In October, I found a super-cheap flight to Singapore on flyertalk’s Mileage Run forum. I’d never been on a mileage run and I really wanted to be Platinum Medallion again, so I thought I would go for it. A “true” mileage run is no nights in a hotel, but this trip was going to be 24+ hours of flights each way. I sure as hell wasn’t going all the way to Singapore to sit in the airport! I decided to stay two days, three nights.
The trip I booked was JFK-MSP-NRT-SIN-NRT-SEA-JFK. Woo boy.
I flew a Boeing 777-200 from MSP to NRT. It was a pleasant enough flight in Comfort+. It was as nice as any economy seat is for 12 hours. The food was ok, service was good, the movies were fine. I took a couple OTC sleep aids and they actually did the job.
I was super hyped when we got to Japan, not just because I’d been on a plane for 12 hours and had three airplane meals, but because ASIA! I had a four layover in NRT so I checked out the observation deck, went through customs, walked through the fantastic airport mall, had some conveyor belt sushi (IN JAPAN!) and got on a Boeing 767-300 for the 6 hours to Singapore. I landed in Singapore at almost midnight and grabbed an Uber to my hostel.
As an aside, thanks Google ProjectFi (shameless plug)! My Nexus 5X worked flawlessly in Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.
I stayed in The Port by Quarters Hostel on Boat Quay. When I got out of the cab, it was a madhouse. Boat Quay is apparently tourist central. Women were soliciting me into nightclubs, and drunk groups were stumbling around. Total madhouse. I was exhausted and, to steal a term from Vanhoenacker’s fantastic book, Skyfaring, “place-lagged”. I headed straight for the hostel. No complaints about The Port by Quarters: friendly staff, easy check-in and nice private “pod” beds with curtains. I slept great.
Thanks to a 12 hour time difference, I managed to wake up super early and hit the streets.
Boat Quay in the morning is completely abandoned. I didn’t know anything about the climate of Singapore until I was about to leave. Apparently it’s humid. Very humid. And this is coming from a New Orleanean.
I walked from the hostel towards the Marina Bay Sands.
It’s pretty impressive by the bay in the morning. The city is so shockingly clean and safe, I was uncomfortable.
I loved this picture: the little row of shops, surrounded by skyscrapers.
I headed towards Fort Canning Park. It was a peaceful walk in the middle of the busy city. The trees in Singapore were awesome. Super lush and oddly shaped. Walking through Fort Canning I felt like I was really *in* Southeast Asia.. Maybe it was all the sweating and cannons but for the first time in my life, I could feel the echoes of the colonial past.
Rachel likes trees. I guess I never noticed cool looking trees before we traveled together, but now I see trees. And Singapore had plenty.
They also have rules. Lots of intimidating rules.
Singapore isn’t a place that minces words about rules. I’m not sure what’s at the top of Fort Canning Park, but seeing that sign, I’m good not knowing.
After wandering around for a while, I went back to the hostel, took a cool shower and hit the streets again. I figured if I was going to be a tourist, I should get to the top of the Marina Bay Sands. There are two ways to get up there, pay for admission or pre-pay for food or a drink. I decided to go super bougie and buy the three course lunch up top at Ce La Vie. The service was excellent, the food was overpriced, but the view was amazing. I’m not going to bore you with 1000 pictures but I have to show at least one. Or three.
In the middle right of this picture you can see Boat Quay. This city just goes on and on and on.
The number of ships waiting in the bay was astounding. I’m not thrilled about heights in general so when those fighter jets came roaring by, I was a bit nervous.
I don’t have any pictures from inside Marina Bay Sands because it was boring, just a mall filled with designer stores.
After freshening up (again), I had a couple beers on the water at Red Dot Brewhouse. The beer was not bad, but not particularly memorable. However, the deck and accompanying view made the expensive beers worth it.
For dinner, I ate at Katanashi. I couldn’t find their website, but here is a link to a review I just found with much better pictures than mine.
I kind of pigged out after walking so much. The best dish was the Katanashi Fried Chicken which was so good I didn’t get any pictures before I ate them all. I also had Salmon Yukke and Ishiyaki Wagyu Sukiyaki. Both were good but not cheap. But everything was expensive in Singapore.
After a few beers and a lot of food, I stumbled into my second-level pod and crashed out.
On to day 2…