Daylong Stopovers – Singapore and Dubai

Daylong Stopovers – Singapore and Dubai

TV sold.
Cars sold.
Flights booked.
Accommodation booked.
Family visited.
Bags packed.
Ready to move overseas? Not at all.

Let’s do it anyway.

Our move to the U.K. was the biggest upheaval of our lives. Period. We sold all (most) of our possessions, quit our jobs, and left our family and friends. We moved to the opposite side of the world, in the opposite hemisphere, and we couldn’t be farther from home if we tried.

Travel photo of our Brisbane home.

Selling all of our possessions from our lovely Brisbane home.

We left Brisbane on the 15th of October 2016 on the greatest adventure of our lives. We had booked a short trip in Italy on the way to the U.K., so that we could immediately experience some true European culture. Most flights from Australia to Europe will change planes at either Singapore or Dubai. We wanted to experience both of these locations, so we planned daylong stopovers into our itinerary.

Waiting at the gate for our flight, just after saying goodbye to our family.

Brisbane → Singapore (13 hour stopover) → Dubai (14 hour stopover) → Rome

Daylong stopovers removed the need to book overnight accommodation, whilst allowing us to experience each of the cities. This is a great way to experience more culture on the way to your destination, as both Singapore and Dubai have lovely scenery and activities. It also means that you gradually adjust to time differences, which can help reduce jetlag. However it also means that you’re trying to see a lot in a short period of time, and by the end of it we were absolutely exhausted. Even so, we were very happy that we pushed ourselves to experience them.

TV sold.
Cars sold.
Flights booked.
Accommodation booked.
Family visited.
Bags packed.
Ready to move overseas? Not at all.

Let’s do it anyway.

Our move to the U.K. was the biggest upheaval of our lives. Period. We sold all (most) of our possessions, quit our jobs, and left our family and friends. We moved to the opposite side of the world, in the opposite hemisphere, and we couldn’t be farther from home if we tried.

Travel photo of our Brisbane home.

Selling all of our possessions from our lovely Brisbane home.

We left Brisbane on the 15th of October 2016 on the greatest adventure of our lives. We had booked a short trip in Italy on the way to the U.K., so that we could immediately experience some true European culture. Most flights from Australia to Europe will change planes at either Singapore or Dubai. We wanted to experience both of these locations, so we planned daylong stopovers into our itinerary.

Photo of us leaving Brisbane airport, travelling to Singapore.

Waiting at the gate for our flight, just after saying goodbye to our family.

Brisbane → Singapore (13 hour stopover) → Dubai (14 hour stopover) → Rome

Daylong stopovers removed the need to book overnight accommodation, whilst allowing us to experience each of the cities. This is a great way to experience more culture on the way to your destination, as both Singapore and Dubai have lovely scenery and activities. It also means that you gradually adjust to time differences, which can help reduce jetlag. However it also means that you’re trying to see a lot in a short period of time, and by the end of it we were absolutely exhausted. Even so, we were very happy that we pushed ourselves to experience them.

Singapore Changi airport is a world of its own. It includes the usual duty free shopping that you would expect, but it also contains beautiful gardens, entertainment, and food courts serving up traditional Asian meals. We loved spending our time exploring the sunflower, nature, and butterfly gardens (yes, a garden FILLED with butterflies!), before stopping for an amazing traditional Laksa from the Singapore Food Street eatery. This was all before being taken on a FREE 2.5-hour bus tour of the city.

Exploring the butterfly garden.

BYD Tip

If you plan a stopover that is longer than 5.5 hours at Singapore Changi, you’re eligible for the Free Singapore Tour. Just make sure you check in at the tour stand as soon as you arrive, and leave plenty of time for you to return to your flight. The tours run at set times, so check the schedule and compare it with your flight itinerary before you arrive!

Singapore Changi’s sunflower garden.

We were on the daytime tour, which took us from the airport straight to Merlion Park, with Singapore’s signature Merlion statue and Marina Bay Sands hotel. The drive to the park took us through the Colonial District and the Singapore CBD, with the driver explaining the cultural and historical significance of certain sites as we passed them. After stopping for a walk around Merlion Park, we drove through China Town and Little India; both packed with culture and colours. We got off the bus for a second time to walk through a Malay market up to Sultan Mosque, with its beautiful golden domes.

Travel blog photo Sinagpore Merlion.

Singapore’s signature Merlion statue.

Travel blog photo Singapore Merlion walk.

The walk to the Merlion.

Travel blog photo Singapore Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

Travel blog photo Singapore Merlion view.

Standing at the Merlion – the view over the bay.

Travel Blog Photo of Sultan Mosque in Singapore

The golden domes of Sultan Mosque.

