First day in the Lion City

We stayed at the Hotel Boss for the most part of our recent Singapore holiday. It is a reasonably new hotel (erected in the last quarter of 2015) in an area that I found to be incredibly central to a lot of what we wanted to see. Located only a short walk from the Lavender MRT, and hosting its own 24-hour Foodclique food court in the same building, it ticked a lot of boxes as far as we were concerned.

The biggest drawcard in the Foodclique food court is Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. Its most famous outlet, which was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations programme, is in the Maxwell food court, however I thought this one was quite tasty. We bought one Chicken Rice each, with Hainanese Chap Chye and Oyster Sauce Vegetables to share.

First breakfast: Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, with Hainanese Chap Chye and Oyster Sauce Vegetables
First breakfast.

Our first stop after breakfast was Lavender station, to pick up our very cute EZ-link cards for easy use of the SMRT. Why can’t we have cute Opal cards in Australia?! We put our new cards to use immediately, and before we knew it, we were at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, trying to find an exit. It soon became apparent that we were on one of the basement levels and had to go up before we could go out.

There were rows and rows of trees in front of Marina Bay Sands, dedicated to countries involved in the first  Youth Olympic Games, held in Singapore in 2010. We walked around looking for our respective countries of origin’s trees and then to the nearby ArtScience building to check out their Future World exhibition. In hindsight, although there were some cool and trippy parts to it, (including a light projection where the room felt like it was moving around you) it may have been time better spent elsewhere.

We crossed the Helix Bridge so we could get better views of Marina Bay Sands and the ArtScience building, and after taking all sorts of photos we realised we were hungry.

I could vaguely remember a video I had seen on YouTube, where there was mention of a food court that was nearby, but I hadn’t written its name down. We saw there was a shopping centre called Millenia Walk a few minutes away, and I quickly hopped onto their free WiFi. I tracked down the video, and soon enough we were on our way to Food Republic in Suntec City (thank you to Chris from Yellow Productions for the tip). With a huge fountain as its backdrop, we dined on Ayam penyet (smashed chicken) with a lemon ice tea each. A nearby supermarket entertained us for another half hour, before we made our way to Bugis Street to buy some souvenirs.

Before our trip we made a vow to make sure that we used at least some of the facilities the hotel offered, particularly the swimming pool. It was dark by the time we walked back to the hotel, got changed and submerged ourselves in the pool, enjoying a refreshing dip after a long day of sightseeing. We could hear people singing from the mosque across the road, it was quite a lovely moment.

It was getting late when we decided that we should dry off and have some dinner. Luckily Singapore has so much to offer in terms of late night meals, and we soon found ourselves at Lau Pa Sat’s Best Satay Number 7 & 8, eating a selection of satay sticks. We kept it reasonably light considering the late hour, and ended our night with a visit to the famous Merlion. I found out later on during my visit that the word Singapore itself means ‘Lion City’, and that there is an interesting story behind Singapore getting its name.

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