Singapore CNY Trip 2016

It’s time to blog about my trip few weeks ago to Singapore. It was my first time in this country despite its near location to my own country, Malaysia. Initially, we wanted to go to Japan, but Singapore is a good alternative as I never went before, so it is an eye opener.

Culture wise, I think it’s quite similar to Malaysia, they eat the same food, wear the same clothes, consists of Chinese, Malays, Indians, etc.

KLIA and flight

The trip starts with my family (parents, brother, aunt, uncle, and I), 6 people going to the airport at KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport). It was early in the morning, 6am, and I am still in sleepy mode. There are long queues at the airport, we deposited our luggages, we waited, and go for the boarding gate (places we wait before entering the airplane).

En route to the boarding gate, we have to check our passport via the machine, as well as x ray scanning of our belongings. The plane finally arrived, and we enter the plane, and went for 45 minutes flight to Singapore.

Arrival at Changi Airport

I have been to Singapore Changi airport last year (en route to Hong Kong). I have never actually viewed the Singapore island from outside the airplane window before, this is my first time, last time, the moment I glanced outside the window, the famous Changi airport tower is already in sight. I saw houses lying on the coast of Singapore island, they are very developed.

After leaving the plane, we have to pass the arrival immigration counters, there are a row of counters with officer with uniform sitting inside the counters stamping the passports, we can hear the officers loud stamping the passport. We waited in line, filled the embarkation card. Caution: don’t snap pictures at the Changi Airport Arrival Immigration counters where they check your passport. My mum actually snapped pictures and was asked to not do that again.

After passing the counters, we went and retrieve our luggages. Then, we went to the McDonald’s inside Changi Airport to have our breakfast. The McDonald’s is different from one from Malaysia, it has these machines stand that take your order, and they serve bacon strips for their breakfast set!

After the breakfast, we went to a counter selling internet data sim cards, we bought a data card worth some GB and shared it among us via tethering.

We walk, walk, walk in the Changi Airport with our luggages, and we arrived at the MRT station. The MRT station is inside the Changi Airport. I think that is neat, people can come from all over Singapore to the airport via MRT, everywhere is connected.

Check in to inn

We ride the MRT to Farrer Park, the MRT fare is very cheap in Singapore. Then, we walk along the roads to Mitraa Inn at Serangoon Road where we will be staying. The Inn is more like a merge of hostel and hotel, they have typical hotel toilet but no queen beds, only 3 two storey bunk beds, just enough for 6 of us! I saw a bookshelves at the common area of the Inn, which is nice, they have travel books and Harry Potter books, etc. We unpacked ourselves and ready to go to Singapore Zoo.

Common area of Mitraa Inn, Serangoon Road
Common area of Mitraa Inn, Serangoon Road

The person running the Inn called the driver to come and fetch us from our Inn. The driver, driving a van, came in front of the Inn, and we went into the van. The driver gave some recommendations on where to go, and upon hearing we are going to Universal Studios tomorrow, gave us some tips, such as, go anticlockwise instead of clockwise because the crowd are going clockwise, or something like that, and he recommended some must try rides at the Universal Studios, apparently he had tried them before.

Singapore Zoo and Night Safari

We arrived at the Zoo after around 30 minutes. There are two parts of the Zoo, Singapore Zoo, and Night Safari (which opens at night). We went to Singapore Zoo first. Upon entering, we saw some shops selling food, including KFC, ice cream, etc. There is a lion dance performance (the video is taken by someone else but it’s the same day and time as I visit the performance).

Singapore Zoo CNY lion dance
Singapore Zoo CNY lion dance

We then go for the Zoo, the Zoo goes around a circle. The first part, we saw a lot of fish, then crocodile. There is a place where you can touch the aqua animals such as starfish. I realized there are a lot of big tanks at this zoo, which makes for a spectacular view. We also had chance to see the red panda and panda. The red panda is cute, hanging around the branches. We entered the panda area, and immediately feel the coldness of the atmosphere, the zoo made the area cold because the panda lives in a cold climate.

Posing with family in front of a big fish tank
Posing with family in front of a big fish tank
Red panda of Singapore Zoo
Red panda of Singapore Zoo
Panda of Singapore Zoo
Panda of Singapore Zoo

For lunch, we went to the restaurant called Mama Panda Kitchen inside the zoo. We had the chance to eat the panda shaped bun which is very cute. After lunch, we went to ride the Amazon River Quest, where you sit at a boat, and the boat will row along a predefined water path, along the way you see some exotic animals.