The 2.5-hour tour packed in a lot, and is definitely recommended. Even after the tour, we still had time to go and check out the free movie theatre, video game area, and art installations at the airport. We finished our stopover at the rooftop pool; relaxing on the pool chairs and sitting in the spa. The resting time was much needed, and a few cheeky drinks from the pool bar helped as well! We had a shower, and made our way down to our flight, feeling relaxed and refreshed.

BYD Tip

The pool is a GREAT place to go if you want to have a shower. It’s cheap entry ($17 SGD), not too busy (at least when we were there), and the best way to relax between flights. The lockers allow you to relax without worrying about your possessions. In fact, we saw some people sleeping on the pool chairs, which is a lot cheaper than hiring a hotel room for a few hours (hotel rooms are charged per hour, and are often used to get in a quick nap). The $17 might seem a little pricey for just a quick swim, but it was well worth it for relaxing between our flights and for having a shower.

Singapore Changi airport was such an amazing experience. If you’re going to have a stopover there, it’s worth planning it beforehand, as there is so much to see and do. They have free Wi-Fi for 3 hours, but if you download the iChangi app, you can get 24 hours. We had no reception, so used the free 3 hours to download the app, then used the free 24 hours for the rest of the day! Check out their website (http://www.changiairport.com) to plan your trip, as there is even more to do than we had time for! Unfortunately we missed out on the big slide, but we’ll get back to that next time!

Travel blog photo Singapore flower garden.

Taking the time to smell the flowers!

Travel blog photo of Singapore peacock flower garden.

Peacock flower garden in the airport!

Travel blog photo of the Singapore Marina Bay Gardens.

On the way to the Merlion, looking at Marina Bay Gardens.

Travel photo of Little India in Singapore.

Driving through Little India.

Travel blog photo of the Singapore sky gardens.

The Park Royal on Pickering hotel, with its sky gardens!

Travel blog photo walking to Sultan Mosque in Singapore.

Walking through the markets to Sultan Mosque.

Travel blog photo of the Singapore Changi butterfly garden.

The Singapore Changi butterfly garden.

Travel blog photo of a Singapore Changi Airport fishpond.

One of the many fishponds in the airport.

Singapore Changi airport is a world of its own. It includes the usual duty free shopping that you would expect, but it also contains beautiful gardens, entertainment, and food courts serving up traditional Asian meals. We loved spending our time exploring the sunflower, nature, and butterfly gardens (yes, a garden FILLED with butterflies!), before stopping for an amazing traditional Laksa from the Singapore Food Street eatery. This was all before being taken on a FREE 2.5-hour bus tour of the city.

Photo of flowers, fruit, and butterflies in a garden in Singapore Changi Airport.

Exploring the butterfly garden.

BYD Tip

If you plan a stopover that is longer than 5.5 hours at Singapore Changi, you’re eligible for the Free Singapore Tour. Just make sure you check in at the tour stand as soon as you arrive, and leave plenty of time for you to return to your flight. The tours run at set times, so check the schedule and compare it with your flight itinerary before you arrive!

Photo of the sunflower garden in Singapore Changi Airport.

Singapore Changi’s sunflower garden.

We were on the daytime tour, which took us from the airport straight to Merlion Park, with Singapore’s signature Merlion statue and Marina Bay Sands hotel. The drive to the park took us through the Colonial District and the Singapore CBD, with the driver explaining the cultural and historical significance of certain sites as we passed them. After stopping for a walk around Merlion Park, we drove through China Town and Little India; both packed with culture and colours. We got off the bus for a second time to walk through a Malay market up to Sultan Mosque, with its beautiful golden domes.

Travel blog photo Sinagpore Merlion.

Singapore’s signature Merlion statue.
(Tap the image for more photos)

Travel blog photo Singapore Merlion view.
Travel blog photo Singapore Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
Travel blog photo Singapore Merlion walk.
Travel Blog Photo of Sultan Mosque in Singapore

The 2.5-hour tour packed in a lot, and is definitely recommended. Even after the tour, we still had time to go and check out the free movie theatre, video game area, and art installations at the airport. We finished our stopover at the rooftop pool; relaxing on the pool chairs and sitting in the spa. The resting time was much needed, and a few cheeky drinks from the pool bar helped as well! We had a shower, and made our way down to our flight, feeling relaxed and refreshed.

BYD Tip

The pool is a GREAT place to go if you want to have a shower. It’s cheap entry ($17 SGD), not too busy (at least when we were there), and the best way to relax between flights. The lockers allow you to relax without worrying about your possessions. In fact, we saw some people sleeping on the pool chairs, which is a lot cheaper than hiring a hotel room for a few hours (hotel rooms are charged per hour, and are often used to get in a quick nap). The $17 might seem a little pricey for just a quick swim, but it was well worth it for relaxing between our flights and for having a shower.

