I recently explored Singapore with my children for the first time and found it to be such an easy, accessible and enjoyable place for families.
A five-hour direct flight from Perth, in the same time zone, and predominantly English speaking, makes it very convenient for a quick and stress-free getaway.
We flew with Scoot, Singapore Airlines’ budget carrier and, despite reading incriminating reviews, the experience was pleasant. Although our flight was delayed several times, they offered us a meal voucher for $30/head. The flight was comfortable and professional with lovely staff.
We spent five days in Singapore which was adequate to explore the city’s sights and tourist peaks. We didn’t shop as were on-route to Vietnam and only had carry-on luggage. Although, the quality and range of fine-quality clothing were plentiful, but not cheap and on par with Australian prices.
I loved the warm, tropical climate of Singapore, and was surprised by the omnipresence of green, lush vegetation in a bustling international city. It was extremely clean and pleasant to walk through.
The city is so easy to get around. Communication was stress-free, English speaking and services top-notch – from the taxi drivers, or Grab (the Asian Uber equivalent car service), to retail staff and in the hotels.
The Singaporeans and overall energy of the city were relaxed and welcoming; which was surprising given its high density and large population of 5.45 million over a mere 758 km2, compared with Perth’s 2 million people over 6.4 square kilometres.
It was apparent why Singapore Airport was voted the world’s best. It has several tropical gardens, including a butterfly garden, as well as a robotic train that commutes between terminals, and check-in was seamless. High-end shopping was plentiful and food options ranged from Burger King to Singaporean street food.
We stayed three nights at the Pan Pacific Singapore which was a very modern 5-star resort with excellent amenities, including multiple dining options, and a warm, large swimming pool. The hotel’s breakfast and dinner buffets at Edge offered variety and flavours beyond what I had experienced. The Pan Pacific has a fantastic location – within walking distance of the Esplanade and popular Marina Wharf. And the staff service was exceptional.
On our first day, we walked from the Pan Pacific hotel to the Gardens by the Bay, which was a lush sanctuary of 101 hectares in the heart of the city. Set on the banks of Marina Bay, there were many aspects to explore in among the diverse flora, including winding pathways, majestic tall trees, a children’s playground and a community vegetable patch. My kids enjoyed tinkering on the top-nick piano. I was surprised to see no vandalism or abuse of these free available services.
Adjacent to the Gardens by the Bay, was the exclusive and massive The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands – a mall of luxury brands such as Gucci, Versace, Tiffanys, Chanel and Prada. It featured a waterway, with boats traversing a seemingly endless array of shops. The futuristic architecture along the Esplanade was impressive, including standalone buildings for Apple and Louis Vuitton.
We spent two delightful nights in the opulent Shangri-La Singapore’s Valley Wing, which, set close to the shopping and dining hub of Orchard Road, was a luxurious treat. Built in 1971, this was the world’s original Shangri-La, and maintained its olde-worlde charm and glamour. The personalised service created a very welcoming feeling. The décor, ambiance and sparkling feel of the exclusive wing was a special experience away from the hubbub of the city. This hotel is in the top five places I’ve stayed worldwide.
We visited the famous Singapore Zoo. Set in a rainforest environment, the main zoo featured 4200 animals over 1 zones including Australasia, Africa, China and a Fragile Forest housing lemurs and sloths. We meandered along the flourishing trails admiring the vegetation as much as the animals. The kids were excited to see a Siberian tiger, a red panda, a chameleon and naked mole rats. The zoo also provided complimentary tram rides. Feeding sessions are on offer with animals such as giraffes and zebras, as well as animal shows with elephants in the presentation of Elephants of Asia and sea lions in the Splash Safari. There was also an Amazon River Quest boat ride featuring leopards in River Wonders.
The zoo had two additional parks – a SEA Aquarium showcasing 100,000 animals including sharks, manatees (Sea Cows) and giant otters, and the Night Safari featured nocturnal animals such as the Big Cats, owls and porcupines.
I was hospitalised in Singapore as a result of an unfortunate accident, so can attest to the exceptional medical standards. Communication was effortless, treatment immediate and hotel staff accompanied me to the medical centres to provide personal support, which was unnecessary as the medical teams were extraordinarily diligent.
Throughout Singapore, I only experienced respect, cleanliness, and a free flow of traffic and order.