The summer started with illness. The holiday got very close to being cancelled altogether but in the end we got away with just cutting it two days short. We left two days later than was originally planned and by then the little one was well enough to fly (and we had recovered enough sleep from broken nights to enjoy the holiday).
Daddy often travels to Singapore for work, and the children are always complaining that he leaves the rest of us behind every time. This was pretty much the basis for our choice of destination this year. And Singapore is a brilliant place to visit with kids. Everything has a children’s area of some sort, and the kids absolutely loved it.
“Mum, are we in the jungle?” – A certain three-year old was fascinated with the huge, leafy trees everywhere in Singapore.
This was an awesome day out. Give it a full day, take it easy, wear comfortable, cool clothes and good walking shoes. You will walk and walk and walk (though there is a tram ride you could hop onto, but it gets very busy). And it was hot, and sticky, and we were in a pretty disgusting state by the time we got back to the hotel, not to mention absolutely shattered. But it was a blast, and it is such a beautiful zoo.
Look out for monkeys close by. They hung out on the railings like they owned the place (well, arguably, they do).
There is a children’s area complete with petting farm, pony rides and a wet play area (so you might want to take bathing costumes too).
Note: the taxi queue can get long and by the end of your day, it will probably be the last thing you feel like doing (read: overtired kids arguing and begging us to carry them). Booking a cab in advance might be an idea. Alternatively, there were more expensive taxi options on offer which would supposedly come quicker (but the wait time looked like it was identical to wait time for the cheaper taxi so we were pretty glad we didn’t go for that in the end!)
Right out of a scene from the movie Avatar, the giant trees are stunning and they light up at night. You do not need to pay to roam the gardens, with the exception of the Flower Dome. If you wanted to walk along the path that connects the trees, you’d also need to buy a ticket to enter that.
As with everything in Singapore, there is a fantastic area dedicated to children. A water park completely free of charge. Just change them into their bathing costumes and send them running in. I was only annoyed I hadn’t brought my own bathing costume along that day… wouldn’t have minded being able to cool down too!
SEA Aquarium & Universal Studios
Over on Sentosa Island, these were the two attractions we chose to do. Not cheap, but good fun and you will need to dedicate a day to each. The Aquarium is huge, and has a stunning Open Ocean experience. I sat here, relaxing, for a good half hour while the kids pottered around the craft area with their dad (until I was inevitably called to see their creations.)
Needless to say, the children loved the aquarium. With over 100,000 marine animals of over 800 species, it is literally impossible to get bored. Even if the kids are only looking at everything just to find Nemo and Dory…
Universal Studios was also a huge hit. My kids are massive Madagascar fans so it didn’t take very much to win them over. The park is divided into seven zones (Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, Lost World, Far Far Away, and Madagascar) so it makes it pretty easy to know what caters for younger kids and what doesn’t. Yes, it’s an expensive ticket to pay to only enjoy half the park, but there’s still plenty for the kids to see and do. With characters dancing in the streets and the opportunity to meet them afterwards (and without the Disneyland-style queues), my two were in Madagascar/Shrek/Minions heaven!
My only tip would be to avoid, under any circumstance, the Magic Potion Spin ride in Far Far Away. I’ll never get those ten minutes of my life back.
Singapore Flyer – the giant ferris wheel with a perfect view of Singapore
Bumboat River Tour – a welcome break from all the walking and a very pleasant trip along the river on a completely silent, electric boat
Boomarang – a restaurant on Robinson Quay. Great food!