We flew out from Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 – all shiny and whizzy-dizzy with right-on restaurants, computers everywhere and the usual branded shops, but no flight announcements, so of course only just made the plane!

Excellent service on Singapore Airlines – along with Air New Zealand, I think it’s one of the best for flights to New Zealand. The on-board media system is amazing, you’re really spoilt for choice as to what to watch – I plumped for the boxset of The Wire series and a documentary on the 1960s, which must have whiled away at least 4 hours!

Entry into Singapore was very smooth – no long queues through Passport Control or Customs. We transferred by taxi – a half hour ride to our hotel on Clarke Quay, costing us only £25.

The Swiss Merchant Court hotel is located right on the Quay, with a wide entrance lobby, a lounge, and a large dining area on the ground floor. Our sizeable room on the 5th floor had great views over the swimming pool to the river.

The red line sightseeing bus stop is located nearby and we took in most of the sights on an hour’s bus tour around the city. The former Prime Minister Lee Yuang Yew has just died and there were queues around Parliament House of citizens paying their final respects, causing major traffic disruption.

clarke-quay-at-night-1024x682Next we dropped in at Raffles Hotel, named after Sir Stanley Raffles, the British trader from the East India Company who really established Singapore as a major trading post in the 19th Century.

We finished our bus tour at the Marina and then took a boat down-river back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we’ll visit Singapore’s Gardens at the Bay, take a final swim in the pool and eat at one of the Quay restaurants, before heading to the airport for our overnight flight to New Zealand.