As you probably know, I coach high school wrestling at Jeffersonville High School. We have one of, if not the best, coaching staffs in the state of Indiana. One of the coaches, Coach Maddox, also runs/trains an MMA team. One of his fighters, Don’Tale Mayes, just signed his UFC contract and got his first fight – UFC Fight Night 162 in Singapore, highlighted by Ben Askren vs Demian Maia. Long story short, I booked a flight to Singapore to watch Dontale in his opening fight at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
I found a flight for $470 roundtrip on China Eastern going from JFK to Singapore with a 5-hour layover in Shanghai. While China Eastern doesn’t have the best reviews, I’ve flown WOW plenty of times to Europe so I figured how bad could it be… Oh, it was bad. The one good thing however was that the flight left NYC at 1:45 AM, so I could sleep a portion of it (or at least attempt to sleep). I flew from Cincinnati to New York after work and then caught a taxi from LGA to JFK.
China Eastern was kinda like flying Frontier/Allegiant in terms of quality but for 16 hours. While the airline is supposedly upgrading their fleet, the plane I was on was older with extremely small seats (width) while having average legroom. The food was not very good (one of the meals was the below sandwich) and we did not get very much of it. The China Eastern website is awful (I was never able to pull up my actual booking) and the flight staff was very hit or miss.
The flight back from Singapore was a little longer but matched up with the same time frame, but with a longer layover in NYC (so I could stop and get bagels to bring back home).
The airport in Shanghai was very clean and had a very nice airport lounge (available to PriortyPass members). The airport had tons of outlets and seating. When I arrived however it was like a ghost town…
While on the topic of airports, the airport in Singapore is amazing. It features a massive mall feature – JEWEL. Every store imaginable was in this mall plus it had a massive water feature. The airport itself was also setup in a logical way that America needs to take note of – to get into the terminal all you needed was a ticket (no security check) and inside the terminal was a good amount of shopping and food (there was even a food stall area). Gates were grouped in sections of eight and to get to your gate (which only had seating) you went through a security line, which there were eight of (to match the number of gates in a grouping). Having a setup like this sped up the process tremendously and overall the airport puts any airport in America to shame.
The fight was held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, which was a pretty small stadium located in downtown Singapore. I would say it was about 60% filled and seating was not enforced for the majority of seats, which was really nice since you could move to better seats. When fighters would come out of the tunnel, we were allowed to go up the edges of the tunnel (above it) as they walked out. The fight itself didn’t go in our favor, but nonetheless it was awesome!
So the majority of my day was spent around the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. In that area, you have the downtown core of Singapore and more specifically the Gardens by the Bay. The biggest attraction in the Gardens (at least in my view) is the Flower Dome, which is the world’s largest glass greenhouse. Also in the Gardens is the Cloud Forst (a indoor waterfall), the Supertree Grove, and a host of smaller attractions.
Across the street from the Sands Hotel is the Hotel Mall, which has pretty much every store imaginable, even a DC Comicbook Cafe, a Ferrari Store for Kids, and a floating Louis Vuitton store. In the lower level of the mall it has a water feature complete with little boats you can ride in.
The below two photos show off Little India and Little China neighborhoods. I walked by the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India and it was packed by worshipers with a line wrapping around the temple. In Little China, I checked out the food stalls and the Thien Hock Keng Temple. The food stalls were really cool
These following two photos come from a mall – it had every much every store imaginable and has a “stream” that ran through it.
Just a few random photos….