I think I’m obsessed with planning my travel itinerary. When I was buying the ticket for my Brisbane, Australia to Paris, France trip, I had a choice between a 1 hour and an 8 hours of layover in Singapore. Being an adventurous kid, I chose the long layover. Now, I haven’t been to Singapore before and looking at the world map, it is a tiny country. My online research is telling me that Changi Airport provides a free “City Sights” tour of the city for the people that are on a long layover. So off I go looking for this Registration Booth as soon as I got off the plane. The airport is massive and took me a fair while of hopping on airport rails to go between terminals of the airport to find this booth. The tour runs a number of times a day and night (Free Singapore Tour). You can leave your luggage in the airport lockers.
Our tour guide, a tiny, short (below 5 feet), joyful, middle aged woman, who spoke great English, gave us an ID and ushered us from the kiosk and zigzag our way through the airport’s immigration and security. Our group hopped on the bus for a half an hour journey to the city centre. A side note, as soon as I stepped out of the air-conditioned comfort of the airport, I was greeted by the humid and sweltering temperature of Singapore. I am wearing my typical “travellers” clothes like black long sleeve shirt, jeans and a jacket. After a few seconds outside, my head were dripping with sweat. Fuck me dead!
Once inside the bus, our tour guide, quite enthusiastically told us about life and the people of Singapore. Hardworking, very low unemployment, high mandatory home ownership, low crime rate and corruption. All thanks to their great leader, Lee Kuan Yew who has recently passed away. He is revered in Singapore. Almost a God like to the people. Though, indeed its very rare for a country to be economically rich in Asia but somehow, his leadership elevated them to First World. As we know, sad to say, the neighbouring Asian countries are piss poor, corrupt Third World. So he may have done something to make Singapore great.
I always wondered if the photo of a building that I saw a few years back was photoshopped. I mean, who would build a boat looking building on top of three towers. But it is real as I found out. And now I am looking at it. I can describe it as imaginative, wonderful and witty. The Marina Bay Sands are quite found of tourist and there are a lot of them around, taking selfies, me included 🙂 Our mandatory second stop is the Gardens By The Bay. By this time, I am struggling to breathe because of the humid air and I am sweating like a pig. My whole body, from my forehead to my legs are drench with sweat. The garden is wonderful, photogenic but the sky is overcast.
That was it. Overall total time of around 3 hours. Said goodbye and thank you to the guide, no tips were asked or given. She said before that she is doing this out of her heart, to show us foreigners how great and beautiful her country is. She is getting paid by the government and by the looks of it, it is enough for her. Unlike other people from other countries that ask for tips at the end of their services, she didn’t gave any hints of tipping or tell a sad life story. She’s funny and have been guiding for decades.
To kill time, I went to the Duty Free shop and bought a carton of cigarettes (which I will later regret). Walked around the Butterfly Garden which is nice and then went to the Food Court to get some of that delicious Asian food.
A wonderful highlight, albeit small, provided enough insight about the sights, the smell, the atmosphere. A small taste of what this country has to offer. Would love to see the city lights at night, maybe next time. Thanks Singapore, I had fun. Next stop, Paris.
The overall total cost (excluding airfare) was around $44.94AUD.
- $3.26. Easy Baggy – Left Baggage.
- $26.68. Duty Free Cigarettes.
- $15. Food Court Prepaid Card.