Yet another post-Europe layover in Singapore

Just before writing this, I realised I had some blog posts in my drafts. It’s quite funny—I never wanted to be that person, the one with drafts. I think it’s just one of my personal, weird tendencies, and ties into the way I used to write blog posts, which was to sit there and write a post in one sitting. But I found some travel posts in my drafts, including one for our layover in Singapore in 2019, photos already added, but writing incomplete. In my last travel post, I also alluded to always bailing on writing about Singapore because we generally layover at the end of a long trip around Europe, and I get tired of writing about travel by then (and until the next trip). But I’ve tried to not care too much about timing when I post about travel. I don’t think it really matters. 😌

Flying back home to Australia from Europe is always a pain. While it depends what airport you depart from, oftentimes it’s a midday departure from somewhere in Europe, a 12+ hour flight, and arriving somewhere at 6am, and you might not even be in your home city yet. It really wrecks you. This time was no different, really. We flew from the Lofoten Islands back to Copenhagen (where we began our trip) and stayed there for a night, then flew to Singapore. We flew business class, but even with a lie-flat bed, I struggled to fall asleep with the amount of turbulence that was present. I probably got a solid hour of sleep and then was sleeping on-off for several hours. Arriving in Singapore was familiar—I had to mentally prepare myself for the humidity, of course—but since we opted for a more upscale hotel this time, they had our room ready and I was marvelling at the pizzazz of it all, even though I desperately wanted coffee but didn’t want to walk in the heat to obtain one. I’ve visited Singapore several times now, and I don’t know how the locals do it. 🥲

The inside of a hotel bathroom with luxurious marble tiling. There is a basin on the left, a bathtub and shower on the right, and a toilet through a door just ahead
This is the biggest bathroom I’ve ever actually seen
A large bed with white sheets and a wall-mounted television in a hotel room, with a window with sheer curtains to the left.
Tempting to take a nap 😂 but we do try to adjust to the local time straight away

Coffee was obtained (iced was a must), then we went on the MRT and headed to Sentosa. I took selfies with these rabbit statues because I noticed the resemblance with my big sunglasses that were covering my own tired eyes. I was like a zombie. 🧟‍♀️ It’s definitely coming through in this post a little bit. 😛 There was an interactive “Van Gogh Experience” which we had planned to visit and hoped we could show up and buy tickets on the spot. I had been checking the website on our way there and it looked like there was a lot of availability.

A black iced coffee and a white iced coffee on a metal shelf with a sign above it. The sign reads “Life is too short for bad coffee”.
A selfie of me, Georgie, with a statue of a bright red bunny sitting on fake grass. There are large black sunglasses on the stute and I am also wearing large sunglasses and a black t-shirt.

I thought I might fall asleep in some parts of the exhibition because it was so immersive and kind of relaxing. The largest and most impressive feature was a giant room with deck chairs and benches laid out, and a balcony-like area up some stairs. Images depicting Van Gogh’s artworks were projected onto the floor and every wall and surface inside the room, while classical music played. I don’t recall how long the projection was for, but—as is customary with many art exhibitions—we stayed in that room until we had experienced the entire thing and it looped back to what we saw when we first walked in. It must have been at least ten minutes or something… I felt like it went for a really long time. I was rather moved by the whole thing. Van Gogh’s artworks are amongst my favourites.

The entrance to a Van Gogh exhibition, themed with recreations of Van Gogh’s artwork, including themes of blue starry nights and sunflowers. Shiny podiums with coloured rabbit statues sit in front of the entrance.
Large 3D sunflowers placed on a wall printed with a blue starry night
Sunflowers + Starry Night
Three paintings of sunflowers in a vase in the same orientation but with slightly different colouring.
A large room with stairs going up to a small viewing area. All walls in the room have Van Gogh-inspired painted artwork digitally projected onto them. Some seats, benches, and beanbags are in the foreground
This room was incredible
The same room as in the previous photo but from a different angle, with some people sitting on chairs. The images projected on the walls and floor are of purple irises
Irises 💜
The same room as in the previous photo, with a deep blue night with yellow circles representing stars, in Van Gogh’s painting style, projected on the walls and floor
A similar photo to the previous, but showing a wider view of the room
The darkness of this one felt so peaceful

There were other interactive parts to the exhibition like a drawing we could colour in and have projected onto a screen. Nick and I coloured one in together.

Some sheets of paper with printed drawings, coloured in with pencil and crayon, pinned onto a wall
Nick and I did the Starry Night one with the colours that were available

We went for a stroll through Chinatown and then grabbed a bite to eat for lunch. I wasn’t feeling like much but I can’t go wrong with most dishes with egg noodle when in Southeast Asia. 🤤 I don’t often eat pork but the place we went to had an egg noodle with pork, and wonton soup. Definitely can’t go wrong with wonton soup either. 🤌🏻

A bowl of egg noodles with Chinese greens and sliced pork, along with a bowl of soup with wontons

Singapore’s shopping malls remain interesting to me even though I find shopping really boring now. I think it’s because malls in other countries are always a lot more interesting than in Australia. The individual retailers are different, and Singapore has a lot of clothing retailers that are in the United States or considered “international” but aren’t available in a physical location in Australia. There are shopping malls on almost every block and I believe the locals spend more time indoors in air-conditioning rather than outdoors. Either way, if you’re a tourist and you’re not used to the heat, the air-conditioned shopping malls become a nice—or should I say, ice—refuge.