Singapore Changi airport was such an amazing experience. If you’re going to have a stopover there, it’s worth planning it beforehand, as there is so much to see and do. They have free Wi-Fi for 3 hours, but if you download the iChangi app, you can get 24 hours. We had no reception, so used the free 3 hours to download the app, then used the free 24 hours for the rest of the day! Check out their website (http://www.changiairport.com) to plan your trip, as there is even more to do than we had time for! Unfortunately we missed out on the big slide, but we’ll get back to that next time!

Travel blog photo Singapore flower garden.

Taking the time to smell the flowers!
(Tap the image for more photos)

Travel blog photo of Singapore peacock flower garden.
Travel blog photo of the Singapore Marina Bay Gardens.
Travel photo of Little India in Singapore.
Travel blog photo of the Singapore sky gardens.
Travel blog photo walking to Sultan Mosque in Singapore.
Travel blog photo of the Singapore Changi butterfly garden.
Travel blog photo of a Singapore Changi Airport fishpond.
Travel blog photo of the Dubai Marina.

Our next stop was Dubai, after 13 hours exploring Singapore and a long haul flight. Needless to say we were pretty tired when we arrived. We’ve heard that the Dubai airport is also an amazing experience, but we didn’t really get to see any of it. We arrived in Dubai at 1am, and couldn’t see anywhere hospitable to rest at the arrival terminal. We ended up leaving customs and finding a Costa coffee shop that was still open in the airport lobby. It was here, squished onto a small leather couch, that we caught up on some much needed sleep. Malika slept while I stayed awake to watch the bags, and then I slept while she stayed awake. We knew it was going to be a bit rough, but were willing to accept it for a day in Dubai!

We set off at around 8am, still extremely tired (having had very little sleep). Our plan was to go on a boat tour of the Dubai Marina, and then go to the top of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. We found our way to the train station, and took the Dubai Metro to the marina. We stared wide-eyed at all the amazing high-rises surrounding us as we rode the train. The Middle Eastern desert was evident due to a dusty haze at the edges of the city. We caught glimpses of the clear turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf between the buildings, which made us more excited for what we were about to experience. We had pre-booked tickets on a Yellow Boat tour of the marina and the Palm Jumeirah (a man made island), on big yellow speedboats.

Travel blog photo of our Dubai breakfast.

Having an early morning breakfast before exploring Dubai.

Travel blog photo of Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The view of Burj Khalifa from the metro.

We got to the marina an hour early, so were able walk around and marvel at the amazing architecture. There was a mix of traditional looking buildings (still high-rises!) with extremely modern ones. The waters of the marina and the Persian Gulf surrounded them, with palm trees dotted in between. It was like a modern desert oasis.

Soon enough it was time to board the boat. We set off slowly down the marina, as our tour guide gave us some history of Dubai and the construction of the marina. We passed the foundations of the Ain Dubai, which is now the world’s largest Ferris wheel! It was a lovely cruising speed, but we wanted to go fast!

And did we!

Having left the marina, the tour guide set the boat to full power and we sped off into the sea! The boat jumped up and down as we flew along the water heading to the Palm Jumeirah, and we couldn’t help but laugh and scream at the thrill of it! The man made island was a stunning sight to see, with its lovely sandy beaches adorned with palm trees: a true island paradise! We stopped for some photos in front of the beautiful Atlantis The Palm hotel, and then jetted off to the other side of the island. We finished the tour by stopping by Burj Al Arab, a large glass building in the shape of a sailing boat, before heading back to the marina. It was a thrilling ride!

Travel blog photo of the Dubai Marina cruise.

A nice slow cruise down the marina.

Photo of a speed boat trip in Dubai for our travel blog.

Speeding down the Persian Gulf!!

Travel blog photo of the buildings along the Dubai Marina

View of the high-rises as we cruised down the marina.

Travel blog photo of leaving the Dubai Marina.

Leaving the Dubai Marina.

Photo of Atlantis the Palm Hotel in Dubai for the travel blog.

Atlantis The Palm hotel, at the tip of the Palm Jumeirah.

Travel blog photo of Dubai from the Persian Gulf.

Returning to the Dubai marina.

Travel blog photo of Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

Burj Al Arab from the Yellow Boat.

Beyond Your Doorstep travel blog photo of the architecture surrounding the Dubai Marina.

More architecture from the Dubai Marina.

Beyond Your Doorstep travel blog photo of architecture from the Dubai Metro.

Some of the cool architecture along the Dubai Metro.

Photo of some buildings in Dubai for the travel blog.

There were so many cool buildings in Dubai!

