Sunday, December 16, 2018

Hotel Review ~ Amara Hotel Singapore

I have chosen Amara Hotel specifically for its location.  I wanted to stay within walking distance from Chinatown.

We arrive at the hotel at 12nn, which was 2 hours earlier than regular check-in time.  

I appreciate that reception was kind enough to have our rooms available and ready for a complimentary early check-in.  So we got our key cards and headed to straight to our room at the Executive floor to freshen up before touring officially starting our Day 1 agenda.

Room size (32sqm) was adequate for our need.  It was just me an my husband so we really don't need much  space. 

The room came with a handy phone with internet connection that can use touring Singapore, free mini bar (replenished daily) and espresso machine.  

My husband approves ~ Yup, comfortable!

Bathroom is good sized, with separate bath tub and shower area.  They were quite generous with the toiletries as well.

I love that the towels were new and nicely washed.

They have a working table for business travelers.  My husband brought his computer as he was expecting an important Skype meeting.  

Look what Amara got me :P   
I finished the whole thing (oh the calories) as my husband napped.


The view from our room.

Our package also allowed us access to the Executive  Lounge ~ with complimentary breakfast, tea time (2-4pm) and nightly cocktails (6-8pm).

Just in time for "Tea Time"...

  1. Location is perfect.  It is connected to 100AM (where a Don Don Donki store is located) with Tanjong Pagar market across the street and plenty of food options within walking  distance.  It is also easily accessible by bus (bus stop a few meters away, MRT via Tanjong Pagar Station - 400 meters and Chinatown Station 1km, taxi is also easy to hail).
  2. Check in and Check out was fast and easy, though I was surprised we were not ushered to a lounge check-in
  3. Lounge staff were very nice and I really felt really welcomed, however, food at the Executive Lounge lacks imagination, it was just okay (I was expecting a more flavorful flair). Sadly breakfast was the same for our 3 days stay.
  4. Our room was a bit dated, but was comfortable.  It was clean and we slept soundly so I have nothing to complain.
  5. The pool was under construction so we never got to use nor check it out.  I learned that they hotel was undergoing refurbishment, so that's good! 

Given so many hotel options in Singapore, it is tough to say, if I would want to stay here again, unless we need to stay somewhere near Chinatown again.   Our 3 nights was acceptable though I felt the hotel can do so much more.   

For inquiries please check their website: 
165 Tanjong Pagar Road,
Singapore 088539​
​​Tel: +65 6879 2555

Day 3 ~ Singapore Botanic Gardens and National Museum Singapore

Day 3 is all about good (and comfortable) shoes and lots of walking.

From Amara we took the MRT at the Tanjong Pagar Station to the Botanic Gardens Station. 

We entered through the Bukit Timah Gate, from here it is about a 1.4 kilometer walk to the garden's (not to be missed) main attraction National Orchid Garden ~ the house of Orchids: Imagine 1000+ species of them, excluding hybrids!

Look at what we found displayed in the VIP Orchid Section 
an variant orchid (Dendrobium) dedicated to Tatay Digong.  

  • Don't try to cover as much as possible in a day; I suggest you do a leisure walk and take time to admire nature.
  • Stay hydrated, bring water.  
  • Dress loosely and wear your best walking shoes. The garden is seriously huge (just imagine 82 hectares). 
  • Entrance to the Botanic Garden is free, but you will need to pay extra (SGD5 for adults) to enter the National Orchid Garden.
  • Torn between The Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay?  We have been at the Gardens by the Bay a few years back so we figured that for this visit, we should try The Botanic Garden I would say each one is beautiful in its own way. I find the the Botanic Garden more natural though and the Gardens by the Bay somewhat staged.  If you are travelling with kids, I think you would find the Gardens by the Bay  more suitable.
(Click here to check out our >>>> Gardens by The Bay). 

There are plenty of restaurants inside the garden, no need to worry, not finding a place to eat inside the Botanic Garden.  

We have decided on Casa Verde.  I think their specialty is pizza and pasta, but my husband and I settled on Singaporean local dishes.  

Word of caution,  servings in HUGE, so don't over do your orders, unless you are really, really hungry.  

Just check out these photos of our orders to see what I mean...

Food is great and highly recommended.  

We traced our steps back to the Botanic Garden Station and took the MRT to the National Museum.

My husband and I love history so with 3 hours to spare before our dinner date with Filipino friends  living in Singapore ~ we decided we drop by Singapore's National Museum. 

Coffee break was at the Food for Thought, a quaint restaurant at the museum's ground floor.

I love their coffee, which was perfect with a the carrot cake and banana cup cake we ordered.

We left the National Museum via Grab as it was raining when we finished touring. We headed back to Amara with enough time to freshen up, before meeting our friend at Maxwell Hawker Center (conveniently located within walking distance from our hotel).  

It was a wonderful Day 3 ~ relaxed and bit more spaced than yesterday's "Fully Loaded" itinerary :P

If you missed our Day 1 and Day 2 in Singapore, please click the link below:

Monday, December 3, 2018

Day 2 ~ All Over Singapore: Marina Bay Sands, Clark Quay and Mustafa

Day 2 is the only thing that is truly planned in our itinerary.  I have been wanting to watch Mamma Mia in Manila, but unfortunately did not have a free day to watch it.  Good luck, however was at our side (Birthday Luck working) as we managed to get tickets of the show on its last day of showing in Singapore! Yes we get to see Mamma Mia at Marina Bay :P

We got at Marina Bay for early lunch at The Bird Southern Table and Bar, which came with the show and dine package we bought.  

Food was unsurprisingly delicious and filing.  

