Sunday, January 8, 2012

Singapore Sojourn

When we went home to the Philippines last month, we made a side trip to Singapore to celebrate my mother's 60th birthday. It was a very memorable and happy trip because all of my family on MY side tagged along, and being in a country we've never been to before, it made the adventure and bonding all the more fun!

Singapore is a very, very small country.
FACT: you can go from north to south in. Span of 45 minutes!
Population is 3 million and 80,000++ of them are millionaires. It is a very clean and organized city, they have kept most of their historical sites and parts intact, partly because Tourism is their no. 1 industry ( followed by shipping their no. 2).

Here are some of the spots we went to...

1) Merlion

Lovey-dovey in Singapore
This spot by the Singapore river and Marina Bay is one of the most famous spots in Singapore. This is because of this "mascot" of Singapore called the Merlion (a hybrid of a lion and a fish). Accdg to Wikepedia :

 The symbol was designed by Fraser Brunner, a member of the Souvenir Committee and curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium, for the logo of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in use from 26 March 1964 to 1997

Our Family

PROS: Easily accessible - all tours stop by here; It's free!

CONS: You just go here for picture nothing else, unless you took also the river tour, then you can embark from here, I think...

2) The Night Safari

This is one of the unique attractions in Singapore. Nocturnal animals which hardly get noticed in regular zoos are showcased in this place in what seems to be unenclosed cages/dwellings. Meaning, you ride a tram and just think the animals are just a few breaths away from you!

Some of the inhabitants of this zoo
Fire Show
Sleepy but still ready to pos

We capped the night off with my kids relaxing in some "natural" form of spa....

Tickle spa or..
PROS: Unique zoo animals and set-up lets you see animals in their very natural state and habitat, very clean and not a really long trip especially if you have kids in tow, the tram makes it a breeze to get around

CONS: Pricey entrance fee, I think it was around S$40+ per person, the food is pretty pricey as well and not that great (burgers and fries are better of served by the experts like McDonalds), unless your also a nocturnal creature like the animals here, you better have slept early on or you'd be dozing off during the tram ride.

3) Mount Faber

I think the tour guide said this was the 2nd highest point in Singapore. We went here to see the views of the city, and it s truly beautiful. You can take a cable car from here going to Sentosa Bay (another tourist hot spot).

Concrete Jungle of Singapore
exotic flowers

Boys at the peak
PROS: Easy accessibility, it's FREE

CONS: A little bit of a climb for people with knee problems, there are restos and you can take the cable car from here, but other than the view, you can skip this one if your going eventually to the Flyer or Skypark

4) Singapore Universal Studios

Kid Fun at Universal
Far far away castle

Kevin Costner is that you?

Brendan Fraser is that you?!

Yes, you read it right and like what you see in the pics, it is the smaller version of the Universal Studios in California (including a small strip mall outside with "Chili's", "Garretts Popcorn and other American brand franchises!). 

Definitely, a go-to-place for those travellers with kids, like us. The lines for the ride was looong, as expected and we only got to ride the Kiddie rides (which suits our scaredy-cat family to a tee). We pretty much indulged ourselves with the different shows and sites! :)

PROS: Easy Access, huge underground parking, if you miss America, this is the place for you! Great for  families with older kids.

CONS: Just like in any theme park - long lines for any ride, everything inside is pricey and very crowded. Unlike the Universal in the U.S., there weren't a lot of characters around to have pictures with! Aidan was disappointed not to meet SHREK at least.. :(

5) The Singapore flyer

A worm's eye view of the flyer
This is the tallest & largest ferris wheel in the world!

The view is spectacular, the ride - easy-peasy, I mean, you literally ride this thing inside a room with a view!

See what I mean about the room thing?!
The ride takes about 30 minutes to complete and none of the queezy feeling you get in your stomach. It goes very slow and since the room is big, you can have birthday parties, small weddings etc. sky-high!

And Oh my, what a view!!!!!

PROS: Great, great views with a twist! The mall is ok too with yummy Chili Crabs to boost! Not scary at all even for the faint-hearted when it comes to ferris wheels.

CONS: A little pricey (we got our tickets in advance so we got a huge discount plus a lot of freebies for the kids). If you end up in a flyer with another group more noisy than you, you might not enjoy the ride as much.

