Let’s be honest, travelling is an incredible experience…. Once you get there. A flight spanning over 20 hours long can be dreaded by even the most seasoned travellers. It’s common knowledge most flight travel is broken up into two sections with a layover in between. The layover is often thought about as the most dreaded or even most overlooked part of the travel process and I’m here to tell you why it can be the most exciting.
A friend and I booked a flight from Melbourne to London with around just over 20 hours of air time with a 12 hour layover between in Singapore. I instantly pictured my future of sitting stiffly in cramped airport seats or using my back-pack as a pillow against the dusty carpeted terminal flooring for 12 hours. This was enough of a deterrent and we decided, instead of torturing ourselves, to book a hotel room in the city to get some rest and maybe pop around to some of the closer sites. We were blown away by them.
So, let’s get into the top 5 reasons you should layover in Singapore.
- The Airport, Obviously
If you aren’t already familiar with Singapore Changi Airport, then let me fill you in. It doesn’t matter if your layover is 3 hours or 13 hours, there is always something incredible to see inside the airport itself. This isn’t your ordinary airport, unless your ordinary airport has a pool, cinema, shopping centre, rainforest with an enormous waterfall and a walk-through butterfly enclosure. Seriously , a walk through butterfly enclosure that I am embarrassed to admit how long I spent in.
Upon leaving the airport in a hire car, shuttle or Uber, take note of the main highway. It is incredibly straight and lined with vibrant flowers that can be placed underground in a matter of minutes. This is because the main highway can be converted into an emergency runway if needed. Pretty neat huh?
Tip: If you’re hungry in the airport and have a craving for western food, DO NOT eat at the Burger King. They mixed Milo with water. Enough said.
- Markets and Fish Shoes
That’s correct. Fish shoes. Fish shoes are rubber slip on shoes that are shaped and coloured exactly like a fish. You can buy these from the markets which are not too far from affordable, decent accommodation. Fish shoes are everywhere and are also a great and fashionable gift for a loved one back home. Or an enemy, they really work for both.
These busy markets sell everything from delicious street food, to exotic jewelry to “designer” clothes and handbags to gift your friends back home who will never know the difference. The markets are hot and stuffy so pack light clothes and keep a fresh water bottle on hand. Be sure to practice your haggling skills and grab a bargain to take with you on your future adventures.
Tip: You will always get something cheaper if you ask. Don’t be afraid to offer a reasonable price because their top priority is making the sale.
- Gardens By The Bay
More specifically, SuperTree Grove. Within the luxurious collection of sites located on Marina Bay Sands including the infamous hotel with the ship on top, but we’ll get to that later, is a cluster of majestic man made trees that span from 20 to 50 metres in height. With the ability to travel to the treetops, make sure you’ve got your camera ready to snap a fantastic view from an observation deck of the surrounding gardens. The tropical gardens combined with the man-made structures really bridges together nature’s connection with humanity. So take a breath and experience the joys of nature in what seems like a concrete world.
Make sure to wander through the gardens during the day and to marvel at the spectacular light show of Supertree Grove at night. Whatever time of day you’re there, you’ll see something awe inspiring.
Tip: It’s HOT. Make sure to find sufficient shade and water supply. Temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees celsius and cause fainting spells and nausea. I learnt the hard way.
- The Boat on the Towers
That is correct. A ship, a big one, on top of three towers.
Marina Bay Sands Hotel is a marvel both on the inside and outside. If you have time in your schedule it is worth going up to the observation deck on the actual ship itself and look down upon the city. If you run out of time, like myself, then to simply gaze up at its colossal infrastructure is an experience. Or just watch the movie Crazy Rich Asians and live vicariously through them. There aren’t many places in the city where you wouldn’t snap a decent picture of the hotel.
Tip: The best time to get a decent photo is after dark when the building is lit up in a brilliant glow.
- It’s easy!
Singapore is a fantastic place to visit and can make a dreaded layover worth your time and money. It’s affordable and whether you’re travelling there specifically or as a stop along the way there is always a reason to be excited to visit. Book your flights and keep Singapore in mind when you take your next steps into the world.