Trip to Singapore

Trip to Singapore

Last month, in March 2019, my husband and I decided to take my parents on a trip to Singapore. We were in India for 3 weeks and my parents had never been overseas so we decided why not. So on our return back to the US, we added a stopover in Singapore. So this is how it went.

Flight bookings To Singapore

My husband and I had booked United Airlines to go to India so we adjusted our stop on the way back to the US in Singapore accordingly. Luckily we got the same flight for us and parents to Singapore but on the way back my parents would fly to India via Jet Airways and we were gonna fly back to the US a couple of hours before our parents scheduled flight.

This was our first time booking Jet Airways and we booked all the flights through Chase travel. Chase has some good credit cards. My husband and I have Chase Sapphire Reserve card which gives us some good travel points.

So we booked United Airlines flight for us from SFO to New Delhi and then Jet Airways from New Delhi to Singapore and then United again from Singapore to New Delhi. Parents were gonna fly back on Jet Airways from Singapore to New Delhi. 

We didn’t do our due diligence, I would admit while booking Jet Airways. Normally as savvy travelers, we always check online on ratings of any airline we fly or any hotel we book. But since this trip was last minute we didn’t check how horrible Jet Airways rating is. 

Our Experience With Jet Airways

This deserves a special mention so I am writing about our experience with Jet Airways. It was just horrible. A couple of days before our departure from New Delhi, Jet Airways canceled our flight and put me and my parents on a different flight. They also canceled my parents return flight to New Delhi and gave them a new flight which was 4 hours after our scheduled departure from Singapore to the US.

I had timed our departure from Singapore to the US with my parents’ departure as they were flying on their own for the first time and they are not so well conversed in English. My plan was to have our flights scheduled at the same time so that my husband and I will drop them to their terminal and then we will come to our terminal at the Changi airport on our way back.

But Jet Airways screwed that plan of ours and here we were with me and my husband flying back to the US at 10 am and my parents flying back to India at 2:15 pm on March 19.

So okay, we board our Jet Airways flight on March 13 from New Delhi to go to Singapore and its a small plane with really narrow aisles. The flight overall to Singapore was uneventful with horrible food. Food looked really old and we didn’t even eat it.

And Jet Airways Delayed Our Luggage

After landing in Singapore when we went to collect our luggage we were informed that my mom’s bag and mine has been delayed.

Bummer!

This had never happened to me before and I am a frequent traveler. I had some clothes in my husband’s bag but my poor maa had nothing in my dad’s bag. Not even pajamas. I was so frustrated and we learned that our bags will come the next day on a flight from Bangalore to Singapore. How in the heck our bags went from New Delhi to Bangalore? That means Jet Airways never planned to board our bags in the flight in which we came and it was not just us who suffered from this ordeal. There were 50 other passengers whose luggage was delayed.

This being my parents’ first overseas trip my parents didn’t consider it a good start. However, we did get our bags delivered to us in our hotel the next evening. So my mom had a change of clothes finally the next evening after our arrival. But this was not the end of our ordeal with Jet Airways. 

And The Saga With Jet Airways Continued..

On March 19 we came to the airport around 6:30 am. We were supposed to fly back at 10 am and our parents Jet Airways flight was scheduled to leave at 2:15 pm Singapore time from Terminal 3 of Changi airport. Upon our arrival we checked the flight information on a kiosk and flight 9W17 was not listed. We checked with someone at an early check-in kiosk and they told us this Jet Airways flight on which our parents were supposed to depart has been canceled.

We were like what the hell!!!!

We contacted Chase travel right away from our phone and they told us that yes this flight has been canceled and our parents have been put on another flight which will leave at 7 pm but their seats are not confirmed yet. So it is 8 am now and we are still trying to figure out what to do about our parents’ flight. Since they are not very well conversed in English and it’s their first time traveling alone from an international destination we are all in panic mode.

I told my husband that screw Jet Airways and let’s book another flight for parents as we had to leave for checking in for our scheduled flight to SFO at 10 am. So we booked Singapore Airlines for our parents scheduled to depart at 4:25 pm and we left for our terminal to check in for our flight to the US. Overall, with Jet Airways it was a really bad experience and they still owe us money for delaying our baggage and canceling our flights. When we got back to the US we learned upon more research that Jet Airways is USD 1.2 billion in debt and hasn’t paid its pilots for a very long time. No wonder!

