Travel is Back !

I still can’t believe we have finally departed Australia again after three long years, two of them due to covid lockdowns and the third really just because the timing wasn’t right as well as multiple bouts of covid across our travel group. I also wasn’t willing to risk booking travel anywhere where a pre-departure PCR test was mandatory and thankfully everywhere I now want to go has done away with them.

Two years of doom scrolling just how impossible travel would be in the future and remarkably apart from uploading copies of vaccination certificates it’s largely the same, just significantly more expensive and crowded since everyone has decided they want to catch up on all that lost travel, and honestly who can blame them.

Although I spent the last month stressed at what could occur that would cause us to cancel this trip, our departure was really a non event, traffic out to the airport was thin, we had reserved parking at the airport which was found easily and we checked in and passed emigration and security in less than 30 minutes. Plenty of time to find a cafe and be blessed with the opportunity to spend over $35 on two coffees and two pastries.

Even the rain and strong wind didn’t interrupt the takeoff. Of course Sydney was the only part of Australia that had rain today, 10 minutes in the sky and most of the cloud cover disappeared and we had great views over the Darling river just before crossing into SA then NT. Unfortunately this time we tracked a little north of Uluṟu and didn’t get to see the rock.

Flying over western New South Wales

This trip is really just a short break for a week, heading to Singapore to check it out in a lot more detail, past visits have been brief sojourns (max two days) whilst going through Changi on the way to other adventures.

Changi airport was as efficient, clean and organised as ever. Took about 20 min to get past immigration, then 5 minutes in a queue for a taxi and before we knew it we were checked into our apartment. Chinatown looked amazing at night, so we will be heading there at some point to check that out.

After a bit of unpacking headed over to Clarke Quay for a quick bite to eat, oh wow, what a great choice that was. Just picked a random place and had a fantastic Asian Fusion Tapas.

Selection of Asian Tapas

So far a great start to the Holiday.

Changi Airport Singapore

I’m on the final leg of the journey home, back at T3 at Changi for the flight home to Oz. The checkin was a T3 but the plane actually departs from gate C1 which is technically in T1. Plenty of time to walk or take the skytrain. You can walk all the way around through T1, T2 and T3 but will take some time as the airport is massive.

Checkin area is massive. No queues.

Coffee was at Hudson’s, for an airport coffee not too bad. Better than the one I had here just over 5 weeks ago on my way to London. Apparently it’s the only Hudson’s store outside Australia. It’s pretty much standard chain based coffee, I certainly wouldn’t seek it out at home.

On the skytrain between Terminal 3 and Terminal 1

Lots of things here at Changi to keep weary travellers entertained between flights and waiting for departure. All of these are on the “air side” of the airport after passing through emigration.

The Lilly Pond garden.

Interesting display

Carp pond

Cactus garden

Butterfly garden. Unfortunately only thing active at this time of the morning was a moth.

You can watch the planes go as you go !

And the plane is here, with a little rain outside

Singapore, Happy Happy!

After I arrived yesterday, checked in and had the obligatory Singapore Sling by the pool I headed out to look around for dinner.

I settled on one of the oldest Hawker food centres in Singapore, the Telok Ayer Market. I had a fantastic Thai beef dish. Absolutely delish.

Singapore is certainly one clean place and obsessed with health and hygiene. One of the reasons I love this city. Each food stall is rated from A to D on a food safety / hygiene scale.

A – You could basically eat of the floor

B – Yeah, pretty good

C – Would you really want to chance it

D – This will probably kill you

For reference, almost all the food stalls in the Hawker centres are B rated. Only one was rated A which was a sushi place.

The metro (MTR) here is really good, seems to go most places. The hotel I’m at has one right next to it, you can get to it via the mall right opposite to completely avoid the humidity here.

When on the metro, after the English announcements, there is one that sounds like “Happy Happy Platform” It couldn’t possibly be that, so I googled it and it’s “Berhati hati di ruang platform” – Malay for “Please mind the gap between the platform”.

The MTR also have lots of little rhyming cartoons asking people to be mindful of other commuters.

At the metro stations, no free phone charging for you!

Even in conformist Singapore these share bikes are treated with contempt. Saw plenty of broken ones here.

