Day 5: Singapore
We woke up to a beautiful sunny day in Singapore. I went down to the pool for a refreshing dip overlooking the Changi Control Tower.
Before heading back up, I couldn’t resist lingering in the hallway to watch these magnificent aircraft take off. As an AvGeek, I love staying at airport hotels. Many of these jets are now stored in the Australian outback as we wait to resume air travel.
We had breakfast in the club lounge, which was pretty simple although they did do custom eggs benedicts. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any Singaporean coffee.
After breakfast, we headed back out to the Jewel - our home for the day. The Jewel is a $1.7 billion shopping and entertainment complex that was added to Changi Airport in 2019. It is connected to the passenger terminals via a series of sky bridges. A skytrain, which connects the airside areas of the terminals, also pass through the Jewel. This allows transiting passengers to see it without officially entering the country. The crown “jewel” of this complex is the world's tallest indoor waterfall called the (HSBC) Rain Vortex, which uses recycled rainwater.
Surrounding the Rain Vortex is a lush forest known as the (Shiseido) Forest Valley. It spans one of the sides of the Jewel across five floors.
It’s remarkable seeing all this nature indoors, but not that surprising as we have visited the somewhat similar Gardens by the Bay complex in Singapore. On the top floor of the Jewel is Canopy Park which houses many activities and gardens. A lot of these require an extra admission fee, but the main park was free during our visit.
There were many animals made from flower sculptures like this elephant fountain.
It kind of feels like we are walking inside a futuristic utopia. They even had real cherry blossoms for this time of year.
There was also a small slide - it was for all ages, okay?
There was also an area that sort of resembled a jungle gym. We felt we were too old for this, but could imagine it to be quite fun for kids.
It’s amazing to feel like you are outdoors but without bearing the Singaporean heat. We then went through the rest of the levels, exploring the numerous shops which span both local stores and international brands.
At the bottom floor, you can see the waterfall flowing down the glass - a very mesmerizing effect.
For lunch, we went down to the food court, which is excellent in Singapore in both value and taste. I got a chicken rice combo and my fiancée got a variety of dishes from an Indonesian stall. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals.
Afterwards, we headed down to the supermarket in the basement and picked up some snacks to bring to the Maldives. By now it was early afternoon, so we headed back to the hotel to take a break - another great part about living inside the airport. We wrote our Singapore post cards in the lounge while I sipped some iced coffee.
At around 4pm, we checked out, got our luggage, and headed to the airport check-in counter. Our flight was at 8pm so it was still pretty early, but we explored most of the Jewel already and wanted enough time to see the airside parts of Changi. Despite my past visits, I never actually spent a lot of time here.
There are lots to do inside the three main Changi Terminals which are connected both on foot and by train. We visited all the different gardens, including the Butterfly Garden, Orchid Garden, Cactus Garden, and Sunflower Garden.
We ended our Changi tour at the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge for Business Class passengers. The lounge was huge and had a pretty solid, but not amazing selection of food and beverage.
We visited both SilverKris lounges in Terminal 2 and 3, which are roughly identical. Overall, it has everything you would expect from a business class lounge, but isn’t above and beyond the norm, unlike Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines. However, they are renovating all the Singapore Airline lounges at Changi and the renders show some pretty awesome spaces coming in the future.
Finally, we made our way to the gate, which is also where security is done. Our flight, SQ452 to Malé was the same type of aircraft as our inbound flight from Taipei, a brand new 787-10. In fact, we had the exact same seats, 16D and G, so you can see the previous blog for details. This was the menu for the short 4-hour hop to the Maldives.
After takeoff, I started with a SilverKris Sling which is like a Singapore Sling but made with orange and pineapple juice - very refreshing.
For the appetizer, we had a scallop and duck antipasto plate which was very good. I paired it with a white wine.
For this leg, I pre-ordered the famous Lobster Thermidor, probably the most popular dish on Singapore Airline's Book the Cook service.
This was really quite fantastic. The lobster was cooked perfectly and very easy to eat. The sauce was delicious and the saffron rice brought everything together. My fiancée had a Chinese-style cod dish.
For dessert, I had a mango basil chantilly cake with some pineapples on the side.
I enjoyed some more tea after dinner and then took a nap. By the time we landed, it was past midnight Singapore time and 10:30pm local time.
We deplaned directly onto the tarmac down the stairs, so we were glad we checked in our luggage. Once in the terminal, we walked through a temperature scanner and quickly cleared immigration. After picking up our luggage, we walked into the arrivals hall to a sea of drivers from the various hotels. After a little while, we found our guy whom was very friendly. We took a seat while he waited for a few more passengers. Once everyone was here, they took our luggage and we got in the van. It was pitch black outside as we drove from Velana International Airport to nearby Hulhumale, where we were staying the night. Since we were arriving so late, our resort, Conrad Maldives, told us to stay in Malé until the following morning which is when they would arrange a seaplane to take us to their island. I booked Hotel Ocean Grand on Expedia for just $60 but the service was excellent throughout our short stay. After arriving at the hotel, they unloaded our luggage and brought out these delectable mango smoothies for us while they handled all the check-in details. Though our room was pretty small, it was sufficient for the one night. Tomorrow, we arrive in paradise.