Screw you, Jet Airways for almost ruining our trip. 

Hotel Bookings For Singapore

hotel 81 dickson singapore trip
Hotel 81 Dickson, Little India, Singapore

Since our parents were traveling with us and they are vegetarian we preferred staying in Little India, Singapore as it has many Indian vegetarian restaurants around. We booked Hotel 81 Dickson according to the recommendation of Trip Advisor’s top 10 hotels in Little India. We saved some money by buying gift cards through Samsung Pay. If you have a Samsung phone I highly recommend using Samsung Pay. That’s the best way to get your money’s worth.

Singapore Itinerary

We spent 5 quality days in Singapore. My parents can’t walk much because of some health problems but still, we averaged 12,000 steps a day. That’s a lot even for me on any given day so imagine how much ground we still covered.

Mustafa Centre

trip to singapore
Mustafa Centre – Little India, Singapore

Since my mom and I didn’t have our luggage the first night in Singapore we shopped a bit in Mustafa Center in Little India. It is definitely a place to check out if you are in Little India or if you ever hope to visit.

Mustafa Centre is like America’s Walmart. It has everything available from clothing, groceries, makeup, toiletries, watches, and much more. You name it and you will find it in Mustafa Centre. It also offers money exchange. And it’s open 24 hours a day.

So if you need something in the middle of the night and you are staying in Little India, Mustafa Centre is the place to go to.

Trip to Singapore – Day 1

trip to Singapore
Before Buying Any Tickets in Singapore, Make Sure You Get Cash Back From Ebates.

We bought tickets to see important sights through both Trip Advisor & Headout Reservations.

Pro Tip: If you want to save some more money, do not forget to go through Ebates first. Ebates offers you cashback on almost everything. Simply go to the ebates.com or go to Ebates app if booking from the phone and search for Trip advisor or headout reservations. Then click on them and Ebates will take you on their website/app. On any given day, Ebates offers a cashback between 3% to 10%.

If you are new to Ebates, you also get a $10 welcome bonus. That’s sweet!

Attractions covered/Activities on Day 1:

  • Hop on Hop Off Tour
  • Marina Bay Mall
  • Spectra – Marina Bay Sands Light Show

Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

trip to Singapore

So the first day, we started a bit late as my dad was exhausted just from the trip given his medical issues. But again, we covered a lot of ground. We took Big Bus’s Hop on Hop off open top bus ride and saw entire Singapore that way. We took the red line and the blue line. It took us 2.5 hours to take both the lines. Big Bus offers commentary in 14 languages.

Marina Bay Sands Light Show

Then we went to Marina Bay Sands shopping mall and explored that giant mall and went to the Event Plaza where we took a lot of pictures before the show. The view of the bay from there is great and you can take good pictures in both daylight and nighttime.

Then people started gathering at the event plaza about half an hour before the show. So we secured our spot.

Singapore trip
Spectra – Marina Bay Sands Light Show

The show, Spectra, started at 8 pm and lasted for 15 minutes. It was just breathtaking. And it’s free to watch. No charge!

Day 1 Wrap Up & Dinner

We wrapped up our day at around 8:30 pm and went to have Dinner at Khansama Restaurant in Little India. The food there was good. We had Dal Makhani, Aloo Gobhi & Tandoori Roti.

Trip to Singapore – Day 2

We woke up and I wanted some coffee. Wherever we go we always look for apps that will give us some food credit. We found Grab and we got $18 worth food credit. I ordered us and my parents Starbucks from free food credit. Ain’t that nice!

Attractions Covered/Activities on Day 2:

  • Singapore Zoo
  • Clarke Quay
  • Singapore River Cruise

Pro Tip To Save You $$: If you are in Singapore for even 2 days I would suggest buying a Singapore sim. That will cost you SGD 12 bucks but you will get your money back. A lot of apps in Singapore require a Singapore sim. We saved a lot of money through apps such as Grab & GO-JEK.

Singapore Zoo

  • Ticket reservations: headout reservation.
  • Means of transportation from the hotel: Grab ride share
  • Cost of transportation for 4 people: SGD$14
  • Cashback from Ebates for Singapore Zoo: $4

We spent almost 5 hours at the zoo. We covered a lot of ground. One nice thing is that there is a tram that goes throughout the zoo. So we paid $3 extra and we took many rides throughout the zoo. Even after taking the tram we still averaged 14,000 steps that day. So thank God we paid some extra $$ for the tram ride.

Singapore Zoo
Parents and I at Singapore Zoo – March 2019

We saw penguins, cheetahs, orangutans, lions, kangaroos, zebras, giraffes, white peacock (yes that was the highlight), elephants, chimpanzees, rhinoceros, pelicans, & many more animals.

White Peacock, Singapore Zoo

The white peacock was a pure beauty.

Also, there was some serious Game of Thrones promotion going on. They had an ice dragon on display.

Game of Thrones Ice Dragon Display at Singapore Zoo

We also got to see two shows, one at 2:30 pm and another at 3:30 pm. The one at 3:30 was with the elephants and it was quite good.

Elephant Show – Singapore Zoo

All in all, Singapore Zoo was fun for us. If you are visiting with family and have time in your schedule I would highly recommend visiting Singapore Zoo.

Clarke Quay & River Cruise

If this is the first time for you in Singapore you have to include a river cruise and a visit to Clarke Quay in your trip to Singapore.

  • Cab Ride from Little India to Clarke Quay – JustGrab – SGD $10
  • River Cruise Reservations – Headout
singapore river cruise
Singapore River Cruise – On a Boat

We boarded the cruise (our boat) from WaterB Fort Canning. The cruise took us along Clarke Quay.

singapore river cruise
View of Clarke Quay from our boat

Clarke Quay has a kaleidoscope of restaurants and so much to offer to the nightlife of Singapore.

The views from our cruise of the Marina Bay Sands and the bayfront were just so spectacular.

Singapore River Cruise
View of Marina Bay Sands From Our River Cruise

After stepping off of our boat we walked around Clarke Quay and took some cool shots.

Clarke Quay, Singapore

Dinner

We found another cool restaurant, Swaad Vegetarian, in Little India which became our go-to place for rest of the days in Singapore.

Their Masala Chai is too good. Prices are affordable for a family visiting Singapore.

Swaad restaurant little india singapore
Paneer Tikka Masala and Dal Makhani – Swaad Vegetarian Restaurant, Little India, Singapore

Trip to Singapore – Day 3

On our Day 3, we went to Sentosa Island. Sentosa is beautiful.

Attractions covered/Activities on Day 3:

  • Cable Car Ride
  • Skyride
  • SEA Aquarium
  • Wings of Time

Important to Note:

  • Tickets for cable car ride, skyride, SEA Aquarium, Wings of Time purchased from headout reservations
  • Taxi ride from Little India to cable car station – SGD$20

Cable Car Ride

cable car ride singapore trip
Cable Car Ride – Sentosa Island

We decided to take the cable car ride from Mount Faber Rd, Singapore. We took the cable car from Mount Faber station to Sentosa station. The reason for that was that skylift is right next to Sentosa station.

Pro Tip: I would recommend taking the taxi back to your hotel (when in case you want to go back to your hotel) from Sentosa station. Our cab driver gave us this tip as there aren’t many cabs available at Mount Faber station.

You can also take a ride from Sentosa station around Sentosa Island.

Some shots we took were breathtaking.

sentosa aerial shot singapore trip
Aerial Shot of Sentosa Island from Cable Car Ride

One downside was that it was very hot that day inside the cable car so when I got out I felt better.

Skylift

So when you get out of cable car ride at Sentosa Station, keep walking straight and you will see the signs for Skylift.

Even though it was muggy in the cable car ride and I just wanted to get out of there, but skylift was an entirely different kind of an experience.

I have done skylift before in Dubai in Ski Dubai which is an indoor resort covered with snow but this was just us in the air.

skylift sentosa Singapore
Skylift, Sentosa – Singapore Trip

This was a fun experience for all of us.

S.E.A. Aquarium

Our next stop that day was S.E.A. Aquarium. We boarded a bus from Sentosa station. The last stop was Resorts World Sentosa which houses Universal Studios, S.E.A. Aquarium and other attractions.

We didn’t have time during this trip to take our parents to Universal. My husband and I have been to the one in Orlando and parents said they couldn’t walk too much and Universal studios trip requires walking.