My wifi router at home looks like it’s finally packed it in, so went looking for a new one. They have a shopping centre dedicated to geek stuff. They had the one I was thinking of, but the hassles of brining such a massive box home far outweighs the cost saving of buying it over the web at home, so I didn’t bother

Today after my awesome coffee I went down to the gardens at Marina Bay. I didn’t actually go in, the crowds were insane and they wanted $35 so I just walked around the outskirts of it and took the shuttle bus around it

Pictured is the famous Marina Bay hotel with its equally famous infinity pool. This is where I really wanted to stay, but at around 3 times what I’m paying for where I am, which is already a fabulous hotel, I wasn’t prepared to hit the wallet for that one this time just to swim in the pool. It would have to be a fantastic swim for $1000.

I did a little shopping, all of it for Emma since I went past one of her favourite clothes shops.

Before packing for the last time and heading out to find some dinner I had a dip in the pool here and a cocktail.

More than halfway home, Singapore has been an awesome place to break the journey in two and readjust to the clock in the part of the world. Daylight hours flight home tomorrow.

Went across the river to Clarke Quay for dinner. Plenty of nice food options here. All seemed to be rated “A” on the it might kill you scale. I had Mexican. Once the sun was down walking around outside was really pleasant.

Coffee For The Common Man

A friend of mine who lives in Singapore sent me a list of potential coffee places to try here (Thanks Janice!). One on the list that wasn’t that far from my hotel was “The Common Man Coffee Roasters”. Not only close but the name piqued my interest so off I went late in the morning after a significant sleep in.

Before even entering I could see this would be good, hardly anyone around and the place was pumping with people and a small queue had formed for tables. Plenty of awards posted on the walls for things they had won over the years

I think even the Baristas were surprised at how busy they were today they took a break from their coffee making for a few seconds to take a snap of the crowd on their phones, so I used that as an opportunity to ask them if I could take their photo, as I was sitting right behind the coffee machine. They of course obliged

The coffee was exceptional of course as I’d trust Janice on any food recommendation any time.

I had a granola with fruit and Greek yoghurt for brunch. Also delicious.

Now to work out what to see here in Singapore before flying home tomorrow.

Up, up and away

The flight kept getting delayed, we are reminded why Singapore continually wins awards for service, everyone given a snack box whilst they wait.

The older A380s run by Singapore have economy on the upper deck as well. I remembered now why I’d picked this particular seat. Only 2 on the side, no one behind me but seat fully reclinable and being on the upper deck you get to board first. You can also stick things under your seat as well as under the seat in front as the exit row is behind you.

I’d probably be a little annoyed if I’d shelled out for business class on this one. Whilst the seats are roomy they are not the bed like ones and the leather looks a little tatty. Apparently this jet is 10 years old.

A Concorde is on the tarmac. Unfortunately it’s story is very sad. An historic piece of aviation history deserves a better ending than this.

The lady sitting next to me turns out to be an even bigger plane spotter / travel geek than what I am. I have someone to talk to for a while now.

Apart from the delay the flight is pretty uneventful. I don’t even mind this delay as it means I won’t be arriving in Singapore at 5am

Flying over Poland again. I’m remind myself at how awesome it and underrated it was as a travel destination. Put it on your agenda!

They ran out of the chicken before they got to me so I had the curry lamb instead. It was delicious.

Arrive Singapore. Through immigration, customs and have my bag, all in less than 10 minutes. Not sure how they can be this good, no wonder it’s consistently voted Best airport in the world. And in 5 more minutes I’m in the metro. It’s spotless and blasting nice cool air.

Perversely right at this moment it’s cooler in Singapore than it is in Europe suffering from the heat wave. Humidity still higher though. Oh, and a reminder I’m in Asia, a sign banning durians (for good reasons too!)

In 30 min I’m at Fort Canning MRT, and can see my hotel. Clarke Quay looks a nice little area to be staying

Checked into the hotel, room not ready to 12 so went for a walk around for about an hour and a half. My internal clock was telling me it’s still 3am so I headed back to make use of the pool area until the room is ready. Of course in Singapore this had to be accompanied by a Singapore Sling, but at $25 a pop won’t be having too many of these