Asia, Singapore, Thailand

Koh Samui to Singapore: Chinatown, Gardens by the Bay, and Hawker Center

Our last day of vacationing in Southeast Asia; happy times always pass so quickly 🙁 Our flight to Singapore was not until 1:25 PM and our pick up was at 11 so we had plenty of time to enjoy our wonderful breakfast and explore the resort. We had been so busy the past two days in Koh Samui and rain whenever we were back to the hotel so not much chance to check out the cliffside resort. After breakfast, we made an effort to buggy down to the beach area even though the weather wasn’t great, that was our last opportunity. The main pool area hardly has any other guests because every villa has a private pool.

Don’t they look comfortable?

Those beach chairs are special, I wonder if they are comfortable! Too bad they were still wet, I wanted to try them.

It would be a cool picture on those hammocks!

The sky was clearing up so we went back to our room and I had to take a dip in our private pool even though it was a hassle to shower and change again!

When we checked out, we were given this gift from the resort – a sea turtle beanie and some local Thai sweets.

Overall our stay at the Conrad Koh Samui was excellent, I love our villa and the resort facility. The free fire show, the amazing breakfast, and the buggy service were all great. The only negative about the resort is its location….the views of the five islands were great but other than that, the resort is just too far from anything. If your idea of a vacation is seclusion then that’s totally for you. However, if you like to go out to explore the island like us then it’s not convenient. Not only that it takes 45 minutes – 1 hour to get somewhere interesting, it’s very expensive for transportation. With that said, was it worth a visit? If you have free Hilton nights or points to burn then definitely!!! It’s one of the best value for redemption with Hilton points!

Our airport transfer was smooth and on time arranged with Mr. Samui. We arrived at the airport around noon time and the airport reminded me of the outlet stores in the US where the stores are outside.

I regretted not to spend all my Thai Baht before the security checkpoint at those stores outside. I was thinking to save for the duty-free store inside security and I was so wrong!!! There is only one duty-free store inside the terminal and it’s not like the duty-free store you see in airports, it’s rather like a convenient store but prices are 3x more than outside! Gosh, I ended up spending my remaining Thai Baht on a small bag of dried mango and even worst, it was sugar-coated and not good quality 🙁

There’s one lounge inside the small airport and it was surprisingly good! Once we entered with Jason’s Priority Pass, we were given a menu to order the main dish. Then, there were items like buns, shu mai, shrimp dumplings (har gao), and Thai cakes.

Drinks included:

But you can also order coconut water for free!!! Our last chance of the refreshing coconut water!!

For the main entree, jason ordered shrimp wonton soup and I ordered crispy duck noodle. Both required 15 min. preparation and we had plenty of time to wait for them. The shrimp wontons were huge and the soup base was just okay. My duck noodle was so much better and more filling.

We had a full lunch in the lounge! When it was almost time for boarding, we walked our to our gate and waited there. From Koh Samui to Singapore, we took Bangkok Airways once again but instead of paying out of pocket more than $325 one way, I redeemed with 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Flying Blue and paid only $39 in tax per person. Flights from Koh Samui to anywhere besides other Thai cities are expensive so it was the best use of points! Our 1 hour 55 minutes flight once again served food. The curry was actually quite yummy!

Once we landed Singapore Changi Airport, we took the sky train to terminal 3 to the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport for our overnight stay in Singapore. The hotel room was beautiful!

The design of the room maximized the space utilization by those sliding doors!

We met up with Sokunna and family at the hotel and Uber to Chinatown.

The architectures in Chinatown are quite cute and of course Chinese-style.

When we were there at late January, it was close to Chinese New Year so the vendors in Chinatown were selling Chinese New Year stuff.

My mom asked us to buy some Chinese medicine oils as they are famous in Singapore like the “lion oil” and “red flower oil”. They are quite expensive, I got 6 bottles of different types of oils and cost over $50 Singapore Dollars. Luckily, I took out $200 SGD from the ATM at the airport.

There are many restaurants in Chinatown that made us hungry, we’ll save our tummies for the hawker center!

Fresh orange juice anyone?

In the 2 weeks in Southeast Asia, this was the most crowded place we had been to, I couldn’t believe it this tiny country is super crowded!

A Chinese sausage shop, wahhhhhh, I love the small of Chinses sausages.

Lots of Chinese New Year items!

I was more intereste in the cute pastel colored houses!

Right next to Chinatown is “Little India” and the beautiful Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. It was filled with Indian worshippers, we didn’t go in as we don’t know the tradition so don’t want to be disrespectful.

We turned back to Chinatown.

We went to Bee Cheng Hiang to get some dried pork and beef. The dried pork was so good that we bought a bag home! Those are expensive but good!

That was how they grilled the meat 😀

After shopping, we walked to Maxwell Food Centre to fill our tummy. Our goal was the Hainanese Chicken Rice at Tin Tin but it was closed in Sunday 🙁 Actually a lot of food stalls were closed on Sunday so sad!!! Tin Tin’s rival – Ah Tai was open and the line was huge! I got in line immediately while the rest of the group were still thinking what to eat.

To be honest, the chicken rice was not impressive……perhaps we had too high expectation! We had Hainanese chicken rice in Boston and it was good so we were expecting for much more. The chicken meat texture was like not fresh 🙁 The chicken and coconut oil rice, on the other hand, was very good. The plate of chicken rice as like other plates in the food court was only few dollars each. Singapore is an expensive country but you can get good and cheap eats at hawker centers.

The “water boil” beef was just okay good, not impressive.

As well as other chicken and roasted pork rice plates.

The most impressive was the inexpensive drinks – Sokunna got the avocado shake and we got the herb glass jelly with soy milk. The hawker center didn’t satisfy our cravings probably due to most famous stalls were closed 🙁

After dinner, we Uber to the Gardens by the Bay and I had to admit that we didn’t do much research on where to go and when to go as we only had an overnight in Singapore. Last minute, we looked at light shows and read that “Spectra” at 9 pm so we were rushing there and passed the OCBC Garden Rhapsody thinking we’ll come back to the Gardens by the Bay but without realizing their last light show was at 8:45 pm.

We walked for like 10 minutes to get to Marina Bay Sands for the Spectra light show.


The Spectra light show at Marina Bay Sands is projected imagines on water fountains. It was filled with tourists!

The light show was nice but if I can choose again, I’ll choose the light show at the Gardens by the Bay. We made our way back to the Gardens by the Bay after the show passing through the Marina Bay Sands shopping mall.

I think the “trees” at Gardens by the Bay are more special than spraying fountains.

The light show was over and all the crowds were gone so at least we can easily take photos of the trees.

Somehow, the Gardens by the Bay reminded me of Avator!

Singapore is a great place to take night photos with plenty of lights and skylines but too bad our time there was short, perhaps, one day we’ll be back for a formal visit!









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