However, we did take some pictures outside the Universal Studios.

universal studios singapore trip
Parents and I at Universal Studios Singapore – All Pictures Courtesy of My Dear Husband 🙂

And after this we proceeded towards S.E.A. Aquarium. It was parents’ first time at a big aquarium so they had a lot of fun.

Some facts about the S.E.A Aquarium – it is home to more than 100,000 marine animals of over 1,000 species, across 50 different habitats. In short, it is big. We were there for 4 hours and I think we probably covered 30% of it.

Pro Tip: If you want to get your full money’s worth spare at least 6 hours to thoroughly browse the Aquarium.

SEA Aquarium Singapore
Hubby trying to take it all in at the S.E.A. Aquarium

S.E.A. Aquarium had some big displays and this one was just spectacular.

S.E.A. Aquarium Singapore
A Big Display At S.E.A. Aquarium Singapore

There was so much there to marvel at. We saw some really cute jellyfish.

Jellyfish at S.E.A Aquarium, Singapore

And then there were dolphins.

dolphins SEA Aquarium Singapore
Dolphin(s) at S.E.A. Aquarium, Singapore

We didn’t even realize when 4 hours flew by. And then it was time to go to our next stop in Sentosa Island to watch an amazing light and sound show called the Wings of Time.

Wings of Time

We took Sentosa Express (the monorail) from Waterfront station at RW Sentosa to the Beach Station to see the Wings of Time show.

wings of time singapore trip
Wings of Time, Singapore

Wings of Time is the journey of the bird Shahbaz, along with his friends Rachel and Felix through time. Rachel and Felix wake up Shahbaz who has been sleeping for thousands of years. Shahbaz wants to go home and he takes us through beautiful landscapes and the mysteries of time, featuring artistic interpretations of the Industrial Revolution, the Silk Road era, Mayan Pyramids, Underwater World and African Savanna.

It’s a great show to watch with amazing light and sound effects.

We returned from Beach Station to Little India via GO-JEK, another ride share service we found. GO-JEK gives SGD$5 off on first two rides. So don’t forget to take advantage of amazing apps such as Grab and GO-JEK while being in Singapore.

Day 4

We kept our Day 4 light as parents were tired from walking around the last 3 days. Attractions covered on Day 4:

  • Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Observation Deck
  • Singapore Flyer
  • Marina Bay Casino

We headed out from the hotel in the late afternoon to Marina Bay Sky Sands Observation Deck.

Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Observation Deck

Marina Bay SkyPark Observation Deck is at the 56th floor of Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It offers 360 views of Singapore around Marina Bay.

We got there around 3 pm and there was a cool breeze blowing at the 56th floor. You can also see the famous Infinity pool from the 56th floor.

View from Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Observation Deck

We easily spent 2 hours there taking in the views and taking pictures.

Parents and I at Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Observation Deck

There are also refreshments available at the 56th floor and a restaurant as well.

Singapore Flyer

Your trip to Singapore is incomplete without a ride in the Singapore Flyer. This is second largest ferris wheel after the famous London’s eye.

Obviously, excluding the one that is being built in Dubai which is going to be the largest one in the world once it’s done.

We walked to the Singapore Flyer from the Marina Bay Sands hotel. It’s a 10 minute walk and you can take in the views of the bay and take plenty of pictures while en route to the Singapore Flyer.

We purchased the tickets at the ticket counter after getting there. Unfortunately, they were not available online.

Cool Facts About Singapore Flyer

Picture of a Singapore Flyer Capsule – Taken from inside of a Singapore Flyer capsule

Diameter: Singapore Flyer is 150 metres in diameter

Height: Singapore Flyer measures 165 meters in height – about the height of a 42-story building.

Capsule size: Each capsule is 4 metres x 7 metres – about the size of a city bus. There are 28 capsules. Each capsule can carry up to 28 passengers.

Speed it travels: 0.24m per second, or 0.76km/h.

Total capacity per revolution: 784 passengers.

Rotation: Each rotation is about 30 minutes.

Smooth Rotation: Singapore Flyer is designed and built to rotate smoothly under various wind conditions at high altitudes.

