After my family returned from our Baltic cruise, Bryan and I flew through Amsterdam and spent the night with our friends Jacqueline and Alex. We woke up the next day to tackle the incredibly long flight to Singapore!
Thankfully, we were able to use points to fly in nice seats, so it made the long flight pass much more quickly and easily. We landed in Singapore early in the morning and drove to the Westin Hotel to freshen up and drop our luggage. The hotel was in more of a business district area, but we absolutely loved it and highly recommend it! The hotel is super modern and luxurious.
We allowed ourselves a short nap (only!) so that we could take advantage of two full days in Singapore.
One of Singapore’s absolute “must dos” is the Gardens by the Bay park. This billion dollar development by Singapore’s government is truly amazing. The gardens cover 250 acres of reclaimed land on the waterfront, and the main attractions are the massive conservatories and giant Super trees with lights.
We walked around and explored all afternoon! Before dinner, we grabbed a drink at the famous Marina Bay Sands overlooking the entire city. This is another must-do!
We ate dinner at a delicious restaurant called Meta in Chinatown. Have you seen the movie, Crazy Rich Asians and remember when they are playing the game, Mahjong? We walked around those exact areas from the movie. I felt like I was in a dream.
The next day, we got up early (hello jet lag) and made our way to breakfast. I will never forget on our way there, it started POURING so hard that we had to stop and let the rain pass a little bit before we could keep going. I think it was the hardest rain I have ever seen.
Our breakfast location, Sarnies, was so popular we had to wait for seats for a while. In the meantime, we chatted with the couple next to us who had lived in Singapore for a few years. They said they they could not imagine moving back to the States because they enjoyed Singapore so much more.
After breakfast, we explored Fort Canning Hill, formerly called Government Hill, Singapore Hill, and Bukit Larangan, in the center district. This area has a long history intertwined with that of the city-state due to its location as the highest elevation within the city center. It is believed that a palace once stood on the hill, and there are very interesting bunkers from WW2.
We also explored the National museum of Singapore — right in center of the city– and had the best time learning about Singapore’s rich history and culture.
Later in the evening, Bryan and I went to the Newton Center Hawker stalls and ate until we were absolutely stuffed. I had a very hard time picking what I wanted to eat, while it felt like Bryan had done his research in advance! Bryan also eats ANYTHING. 🙂 It was an experience I will never forget.
Singapore was amazing. Bryan and I talk about going back all the time!
The next day, we flew to Yogyakarta (called “Jogja”) — a bigger city on the Indonesian island of Java. The island is known for its traditional arts, temples, and cultural heritage. We stayed in the Pheonix Hotel which was breathtaking, but in a tough part of the city.
We were happy to be there and loved the perfect weather. The next morning, a guide drove us outside of the city center to the Borobudur temple site, which is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Buddhist temple, dating from the 8th and 9th centuries, is located in central Java and it is gorgeous!
We came back to our hotel and walked to a small coffee shop near our hotel to break for lunch. I could not get over how local our experience was in this city. There were no tourists at all!
In the afternoon, we went to the Pramanan templates — gorgeous 9th-century Hindu temple structures. The temple structures felt very different than the Borobudur temple because of the architecture.
It was even more breathtaking as the sun started going down.That evening, we went back to the hotel, but actually went back to the Pramadan temples for an authentic buffet meal, music, and dance performance evening. It was a long, but awesome experience.The next day, we hung by the pool and got massages at the hotel! We walked around the shopping center in the late afternoon but went to sleep early.
Next stop: Bali!
I will save the rest of our Indonesia trip for my next post.
Thanks for reading,