Report from 5/28/18
Most people would freak at a 22 hour layover in a foreign country where leaving the airport requires you to obtain a visa. However, I had a blast!
Changi Airport is the BEST airport in the world, and I’m not just saying that. It has actually won “Best Airport in the World” for almost a decade straight! I arrived around 9pm Sunday night. Changi has transit hotels and lounges in every terminal so my first priority was finding one of the hotels and passing out. They charge by the hour to try to accommodate various flight schedules. I paid for 9 hours which ran be approximately $130USD. A little steeper than I would normally pay for a hotel but it was super nice! The only downside is I could not figure out how to adjust their thermostat so I kept waking up in a sweat. Singapore is so unbelievably humid and I sleep cold.
Anyways, woke up the next morning ready to explore. I had read about a free Singapore tour hosted by the airport that can be done without needing a visa so that was priority number 1. I found the registration booth, signed up and went and found some breakfast. The tour began at Merlion park where you get beautiful city views and of course get to take a picture with the infamous Merlion statue! We then drove through china town and little India and stopped in Maylay town where we got to see the beautiful mosque, wall art, and smell the delights of Ramadan festival foods. The night tours get to stop in the treetops garden, unfortunately the day tour does not, but I got to see a glimpse of it as we drove by.
Once I got back to the airport it was time for my own tour. My goal was to find and hit every garden. I hit all 3 of the main terminals but my all time favorite was the butterfly garden in terminal 3. I have never seen so many butterflies in my life!!
Singapore is known for being high end. People there fancy the “nice things” so Changi Airport is like a massive mall and all the shops are high end designers. But I’m not nor have I ever been interested in that kind of shopping. I found Singapore shops because I was in search of culture. Batik is the traditional garb of Singapore. Batik is the art of creating beautiful and intricate patterns in rich dyes. The Singapore Airlines flight attendants wear Batik as their uniform and I thought they were absolutely gorgeous and I wanted one. I literally had to buy the biggest size they had because they are sized for tiny Asian bodies, not broad shouldered, tall Americans. At least it fits!
After a long day of exploring I bid farewell to Singapore. My return layover will be much shorter and won’t allow as much time to explore. I arrived in Kathmandu last night to some immediate culture shock as it is a vastly different corner of the world. The city is loud, dirty, and traffic is absolute nonsensical chaos. I knew all this going in but it doesn’t matter how much prep and research you put into it, nothing will really prepare you for your first time alone in a 3rd world country. After a spike in anxiety, I got some sleep and am ready to face it head on because underneath all that are smells of incense, curry, and a culture I have loved and adored for years without ever even being here. Today we head to the main Himalayan Glacier Office and relax in town before we head to Lukla tomorrow. I am excited for what awaits me.