We had Deviled Egg and Bacon and Theatre Set Special (Two pieces of Lewellyn’s Fried Chicken, Chilled Spiced Watermelon and a fresh Buttermilk Biscuit)

The restaurant was homey and with a couple of Filipino crew who looked real delighted to serve us.

After lunch we got to tour Marina Bay Sands a bit.  The place is grand and expectedly expensive.  All the big brands are there!

We watched the 1pm show since we wanted to still have time to check out the Art Science Museum and Sky Park.

After the show we (which was outstanding) we went to the Art Science Museum.  We did not enjoy it much, but  I guess kids would appreciate it better.

Our last stop at the Marina Bay area is the SkyPark.  We went there at 4pm, early enough to beat the queue of tourists fighting over a sunset view.  

We sat on the deck with ice cream onhand to end our visit to Marina Bay. 

Love the ice cream ~ perfect with the view that comes with it!

TIPS: Get yourself a Sands Rewards Lifestyle Cards to save on entrance fees to the many attractions of Marina Bay Sands.  It is fast and easy and you can use right away. 

We got a 1+1 deal on our Art Museum Tickets and 10% discount on our SkyPark Observation Desk Entrance and souvenir purchases.  

Your can sign-up here >>>

After Marina Bay we went to Clark Quay via the MRT (through Bay Front Station to Fort Canning Station, which is just about 3 minutes walk to Clark Quay).  

It was a little early for dinner so we decided to hop on the Singapore River Cruise.  Touring the Singapore River via a bumboat was an enjoyable experience.  

Seeing Singapore on a different vantage point on a more relaxed setting was nice and pleasant.   We were back at the Clark Quay loading deck some 40 minutes after, with our tummies ready for dinner :P

Dinner was at the Muchos Mexican Bar and Restaurant next to Hooters.  We had a Muchos Platter, Grilled Chicken Quesadillas and Taco Salad, plus a round of chilled beer to each to match.

With my handsome date :P

The restaurant outdoor seating is a perfect date place to cap a night out in Singapore.  Serving is hefty and if you are not really hungry an order of the Combo set is enough for 2-3 persons.  Food is great too, though mostly spicy.

It was almost 9 when we finished eating, but the night was still young so we've decided to pay famous 24 hours Mustafa Shopping Center ~ this where to go for "pasalubong shopping".  We took a  cab to Mustafa Center.  

It gives me a peace of mind that they only sell genuine stuffs here, so you are sure not getting fakes. After my introduction to Mustafa, I don't think I will be shopping anywhere else in Singapore but here.

Our best buys include:

  1. Souvenirs
  2. Chocolates (my boys especially liked the chocolate coated almonds)
  3. Perfume (keep in mind that you cannot hand carry anymore than a 100ml perfume bottle) 
  4. Branded Shirts
  5. Electronics ~ Headphones  
It was almost 11:30 when we finished, my feet were sore from all the walking we did today, so we hopped on to a cab to our hotel.  

Oh our POOR feet :P

Follow our Day 3 in Singapore ~ Botanical Garden, Taste of Hawker Food (up next)... 

Friday, November 30, 2018

3D/3N in Singapore minus the Theme Park (Day 1 ~ China Town)

For my birthday, my Ex and I got a chance to do another out of country gallivanting (without the kids).  I have always wanted to go to Singapore minus the theme park commotion ~ Singapore was perfect for a short vacation; And since this is our 4th (or is it 5th) time there, this visit is more relaxed and carefree.

We took an early flight via Singapore Airlines and arrived at Changi Airport before noon time. 

  • For SGD we exchanged a few USD at the airport and the rest we exchanged at Mustafa. Rates at the airport was surprisingly good (the best rates we have seen though was at Mustafa Shopping Center, which was slightly higher by a few centavos).
  • We bought EZ Link and local sim cards, before taking a taxi to Amara Hotel near Chinatown.   Our taxi ride to Chinatown costs about SGD25.  
Our chosen hotel for our Singapore excursion is Amara Hotel (I will write a separate post about Amara).  It is located at Tanjong Pagar Road. Location is within walking distance form Chinatown.  Nearest MRT is Tanjong Pagar Station (about 300meters) and Chinatown Station (1 km away, about 7-9 minutes walk along scenic charming the Tanjong Pagar Road). 

Day 1 ~ Chinatown 

First stop ~
Singapore Gallery is a perfect way to start ones tour of the city.  It showcases a miniature 3D version of the Singapore on a 1:400 scale.  It was fun looking at the miniature buildings and identifying the streets and landmarks. 

About 3 minutes away is the next item in our agenda ~ Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is a remarkable four-story temple. Be sure to visit all the floors.  We took the elevator to the top floor then walked our way down.  It is really a magnificent temple.  

Then came the China Heritage Center ~ it is a good place to rediscover the life of Singapore's early pioneers and the stories of people who made Chinatown their home.  

Hours (not so sure how long we've been there) at the Chinatown Heritage Center worked up our appetite.  Just across the Center the Chinatown Seafood Restaurant. Food there is really very good and perfect night cap to our Chinatown tour.

Walked back to the hotel with a cup of special Singaporean ice cream on my hand.  It was a nice take-out as we check out Chinatown's many shops.

Look who bid us on our way out of Chinatown... 
"The Buddha of Wealth (Laughing Golden Buddha)”.

  • Bring water and stay hydrated.
  • Spend at least half a day at Chinatown, but if you really want to appreciate this part of Singapore at least a day should be in order.
  • I did not do much shopping here, except for lucky charm bracelets which I gave my husband.
  • For shopping I really recommend going to Mustafa.  They have everything there.  But if it is too far out Chinatown shopping will do. 
  • We were not able to check out the nearby Maxwell Hawker place, but were back on our last night before leaving for Manila.

Follow our Day 2 as we explore Marina Bay Sands,

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