6) Sentosa bay

Awaiting the show...
Sentosa, which translates to peace and tranquility in Malay (derived from Santosha in Sanskrit), is a popular island resort in Singapore, visited by some five million people a year. (from Wikipedia)

We went here for the cable car ride and other attractions and didn't have the time to enjoy the beach and the resorts. It looks like Shang-ri-la Mactan (if you've been there). We were all tired by the end of the day that we just waited for the famous "Song of the Sea" water and light show..

PROS: Beautiful island, easy access from Universal, great light and water show, lots of things to do - cable car ride, aqauariums, etc.

CONS: If you're not staying in any of their resorts, you cannot enjoy the beaches. The attractions are not "spectacular", so you can just go and watch the light show and skip the rest

7) Double Helix Bridge

After going riding the Singapore Flyer, you can walk all the way to Marina bay Sands and one of the ways to get there is to pass thru this awesome bridge!

The Double Helis Bridge as viewed from Above
There is a poem about this bridge that speaks very well of what it is...

     "So walk this Double Helix, point to point. 
      Recall its Science but see its Art articulate life
       Surrounding life, as waters lap either side,
      As skies unfold our destiny, inscribe benedictions
                  For us, for all." - Edwin Thumboo

Intricately beautiful

Made even more beautiful to me
PROS: Definitely easy access, beautiful to behold, it's FREE

CONS: If your not up for a stroll, this long walk from the flyer to the mall is quite far!

8) LV store

Ok, I know, this is not a tourist destination. But hey, your talkin' to a fashion/brand lover here, so to me, this is a site to behold! LOL!

Aside from the fact that it's an LV store, it is the BIGGEST LV store in Asia (with a small museum inside), it sits in the middle of the water and it carries some of the most awesome girlie stuff inside! What's not to like?! :-)

Giddy girls!
Just like jewelry, the box is just as important as its content :)
PROS: Nice store with nice goods. Eve if you don't buy anything, the staff are pretty friendly. The prices are reasonable considering its LV, plus you don't pay any taxes since you're a tourist!

CONS: Of course, everything inside is pricey, pricey.

9) Marina Bay Sands Resort Hotel, Mall & Skypark

Sorry I had to ruin the view :)
This hotel houses the highest swimming pool in the world. Of course it has a huge casino and is adjacent to a super luxurious mall!

Inside the hotel lobby
The mall, structurally looks amazing - easy to shop in all day!
At the very top of this hotel/hotels, is the SKYPARK. Other than the flyer, this is the other best way to see the whole city/country! Check it out!

Singapores Museum of Science

Singapore Flyer

Convention Centers

Look at that pool! You'd literally be swimming on top of the world!

PROS: Easily accessible, multi-function place for the whole family, excellent food court with food from all over Asia (including Gerri's Grill - liempo anyone?!), great shopping for luxury brands (LV, Chanel, Prada, Dior, Hermes, Bvlgari, name it, they've got it!)

CONS: Skypark entrance is pretty steep ($25 each, kids discounted a little, I think it was $16 or 17) and the guided-tour is scheduled on a 1st come 1st serve basis of up to 50, so you really have to plan on this if you want to do it: pool area cannot be accessed by non-guests, luxury brands mean Expensive stuff, so not the best place to buy your Singapore keychains and magnets.

10) Singapore Zoo

My Husband, Sister and our kids were the only ones who headed to this zoo ( I was with mom at the Mall - of course! LOL!). They all thought it was amazing, and like the night safari, not a lot of fences to separate humans from animals (maybe a "yikes" to some!).


Close encounters with the orangutan-kind
PROS: Very enjoyable for the kids, with free shows and encounters. Unique set-up, very natural and makes you feel "in-touch" with the animals.

CONS: It's a little pricey and a little smaller if your used to the big zoos in the U.S.

So, there you have it folks, Singapore, TO ME, in a nutshell! Feel free to comment, post any violent or non-violent reactions as to what must and must not be included in this list of mine.

Overall, wether or not we were in Singapore, being with my family, was the tops! Being there though was just icing on the cake of a very long overdue reunion!


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