So there we were…sipping champange while admiring the view from our 23rd floor hotel room looking over the lovely city of Singapore. We could get used to the good life…
After staying in Jakarta for a few nights on a long layover, we flew to Singapore to check out the city for five days. Because of the expensive cost and the small size, it had never been a top SE Asia destination for either of us, but our flights back into Malaysia worked out best through Singapore so we thought we would see what this financial hub had to offer.
The first thing that struck us was just how organized and clean the city was, especially after coming from Indonesia. Not one speck of trash was anywhere on the ground or in the subway tunnel. Actually eating and drinking anywhere near the subway tunnels or on the train was strictly forbidden. Because of how clean it was, it made it a very pleasant place to walk around and wander the city. There are not many major “sites” to see in Singapore, the draw is just the city itself and we ventured out to see what we could make of it.
Staying in the city center the first few nights, we spent our days walking the streets checking out Little India (in search of some good Indian food), the Arabic Quarter, Chinatown and then down to the Clarke/Boat Quay riverfront area. The riverfront actually reminded us somewhat of Chicago with bars and restaurants lining the picturesque river and tall sky scrapers off in the distance. We tracked down a brewery along the riverfront serving the first speciality draft beer we had seen in a long time. So sick of drinking lager, we sat down to enjoy a $30 pitcher of IPA. Yes, it was very expensive, and yes, it was worth it!
Since we spent most of our budget on our pitcher of beer, the rest of our time was spent eating and drinking at the local food (hawker) centers. Around most corners, you can find large eating areas with 50 or so stalls all selling a variety of Asian and Indian dishes, it is a great place to get a good, cheap meal and the best place to find cheap (which is still expensive!) beer in Singapore.
One our second day we woke up excited and anxious to check out of our hostel. Becky’s father was able use some of his Hilton points to put us up at a nice hotel for the last two nights of our stay to celebrate Jason’s birthday (again!) as well as our one year travel anniversary. We were able to walk to the hotel from our hostel and when we showed up, we could tell we did not quite fit in with our casual clothes and big backpacks. This hotel was five-star all the way. The concierge immediately asked if he could take our bags, we politely said no thank you but he continued to follow us to the reception desk and started chatting with Jason as we checked in.
When we finally made it to our room, it was of course fantastic. After one year of staying in $10/night budget hotels with squat toilets, cold showers and hard beds, the Conrad Hotel was a fabulous change. We made sure to make use of all the amenities it had to offer, Becky swam in the pool, Jason used the fitness center, we rented DVD’s from the gift shop to watch on our flat screen TV and we relaxed in style in the hotel robe and slippers. To make our stay even more wonderful, Jason had mentioned to the concierge that we had been traveling for one year and after coming back up to our room, the concierge had sent a $150 bottle of champagne with a nice note congratulating us on our year of travel. It was only 1 pm, but it was of course never too early to start drinking champagne! Soon after, we had a visit from a friend who we met in Indonesia who was traveling through Singapore on his way back home to The Netherlands. He stopped by our room just in time to share in our mid-day champagne drinking. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the streets a bit more with him and visiting some other areas of the city neither of us had seen yet.
On our final night, thanks to Becky’s parents, we were able to treat ourselves to a nice dinner at the Conrad hotel restaurant. Since it was buffet style, we planned accordingly and went to dinner good and hungry. Jason stuffed himself with as much raw fish as he could stomach while Becky couldn’t stop eating from the cheese tray. It was one of the best meals we have had on this entire trip and a wonderful way to spend our one year travel anniversary. Thank you Mom and Dad for making our Singapore stay a wonderful one!
- Staying at the five-star Conrad Centennial Hilton
- Our fabulous high-class buffet where we stuffed ourselves silly
- Free expensive champagne from the concierge
- The entire city of Singapore, it was a wonderful stop-over with plenty to keep us busy
- Sleeping in a hostel dorm bed our first night, we remember now how much we have started to hate sharing a room with other people, we are becoming ‘flash’packers.