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As much as I love traveling, I don’t love airports. The busyness, the long lines, the airport security dude constantly directing me to the body scanner while letting Wanderer waltz on through—it’s just not my thing.
But, as it turns out, I just hadn’t been to the right airport.
As soon as we landed in Singapore, I had to double-check that were still in the airport and not Disneyland.
Because in addition to the normal stuff like a mall, food courts, and lounges, we also found this:
An Orchid Garden
A Sunflower Garden
A Cactus Garden
A Water lily Garden
A Butterfly Garden
An Enchanted Garden
Are you sensing a theme here? Somehow they managed to cram six whole gardens inside an AIRPORT, and I’m not even done yet…
They also added:
An Entertainment Center with Xbox and Kinect stations
A movie theatre playing FREE movies all day
A Rooftop pool with Jacuzzi
A 12 meter long slide…known as THE TALLEST SLIDE IN THE WORLD.
Seriously? It wasn’t enough to be voted the BEST AIRPORT in the WORLD, they had to also build the TALLEST slide in the world? Wow.
They even made a website to promote these so-called “Airport Attractions”:
Move over, Disney! Changi Airport is where the cool kids hang out these days. PLUS, it has WAY better food!
In fact, I would honestly say it’s the best and cheapest airport food I’ve ever had.
So you can see why I was seriously thinking of cancelling our Airbnb and just living in the airport for the rest of my life.
But then I thought about my arch nemesis, the hateful body scanner, and decided OKAY FINE, I’ll guess I’ll get out of here and go visit the stupid city.
As it turns out, the city wasn’t stupid at all. In fact it was just as clean, orderly, and futuristic as everyone said.
But by far, the best attraction was…
Since Wanderer prides himself on his slim girlish figure, food isn’t usually high on his list of priorities. But that all changed when we found the Old Airport Road Food Market.
All of a sudden, instead of “oh I’ll finish it later” or frantically shaking his head as I try to shove spoonfuls of pasta into his mouth, he’s scarfing down plates of oyster egg, cha-siu-bao (bbq pork buns), and crispy pork like a bear in a petting zoo.
Somehow we’d gone from $30 plates of European food to $2-3CAD plates of Asian food and even though we were eating out all the time, it barely left a dent in our budget.
At one point, I miscounted and handed over too much money. But when Wanderer opened his mouth to protest, I snatched up the dough fritters and dragged him away.
“But you just overpaid!” He said.
“SHHHH!” I said, glancing around nervously. “Let’s just give the nice man the money and get out of here before he notices he’s charging WAY too little.”
Then I quickly shoved the whole thing into my mouth. “Ha ha! No taksey-backsey’s!”
Wanderer stared me like I’d lost my goddamn mind, but I was already off, sprinting to the next stand to buy more food.
Everything was SO good and SO cheap at the food market (called “hawker stalls”), I was getting MAJOR separation anxiety every time we had to leave for sightseeing.
As a result, only 20% of our time was spent walking around. The rest of the time was spent trying to fit as much food as possible into our faces without choking. Clearly, I was starting to develop a problem.
And this time, even the budget couldn’t save me. Because with dirt-cheap food prices, even though we ate out all the time, the budget barely moved. And my waistline also somehow barely moved. In fact, I think I LOST weight. I couldn’t believe it. My tastebuds, self-confidence, AND wallet were all feeling fantastic—and this was Singapore, the most expensive city in Southeast Asia! What would the rest of southeast be like? I couldn’t WAIT to find out.
One thing you need to know about Singapore is that it is HOT. Like third-degree-burn HOT.
So in our best attempt to defeat the heat, we decided….you guessed it…to eat more food. And this is how we discovered our favourite dessert: shaved ice drizzled with syrup, sweet corn pudding, and topped with peanuts. Also known as “Ice Ka Chang”.
It turned out to be THE perfect treat on sweltering days–which, in Singapore, happened to be EVERYDAY.
Good thing we got a place with a pool from AirBnb:
So even though accommodations were more expensive than some places in Europe, because of the food prices, our budget barely moved.
Here’s a breakdown of our spending:
|Accommodations||$80||Not cheap for Southeast Asia but still a good deal as hotels were well over $100.|
|Food||$20||This was our first taste of how abundant and cheap food is in Asia. We were immediately hooked.|
|Attractions||$0||Singapore has lots free attractions like the Botanical Gardens, the waterfront, and free city tour. Also the airport–which somehow ended up being my favourite attraction of all.|
|Transportation||$4||The only transportation cost was the Singapore subway over 4 days. We were also able to walk to some of the attractions.|
Rating: 4/5 Hawker Stalls
The food was so good in Singapore, I was salivating the whole time as I uploaded these pictures.
Basically, if I could describe Singapore with one image, it would be this:
Aaaaand now I desperately want to go back. *opens up SkyScanner, starts browsing for tickets*
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