Hello! I hope this finds you well. Me, life at the moment consists of surviving the day with two little ones, ideally in intensive air con, then falling asleep at 8pm. If I am lucky I might even get a midday nap in, or simply fall asleep on the couch while the children play. Mother of the year! Actually we have had a lot of playdates and events recently too as the school (and work for many) year comes to a close. Friends are jetting home on holidays while we bunker down for the summer, stock our freezer with ice cream and popsicles and play the baby waiting game.
One fun thing we did do recently was get away to Singapore for the weekend. My cousin and his wife had recently moved there with their little girl, and as we were both expecting new babies we wanted to visit before the babies arrived (which theirs did 3 weeks early the day after we left! Hi Pip and handsome Seb! xx).
I hadn’t been to Singapore since I was a teenager and didn’t really remember it well. As it is the other central expat hub in Asia I had expected it to be similar to Hong Kong, but in fact I found it really different! It was certainly a lot cleaner and better functioning, and I can imagine a much more practical place to live with kids. Of course it is unbearably hot just like here but without the seasons, and there is less of the awesome HK-Chinese culture that we love about Hong Kong. Both cities seem to have so much to offer, but aren’t too similar.
We loved what we saw of Singapore! We were lucky enough to stay in my cousin’s beautiful condo complete with a tropical oasis-style pool, and this was right near the centre of town so everything was easy to get to. Taxis are extremely cheap and they used Uber to get us around, which was so quick and easy and much more pleasant than being flung around in the back of a HK red taxi (Aiyah!). I would definitely recommend using Uber if you travel to Singapore.
A few of the amazing things we did in Singapore include:
- Taking a car to Faber Peak and riding the Cable Car to Sentosa. This is a lovely way to see Singapore from above and once you arrive at Sentosa there is LOADS to do. We took a cab to Tanjong Beach Club, which was awesome. The kids (and adults) can swim in the pool or relax on one of the many sun loungers, and drinks and lunch can be ordered while you’re there. The menu is fairly extensive with lots of delicious healthy options for the whole family. I could see myself lounging here on a kid free afternoon with a few cocktails and a good book too!
- Dinner at a Hawker Centre. Singapore is famous for its hawker centres, which are basically just food courts but with really good quality Asian food for insanely cheap prices. Think $2.50 for a plate of steamed buns or rice noodles. We went a bit overboard and sampled quite a few cuisines, my favourite being the delicious mixed Satay and of course my trusty rolled rice noodles, which I’ve become addicted to since living in China. YUM!
- Dinner at Lucha Loco in Duxton Hill. Delicious Mexican share plates with a buzzing outdoor atmosphere, the only downside was that I was unable to sample the margaritas!
- Singapore Zoo! This was a highlight for me because I love zoos and that is one thing we are really missing here in Hong Kong. Yes, there is the free “zoo” with birds and monkeys and the government playground you can find anywhere. But there’s nothing like what we had in Sydney, and the kids and I would often spend an afternoon at the zoo before we moved. Singapore’s zoo is even better in that it’s completely flat and easy to manage with a pram. The way the zoo is set out makes it easy to get up close to the animals, and there’s a dedicated kids area that we didn’t get time for but would definitely check out next time. You can also affordably pay for access to the little train that takes you around the zoo if you are worried about tired little ones (or adults!). Another great thing about this zoo is that you can hire tandem carts to pull around for older children, which is a big bonus as they do get exhausted with all the walking (and the heat – HK Disneyland take note).
J sadly had to leave halfway through the weekend to head to a conference in Germany, which meant I was flying home solo with the kids but it was totally fine. Our kids are very seasoned flyers by now and Singapore airport is AWESOME! There is so much to do there, even though we just hung out at the (huge, fun) kids play area.
While we were there we actually ran into some people we know through Heike’s gymnastics class who were also heading back to HK after a long weekend. While chatting they told me they travel to Singapore a few times a year because the kids love it that much – they stay at the Shangri La at Sentosa and do the theme parks (I seriously can’t wait to do this!) and often extend the stay for a week if one of them is there for work. It really is a kids paradise, much more so than Hong Kong. A friend of ours is always there for work so his wife and I have already started planning our next trip.
We flew with Cathay and leaving on their 8am flight meant we arrived on Friday in time for lunch, and left on their lunch time flight a few days later. While it is one of the longer flights within Asia (3.5 hours) it’s very easy and transit to and from Singapore airport is fast and efficient.
Highly recommended as a long weekend from Hong Kong or a transit destination from Aus for a few days – we can’t wait to go back!