Food from Mama Panda Kitchen inside Singapore Zoo
Food from Mama Panda Kitchen inside Singapore Zoo

Then, we walk, walk, and saw fish again, this time is Piranha. Also, the big aquarium has these big seal like mammals. We then exit the zoo to join the Night Safari.

Big mammal inside big aquarium
Big mammal inside big aquarium

While waiting for the Night Safari to open at 6pm. We had the chance to watch the Thumbuakar Performance (fire show), the performance is nice, and you can feel the heat on your face.

Thumbuakar Performance at Night Safari
Thumbuakar Performance at Night Safari

Upon entering Night Safari, we get to sit on these long tram together with other visitors. The tram drove us, in the dark, to witness some animals along the path. We saw lions, elephants, deer, flamingos, giraffes, Tapir, and lot more. It’s like you get to see what they are like in the dark, in the jungle.

Seeing deer at Night Safari while riding tram
Seeing deer at Night Safari while riding tram

We went back to Inn via bus. We bought some soaps and towels from the convenient store beside the Inn. The soap only costs SGD2 per piece, so cheap!

Universal Studios Singapore

The next day, we woke up, and head for Universal Studios Singapore. We rode MRT from Farrer Park MRT to HarbourFront MRT. The MRT is near the Sentosa Island, we just have to cross the “bridge” called the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is a long roof covered bridge, where you can walk to Sentosa Island, where Universal Studios Singapore is located. The Boardwalk has moving walkways (flat escalator you saw at airport). While crossing the Boardwalk, we saw some ships.

We arrived at Universal Studios Singapore. We took our tickets and wait in line. Inside Universal Studios Singapore, it has a Hollywood feel, also hint of Chinese New Year with red pockets hanging around because it’s Chinese New Year.

Universal Studios Singapore with some Chinese New Year decorations
Universal Studios Singapore with some Chinese New Year decorations

We rode many rides such as Mummy roller coaster, Transformer ride, Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, Puss the Boots ride, Madagascar ride, etc. The Transformer ride and Mummy roller coaster are fast and exciting, my dad seems to like it. Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, you basically sit in a round boat with 8 persons, and went for some water adventure, you will get wet. However, no worries, while queuing up, you will see there’s machines selling rain coat made of plastic.

Family with two dinosaurs in front of Jurassic Park at Universal Studios Singapore
Family with two dinosaurs in front of Jurassic Park at Universal Studios Singapore

We ate our lunch at the Jurassic Park themed restaurant, I ordered a dinosaur egg nest lunch set, which consits of criss cross fries and an “egg” made up of meat and cheese in the middle. We saw these enchanting bottles selling in front of the Puss and Boots ride, we bought two home and still using it at home. At last, we went to see the Pantages, where there is elmo and friends show, the title of the show is “When I grow up”, has some morals in it (don’t let others sway what you want to be)!

Dinosaur nest egg meal
Dinosaur nest egg meal

A side observation about Universal Studios Singapore, when I look up at the sky, I saw no tall buildings, maybe because this is an island, when I was at the Jurassic Park section, I feel like I’m really in a jungle, the designer of the park maybe already took into account of this, bravo! Also, I found out the Universal Studios Singapore is built by Genting? Universal Studios only started operating since 2010.

Then, we went back to Inn, had our dinner at a local Indian restaurant, the food is similar to Malaysian Indian restaurant such as Murni or Kayu. It’s night already, my aunt, parents, and brother decides to go out because it’s Chinese New Year night. They went to Chinatown, Marina Bay Sands where there are people gathering at the stadium to witness fireworks.

Stadium near Marina Bay Sands, celebrating Chinese New Year
Stadium near Marina Bay Sands, celebrating Chinese New Year
Bugis street, shops along rows at left and right
Bugis street, shops along rows at left and right

Last day

The third (last) day, we tour around the area of the Inn, I saw a lot of Indian people and shops, because duh, this is Little India. The Inn is at Serangoon road, and Serangoon road passes Little India. We saw the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, went window shopping at Mustafa Centre, ate Briyani rice. Then, we took MRT to go to Bugis Street. Bugist Street is just a row of shops on the right and left inside a roof covered area. I bought a darth vader chocolate. Then, we go to Changi Airport via MRT and fly back home.

The trip occurs between 6/Feb/2016 to 8/Feb/2016. To see more photos from the trip, checkout my Facebook Album.

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