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Singapore - Rooftop Pool and Gardens by the Bay


View South East Asia Grand Tour 2023 on Grete Howard's travel map.

“What is that noise?” I am dragged, quite unwillingly, out of a deep sleep at some ungodly hour this morning. Switching my alarm off, I am sorely tempted to capitulate to my body’s demand that I immediately return to the land of slumber… but then I remember where I am and the reason why I set the alarm.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel Swimming Pool

Being the very first people in the rooftop swimming pool as it opens at 06:00 justifies getting out of bed at 05:30 on holiday.

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Not another person in sight

It is still dark at this time in the morning, and the views over the twinkling lights of Singapore from the edge of the infinity pool are stunning. The city that never sleeps.

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This, the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool, is one of the main reasons we are spending time here in Singapore, so we make the most of it by floating around in the warm water, leaning out over the edge admiring the view, and just generally chilling, until it gets light.

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Breakfast

It is no surprise that the choice of food at the Hotel’s Rise Breakfast Restaurant is nothing short of incredible. There is something for everyone here: Japanese, Chinese, local dishes, American, and Continental.
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With a lavish selection of sumptuous-looking dishes from all over the world, what does my darling husband pick? Chocopops. Each to their own, I guess.

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Without any guilt whatsoever, I make an absolute glutton of myself, taking advantage of the many choices available – we are unlikely to see a spread comparable to this for the next few weeks, at least not until we arrive in Kuala Lumpur.

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Round 1 - fruit

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Round 2 - bacon (making the most of it, as we will be in a Muslim country for the next couple of weeks)

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Round 3 - smoked salmon - one of my favourite breakfast dishes

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Round 4 - Cinnamon muffin

David is more restrained, but he does go up for seconds of egg and bacon.

DJI Mini 3 PRO

Having looked into the drone laws of the different destinations on this trip, it seemed a great opportunity to do some drone photography along the way. Most of the countries we are visiting are very relaxed about their use… except Qatar, which not only forbids the use of unmanned flying aircraft by foreigners, but they go as far as banning the import of drones completely, punishable by a heavy fine. Having read about travellers who were not just fined, but also had their drones confiscated, as they explained that all the luggage is X-rayed upon entry, we did not want to risk it. As the law-abiding citizens that we are, we will not entertain the idea of even trying to break the laws of another country, so we left our drone at home.

The more I looked at photographs online before our departure (from the Philippines in particular), the more my disappointment grew. Until I came up with an idea: what if we buy a basic drone set-up in Singapore, bring all our extra accessories with us from home, and then sell the drone on our return to the UK at the end of the trip? Any financial loss can then be counted as a ‘rental charge’.

Once this idea grew into a proper plan, I checked out camera stores in Singapore, and found one where I could pre-order the drone from the UK, and pick it up from their store in Singapore.

Cathay Photo

We grab a cab from outside the hotel for the short journey to the other side of the bay, and immediately locate the store in the Peninsula shopping plaza.

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While it seemed like a simple execution when I was planning it back home, once we are there, the formalities (checking credit cards and passports, and arranging the paperwork for a tax refund) seem to drag on. And on. Eventually, I am the proud owners of a new drone, and we quickly pick up another taxi back to Marina Bay Sands.

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Rather than driving around the block to the main entrance of the hotel, the driver drops us off at the far end of the complex. This suits us fine, as we want to stop for some lunch in a café we saw advertised on the in-room TV hotel channel.

Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer

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This place is casual and fun, but with nice little touches that I have not seen elsewhere, such as this basket supplied for our bags, rather than having to place our precious items on the floor.

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As a true ‘cider-head’, David is delighted to find some on the drinks menu. The bizarreness of it all is not lost on me: An Englishman and a Norwegian drinking French cider, served by an Indian in a New York style restaurant in Singapore. I guess that is what they call truly cosmopolitan.

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It is not the burgers, nor the beer (or cider), that attracts us to this place, but their famous Crazyshakes ®.

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What can I say?

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Advertised as milkshakes, they are more like luxury sundaes, visual masterpieces, and absolutely enormous.

Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter Shake

Chocolate frosted rim with chocolate gems, and peanut butter cups, topped with a sugar daddy, pretzel rods, chocolate covered pretzels, whipped cream, and chocolate drizzle.

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Churro Choco Taco Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake

Vanilla frosted rim with cinnamon toast crunch topped with choco taco, two churros, whipped cream, and dulce de leche drizzle.

