Outings in Singapore

Posted by Julia

A local friend in Singapore once told us that Singapore is about M&Ms - malls and movies. These are certainly good ways to escape the heat. We spent a lot of time at the apartment establishing Jackson's sleep and play routine, but we did manage to get out of the house every once in a while.

Sentosa Island
Our friends Jameson and Katie visited us in Singapore. Here we are in front of the merlion statue.

Luckily, the scorpion didn't bite him.

James and Jameson also checked out the new casino and were disappointed. It took a long time for them to first find the casino, then they had to put on pants to enter the place. Once inside, there was a long wait at each gambling pit and there were no free drinks. Total fail!

Arab Street
Really cute block in the Arab neighborhood. Most of Arab street are stores selling beautiful fabrics and buttons.

Little India

Night Safari
The night safari was an incredible experience. We saw animals from huge hippos to giraffes to the sleeping leopard below.

Singapore Food
Yu Sheng - Chinese prosperity salad we enjoyed for the Lunar New Year.

We loved going to hawker stalls for delicious and cheap food.

Singapore is famous for its chili crab and black pepper crab. I was always too eager to dig into the chili crab, so these photos are only of the steamed crab.
Even Jackson wanted a piece of this monstrous crab claw.

Singapore - The Most Convenient City in the World?

Posted by Julia

After adventuring through New Zealand, Singapore was a welcomed rest stop for us on the trip. We stayed in the Orchard Parksuites serviced apartments which was across the street from the MRT, several large malls (Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann, ION Orchard...) and a ton of food options. Even the pediatrician we found was a mere five minute walk. There was really no reason to ever leave our one block radius except for the fact that we actually wanted to see the rest of the city-state.

While Singapore's multi-ethnic culture is evident in the people, food and languages that you encounter, the country is unified by having English as its first language. This made our lives a lot easier! We got around the city via the MRT, a convenient and fast subway network. Many stations are connected to shopping malls which means you rarely have to face the heat and humidity. Taxis were also easy to get. All we had to do was text the taxis service with our zip code (building code). Since Singapore is a small place, each zip code is usually assigned to one building. Once a confirmation text is sent back (within a minute or two), the taxi will be there in under 10 minutes. How cool is that? Taxis were also cheap.

One of the first things we always hear about Singapore is that it is very family friendly. Indeed our expectations were fully met. I was thrilled to find Jackson's favorite Happy Baby food brand imported from the US, along with a ton of other organic food options (Only Organic, Healthy Times, etc.) There are high chairs in every restaurant, baby changing and nursing areas are abundant and childcare is easy to obtain. In fact our concierge often arranged for a babysitter on a day's notice and the cost was about $12USD/hr. Unreal. We also rented a bunch of bulky toys for Jackson from rent-a-toy so that he would have a somewhat normal first year playing with the requisite playpens, walkers, etc. The service dropped off and picked up the toys but the bonus was that we didn't have to lug around stuff that Jackson will grow out of within a month.

With all the convenience, safety, cleanliness and cheap services, there is certainly a price. Unlike locals who mostly live in public housing developments which are subsidized (in addition to them enjoying a low income tax rate of ~15%), visitors and expats may have to pay a hefty rent. The rent we paid in Singapore is the highest that we will pay anywhere on our trip. But it was definitely worth it for a couple traveling with their busy and growing 10 month old!

Next up: Venturing beyond the one block radius of our Singapore apartment...