trek to Machu Picchu was staying overnight in a cabin in the mountains that our Quechuan (the Quechua are indigenous people of South America) host offered to trekkers. The other part was just learning as much about the culture as possible when I was there as well as trying things that was out of my own personal comfort zone. Experiences that you just can’t get from watching a documentary or reading about.

To be honest, I’m not even sure where I wanted to go with this post. I just felt like I haven’t been active on WordPress in a while and my last post was 19 days ago. But don’t worry – this blog is about to full of content for the next two weeks since I’ll be flying to Malaysia and visiting Singapore as well! If anyone has any recommendations, feel free to leave a comment 🙂

BEFORE I END THIS POST…

I just wanted to thank EmotionalNotions and Jenna Diane for nominating me for challenges in the past! At the moment, I’m trying to keep this blog focused on one theme, but in the future I’ll get to it! I do really appreciate it, so if you’re reading this post – I highly recommend checking out their blogs! I love reading lovely poems from EmotionalNotions and Jenna Diane has amazing pictures and posts!

Also, I really want to thank everyone who is following me and reading about my adventures, honestly I would have never expected this blog to reach 300 followers. Y’all are awesome! I hope all of you will be joining me on my adventure to Malaysia and Singapore!