Help us go to Singapore!
January 19, 2010 6:47 PM   Subscribe

Singapore conference/vacation! Toddler! Please help!

I'm going to Singapore for a conference in late June. My significant other and (going-to-be) 19-month-old toddler will be coming too. We booked tickets (with miles!) for 2 weeks with the conference in the middle, but we could change the dates for side trips.

- Any hotel recommendations near Suntec? These are the hotels that the conference organizers recommend with their rates. We need a hotel that is ~15 minute walk to Suntec, has a fridge in the room, has high speed Internet, is family friendly and is affordable. Walking distance to a Western-style supermarket and/or pharmacy/chemist would be good for toddler needs.

- We want to do 1 or 2 side trips on either end of the conference. I've read here that Bali is pretty toddler friendly. Any recommendations for other side trips and/or more specifics on what to do around Singapore?

- And while most of the Singapore questions cover a lot of the tourist-y stuff to do in Singapore itself, we'll take recommendations on that too. Toddler friendly is good.

- Any recs on Asian travel with a toddler? While both of us adults travel frequently to all sorts of parts of the world with kiddo in tow, this is our first Asia trip.

Thank you!
posted by k8t to Travel & Transportation around Singapore (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Pan Pacific is probably the poshest hotel in Singapore. It should have all the facilities you need and more. It's literally right next door to Suntec, connected by an air-conditioned walkway. It's expensive, but you might be able to get a cheap room at Asia Rooms. I don't know about the others.

Suntec City is both a mall and a convention centre. It has at least one Western-style supermarket. (Actually all the supermarkets in Singapore are pretty much 'Western-style' - they cater to expats and upper middle-class Singaporeans, so they're usually pretty posh).

Pharmacies are everywhere in Singapore, and aside from a few shelves of Chinese medicines, they're pretty much the same as those in Western countries. Read the labels carefully though - pharmaceuticals and baby formulas aren't as tightly regulated in Singapore as they are elsewhere, so although you'll find good quality brands, you'll also find strange products which don't do what they claim.

Your toddler might enjoy Haw Par Villa. It's a big park with nice gardens and big colourful statues of figures from Confucian mythology. (Do not take him into the Ten Courts of Hell, they're terrifying even for adults.) The rest of the park is harmless fun, with plenty of room to run around and climb on things.

By the time you get to Singapore, the new Universal Studios theme park should be open. Bear in mind that waiting for rides in the tropical humidity may be more exhausting than you expect.

Singapore is pretty different from other Asian cities, so general tips about travelling in Asia won't necessarily apply. You don't need to worry about food safety, for example - - even the stalls at hawker centres is subject to strict hygiene regulations. Tropical diseases are pretty well controlled, almost everyone speaks at English, public transport is clean and efficient - in many ways it's more convenient than the average Western city. The only warning I can think of is that most public toilets contain at least one squat pan, so don't let your kid run unaccompanied into the cubicles! Also, be aware that you might need to stick to indoor, air-conditioned activities if your toddler is uncomfortable in the heat. Don't worry, there are plenty.
posted by embrangled at 11:12 PM on January 19, 2010

Bali is pretty toddler friendly, if you stay at resorts that have baby sitting / kid clubs. I stayed at the Bali Dynasty when I was there, and the place was both family-friendly and moderately-priced. Family accommodations are more the norm now than the exception.

Bali is also a single plane trip away from Singapore (practically all of Asia is a plane trip away from Singapore); make sure you hire a car + driver while in Bali, and you're all set. (Don't even think about driving yourself in Bali - the traffic is crazy and suicidal, not at all what you want when you're in town to relax.)

If you want to go overland, try going by bus to Penang from Singapore, and check out the old town.

If you decide to stay within Singapore, don't miss the Singapore Night Safari, which opens at 8pm and showcases nocturnal animals. The MINT Museum of Toys might be worth checking out, too.

If you have a little more time, explore the island resort of Sentosa (where the new Universal Studios Singapore is located), which is just a cable car ride away from Singapore. The beaches aren't that great, in my opinion, but you should go to check everything else out.
posted by micketymoc at 11:29 PM on January 19, 2010

I came here to recommend the Night Safari. Also, the Singapore Botanic Gardens are beautiful and well worth a visit (it's free). The wonderful Orchid Gardens are situatued within the SBG ($5 entry fee, worth it). Chilling out on Sentosa would be a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

If you like cocktails you should also try a Singapore Sling in the opulent surrounds of the historic Raffles Hotel - I'm not sure how toddler friendly it is, but they seemed pretty easy-going.
posted by jonesor at 4:19 AM on January 20, 2010

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