This was our family’s unanimous assessment of our 10 day trip to Singapore last July…
There is a very good chance that if you’re an avid traveller, and you live in Australia, that you have been to Singapore before. Changi Airport is world renowned, and is consistently in the top 3 worldwide hubs for very good reason. There’s also a high likelihood that you’ve never left Changi airport, and have been merely passing through on your way elsewhere. Singapore is so much more than just a stop over…it’s time to change your mindset, because Singapore is a brilliant destination for a perfect family holiday.
Our requirements of a holiday are simple; the destination needs to be hot, the food needs to appeal to all, and safety is as ever, of utmost importance. Transport there and on the ground needs to be safe and fast. Singapore more than satisfies all these requirements! Singapore prides itself on it’s efficiency; no traffic, no queues; no crime, no litter, no fuss, no worries!
Singaporeans are a hard working lot, and when they’re not working, they love to have a good time. As such, the opportunities for play are limitless. Eating is a national pass time, and dining options are unlimited, from cheap eats at hawker stalls/food courts to high end brunches at top hotels. Shopping is crazy good, and not just for fashion…I’ve been known to lose myself in local supermarkets, checking out the insane varieties of imported goods! If the great outdoors or thrill seeking is more your thing, Singapore has got you covered there too…naturally, if you just want to kick back on a pool lounge and read a book, that’s an option too!
Singapore is only tiny, and public transport is cheap, efficient and clean, so getting around is not a hassle, nor is it expensive. For the sake of convenience during this holiday we booked the Sentosa Sofitel Resort for the first half of our stay, and Raffles Singapore for the remainder of our time there. Many of Singapores attractions are on Sentosa Island, so it made sense to be stationed there; courtesy buses run between hotels and attractions and across to the mainland at regular intervals. The Sofitel is lovely, with wild peacocks roaming the grounds, and a complimentary fish foot spa which the kids have to visit several times a day. There is a large centrally located swimming pool, where the kids make friends easily. For families with younger children there is a kids club conveniently (considerately?) located adjacent to the spa! Our interconnecting rooms are gorgeous and spacious, and importantly, just a short walk to the main restaurant where the buffet breakfast is so extensive it snakes around the inside of the restaurant and outside it too! Asian buffets breakfasts are my favourite thing!
Staying at Raffles for the second half of our trip was very special for both Mez and I; for Mez because he’d stayed there with his family as a boy in the 80’s, and for me because as a child living in Singapore as an expat in the 90’s, it’s where my dad often took important visitors from out of town for Sunday brunch, and if I’d been good, I was allowed to tag along. It really evokes a sense of glamour and luxury of a bygone era…to stay there was such a special treat. Even though it’s luxurious it’s not stuffy; we never get a sense that our kids are not welcomed. Quite the contrary, the staff go above and beyond to engage with them. Our room was stunning; we shared a Palm Court Suite, and with a sitting room and large bathroom we were never cramped. The hotel turns 130 this year, and as a birthday present is getting a face lift…it will be partially closed for part of 2018, so even if you can’t stay there, it would be sacrilegious to not stop by for a Singapore Sling! (for info on the renovations check the website)
Here’s what we got up to…
SEA AQUARIUM SENTOSA
Every time we go to Singapore we start our sight seeing here…it’s an exceptional aquarium, and as a bonus it offers a refuge from the humidity until we all acclimatise. Our faves here are the ‘Open Ocean’ exhibit, the jellyfish, and the interactive education corner, where you can have a touch and feel of some resilient specimens. Go early! It gets chockers!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE
Our kids have never been tall enough/old enough to go to a proper theme park, so this was a first for us. They loved it! Go early, and you may even be pulled out of the queue to open the park (we were! I think it’s because we were the tallest family lining up?!) It gets very hot very quickly once the sun is up, and there is not much shade whilst walking between attractions; go early and do it all then head back to the hotel pool!
ADVENTURE COVER WATERPARK
What better way to keep cool on a hot day, than spend it floating on an inflatable tube, winding around a waterpark on a ‘river’? That’s my idea of theme park action; the kids have other ideas and want to go on every crazy slide! We do both, and yes, I end up with atomic wedgies more than once. I now know why some women wear boardies at these parks! Remember to be sun smart, and have sunscreen handy, as you still burn when it’s overcast.
NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE
The Yayoi Kusama exhibition was on whilst we were in town, so we booked an early session. The gallery itself is a stunning building and there are many activities set up for kids through out. (This exhibition is on currently at QAGOMA, if you get a chance GO! It’s super fun!)
We loved the birdpark! Geographically, it’s a bit out of the way, but we felt it was worth the 15 minute cab ride from the CBD. For a gold coin donation we fed lorikeets in one of the largest aviaries in the world (yes, we went to Singapore to feed Australian Parrots!) and African penguins too. The Birds of Prey show was particularly entertaining, a must see. Also, they have an Ibis enclosure, and the Ibis are PINK! Buy the ticket that includes the tram pass, very handy for tired, hot little folk.
No matter where we find ourselves on our travels, we always visit the local zoo. Singapore zoo is lush and verdant, the enclosures seem much bigger than average, and the animals are all engaged, happy and healthy. We find it impossible to pick our faves, but breakfast with the Orang Utan is a highlight, as are the white tigers.
Next post: EATING IN SINGAPORE (it really deserves a post of it’s own as there’s MUCH ground to cover!)
The Watts family would like to thank Singapore Tourism Board, Sofitel Sentosa Resort and Raffles Singapore for their assistance in making this holiday our “best ever”.
We slept at:
We played at: