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Home Exchange Story: Singapore

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Diana was on the road and she was kind enough to share her home exchange experience in Singapore.

1. Where did you go on home exchange?

We were on our way to Iran and decided to stop over in one of our favourite destination – Singapore. It’s such a vibrant city and so traveler-friendly. We’ve seen the Singapore sights before but never fail to be impressed: the food, the friendliness of the people, the hustle and bustle and, this time, a first for us was to visit the new gardens at the Bay. They were beyond our wildest dreams – so manicured and yet so wild at the same time.And to see the amazing skyline hotel “jetting through the sky” above us, was so exciting.

2. How did you choose your destination and home exchange?

We were so delighted when we found a GuestToGuest home right in the heart of downtown Singapore. And, amazingly, it was also incredibly quiet and with its own swimming pool. To enter it, we went into a mall and then took the elevator up to the third floor … when we got out, we could hardly believe we were in the middle of a major city. There were beautiful palms around the pool and the apartments all had balconies overlooking the water. So, on one side we had utter tranquility and a beautiful pool to swim in whenever we wanted, and on the other – we could look out over the busy city streets and all the excitement of the locals going about their daily routine.

3. What was the conversation like with your host?

Our host had contacted us well before our arrival to apologize for the fact that she and her husband would be away on business during our stay. She explained that their home-help, a lovely live-in woman, would be in the house, along with their 12-year-old son. Anything we needed, we had only to ask. We had such interesting conversation with Maree, the home help, and also with Aiden the son. He was the most delightful young man and gave us many tips on what to do and where to go in Singapore.

4. Your arrival: How was the house? Did you meet your host? Did they give you any gifts or tips for visiting the area?** **

In our bedroom, we had been left a gift of delicious local snacks. The bedroom itself was perfect, overlooking the pool and with fresh linen and plenty of space to store our belongings. We had an en-suite bathroom to ourselves and we could also use the family living room whenever we wanted. We felt comfortable in the kitchen although the home-help insisted on preparing breakfast for us and anything else we wanted! There were maps in the home for us to use, along with guidebooks to the city in English.

5. How did exchanging your home influence your vacation, compared to a traditional vacation rental?

Our GuestToGuest home was the first stop on our two-month long vacation and it was just the perfect way to begin our time away. We felt much more relaxed than we would have in a stuffy, anonymous hotel. In our guest home, we really felt we were living an authentic Singapore experience. We couldn’t have asked for a better start – and with such friendly hosts. Having people in the home while we were there, ready to make us welcome and give us advice, was perfect.

6. Tell us what you saw during your trip.

As well as the usual eating out and trying different foods, including ‘carrot cake’ which wasn’t at all what we expected (so not like New Zealand‘s carrot cake – but delicious all the same!), we also visited the Gardens at the Bay, China Town, The old government buildings and graveyard, the herb and medicinal garden – and loads of different restaurants and food stalls.

Bonus Question: What is the best memory from your trip?

Without any doubt, our best memory was the lovely home we stayed in and the delightful company of the people in it. Swimming in the pool was a highlight, too, especially as we always seemed to have it to ourselves, even though other apartments shared it. To lie in the warm water and look up at the sky was magical, and it was only a hop, skip and jump back to our fabulous room. Oh, and did I mention the sweet bananas we at for lunch every day along with mango! Yum

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