There are a few fast food chains in Singapore that are originally from the U.S. but that we don’t have in Australia. One of them is Shake Shack, a burger joint. I think it’s in a couple of places in Europe (at least, I’ve been to the one in Covent Garden in London). We’d had Eggslut, a chain specialising in fried egg burgers, in Los Angeles, and realised there was one in Singapore, so we went there for lunch after spending some time walking down Orchard Road and exploring some shopping malls again.

A tray with two burgers, two servings of crinkle cut chips, and two cold drinks
I do like Shake Shack’s burgers more than other U.S. based burger chains… 🍔
A brioche bun with fried egg and cheese in it, in paper bag with “eggslut” printed on it
I realise this is not a terrific demonstration of what’s inside the burger, haha, but imagine it’s got fried egg and cheese in it!

After that it was time for a workout—the hotel we stayed at had a gym. 😆 Even at the tail end of our trip, we were keeping up our workouts. We definitely had more energy compared to the day before. 😛 That evening we went to Atlas Bar, a luxurious bar with a “gin library” that seems to go from floor to ceiling. I love gin, and I was keep to try something interesting, but by the time we got there, I wasn’t really in the mood for much alcohol, so I just ordered a cocktail from the menu. We ordered some food as well but it was certainly on the pricey side.

The dim interior of bar inside a fancy building. There is a large pillar of glass windows stacked with bottles of alcohol. There are large leather seats for guests in the foreground
Very fancy-looking

On the way back to our hotel we saw Marina Bay Sands from across the water, nicely lit up at night. Since one of the Formula 1 Grand Prix races recently took place in Singapore, some of the roads were still blocked and fencing was still in place from the event. Nick was curious about it all since he’s a fan of the sport. Here’s a photo I took on our 2019 visit, where there was absolutely nothing going on. 😆

An empty racetrack with spectator seating on the sideline, and a ferris wheel in the background.
On a different day, this would be buzzing with racecars and spectators
A scene at night of a harbourfront, with a large architectural building consisting of three tall individual columns with a surfboard-like section across the top. Lights from the buildings are reflected on the water.
Marina Bay Sands at night, nice!

Here’s a photo I took on our 2019 trip, of Marina Bay Sands during the day:

A similar photo to the previous, but taken during the day.
An icon of Singapore

The following day, our flights were not until the evening, so we went to Gardens by the Bay during the daytime. It was a lovely visit even though we’d been there before, and I would say that admission fees can be expensive. We’d already seen the Cloud Dome and when the interior is misted at certain times, but we visited right between two sessions and didn’t want to wait for the next one. They also had a “flower carpet” that was not open to the public yet—we would be on our way home by the time it was open. It was a large area that had flowers of different colours planted in a visually stunning arrangement. We didn’t go on any of the high open walkways to look at it so just saw it from the ground. I’d imagine it was most photogenic from high above too.

A nicely trimmed large patch of grass with an ornate design consisting of many different coloured flowers arranged together. Some water sprinklers are on and watering the grass and flowers.
A view upwards to the sky through large structures resembling manmade trees: they have thick pillars as the trunks and metal branch-like parts fanning out at the top
The “Supertrees” in the Supertree Grove
Planted trees nicely separated in gardens with wide concrete paths for pedestrians and traffic. A sign reads “Supertree Grove” next to a signpost with labels in different directions
Sign for the Supertree Grove
The interior of a large greenhouse with lots of large trees on the left and smaller plants and flowers around the edge of the glass walls. Many people are walking on the paths between the plants
It’s cool inside! Good to get away from the heat
A close-up of lots of small flowers with white petals and yellow centres
Close-up of some daisies (I think)
An indoor garden with a glass ceiling, with figures of donkeys made from flowers and other botanicals, and a boardwalk with some people taking photos in the foreground.
So many lovely colours in this garden
A close-up of the donkey figures in the previous photo. They have tones of red and brown in the leaves and flowers.
Cute donkeys
A large sculpture of an orchid in blue, green, deep pink and yellow tones, just behind sculptural letters reading “Orchid haven”, placed in a small garden of green plants.
Very cool orchid piece
A sculpture made of metal and in a turquoise blue colour, in a garden. The sculpture is of a person sitting on a bench with one hand to their cheek and one ankle placed over the knee of the opposite leg. The art style uses blank and incomplete areas on parts of the figure to create dimension
A different take on Rodin’s Thinker
A small area of water, part of an indoor garden, containing some white semi-translucent sculptural artwork representing flowers
I forgot what these were supposed to represent, but they lit up in a very pretty way

We had Hainanese chicken rice as our last meal in Singapore. You cannot go wrong, haha, it’s a classic dish. 🤌🏻 We packed and grabbed our bags from the hotel since we were allowed a later checkout, and then went to the airport and hung around there for a few hours until it was time to board our flight. There is no shortage of entertainment in Changi Airport; it’ll keep you entertained for hours because there are a lot of things to see and do. You can eat, shop, and find some attractions like the Sunflower Garden, or even watch a movie.

Hainanese chicken rice
A large indoor water feature spanning multiple levels, with water appearing like a waterfall coming out of the slightly funnelled lattice-patterned roof and into a similar funnelled area below.
Jewel at Changi Airport—this water feature’s lights do change colour.

Well, definitely didn’t mean to be too anti-climactic, but as our trip drew to a close, having a layover in Singapore is definitely a nice way to adjust to a timezone closer to home for a couple of days before actually arriving home. 😌

If you happen to want to read about the travels in Europe all over again, here’s the complete list!

Thanks for following my travel posts for this “series”, if you will. 😅 As I finish this, I realise that running out of steam when it comes to writing about the tail end of a trip is not specific to Singapore… I did, after all, take eight months post-travel to write my blog post about our visit to Santorini. It makes me wonder if I should write about the later part of trips first, just for funsies?

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