Singapore is a city Doug has been to many times on business, but one I've never been to until this trip. It's one of his favorite cities in the world and he was excited to bring Carter and me here. Singapore is an extremely international city. It's sandwiched between Malaysia and Indonesia, almost on the equator, and is an incredible melting pot of cultures. Singapore is a big financial center, and so people from all over the world live and work here. As a result, there are incredible restaurants, world-class shopping and entertainment, and one of the largest and most successful casinos in the world.
We stayed at the Conrad, and they knew who were were when we walked in the door. No, really: someone walked up to us and said, "You must be the Smith family. We have your room ready for you." And then she handed Carter a teddy bear! It was pretty amazing service.
It's a city where there is a lot of money, and it shows. The sheer number of ridiculously expensive cars, in a city where you have to pay $50,000 just for the permit to own a car, was incredible. One tour guide told us that Singapore has the highest number of millionaires per capita of any other country in the world. Remember that gorgeous hotel we stayed at in Koh Samui? Someone there told us that the person who owns the hotel sold one of his seven houses in Singapore to pay for the construction of it. Yes, one house. It's crazy!
There are shopping malls everywhere, and many buildings are connected by tunnels and bridges, so that it's easy to walk a long way and never go outside. The sheer amount of shopping is nearly overwhelming: it's hard to imagine that many people actually have that much money to spend. We took advantage of the easy shopping opportunities to pick up a few needed items. Most of the shopping malls had play areas for kids, which Carter enjoyed.
The weather was hot and humid, but it was surprisingly tolerable. We weren't sure if that meant we were adjusted to the heat or if it wasn't that bad. We went out to some great restaurants, including an incredible champagne brunch (at which I drank way too much champagne):
One night we went out to a lovely German restaurant:
We went out for noodles, of course. Carter will eat pasta in basically any form, so he did just fine in Asia whenever there were noodles available.
We also went out to a Texas BBQ restaurant one night, and I have no photos of that, unfortunately. We didn't have high expectations for the BBQ, but it was actually very good!
We did more than eat, of course. One day we took a duck boat tour and saw some of the city.
It's interesting how similar this was to every other duck boat tour I've ever been on! The particular vehicle we were on was actually one that was in operation in New Orleans before it came here to Singapore.
The Singapore skyline is very beautiful.
The set of three buildings with the boat-like structure on top is the casino.
This statue is a mer-lion, apparently the symbol of the city.
The giant Ferris wheel is the Singapore Flyer, one of the ten largest Ferris wheels in the world.
We rode the Singapore Flyer on another day. I think it's technically a taller Ferris wheel than the London Eye, but I think the cars on the London Eye are larger.
There is a fantastic aquarium in Singapore called S.E.A., and it's currently the largest aquarium in the world. It was absolutely the most amazing and spectacular aquarium I've ever been to. The sheer size of it, the incredible variety of fish, the beauty of the displays -- it was stunning.
There was also a maritime museum that we rushed through so we could spend our time in the aquarium. The entire center of the museum had scale models of actual ships.
This one was really interesting. It showed a cross section of the sort of ship that carried exotic goods to ports around the world. It was huge! Check out the life-sized giraffes.
I took a ridiculous number of pictures in the aquarium. It was just that good.
There was an entire hall with jellyfish tanks. I've never seen so many jellyfish in my life!
There were some incredibly beautiful displays of colorful tropical fish. By the time we left, I was thinking about getting an aquarium when we get home.
Carter was fascinated!
These were the kind of sea urchins we saw when we snorkeled in Thailand. They're called long spine sea urchins.
There was a massive shark tank that we walked through.
It was amazing. I was dragging my feet as we left. I would go back in a heartbeat!
On another day, we went to Universal Studios. It's a small park compared to the ones in LA and Orlando, but it was still a lot of fun. We rode everything that Carter was tall enough to ride. Happily, the park wasn't very crowded (it was the middle of the week) and it wasn't ridiculously hot that day.
There was a Jurassic Park-themed area, in which we rode a river raft ride and got completely soaked. I mean dripping wet.
There was a Shrek-themed area too, with a fun 3D movie as the main attraction.
At the end of the week in Singapore, I could see why it's a place Doug likes. It has great restaurants, fantastic night life, tons of shopping, and it's incredibly clean and orderly. We spent a very relaxing week there, and we could easily have spent another without running out of new and fun things to do.
From there we flew to Bali, our last stop in Asia before beginning the Australia/New Zealand part of the trip. Here is Carter in the airport, ready to fly on to the next place!