Singapore- a Multicultural Asia Destination
Updated: May 26, 2020
It Started as a Business Trip
Singapore a mere 18 hour flight from San Francisco and you're there! Ugh. I know it's pretty remarkable to travel around the world in only 18 hours, but still...18 hours... When flying on business (depending if you work for a decent company that will pay for it) fly business class. I mean it's in the name right? Since Lewife works for such a company that can afford to spend the reasonable $5000 price tag on a round trip business class flight, only one of us got to experience how luxurious traveling in anything other than coach is. Believe me, finding the flight that had one of the best business class WAS a factor of which airline to choose.
Singapore Airlines vs EVA
After doing research into EVERYTHING flight related- two victors emerged. Singapore Airlines was ranked top five airlines in the world. From the food, to the amount of leg room, to the type of champagne you get (all while in business class I remind you) Singapore airlines hosts a bevy of options for the businessman in each and everyone of us.
EVA air is a Taiwanese equivalent of Singapore Airlines. They too offer a lot of amenities for passengers- including seats, food, water, and air; ladies and gentleman please hold your "ooohs and ahhhs" until the end. While not as high in the rankings as Singapore Airlines, EVA does offer a few better options such as a more diverse destination availability, larger coach seating, and full supine seating in business. It also didn't hurt that we were members with EVA and that we had free airline miles that we could use for this trek.
So, EVA was our choice. If Lewife wanted both of us to travel 18 hours for business, and only 1 person got to sit in business class, the coach experience needed to be worth it. It was...acceptable. So something we thought we would be able to do was switch every few hours, apparently this wasn't allowed. You are able, while you are boarding, to try and talk with the flight attendants and change before the flight takes off. But you aren't allowed to switch during the flight.
The flight had a stop in Hong Kong before reaching the destination in Singapore so Lewife graciously gave up her second half seat. It was extremely nice to be able to lie down on a flight, and afterwards we began pre-planning our next flights with business class. Date and location-TBD.
Business class offered wine tasting, cheese pairing, socks and toiletries ... ohhhhh the socks... and of course a pod as a seat. The pod had the ability to lay completely flat, and the flight attendants made sure that the price tag of $5000 matched the service. Would it be worth it if the company didn't pay for it? No, absolutely not, think of all the cat toys and macaroni and cheese one can buy for $5k! But hey, travel luxuriously if it's free has been our moto since-writing this down.
"Come to think of it, I do think the factories in the Virgin Islands and in Hawaii need an immediate inspection boss".
The Island of Singapore
The tourist parts of Singapore is condensed into a walk-able area around the waterfront. The main attractions of Singapore are the food, shopping, and Marina Bay Sands. While Lewife was busy working, I got busy experiencing Singapore. Singapore is different than other Asian countries that we've visited. First, it was significantly cleaner, but it also didn't feel too far off from the United States- it also helped that the official language is English.
When traveling to most of Asia, there is a direct influence of the country's specific culture when you arrive. When we arrived to Singapore, it was more like arriving in Las Vegas in the tropics. There was a lot of greenery, modern apartments, and tall sky scrapers. The tourist area had tons of grand hotels and everything was connected by shopping malls.
Whether it's capitalism, or because of the heat and humidity, Singapore really incorporated the walking in mall to escape the heat. While in Singapore, we decided to try two different hotels: Marina Bay Sands (the famous boat looking hotel), and the Mandarin Oriental. Both hotels, opposite of the bay from each other, had shopping malls either inside or directly next to the hotel. If we wanted to go across the street to go to a food stand we walked through the air conditioned underground mall to cross the street. Singapore uses all of its space to a maximum to really get you to shop. The shopping also isn't the typical shopping one does on a Sunday afternoon. This was high-end, you only get to look but not touch, type of shopping; and people were buying!
How Expensive is it?
It's an island country that is known for technology and business. So it's expensive. To put it in perspective, the cost for a dinner was around $50 to $60 per person. The cost of a Singapore sling (overpriced drink) at the famous Raffles Hotel- very overrated and it can be a pass on the next trip was $24. Yeah, for one drink, but it came with free peanuts so believe you me, I got that $24 worth of peanuts!
The hotel's were similar in cost to the rest of the trip. The cost of the Marina Bay Sands was about $600 a night, and the Mandarin Oriental was close to $400. The Marina Bay Sands has one thing going for it- the pool. The boat at the top of the hotel is the pool for the hotel. Yes it's nice and has good views, but the price for pool admission was put into the room.
The room in general was above average but not spectacular- I couldn't get over the hard mattress and the price. Since this was also a business trip, most of the room and board was covered, I mean please do you really think WE'd spend $600 on a room? I preferred the Mandarin Oriental's room over the Marina Bay Sands. But at the Marina Bay Sands the views of the metal glowing tree's spitting out oxygen really relaxed us at night- maybe it was the oxygen.
What to Do?
Well when one person has to work, the other has to play. Lewife was unfortunately working during this time so I got to experience Singapore. I walked through the Singapore Gardens by the Bay (the glowing metal tree statues that pump oxygen-yeah that does sound like a sci-fi horror movie in the making), went to the zoo(apparently they have a night zoo where you can see the animals that are nocturnal), went to shopping malls, and flew drones.
My friend, who went to Singapore in a similar manner where one of them had to work and the other experienced Singapore, had tailored suits made. There are amusement parks, huge museums, and Uber. You will be able to find something to do.
The only thing we weren't able to make and wished we tried was the Michelin guide recommended food stalls.
Why is Singapore multicultural as described in the title? Because anything, literally ANYTHING, that you are wanting to find/eat you can find in Singapore. One day I decided I wanted to get German sausages. For dinner we wanted to eat Chili Crab. The next morning for breakfast we wanted French crepes. Everything was available! That was the remarkable thing about Singapore. From any store that you like going to, to whatever mood you are in for food they have options for you.
Singapore is definitely a great starting off place to experience Asia for first time Asia travelers. You get the experience of being in a new culture, but not really feeling too far from standard comforts. It does have a Las Vegas, touristy, flashy, and fake feeling sometimes. But, if you ever wondered what it's like to walk in an underwater store to emerge in a Louis Vuitton superstore then Singapore is calling you!