Being escorted through Perth Airport in a wheelchair was not how I expected to start our family holiday to Singapore. As luck would have it, I suffered a foot injury just days before we were due to leave. This turned out to be something of a blessing as it gave us an express lane through Customs and forced us to use UBER, which encouraged us to travel further afield and explore new neighbourhoods. It also lessened the impact of the Singapore heat on our youngest son as we weren’t walking long distances.
Once I had finished venting my injury-fueled frustration to Hubby, I was able to relax and really enjoy this vibrant City, particularly its many attractions and eating places. The credit card was also spared because I couldn’t hit the shops as I had hoped for (there’s always next time!). Here’s a look at our first family trip to Singapore!
Things To Do
Hippo Bus Tour
We were so glad we decided to do this hop on hop off tour as the open top allowed our boys to be fully immersed in all the unique sights and smells of this sense-stimulating city. There were loads of interesting facts for them to learn from the kids commentary and every so often our little man would excitedly share what he was hearing through his earphones. The tickets are valid for 24 hours and the various routes cover all the main attractions as well as the popular local hawker markets.
- We had a travel towel in our backpack which was very useful to wipe down the wet seats after one of Singapore’s signature sudden downpours. There’s always the air conditioned lower deck if you prefer a safe option.
- If you travel with Singapore Airlines, keep your boarding passes as you get a good discount off the Hippo tickets, and many other attractions.
- Jump on board and purchase your tickets around midday. You can then split your adventures with little ones between two days if you have the time available.
Gardens by the Bay
This was a must-do for me after seeing spectacular photos of these lush gardens and famous Super Trees on Instagram. Once I discovered there was a tram tour of the Outdoor Gardens we were there in a flash. The tour lasted 25 minutes and covers all the main gardens and takes you down past Marina Bay with a full audio commentary. Our boys provided some additional entertainment to the other tourists through their reaction to the naked infant statue (My little man yelled out “Look there’s a naked baby with a willy”!!!).
At the completion of our tour we grabbed an ice-cream cone from McDonalds where the tram stopped and took a short walk to the children’s water playground. The boys had an absolute ball playing amongst the tipping buckets and the water spraying in all directions. There’s also a little playground here suitable for 0-5 year olds, change facilities and a kiosk selling snacks and drinks. For more information visit: www.gardensbythebay.com.sg
A vibrant corner of Singapore where you can enjoy wandering the many alleyways full of markets, temples, history and loads of restaurants. If you come here in early January like we did you will see all the extravagant Chinese New Year decorations lining the streets. Our boys were excited to see a massive brightly coloured Rooster sculpture which towered above us in the middle of the road, just in time for the Year of the Rooster celebrations.
The huge, glitzy shopping malls of Orchard Road need to be seen to be believed and are a must-visit, even if (like me) you aren’t wanting to hit the shops. We were so glad we came here during the festive season as the amazing Christmas decorations were still up. Every shopping centre had its own gorgeous christmas display out the front to admire and then there were decorations hung high above the length of the entire street. Ion Orchard with its wide range of diverse eateries to cater for all tastes, was one of our favourite shopping centres.
This island of fun was another part of Singapore we didn’t want to miss! We travelled here by monorail from the massive Vivo City Shopping Centre. Our boys loved the novelty of this quick, cheap trip to Siloso Beach via Universal Studios and Sentosa Resort. Once at Siloso Beach we took advantage of the shuttle bus which runs between the various beaches and attractions on this side of Sentosa.
Exploring the beaches:
Our first stop was Palawan Beach where we all loved the adventure of walking over the huge suspension bridge to an island with a fort. Our boys excitedly climbed up it to take in the ocean and island view at the top. This is the Southern-most point of Continental Asia and definitely worth having a look at. There’s lots of restaurants located right on the beaches here where you could sit and eat while the kids play. At this point, our exploration was cut short by another sudden downpour, so we skipped the restaurants and instead headed straight for the shelter of Kidszania.
Imagine a mini city complete with buildings, shops and vehicles where kids have the opportunity to work and earn money. Kidzania is exactly that and kids can come here and role-play whoever they want to be – a Pilot, Dentist, Fire Fighter, Paddle Pop maker, Shop Assistant and more.
At the entrance our boys were checked in by Qatar Airways and given a boarding pass to enter Kidzania. At this point they are also given some Kidzos currency to use within Kidzania. Each of the activities either cost money to do or kids can earn money through doing some of the jobs. At the end of their experience they can spend their Kidzos at the department store full of toys and gadgets.
We stayed for about four hours for the boys to explore the city and during this time they loved playing a game of soccer and being customers at Seven Eleven where they had to find all the items on a shopping list and take them to the counter to be served. I’m hoping this means they can do the grocery shopping for me now!
The highlight for my little dude and I would have to be the fire fighter role play where the kids dressed up as fire fighters and were trained how to use a hose. When the fire bell rang they jumped in a fire truck, which was then driven through the streets of Kidzania. Once they arrived at a building which was ‘on fire’ they jumped out and actually got to operate a hose with water to put the fire out!
Our boys weren’t up to working too hard the day we visited and didn’t have too many Kidzos in the bank to spend at the end. They still managed to purchase a stencil ruler each from the department store! For more information visit: www.kidzania.com.sg
- Purchase tickets on line as they are cheaper than purchasing them at the door.
- Visit outside of the Singapore school holidays (in 2017 avoid 11 March – 19 March; 27 May – 25 June; 1 September – 10 September and 18 November – 1 January 2018). We did this and there were still queues for the popular activities.
- Check at the popular activities whether there is the opportunity to put your child’s name down on a wait list so you can continue exploring and come back later. We discovered this was an option at the Pilot training a few hours after we’d already arrived. At this point there was still a two hour wait, so our boys missed out on this activity.
- If you have older kids, there is a parent lounge upstairs where you can sit and relax while you leave your kids to their own devices.
- Kidzania is recommended for kids aged four and up. The various activities are kids-only zones and adults are asked to stay outside and watch their kids through glass windows or a doorway.
Skyline Luge and Skyride
This was not what we were expecting! The skyride is set up like a ski lift and once in your seat you rise very high above the ground to get a spectacular view across Sentosa and the ocean. Unfortunately I didn’t feel like I could sit back and enjoy the view as I was paranoid our little men would move and topple over the bar to the ground below! I’m not sure if there’s an age limit in place for this ride but I wouldn’t recommend it for under-fives.
Once we made it to the top we took a big sigh of relief and made our way back down the hill on a luge. We purchased three separate passes so our seven year old could go down on his own, however once up there we realised he was going to have to tandem with us at least for the first few times. Even though we were left a bit frazzled by this experience, our boys loved the excitement of it all!!