Visiting Singapore

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Questions

3 weeks in Singapore with a toddler

February 2006

My husband has the opportunity to work in Singapore for 2 or 3 weeks, in June. He doesn't /have/ to go, but I think he'd like to. We have a very active toddler who will be 22 months by then. If she and I stay behind, it'll be a long, hard time without his help and company. Or daughter and I could go with him, probably partly paid for by his company.

I could use some advice from anyone who knows Singapore, or has traveled that far with a toddler, or on the other hand anyone who has single-parented at home for 3 weeks.

I'm wary of the 14-hour plane trip and the jetlag, and I don't know anything about Singapore. But perhaps it could be a big adventure? What is Singapore like with a toddler in tow? Her temperament is physically vigorous, curious, and easily overstimulated. We would be staying in a hotel, and my husband will probably work 45-60 hours/week while there. I work half- time, so I'd have to take some vacation from my job. Will I DIE without some form of childcare?

I should say that my sweetie and I used to love to travel before becoming parents. We are not over our wanderlust. But this is another thing altogether... tempted but wary


Singapore is a very safe, clean place. It sounds like a great opportunity. though 3 weeks might be a bit long... I am pretty sure that you could secure some childcare if you can't handle it. Perhaps call the hotel you will be staying at beforehand to check on what the cost would be... go, you and your toddler will love it, I think. Sophia


My parents live in Singapore and we brought our daughter there for 3 weeks when she was 10 months old - the reason we travelled then was because she could still fit in the airline bassinet they provide. Even with that, it was quite the trip and I dont think I will do it again until she is at least 3.If its comforting there were lots of other parents on board with young kids - pacing the aisles. Its a 20 hour plane trip - a super long flight, and extremely exhausting. I would reccomend giving your child some benadryl so they sleep, and try and get bulk head seats so you have some room. Or stop off in Japan or Hong Kong overnight. So if you think you can handle the plane ride, Singapore is the most wonderful place for kids - absurdly clean, wonderful food, great shopping, incredibly safe and full of wonderful things to do with kids. They specialize in nature/tourism and great food... tons to do! Great botanical gardens, an incredible bird park, a world renonwed zoo - and the highlight - the night zoo! My daughter gobbled down every type of wonton and noodle she could get her hands on. Its pretty hot (right on the equator)but its more modern than most American cities so there are plenty of air conditioned places to duck into. If you want more info you can email me - I would reccomend getting an Insight guide, or a Periplus guide. anna


When we had a 2 month old & a 2 year old, my husband had to travel for about 10 days so I did myself a favor and hired a babysitter to help and hang out w/ us in the evenings. It made things much more tolerable and I only needed help for about 2 hours - enough time to get through dinner, bath & bedtime. To offset the cost, some of the nights I just asked my sis-in-law or a friend and her daughter to come to dinner. (I didn't mind making dinner for everyone because someone else was there to offer entertainment & distraction for my kids.) That being said, I would jump on the chance to travel, if possible - especially if it could be partially funded by someone else. If you decide to go, I would recommend, without hesitation, to get your daughter her own seat for the flight. P. Cooper


I am not from Singapore, but have been there a couple of times. Singapore is one of the more modern countries in Asia, and is definitely the CLEANEST, and very beautiful. There are many educational things for you to do during the day with your toddler. Beautiful parks, malls, museums. They have beautiful orchid gardens, Sentosa, etc. Local friends you make (perhaps trusted colleagues of your husband) could possibly recommend local nannies. Don't worry, labor in Asia is VERY reasonable (read: inexpensive!), and having childcare at home or in a hotel room for an extended period of time is simply a way of life in Asia. Your little girl may just need to spend time with you and the nanny together at the beginning. Asian hospitality and warm, sincere smiles abound, so I am sure, in no time, you will feel comfortable leaving your child with the nanny and taking a break here and there. I also guarantee, after having ''at-home'' childcare everyday, you will get used to it and will have a hard time flying back to the U.S. :) Do not worry about the long flight, most leave late at night, and sleep will account for more than half of those hours. There are 2 of you to entertain her the rest of the flight (might I suggest a personal DVD player? I've had to fly home to Manila 4 times alone with a toddler, and it's a LIFESAVER - on the plane, in hotel rooms, in restaurants, in any unfamiliar surrounding). Being alone (single-parenting) here for 3 weeks will pale in comparison to having a great family experience in Singapore. Don't forget the mini-family vacations you can take on the weekends! Have a great trip! Marlene


Go to Singapore! I've never been there with a toddler, but I have one now and would definitely go there with her. It's clean and lush with greenery. You can get any type of food you like so you won't be homesick for American fare. There's a place called Sentosa island which has an awesome underwater aquarium and other child friendly entertainment on it. The plane ride will be tough, but worth it in my opinion. singapore fan


I think it would be a great opportunity. You could use Singapore as a base to maybe do a weekend trip to Malaysia and maybe some other place on the end of the trip. Jetlag only lasts a day or two; my 10-month old daughter adjusted pretty quickly when we went to Asia last month. A night or two of waking up at the wrong time and then she was on schedule. I would try to find a hotel where you have a kitchenette in your room so you don't always have to eat in restaurants. Anon


What a timely email you sent...my brother, his wife and 2 yr old just flew to Singapore to live for 3+ months. My brother is on an extended work assignment there. They are staying at a fabulous place that caters to long term (1 week +) business travellers and travellers with children. Here is the info he sent me:

The place is called Fraser Suites. They have another serviced apartment complex down the road called Fraser Residences. www.fraserhospitality.com

If you are staying a week and have family, it's a good deal. Big apartments, maid service, kitchen, washer/dryer, free bksft on weekdays, shuttle buses to major shopping areas, pool/sauna, play area, etc. They can even arrange babysitting. There are lots of serviced apts in SIN. www.expatsingapore.com is a good resource. Fraser rates as the best or in the top 3.

If you need anymore info please email me and I can fwd you onto my brother's email. Singapore is a great place to be with kids, according to two of my best friends who have been living there a few years with children. I have been there a few times (pre- kids) and thought it was a lot of fun - great food too! The city is VERY clean and it's easy to hop a plane to other parts of SE Asia. Good luck with your decision to go. Maya


I didn't see the original posting, but we have just come back from 3 months in Singapore with our 2 year old and I would recommend making the trip.

This was our first time visiting, and I was 5 months pregnant when we arrived, so we were definitely hesitant about going. I did find the heat a bit overwhelming at times (chalk that up to the pregnancy probably) but there were many indoor activities for us to participate in.

We stayed just off Orchard Road in a residence apartment complex, and met most of my daughter's playmates at the pool at our afternoon swim time. You will also find that everyone there is friendly towards children. One of my daughter's favorite people ended up being the security guard at the next building.

Each mall has childrens' activities, mostly shows like Wiggles and Barbie, that are free and my daughter really enjoyed (even though she's never seen either on a tv or in a movie). There is also an indoor kiddy gym in Forum that you can drop in during their opening hours (price is approx $7 US for a 1 year membership). Also at Forum is a bookstore called Bookaburra that offers a reading hour on Wed afternoons and Fri mornings that is great (it's approx $3 US which is reimbursed if you buy anything).

There are Gymboree and Kindermusik classes offered at Tanglin Mall. If you do Kindermusik, I would recommend ''Miss Pat'' as she is very gentle with the kids. As an aside, there is a GREAT grocery store at Tanglin Mall in the basement that is very Western (you can find all kinds of goodies there) and a good organic store on the 3rd floor called Brown Rice Paradise.

I would be happy to speak with you about my experiences if you like. Good luck! Sarah