How to Prepare for and Serve your Quarantine (SHN) in Singapore with your Family
Traveling to Singapore During a Covid-19
After some very emotional farewells to our friends and family, this family of five was off to JFK on Christmas night.
One of my favorite places in the world, Terminal Four at JFK was empty with 90% of the store closed, and all restaurants and airport lounges closed. We were left to wait at the gate experiencing airline travel in 2020 and I have to say, it was depressing, and I started to rethink everything. We were 5 of the 30 other passengers on the entire flight. I think they must have had more flight attendants than passengers.
That dark mood faded quickly as soon as we boarded Singapore Air’s A380 direct to Chiang Airport for what is documented as the longest commercial flight in the world. Throughout our 19 hour journey, we had three opportunities for full service meals, snacks galore, and terrific inflight entertainment. This routing did not offer a First Class Cabin, but had a sizable business class in 1-2-1 configuration with comfortable lie flat beds.
Perhaps we were all exhausted from preparing for the move, the holidays or the emotions surrounding all of it – but, that flight went by fast and we all could have spent another 10 hours on it. As we approached into Singapore and seeing the lights from the cities below us was hugely exciting and following the flight tracker during that last hour or so was a really great experience for the kids.
Once we landed, nerves were up as we knew we were to quarantine for 14 days and would not know which hotel we would get assigned to, or even if we’d all be able to stay together in a suite or adjoining rooms, until we pass through immigration and get all of our health clearance.
Before flying we had to get a negative PCR Covid test within 72 hours of departure. We all had Covid in November so we were sure we didn’t have it, but getting guaranteed results over the Christmas holiday was another concern and we chose to work with Covid Consultants who delivered and more, and made sure our results documented all of our personal information that Singapore requires on your results.
So, after we got clearance to enter, it was the moment of truth……my wish as a travel professional….5* and a balcony. Drumroll please….we got the Shangri La Orchard a true 5* luxury hotel in two adjoining rooms with four beds, but unfortunately no balcony or even a window to open. When we finally get released, we will not have breathed fresh air in 14 days. I can’t even wrap my head around that but we are doing it and as I type, we have 4 days left.
Now, what to bring….extra silverware and plates. You will get three meals a day, majority of them are questionable but all of them are better once you take them out of their plastic containers and plate it. You will need to exercise – bring yoga mats and stretch bands, light weight, easy to travel with equipment. Bring a lot of comfortable clothes and sweatshirts. Laundry detergent, dish soap, foldaway dish rack and sponges. Bring stuff to give yourself masks. A lot of bath toys for your children. Vitamin D to help with lack of sunlight…not sure if that did anything but the kids liked getting the daily gummies. I also asked for a vacumn from the hotel on Day 3 which they allowed me to keep which was game changing with three boys eating and snacking around the clock and not a table to sit at.
The title of this blog should be – how to break your kid’s Fortnite addiction, because in all honesty, the most important supplies we brought with us were two Xboxes, and a Disney Infinity. It was disgusting and I am embarrassed to admit to this but my husband felt that this was the only way we’d survive it, especially if our family had gotten separated, was with endless gaming. Silver lining – on Day 10, my kids are officially sick of Fortniite. So, while I wish I could say we sat around laughing and playing board games all day long…we did not BUT we survived. There are now serviced where you can rent these devises, as well as other items you might want like microwaves, hotpots etc during your SHN.
Upon arrival do download apps from Redmart, Amazon, Grab, Food Panda, Deliveroo to get paper towels, napkins, Clorox wipes, beer, wine etc delivered. We also bought new-in-box Nespresso machine which has been lovely and delivered to our room from someone across the island in 30 min.
In regards to jetlag, we did not sleep a lot on the plane and even though we arrived to our hotel at 6:30 AM, we made it to 8 pm that night without napping, ate three meals on schedule that first day, and as a result we slept through that first night. In a miracle of all miracles, we were jetlag free in 2-3 days.
While its been challenging….its all part of the adventure and I think we will all look back at this experience with a smile and some laughs. We rung in the New Year twice, here with a very pathetic “cocktail” party setup, and with our family back home at noon the next day over lunch.
The staff at the Shangri La Orchard are so hospitable, accommodating, cheerful and never have said no to our many requests and needs. And the delivery people in this city are amazing and keeping more than 12K of us serving SHN in hotels across the country happy, hydrated and fed. The Ministry of Health and Manpower call us regularly to check on us, and we get notified three times a day from an app Homer who asks us to record our temperature (bring an electronic thermometer for fast testing that you can share amongst your family) and any symptoms we might have.
Tomorrow is our 10th day and we will actually leave the room….crazy…to get a swab test. And then on Sunday January 12, after starting this adventure on December 25, at noon we will get called to reception to check out and begin our time in Singapore.
We are so excited and feel so safe and happy to be here.