Next time… I’m already rethinking my strategy for flying long-haul flights…
Don’t take midnight or later flights out – it means you are tired and have spent a long time waiting for departure and by the time you board, you’re hyped, but so tired all you really need is sleep, not food.
Don’t plan long layovers, if its more than 8 hours it’s too long. And, arriving in Singapore at 7am meant waiting around in the airport transit area for a while until it was worthwhile heading to town where most shops and attractions opened after 9.30am.
Don’t expect you can leave your heaviest carry on items in storage at the airport – we had to take our laptops with us as they are not allowed to be stored. And be sure you know the weight of your carry on so as not to be ripped off by the guy behind the storage counter who weighs “by hand”. First, he suggested it was a large bag (definitely carry on size), and then insisted it was over 10kg, which we knew it wasn’t, especially without the laptop.
Check your social media pages as we discovered that old friends of ours had also just arrived in Singapore. It turned out we could catch up with each other, again proving that when you travel you can make connections in unexpected ways.
Catch taxis or uber between sites when in humidity. It’s nice to enjoy air-conditioned comfort even for a short ride. And it saves the hassle and potential angst of working out how to get from A to B on iPhone maps… (are we still on the blue line?)
First stop was the Skyway to Mt Faber and then across to Sentosa Island where we enjoyed wandering, trying in vain to work out how to hire the bikes from the bike stations and, best of all, chilli crab – which is a messy Singapore tradition for us. Definitely not the cheapest lunch at over NZ$100, but worth it to break up the day – and dinner was a long long way away.
We loved the Gardens by the Bay – never having made it there before (due to walking places and getting too hot and bothered on previous trips). The domes are air conditioned and cool to walk around. So much to see and take in. The Flower Dome had a special Sakura display and was packed this Saturday afternoon, but well worth the visit. And the Cloud Dome was absolutely fantastic. We loved the rainforest walk through the clouds and the variety of vegetation and the fun of spotting all the hidden items.
By the time this was done, we were pretty much walked out. We made an attempt at wandering the shopping streets around Orchard Road; by now our feet were sore and our bodies had had enough….but we were only 10 hours into our 17-hour layover.
We toddled back to the airport and enjoyed a nice shower in the lounge which was a great way to freshen up and use up some time. The Asian lounges are soulless places. Very sombre and quiet, a bit like being in an old-fashioned club or library. There wasn’t much to see on TV or read so it was a matter of entertaining yourself as much as possible, or trying to rest up for the next flight, that you knew you really wanted to sleep on.
Finally, it was time to board our A380 – the monster plane – after a long wait and far too much time between flights…but wait, what’s this? Our flight is delayed…? The gate area became a shambles as passengers heard announcements from a nearby gate and thought it was ours. There was confusion and jostling as hundreds of people tried to work out if they were supposed to be boarding yet, or not. It was not a great example of communication and seemed badly managed by staff. Finally someone managed to convey to us that the plane had a minor technical issue which had to be resolved prior to boarding, so we waited on… until finally over a half hour later we were able to board for a longer 13.5-hour leg to Paris. We were very thankful for a lovely wide and flat seat/bed where we managed to get a reasonable sleep until we entered European airspace.