Spring Break in Singapore

Many people have been confused by our answer to the question, "Why are you going to Singapore?" Going to see the coolest airport in the world doesn't seem like a worthy enough reason to go! The Changi airport in Singapore is VERY hyped, so you've probably heard about it, especially if your Internet algorithm sends you all the travel content. Now that we've been there, we can let you know that the description online is definitely sparklier than the actual thing. 

For the most part, it's a pretty average airport. There are four terminals [we visited three of them], each with their gates, normal stores, traditional carpet, etc. There are a few unusual things hiding in corners here and there, like little gardens [butterfly, cactus, sunflower, orchids], a long slide [we didn't try it], and a movie theater [pretty small]. The reason it gets so much attention is probably for its newest building [The Jewel], which is pictured above. The center is made up of this incredible vortex waterfall and a terraced forest all the way around. The trains that shuttle passengers between terminals [inside security] travel right through the middle of the Jewel. You must leave security to walk around inside Jewel. Opened to the public in 2019, the Jewel is full of restaurants and shops, circling this massive waterfall/forest experience. Pretty neat, but still not worth a whole trip to Singapore! 

It's a good thing we had lots of other things planned, even a few days across the border in Malaysia! After being on the plane for sixteen hours, we tried our best to sleep during the Singaporian night [which was our day]. We were ready to go out and explore soon after the sunrise! And we were really hungry [only McDonald's sounded reasonable to Ezra]. He did try sugarcane juice later...
We wandered through Fort Canning, not sure what we were looking for. There were escalators outside, which Ezra really loved. This is an Insta-worthy spot, right next to a tunnel. We were fortunate to be right here when it started to RAIN. We sheltered for awhile, waiting for things to settle down. We found some jackfruit being sold on the street, I got a henna tattoo, and we walked way too much before finding our bus north to Malysia.
We made it to Johor Bahru before dark, but it wasn't easy to find the right apartment building [there were so many towers in this complex] in order to sign in and get our key from the mailbox. The AirBNB host did really well with his communication, but there was a language barrier and we were pretty tired! Once we made it up to the 22nd floor, we figured out how to crank up the air conditioning, connect the Wi-Fi, and found a grocery story to buy our morning yogurt. We tried not to wake up at 1am, but if I remember correctly, we were up very early and ready to go, but we had to wait until the rental car company opened at 8:30. We found Ezra some "banana cake" that might have been his favorite food of the whole trip. 
I was so anxious about driving on the other side of the road. I had NO IDEA how it would feel and how accident prone I would be. It turned out to be no problem at all!! I adjusted quickly and easily and with Ezra's navigational support, we did just great getting around! I drove over to Desaru [east coast], which used to be a local vacation destination, but seems to have been abandoned [probably due to Covid]. But we got to see the beach, we saw monkeys running across the road, and we got to enjoy a fantastic ATV tour!! Renting a car was 100% worth it, especially since public transportation in that area is really minimal. 
We spent quite a lot of time in shopping malls [I wasn't sure exactly what else to do in JB], where we played laser tag, ate interesting things, and looked at TONS of sneakers. Then it was time to return the car and head back to Singapore. The train/bus system in Singapore is really convenient, inexpensive, and easy to use. We just bought "Buffy" cards and re-loaded them when they would get low. Each trip was usually between $1-2. The only tricky part was that we needed local currency to reload, because the machines wouldn't accept foreign credit cards. Good thing I brought some US cash with me and there were places to exchange it!! We headed straight over to Sentosa Island, across the rope bridge to the Southernmost point in continental Asia. 
Other adventures on Sentosa Island included Fort Silosa, the cable car, the luge, the waterpark, and many things we didn't try [like bungee jumping]. 

Originally, I had taken the cable car off my list because it seemed like an unnecessary luxury, but Ezra was like, oooohhh, that looks fun, and I figured out how to use points from our flight to pay for one of us! It was worth it because of the great views!! The other thing that was worth it for the views was the bumboat tour after dark!! The city lights are pretty incredible in Singapore! 
Of course we spent plenty of time walking around, looking for interesting buildings, murals, food, etc. One very cool thing about Singapore is the amount of greenery everywhere. There are parks, trees, flowers, bushes, and other green things OFTEN...even on building roofs and balconies! It is hot when the sun shines, however, and Ezra would tell you that the humidity, the food smells, the cigarette smoke, and the amount of walking we did, that he was pretty wiped out most of the time. Also, we didn't conquer our jet lag until day six or seven of our trip and we struggled to find enough protein to eat [Ezra doesn't love eggs or tofu]. But he had moments of happiness here and there. : p 
Ezra was very happy to find a Little Ceasars near our hostel! That pizza might have saved our trip! He also loved the orange juice vending machines! The mango crepe cake and fried rice helped him regain a little energy as well, but by the time we made it to our concert [Singapore Symphony Orchestra!!] he was ready to sleep again. He heard maybe the first five minutes of Mozart's 25th Symphony. I may have dozed off as well [such relaxing tunes], but I really enjoyed the evening, especially the Requiem. 
What else did we do? More walking, eating more interesting food and fruit, and watching the sunset. By this time in the trip, we were becoming more acclimated to the time zone, the climate, the food options, and the transportation. We had a pretty relaxing weekend before preparing to make the journey home. 
I finally figured out the city bike share system on our last day [gotta go back with Tim!] and enjoyed a 3 mile ride along the river. Singapore has the best paved pathway system and is kept really clean. I would love to come back and enjoy seeing more of the city! We checkout out of our hostel [great review for HipsterCity], drank some very strong chai from a hawker stall, bought some mangoes, and headed over to the airport. 
Because we were trying to get back on Pacific Standard Time in order to be back at school on Wednesday, we slept for a few hours and then tried to stay awake during Seattle's daytime. There is a rooftop pool in Terminal One of Changi [not free!], where Ezra spent a couple hours! They do have a few unique sleeping/lounging areas, but all the best spots were already taken when we arrived. We watched a couple movies in the theater, ate ramen at 4am, and finally boarded our plane after almost twenty hours at the airport! We did manage to sleep for almost half the flight home and were very disturbed at the change in temperature. Coming home to an icy wind and 38 degrees is no fun!! Needless to say, we didn't wander around much in Seattle, but instead hung out at the train station for several hours before catching our train home.
So, here we are! We made it home after traveling halfway around the world. What an adventure! I love traveling with my kids, because they get to experience so many new things, go through challenges with me, and just gain a larger worldview. I don't know if I'll be able to go on any more trips with Pete or Buzz, but I've enjoyed our times together so much. 


I crossed some items off my #40before40 list!! 

23. Drive on the other side of the road [legally!]
24. ATV tour in Malaysia
25. Get a henna tattoo [temporary!]
26. Visit the southernmost point in continental Asia
27. Ride the Skyline Luge on Sentosa Island
28. Try "carrot cake" [Malaysian food that doesn't even include carrots]
29. Try popiah [similar to an egg roll, but better]
30. Try murtabak [layered savory pastry]
31. Try laksa [soupy noodle bowl]
32. Try cendol [similar to shave ice with jellies and sweet beans]
33. Try egg prata [fried batter with egg]
34. Try durian ice cream sandwich 
35. Ride a bumboat
36. Enjoy a Singapore Symphony Orchestra concert

I need to think of four more things to do before my 40th birthday [which is in three weeks]!! Here we goo!! And then, my last day of teaching is June 7, which will cue the Great Reset [basically, I'm 18 again, deciding what I want to be when I grow up]!! Yikes! 

Everything after that is completely unknown. Cheers to new adventures! Thanks for hanging out with me!