View Radius: Onboard Singapore Flyer, you can see up to 45 kilometers away – that’s 3 kilometers more than the entire length of our island city. From the Flyer, you’ll be able to see Changi Airport, Sentosa Island, and even parts of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Read more here.

singapore flyer view
View from the inside of Singapore Flyer

Casino

After our ride inside Singapore Flyer we had dinner. After dinner we planned to go to Marina Bay Sands Casino.

The entry to Casinos is not free for Singapore nationals is not free. However, it is free to tourists carrying foreign passports.

marina bay sands casino
Marina Bay Sands Casino, Singapore
Pic credit: https://havingmetime.com

Please do not forget to carry your passports if you wish to enter the Singapore casinos for free. Our passports were checked twice and they also check if you have the arrival stamp in your passport.

There is no photography allowed inside the casinos, so I found a picture of the casino online and included it in here.

We had a fun time in Casino. We got no free play as most casinos in America provide if we sign up as a member. But still it was fun. My dad won SGD$50 by playing $20. It was a fun experience for parents. So if you have time I would suggest including a visit to casino in your trip to Singapore.

So after this casino venture we decided to wrap up our day and headed back to our hotel.

Trip to Singapore – Day 5

This was our last day in Singapore so we made the best of it. Attractions covered in Day 5:

  • Palawan Beach
  • Gardens by the Bay

Palawan Beach

We headed back to Sentosa (Beach station) to visit Palawan beach. I have been to beaches in the US, in Dubai and now in Singapore.

Beaches of the pacific are cold. Jumeirah beach in Dubai had lukewarm water and is my favorite so far. Now, Palawan beach has become my second favorite.

The water was just so welcoming and it was just perfect light blue. It just felt amazing to be there.

palawan beach sentosa singapore
Us doing bhangra at the Palawan beach – well just posing

You can also see the southernmost tip of Continental Asia at Palawan beach. You just have to cross a suspension bridge to get there.

southernmost tip continental asia singapore
Southernmost tip of Continental Asia, Singapore

It was a hot day and we walked to Beach station for about a mile to catch a cab. At the Beach Station we had soft swirl at McDonalds. You should try it. It’s better than what we get in the US for some reason.

Gardens by the Bay

Our last stop was Gardens by the Bay. The entry to Gardens by the Bay is free but to see the Cloud Forest Dome, Flower Dome and to go to the OCBC Skyway you have to pay extra.

Pro Tip: If you are pressed on time I would not recommend purchasing tickets to the Cloud Forest Dome and Flower Dome. I would definitely recommend walking among the tall Supertree Grove trees (OCBC Skyway) especially during the light and music show in Supertree Groove.

The Flower Dome

Flower Dome is a cool dry conservatory. It replicates the Mediterranean climate including the parts of Africa, some parts of Italy and Spain. It has plants and trees from all over the globe.

Walking through the Flower Dome was an amazing experience for us. My dad said it was the best experience he had in Singapore.

Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Time required to walk through: 2 hours

Cloud Forest

Cloud Forest replicates the cool climate from high up in the mountains. It has rare flora, different vegetation, and rare plants nearing extinction. Even though we bought the tickets to the Cloud Forest Dome we couldn’t visit it because the last visit had to be before 7 pm and we just didn’t have the time.

Last but not the least in our trip to Singapore was a walk on OCBC Skyway among those magnificent canopies cum trees in Supertree Grove in Gardens by the Bay.

Supertree Grove

The Supertree Grove at the Gardens by the Bay has a cluster of supertall trees with 25 to 50 meters in height. These super trees offer a mesmerizing illuminated display of lights at night.

The light show Garden Rhapsody occurs at 7:45 pm and 8:45 pm every day.

gardens by the bay singapore
At the Light Show, Gardens Rhapsody, at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

We went up the skyway at around 8:30 pm and watched the show from above. It was just mind shattering. Just wow!!

Gardens by the bay was an amazing last stop and an amazing way to end our Singapore trip.

We went back to Little India and we shopped for Singapore souvenirs. All of us got I love Singapore t-shirts for SGD$2 each. They were really cheap.

Goodbye Singapore

Next morning we headed to Changi airport to catch our flights around 6:30 am. Well, bidding goodbye to Singapore was not without problems. Our parents’ flight got canceled as I described above and we had to get them a new plane ticket. However, we all reached back to our homes safely.

A shot of San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge on our ride back home