Singapore has been on my travel list since college. I’ve had friends from there who I’ve wanted to visit, however they were never home, so I decided eventually that it was time to ask for a list of suggestions and just go. Originally I planned to go in February but I came back so utterly exhausted from the states that I stayed home instead. Which was needed because I wasn’t even close to finished packing for my move.
There aren’t a lot of holidays this year either that give three or four day weekends. Instead a lot of the holidays fall in the middle of the week or on the weekend so even though it was going to be a short weekend I decided I had to go during the three day Children’s Day holiday, because there’s not another one until September (Chuseok). My travel addicted heart is crying. So I booked awful flight times to get the most out of everything. I left after work on Friday and arrived Saturday morning at 5am and came back Monday morning at 7am (flight left at midnight). The flights were 6 hours from Seoul to Singapore and oh boy I tried so hard to sleep but only managed about an hour on the way there.
I felt awful but Changi is quite lovely, even at times when there’s no one there. I wandered around with my luggage at 5am looking at the rain vortex which wasn’t running because the sun wasn’t even up. When it is running it’s the tallest indoor waterfall in the world at 40 meters (131 feet). It was designed by Moshe Safdie (and his architecture firm) and you can find more of his designs in Singapore that have a similar feel.
I wandered around in search of something to eat (found a Toast Box and got some breakfast which I’ll elaborate on in the next post), went to Starbucks which was open (Not the biggest one which is also apparently hiding in Jewel, just a smaller one) and got myself my city mug and then went in search of the Pokemon Center which I had heard sells special Pokemon edition MRT (Singapore’s public transportation) passes only to find they wouldn’t open for another 5 or so hours. So after awhile I gave up, got a regular MRT pass and found a bus into Singapore.
Out of all of the cities I’ve been to the ride into downtown Singapore was probably the shortest I’ve taken. It really didn’t feel like it in the moment, sitting on my suitcase on the bus trying not to roll into anyone on one hour of sleep, but it was about 20 minutes or so. Getting around on the MRT and on the buses also wasn’t that difficult which I greatly appreciated.
When I left Singapore I tried to head to the airport early. I checked in and then headed to the rain vortex again and was quite pleased to realize I was in time for one of their light shows.
I sat and watched it for a bit before wandering around taking pictures. When I was done I wanted to try and go to the Pokemon Center just to see what they had only to find they had just closed. It really wasn’t meant to be. The Pokemon Center is open from 10am until 10pm.
One of the things that stressed me out about my flight leaving Singapore was that on my ticket it said my boarding time was a little bit after 10, so I booked it to my terminal, confused as to why we were boarding so early when the flight didn’t leave till midnight. Turns out it’s because at Changi Airport security is at your gate. On the one hand it meant the line was only other people for my flight, but it also meant that I was speed walking/ half running from the Pokemon Center to my gate and not pausing to buy souvenirs. Thankfully there was a little shop selling water and snacks inside the gate as well as bathrooms and a water fountain. But I kinda wish I’d taken my time because they weren’t in a rush and didn’t actually board at that time even though all the screens kept saying “last call”. They wanted me to hurry up and get through security so everything would be smoother when they did finally board. It’s a great trick if you’re a person whose usually running late, but kinda a cruel trick if you’re punctual or a person who arrives early to things anyway.
The Rain Vortex light show starts at 7:30pm and plays once an hour (for 5 minutes) until 12:30am. The (40 meter) waterfall doesn’t start until 8am and ends after the final show. It’s still lovely to visit and you can wander around whenever, but some escalators may not be running. The lovely green space around the Rain Vortex is called the Shiseido Forest Valley. There are walking trails but you can’t bring your luggage on the trails. There are places to store your luggage though if you want a miniature hiking adventure. The Forest Valley is open 24 hours. While this seems like plenty to see and do (not including the mall with the Pokemon Center and shopping) there will be a lot more opening up this summer. Jewel is open to the public but connected to the airport so if you have a long transfer it’s worth a visit.