I bade Melbourne and Australia a fond farewell, promising to return in the future. Seven long hours later, I step off from the airplane and say hello to Singapore. It’s good to be back in Asia and good to know that home is only 4 hours away. However, to get home I have to endure a 13 hour layover in Changi Airport. Even before my trip, I decided I wouldn’t spend my layover cooped up in the airport, I decided to step out and finally see Singapore once and for all.
A year ago, Tricia and I went to Indonesia to attend a wedding and on our way back we had an 8 hour layover in Singapore. Our flight that time arrived pretty late in the evening, it was next to impossible and we were both wary of going out that night. We decided to hang out in the airport that night, despite a part of me itching to try out the city.
Fast forward to the present, I made a decision that I would leave the confines of Changi and explore the city and see the sights. There were a lot of alluring options when I was making my itinerary: Yayoi Kusama’s exhibit was in Singapore and I had heard great reviews about it, there was an official Tintin Store that I’ve always wanted to visit, then the touristy sights of Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands were there on my list. Due to unforeseen circumstances, my flight ended up arriving about an hour late, leaving me with only 12 hours left in my layover, I had to hustle and make a quick decision. I decided to see Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay.
From chilly 5° to a sweltering and humid 28-30°, Singapore felt like home: hot and humid with a chance of rain. I stepped out of the airport and took Singapore’s MTR to the city, I got down at Bugis and tried to make heads or tails of where I wanted to go. I heard of Bugis Junction or Bugis Street, but I wasn’t really interested in the city’s shopping district, the clock was ticking and I needed to get to my two destinations quickly.
Despite the lateness of my arrival, it was nearing 8pm, I was surprised by the volume of people who were still in the gardens. In the distance, Les Miserables was playing and the gardens were bathed in neon purple and pink lights. I was amazed and I just continued on walking, the night had added an atmosphere of allure and mystery. When I approached the baobab structure, I was surprised by what I saw, catwalks near at the top with people just walking to and fro. I did not have the strength or the guts to try it out, but I am sure the views there would have been spectacular.
When I had gotten my fill of Singapore’s ‘Secret Garden’-like attraction, I turned my attention to the massive structure behind me. Just like the gardens, Marina Bay Sands was bathed in neon purple and pink lighting. It dominated the skyline and just seemed to overshadow everything else. The structure was every bit as grand and tremendous, three tall towers extending as high up as the eye can see and then a massive slab that looks like a whale to top it all off. Words couldn’t describe the enormity and grandeur of the Marina Bay Sands, it wasn’t one to disappoint nor one to be relegated into the “overrated bin”.
With my phone loaded with all the shots I could muster and a looming deadline, I made my way back to Changi Airport. Despite the really, really short layover trip I had in Singapore it was nice to get out of the confines of the airport and see the city. I was just worried that the immigration officer might give me a funny look when they stamp my passport: arrived on July 10, depart on July 10. Thankfully, all my papers were in order and I settled in for the night in Changi.