Yes, I’m actually getting this series done! After publishing my review of the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong a couple weeks ago, I have the rest of my Singapore trip report ready to go. Only Hong Kong is left, and I’m sure you’ll find it more exciting just as I did. I think it’s fair to say that I must finish this series before we go back to either city this summer. 😛
Other posts in this series:
- Hyatt Regency San Francisco
- Singapore Airlines First Class SFO-ICN (SQ 15)
- Singapore Airlines First Class Menu
- Singapore Airlines First Class ICN-SIN (SQ 15)
- Grand Hyatt Singapore
- Historical Sights, Ethnic Neighborhoods, and Raffles Hotel
- Modern Singapore at Marina Bay and Orchard Road
- Birthday at the Night Safari
- Where to Eat in Singapore
- Singapore First Class Departure and The Private Room
- Singapore Airlines First Class SIN-HKG (SQ 866)
- Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
- Central District Parks and Victoria Peak
- Exploring the Markets of Kowloon and Mong Kok
- Day Trip to Stanley Harbor
- Where to Eat in Hong Kong
- Singapore Airlines Business Class HKG-SFO (SQ 2)
- Concluding Remarks
We chose Singapore in part because this was our first trip to Asia. It has a reputation for being “Asia-lite,” which held true. Aside from the heat and humidity — and some unfamiliar plants — we could have been in any major European city.
(I’m interested in getting someone else’s perspective on this. Some of my undergraduate research, for example, showed that primates were better at distinguishing faces of other primates than they were at discriminating faces of humans. I wonder if that kind of familiarity bias holds true in other contexts, like comparing architecture, culture, or cuisine.)
The Grand Hyatt Singapore is located on Scotts Road, a block from the main shopping district of Orchard Road. We did explore a few of the giant malls, but we didn’t do much shopping. Residents and tourists in Singapore seem to have really expensive tastes — I’ve never seen so many Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Ermenegildo Zegna stores in one place. No, we went to the malls because they have some of the best food courts.
We eventually got bored of that and spent more time exploring the area near Marina Bay on our second and third days. Preferring to avoid taxis, we took a subway to the southern tip and walked toward the Marina Bay Sands hotel and shopping center. (Tip: don’t exit at the Marina Bay station. Transfer and exit at Bayfront.)
This area is busy with new construction and has some of the shiniest bank and hotel towers. The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands were not much different than what we saw on Orchard Road, though it was amusing to see Venetian-esque gondola ride through the middle. If it seems familiar, it’s because Sands owns both resorts. I will try to spare you too many photos of office buildings.
Interested in trying out one of the top tourist attractions in Singapore, we spent about $20-30 to get a view from the rooftop Sky Park of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Walking through the hotel on our way there didn’t impress me much. The lobby atrium seemed empty and soulless as customers’ voices echoed throughout. I will probably still stay at least one night there on a future trip in order to try out the awesome infinity pool on the top. Our visitors’ passes only got us access to a small portion on the edge of the roof. If you want a guided tour of the rest, you will need to show up early because those tickets sell out first.
Far more interesting than any of this crass commercialism were the Gardens by the Bay, a huge park containing plants from across the Asian continent. It will take a couple years to grow out — right now it looks over-manicured and doesn’t feel organic at all — but the “supertrees” that hide exhaust stacks, solar panels, and other maintenance systems were impressive.
We returned on the third day to see the cloud forest, an indoor theme park of sorts that tries to recreate the climate over several thousand feet of vertical elevation with man-made mountain only a few stories tall. The indoor waterfall and cloud machines created a very calm and cooling experience to give us a break from the Singaporean heat outside. That at the Night Safari were probably the two best experiences of the entire trip.