Hungry after our ride, we got a bite to eat from a nearby grocery store, and then hopped back on the Metro heading to Burj Khalifa. We were already pushed for time, but wanted to see if we could quickly get to the top. We ran to the ticket desk in the shopping centre at the base of the building, and realised that we’d have to pay a whole lot extra to go up at the last minute. Rookie mistake, we should’ve booked ahead. We probably wouldn’t have had time anyway, so we made our way back to the airport to catch our flight. It was still amazing to see such a huge building up close!

We got to our gate with plenty of time to catch our flight, and to try and rest up before our eventful arrival in Italy! You can read about the hustle and bustle of Rome here: Oh Rome, You Bustling Beauty!

Travel blog photo of the Dubai Marina.

Our next stop was Dubai, after 13 hours exploring Singapore and a long haul flight. Needless to say we were pretty tired when we arrived. We’ve heard that the Dubai airport is also an amazing experience, but we didn’t really get to see any of it. We arrived in Dubai at 1am, and couldn’t see anywhere hospitable to rest at the arrival terminal. We ended up leaving customs and finding a Costa coffee shop that was still open in the airport lobby. It was here, squished onto a small leather couch, that we caught up on some much needed sleep. Malika slept while I stayed awake to watch the bags, and then I slept while she stayed awake. We knew it was going to be a bit rough, but were willing to accept it for a day in Dubai!

We set off at around 8am, still extremely tired (having had very little sleep). Our plan was to go on a boat tour of the Dubai Marina, and then go to the top of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. We found our way to the train station, and took the Dubai Metro to the marina. We stared wide-eyed at all the amazing high-rises surrounding us as we rode the train. The Middle Eastern desert was evident due to a dusty haze at the edges of the city. We caught glimpses of the clear turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf between the buildings, which made us more excited for what we were about to experience. We had pre-booked tickets on a Yellow Boat tour of the marina and the Palm Jumeirah (a man made island), on big yellow speedboats.

Travel blog photo of our Dubai breakfast.

Having an early morning breakfast before exploring Dubai.

Travel blog photo of Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The view of Burj Khalifa from the metro.

We got to the marina an hour early, so were able walk around and marvel at the amazing architecture. There was a mix of traditional looking buildings (still high-rises!) with extremely modern ones. The waters of the marina and the Persian Gulf surrounded them, with palm trees dotted in between. It was like a modern desert oasis.

Soon enough it was time to board the boat. We set off slowly down the marina, as our tour guide gave us some history of Dubai and the construction of the marina. We passed the foundations of the Ain Dubai, which is now the world’s largest Ferris wheel! It was a lovely cruising speed, but we wanted to go fast!

And did we!

Having left the marina, the tour guide set the boat to full power and we sped off into the sea! The boat jumped up and down as we flew along the water heading to the Palm Jumeirah, and we couldn’t help but laugh and scream at the thrill of it! The man made island was a stunning sight to see, with its lovely sandy beaches adorned with palm trees: a true island paradise! We stopped for some photos in front of the beautiful Atlantis The Palm hotel, and then jetted off to the other side of the island. We finished the tour by stopping by Burj Al Arab, a large glass building in the shape of a sailing boat, before heading back to the marina. It was a thrilling ride!

Travel blog photo of the Dubai Marina cruise.

A nice slow cruise down the marina.

Photo of a speed boat trip in Dubai for our travel blog.

Speeding down the Persian Gulf!!
(Tap the image for more photos)

Travel blog photo of the buildings along the Dubai Marina
Travel blog photo of leaving the Dubai Marina.
Photo of Atlantis the Palm Hotel in Dubai for the travel blog.
Travel blog photo of Dubai from the Persian Gulf.
Travel blog photo of Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
Beyond Your Doorstep travel blog photo of the architecture surrounding the Dubai Marina.
Beyond Your Doorstep travel blog photo of architecture from the Dubai Metro.
Photo of some buildings in Dubai for the travel blog.

Hungry after our ride, we got a bite to eat from a nearby grocery store, and then hopped back on the Metro heading to Burj Khalifa. We were already pushed for time, but wanted to see if we could quickly get to the top. We ran to the ticket desk in the shopping centre at the base of the building, and realised that we’d have to pay a whole lot extra to go up at the last minute. Rookie mistake, we should’ve booked ahead. We probably wouldn’t have had time anyway, so we made our way back to the airport to catch our flight. It was still amazing to see such a huge building up close!

We got to our gate with plenty of time to catch our flight, and to try and rest up before our eventful arrival in Italy! You can read about the hustle and bustle of Rome here: Oh Rome, You Bustling Beauty!

By | 2018-06-16T16:09:08+00:00 October 15th, 2016|General, Jori, Singapore, Travel, UAE|0 Comments

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