Singapore is the first country that I set foot in when got my first passport was back 2007. It was the year that I fell head over heels in love with travelling. Yes, it all started in Singapore and the rest is history! I had six country stamps, Philippines and UAE included, when my first passport expired. Six different stamps are quite a few for others, but it sure is an achievement for me! :) Looks like history repeats because Singapore is again the first arrival stamp I got on my new passport! Ed and I had a very short, but sweet lay-over in Singapore last March. I was so ecstatic when we got promotional fares with a 9 hour lay over though I have been there before. If I found Singapore amazing six years ago, back when there were no Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and Universal Studios yet, how much more this year?
Our crazy and stubborn alter egos took over during our 9-hour stop. Instead of signing up for the free Singapore city tour at Changi Airport that most of our friends recommended, we created a weird yet epic itinerary! An itinerary that fulfilled wish #7 on my 20 before 2020 list! You may wonder why I would love to see the sunrise at Marina Bay, here's the catch: There's something magical about sunrise. I felt that having a glimpse of it from the most vibrant part of the city would be dramatic and enchanting! Oh boy, I was so right!
Ed and I arrived at Changi Airport at 5 AM. We hurriedly went to the train station to catch the first train to the Gardens by the Bay. Here's our route: train ride from Changi Airport to Tanah Merah to Paya Lebar to Bayfront. Travel time was approximately 45 minutes. At Bayfront Station, we walked to Exit B for Gardens by the Bay.
We arrived at the break of dawn and saw Marina Bay Sands at its finest! The unique structure dazzled beneath the midnight blue sky. It was a breathtaking sight!
We found an observation deck near the junction of Gardens by the Bay South and Marina Bay Sands just in time for sunrise. A professional photographer was already in the area. Guess our plan to see the sunrise in that location wasn't that weird after all.
When the sun was almost up, we walked to the Gardens by the Bay South. We walked through the Dragonfly Bridge and explored the outdoor gardens. Gardens by the bay is a 101 hectare park. It has 3 main gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. Since we were on a very tight schedule, we only had the chance to see half of the South Garden! One must devote an entire day to explore all the areas and enjoy the attractions.
At 8 AM, Ed and I already felt the pangs of hunger, so we made our way to Marina Bay Sands. Before reaching the entrance, we saw an amazing view of the Singapore Flyer, the world's tallest observation wheel!
Part of our itinerary was to have breakfast at Sky on 57, a restaurant with a great panoramic view of the city, located at the 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands. We have included this in our plans since the observation deck at Sands SkyPark opens at 9:30 AM, quite late for us who still have a flight to catch at 2 PM.
Sky on 57 has fabulous views of Singapore! We had an aerial view of the Gardens by the Bay on one side and the tall skyscrapers near the Merlion Park on the other. Not only the view was awesome, but the breakfast as well! More about Sky on 57 on my next post.
After breakfast, we found our way to Merlion Park. As we stroll under Singapore's warm sunshine, we passed by the Louis Vuitton-Island Maison, the Helix Bridge, the ArtScience museum, and the Esplanade.
We made several stops for photo ops and reached Merlion Park an hour before noon. The Merlion is Singapore's Icon. The fish body represents Singapore's past as a fishing village. The lion head symbolizes Singapore's original name, Singapura, which means "Lion City".
From Merlion Park, we walked to the nearest train station. Here's our route: train ride from Raffles Place to Tanah Merah to Changi Airport. Travel time was approximately 30 minutes. Since we arrived at Changi Airport quite early for our departure time, we stopped for awhile at the Orchid Garden and Koi Pond inside Terminal 2. Then, we headed to our departure gate and bid goodbye to the Lion City.
If you'll only have 9 hours in Singapore, how will you spend it?
Will you join the usual Singapore City Tour or will you break away from the ordinary and do what we did?
Our 9-Hour Lay Over Itinerary:
5:00 AM: arrival at Changi Aiport
5:30 AM: train ride from Changi Aiport to Bayfront
6:30 AM: wait for sunrise at the junction of MBS and Gardens by the Bay
7:00 AM: spectacular Singapore sunrise!!!
7:30 AM: Gardens by the Bay South (Supertrees and more)
8:00-9:00 AM: Breakfast at Sky on 57
9:00-10:00 AM: still at Marina Bay Sands
10:00-11:00 AM: sightseeing from MBS to Merlion Park
11:00-11:15 AM: Merlion Park
11:30 AM: train ride from Raffles Place to Changi Airport
12 Noon: Orchid Garden at Terminal 2
2:00 PM: Farewell Singapura!
9-Hour Lay Over in Singapore Expenses:
Train Rides: S$ 5 each
Gardens by the Bay South: FREE
Sky on 57 breakfast: S$ 38++ each