It was my first time of long overlay in an airport. Most of my connecting flights just have 1 to 2 hours waiting period. When I chose my flight to Darwin at first, waiting time is less than 2 hours. But I changed my scheduled flight and the only options left for me was at least 8 hours overlay in Singapore before flying to Darwin in Northern Territory Australia.
Because of my long layover, I checked if Singapore Airport offers a transit tour and I am glad they do. When I arrived in Changi Airport, I went straight to Terminal 2 via Skytrain since I arrived in Terminal 1, my pace was faster than I normally do since I have few minutes left to register for free tour. I even asked three(3) information desks along the way to make sure I’m in the right direction.
I found the kiosk of free transit tour around 5 minutes walk from Skytrain of Terminal 2 towards Lounge F. The location is in between the two. I found the kiosk and there are tour personnel assisted me, she requested for my passport and my next flight boarding pass, then, she gave me an immigration card and I filled it up. When the time came, another tourism personnel assisted the group. She introduced herself and gave preparation advised. She gave stickers to all of us so she can easily identify whose going with her for the free tour. We took more than half an hour queuing in the immigration area and we passed the immigration same process for every visitors coming to Singapore.
Yes, I had been in Singapore for many times and I cannot even count how many times. But I preferred to go out in the tour so that I will not bore myself in waiting my next flight in the airport for the next 8 hours.
After passing immigration, we had been re-group and waited for other visitors. When we were completed, we followed our tour guide and went straight towards where the tour bus was parked. I felt so relaxed. I have with my hand carry backpack and my DSLR camera. We left Terminal 2 and drove towards the city. While on the road, our tour guide started telling information of the things that we are seeing like the new Terminal 4 that will be finished soon and probably in operation on 2017. Then she explained the residential buildings that we passed and informing us that there were two types of residential building in Singapore. The two types are: the low-cost building they called HDB which are government housing projects and condominium buildings. She emphasized how to recognized the two by looking if the building is surrounded by fences. HDB buildings has no fences while condominiums has.
When we passed some Ferrari (F1) race tracks while on our way to the city center, our tour guide pointed it out and even the Pit building which serves as Pits stop during the race which recently concluded last September. Then, saw as well from the bus the Fountain of Wealth in Suntec City, a place where I used to work for half a year before and Marina Square,
Fountain of Wealth in Suntec City
The first stop we had in the city was in Esplanade Park along Connaught Drive where majority of known tourist attractions in Singapore are just nearby. From where the bus parked, we saw National Gallery (building with dome) and its behind is Supreme Court of Singapore. We had a glimpse of Singapore Cricket Club and Singapore Creation Club which stands each end of the vast open area of Padang.
A glimpse of the city centre of Singapore
Marina Bay Sands and ArtScience Museum
Jubilee Bridge (towards Merlion Park)
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay Singapore
All of us in the group walked towards Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay Singapore. Esplanade is famous because of its unique architectural recognition. The guide asked all of us what else we can think of aside from Durian fruit when looking to the building. Someone said microphone which I cannot disagree because the roof of the structure of Esplanade does really looks like microphone, which is an interesting idea and discovery. Then, we walked and crossed the Jubilee walking bridge towards Merlion Park where the famous Merlion stands. Merlion personifies Singapore because of its meaning to the country. I got a chance to see again the following: the city’s skyscrapers where the CBD of Singapore is, Marina Bay, Art Science Museum, historical The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, The Float @Marina Bay, Youth Olympic Park and Singapore Flyer.
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
The Float @Marina Bay, Youth Olympic Park and Singapore Flyer
Flower Dome in Gardens By the Bay
We returned to the bus again for our next and last stop which is Kampong Glam. While inside the bus, I saw Singapore again. We passed Chinatown and Little India. Our tour guide are very knowledgeable and she’s happy in sharing it.
We visited Kampong Glam area which is a place that even I was in Singapore for couple of times for the past 10 years and even I lived for almost a year in the said country, I never got a chance to visit Kampong Glam which is cultural heritage attraction. I learned an interesting story from the guide about the place. There were two categories of people comes in Kampong Glam. First, are Muslim people who went to Masjid Sultan mosque for their prayers which happens in day time. This means that it’s a place for peace and solemnity during day time. Second group of people comes to the place are the people who are having a good time during night-time as the area is surrounded by different shops, cafes, restaurants and entertainment establishments. It’s interesting because the place serves its different purposes on different times of the day to totally different types of people. I never thought that there’s a place like that in Singapore which a new discovery for me.
Geduing Kuning (Mamanda Restaurant)
As I walked in the area, first thing I saw is the yellow building called Mamanda wherein I checked that it’s a restaurant. But, the building is also a restored building since its was a historical building where some of the Sultan Hussein family lived like his grandson Tengku Mahmud as per writing display at the gate of the Yellow mansion.
There is Istana Kampong Glam (Kampong Glam Palace) which built by Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor in Kampong Glam which given by him by British East India Company and the place now is part of Malay Heritage in Singapore. Then, one thing that I like is the restored shop houses around the area because I can feel what the place looks like before. It’s an interesting place to see.
Before it gets dark, we were able to return to the airport and that’s where the group separated. I myself had my dinner in one of the food chain before my next flight. And then, I went back to Terminal 1 and passed immigration. I still have 2 hours before my flight to Darwin and I just sat in one of the waiting area until I walked towards the designated gate of my flight. This is how I spent my more than 8 hours lay over in Singapore.