Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore, Serious Luxury and an Awesome View


After living in Singapore (not at Marina Bay Sands!) for nearly one year, frequently gazing up at the majestically modern building shaped like a ship that is easily the most striking feature of the Singapore skyline, I finally got a chance to experience one of the most luxurious hotels in this metropolis, Marina Bay Sands hotel. Marina Bay Sands by night

A guest was visiting me and my husband in Singapore and I recommended her to spend one night of her trip at Marina Bay Sands. She was given a free upgrade to a suite, which was massive, with a large sitting room, meeting space, kitchen area (though no cooking facilities), two bathrooms (well, actually one bathroom and one powder room, ahem), a suitably plush bedroom, and a large balcony. The suite was not on the more expensive city-view side, but looked out over Gardens By The Bay, also a pleasant view. There was also a surprise in the suite; apparently each suite has something a bit special, its own room. My guest’s suite had its own karaoke room!

Chilling out watching one of the large flatscreen TVs, lounging on the massive soft sofa, drinking coffee made from the espresso machine, it would have been easy to spend a long time in the suite. We tried the room service, ordering dinner, and it was exquisite. But, Marina Bay Sands is certainly not all about the rooms. From outside, staring up at the top of the MBS building as I frequently did, you can see some palms trees, but not much else. In fact there is a long swimming pool running most of the way along the top, with plentiful sun-loungers, and quite simply the most spectacularly breathtaking view in Singapore. With my guest’s single booking we got swimming pool vouchers for me and my husband as well.

The view was stunning; I could have spent weeks just admiring it. And swimming while gazing at it was wonderful. But the water was freezing cold! I guess that’s the effect of being so high up in Singapore’s typically cloudy weather. Despite the low temperatures and strong winds, it was totally amazing. Known as the Skypark, as well as the long pool there are several hot jacuzzis, a chocolate bar which I didn’t try, a viewing area, and free drinking water. Towels were of course provided, and we, like many other guests, simply wore the hotel-provided dressing gowns over our swimming costumes to travel upwards in the lift. The atmosphere was of decadent relaxation, and I felt I was seeing how “the other half” live. Although it was back to reality after just one day, always a stickler for a good view, I’m pleased I had the opportunity to indulge in Singapore’s best. Pool and view

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Riding the Sentosa Express Train, Singapore [Video]


Riding the Sentosa Express monorail from Imbiah station to Sentosa station at Vivocity. This is one of my favourite places in Singapore.
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A Ride in the Sentosa Tiger Sky Tower Singapore [Video]


Panoramic views of Sentosa and across to Singapore from the Tiger Sky Tower, a revolving observation tower on Sentosa island.

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Haw Par Villa, Singapore


Haw Par Villa, a Chinese sculpture park, is one of Singapore’s more unusual tourist attractions. Created by the producer of Tiger Balm, it features brightly coloured sculptures depicting many Chinese myths and legends, as well as other seemingly random sculptures, such as a mini Statue of Liberty and some sumo wrestlers. There is a lake with a pagoda, giant memorials to the siblings of the man who built it, and the most popular attraction, the Ten Courts of Hell, a cave of dioramas showing people being punished (gruesomely) for their sins before being reincarnated.

Haw Par Villa is free entry and open every day, so this is a great attraction if you’re visiting Singapore on a tight budget. A little off the usual tourist trail, Haw Par Villa is definitely one of Singapore’s weirder places to visit! Simply get off the Circle Line MRT at Haw Par Villa and the gardens are right next to the station.

 

Hong Kong Dessert Cafes in Singapore


I’m no foodie expert, but I have found some eating places and styles that I enjoy in Singapore, and one of these is Hong Kong dessert cafes. There are a number of chains of these, including Lucky Dessert and Ji De Chi.

These cafes are often packed full with queues of people waiting outside for a sweet pudding fix. They sell a range of desserts including snow ice or shaved ice in many flavours, paste desserts, cold soy beancurd, ice cream dishes, cold cake and fruit desserts. There is something (sweet) to please everyone, and prices are reasonable, from around SGD3 to SGD7.

Sawdust Cake at Ji De Chi

Sawdust Cake at Ji De Chi (tastes much nicer than it sounds!)

Lucky Dessert is at Vivocity (and probably other malls too) and Ji De Chi has branches at Jurong Point, Dhoby Ghaut and Bugis.

Malacca: A Perfect Short Break from Singapore


In my quest to explore Malaysia on short breaks this year, Malacca (also spelt Melaka) was our next destination. A popular place for weekenders from Singapore and also a favourite haunt for backpackers, we were curious to learn more about Malacca’s long and fascinating history, and see how it compared to our previous colonial history-rich trip to Penang.

Wanting an easy journey, we booked bus tickets online and took a Singapore–Malacca luxury bus. It called itself a massage coach, which sounded great…well actually it sounded a bit dodgy. It turned out to have massage chairs for seats, but we couldn’t make the massage function work. They were pretty comfy though, and the journey was very smooth.

Our Massage Coach

Our Massage Coach

Crossing the border from Singapore to Malaysia was exciting for us, because we are so used to flying every time we travel internationally. From our previous home in Java, Indonesia, you can’t drive to another country.

Apparently the causeway between the two countries is over one kilometre long. We had to disembark on the Singapore side with our passports, and then we watched the sea on both sides as we sped across no man’s land before disembarking again on the Malaysia side, this time with our luggage as well.

No Man's Land - the causeway between Singapore and Malaysia

No Man’s Land – the causeway between Singapore and Malaysia

Safely stamped into Malaysia, we were back on the bus, watching acres and acres of oil palm plantations whizz by. Malaysia has wonderfully smooth roads compared to Indonesia, and the journey only took four hours including stops.

We arrived at Malacca Sentral, the main bus terminal, and found a local bus (called a domestic bus in Malaysia, which is arranged in states, like the US). We took bus 17 to Stadhuys, known as Bangunan Merah (the Red Building), which is a central point in Malacca’s old city, for just RM 1.30 each. From there it was a short walk to our guesthouse, Roof Top Guesthouse and Hostel.