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We both make a brave attempt at these mountains of sugary overload, but find ourselves beaten, and have to retire to the room for a snooze!

Gardens by the Bay

During the initial planning stages of this trip, I was particularly keen to add a stopover in Singapore, purely because of these gardens and their nightly light show. Having visited Singapore three times previously (albeit the last visit was over 20 years ago), we are not really interested in spending time seeing the sites of the city, especially not in this heat and humidity.

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Another reason for choosing to stay at Marina Bay Sands Hotel, is that they are within walking distance of the park, accessed via an elevated walkway, which incidentally is not easy to find. Following the signposts, we make our way along the ground floor of the hotel, exit through one of the many doors, take a lift up a couple of floors, and then back through the hotel and out the other side to reach the walkway.

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The walkway with our hotel in the background

The park is divided into several zones, some of which are free to enter, others require the purchase of tickets.

The Dragonfly Lake

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The Chinese Gardens

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The World’s Longest Sculpture
Stretching over 192m, the artwork features 60 endangered animals cast in bronze to raise awareness of wildlife conservation.

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The Indian Garden

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Mid-Autumn Festival

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Supertree Grove
This is what I have come to see – the ‘forest’ of 18 tall metal ‘trees’ connected by an elevated skywalk.

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Having checked the website for information prior to leaving home, we head for the Information Centre, in order to hire a wheelchair for me. It is not so much the walking that is a problem for me, it’s standing still. While the Information Office is closed, the ticket counter arranges a chair for me, as well as selling us tickets for the skywalk.

The skywalk

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After a quick pit-stop in one of the many cafés within the gardens, we take the wheelchair back and perch ourselves on a low wall, waiting for the light show to start. Along with hundreds of other people.

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The Garden Rhapsody
As the sky loses its colour, and darkness envelopes the park, music fills the air, and the trees come alive with dazzling lights in every colour imaginable, synchronised in time to the beat of the music.

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Once the extravaganza is over, we join the throng of people making their way back across the walkway to Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

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A Chinese temple in the middle of the Supertree Grove is beautifully lit.

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As is this covered walkway

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View from the walkway over the Dragonfly Lake to the Singapore Wheel behind

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Even our hotel has some impressive lights after dark

The Garden Rhapsody from Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Taking advantage of the spectacular views over the gardens for the rooftop bar of our hotel, we settle down with a drink and a sandwich to wait for the second show of the evening. The view from up here gives a totally different perspective of the show.

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Drone Light Show

As we finish our drinks before going back to the room, we spot some moving lights over the Marina Bay area, and work out that they must be drones. We are then treated to the added bonus of a surprise drone show, no doubt a practice session for the forthcoming F1 event, as the displays feature the names of some of the sponsors.

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With the bar now closed, and both of us still trying to catch up from the jet lag, we make our way back to the room.

Thank you very much to Undiscovered Destinations for creating this exciting itinerary for us.

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Posted by Grete Howard 11:18 Archived in Singapore Tagged singapore breakfast swimming pool light_show skywalk swimming-pool cider wheelchair infinity_pool drone gardens_by_the_bay dji supertree_grove undiscovereddestination the_grand_south_east_asia_tour marina_bay_sand_hotel marina_bay_sands-swimming_pool dji_mini_pro_3 drone_laws cathay_phone black_tap crazyshakes gardens_by_the_bay_light_show drone_show drone_light_show the_garden_rhapsody

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Comments

WOW WOW WOW, what a read, you got me with a morning swim and amazing views, the chocopops were just to die for and I didn't stop giggling seeing that amazing picture of the both of you with those crazy shakes ... never heard of it, but I want one with the taco's as well. I guess you don't need to eat anything again after such an indulgence! I loved the read so much I cannot wait for the rest of it. You guys have an amazing trip and although I went to the gardens once, it seems time to go back one day because the show is just unbelievably beautiful ... I so wanna go and check it out! :) :) :)

by Ils1976

Having been to Singapore years ago, on a brief stopover on route to Australia, I didn't think I had any desire to return, but you're certainly changing my mind about that! The hotel looks marvellous and as for the gardens, both by day and night they look spectacular! I'll definitely consider another stopover here if I can make it work for a future trip :)

by ToonSarah

Aww, thank you so much, Ils, it was an amazing experience. ♥

It was the Gardens by the Bay that initially drew us back to Singapore, Sarah, and then it just HAD to be THAT hotel. :)

by Grete Howard

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