Singapore - The Lion CIty
SINGAPORE: The name itself brings forth the clean roads, greenery everywhere and disciplined citizens. My cousin and I along with our kids planned a visit to my brother in Singapore. We booked tickets online and got our visas through a travel agent. The Kids were excited and it was very difficult to answer the questions posted by my 6 year old son.
After clearing our customs in the airport, we waited for our plane. It was delayed by 1 hour. But the kids kept themselves busy in the bookstore nearby. They have started shopping in Hyderabad itself! Everything in the shop display attracted them.
After waiting for 2 hrs we got the boarding call and were very happy to start our vacation. After we settled down in the flight, the air hostess started serving pre ordered food to the respective passengers. I miss those old days when airlines used to serve food every two hours and everything included in the ticket. Though the food was not very good we used to wait eagerly for the food just to see the way it was packed.
We had a very long day so we went to sleep immediately. After 4 hours the captain has announced that the flight was ready to land. We landed safely in Kuala Lampur (Malaysia) and proceeded to our gate to catch the flight to Singapore. The Kids felt very hungry. We tried to search for vegetarian food but there was almost no sign of it. We finally settled for chocolate cookies and Pringles. After one hour we got the boarding call for the flight to Singapore. We were so tired that we fell asleep before the flight took off. The journey was 45 min, outside was a very beautiful view with cargo ships, green islands, bridges and at last tall buildings of Singapore. We got down at Chang International Airport. There was a long queue for immigration. No questions were asked in the immigration and we got permission to stay in Singapore for 30 days. My brother has come to receive us and it was a good family reunion. The airline has missed one of our luggages. We gave a lost luggage complaint and left the place.
After checking in to the hotel (Regent) we went to have Lunch in an Indian restaurant next to the hotel. The food was good and as long as we were in Singapore we did not missed Indian food. We took little rest after we returned to the Hotel. The Kids were so exited and they went off to explore the hotel on their own. In the night we planned to go to the Night Safari. The Night Safari is the first of its kind in the world and is located next to the Singapore zoo. This is the opportunity to see animals during the night. We can visit the zoo during the day, but it is totally different experience to see the animals in groups during the night. There was a long queue for the trams. The waiting time was around 30min. But it is worth to wait as you will enjoy entering the jungle during the night. After getting in to the tram we will be given instructions on what not to do during the tour. One important thing is not to use flash while using camera as the animals are sensitive to light. So, it is better to turn off flash before using the camera. The commentator explained to us the habitat of the animals, where they are usually found, their eating habits e.t.c. The best part of the safari is that we have a provision to get down near any of the trails and then walk through the trails. It will be as good as walking in the jungle during the night. There is a wildcat trial, cat fish trial e.t.c. We were too tired and the children were too scared to venture on foot into the jungle at that point of time.
After 30 mins we came back and were all hungry for some dinner. There is a good Indian restaurant at the venue. We observed that in Singapore you hardly miss Indian food. There are a lot of restaurants that serve Indian food, But you will surely miss the spice of Indian food, as there is no other place which uses spices like India. After dinner we went to the parking lot and identified our cab. Then we went to the hotel and everyone hit the bed.
21 May : Today we have planned to go to Universal Studios. I had been to Universal studios in Los Angeles, USA. I told the kids about the mummy ride where the roller coaster will take you in the dark and there are good graphics to frighten you. Kids were exited and were looking forward to visit the place. Universal studios is in Sentosa Island, which is very near to the main land. It is connected to the mainland through bridge, rope way. After getting ready we have skipped the breakfast and started for the Sentosa Island. We had to take the maxi cab as we are a group of six people. Only four adults are allowed in the normal cab. The fare of the maxi cab is fixed, it is 55 SKG where ever you go(Within Singapore). The cab driver was very friendly and told us about various places to visit. He took us to a department store to buy the tickets to Universal Studios. Here the lady gave us a good bargain, but the problem is only cash is accepted. She is not ready to take even the VISA debit card.
After a good 30 minutes drive we reached Sentosa Island. Here there are various areas’ to alight. It is better to get down near the gate where we want to go; otherwise we have to have a long walk to reach the place. The Universal studio is on the first floor, there is an escalator that will take us to the first floor. As soon as you get down from the escalator it is a total different world. Loud music, people of all ages moving around and colourfully decorated shops. Towards our left we saw the famous logo of Universal studio with the globe moving and Universal studio written on it. Universal studios an amusement park, where you can enjoy rides, shows, and attractions based on the famous Hollywood movies and TV shows. As soon as you enter , Woooo... it looked like we are in NEWYORK city. The old warehouse buildings, a small grocery shop, a dentist shop, the side walks. These are all a part of the NEWYORK set. From here we saw a roller coaster, with a lot of twists, ups and down. It looked very exciting. It looked like it was set up newly. The children in the group over reacted. Some found it very exciting, for some it was very scary, some even wanted to go back home after seeing the ride. After a lot of hush hoosh, children agreed to move on. We saw a terminator showing his skills and people waiting to take snap. We just took a snap from far as the line was already closed. Then we saw the accelerator ride and got on to it. The best part in the Universal studios is that in every queue line, there is a provision for drinking water. So it is better to get a small bottle and fill up the water regularly. The weather though cloudy will be hot and there will be a lot of sweating. Every time whenever we are thirsty, we have to buy the water bottle and it may work out to be expensive.
Kids enjoyed the ride. When we were in the Queue line we have realized that the huge roller roaster we have seen is still in the testing stage and was not open to the public. I could see some disappointment and some relief from the kids. Then we started moving towards Ancient Egypt corner. This place is well decorated with huge statues, palettes, the soldiers guarding the entrance and there was also sphinx . Now, we are ready for the mummy ride. I was not sure if my son was eligible, so we checked with the concerned people and woooo.. he is eligible for the ride(The height of the child is measured for the eligibility). He was soo exited. My cousin’s daughter was scared, and refused to come. But seeing us going she came along. From the entrance it looked like the Queue was empty, but when we went inside, there were many people waiting for the ride. The lucky single rider queue was empty. Slowly we started moving, it was dark inside and sometime it is difficult to find the way, but we managed to join the queue. Inside there was a display of the Mummy, the writing in Heliographic language and the decoration with the pictures of farmers tilling the land e.t.c. The queue moved slowly and finally it was our chance to get into the ride. The elder kids sat in the front and I along with the younger ones sat behind them. The ride is in the dark and the kids already started getting scared. The best part of the ride is when it goes and hit’s a wall and the wall crack and then the ride goes backwards. It is a lot of fun with music and fire and lightings. After getting out of the ride they did not wanted to go for one more time. They refused to even look back at the entrance.
After having refreshments we moved towards LOST WORLD. This is based on the theme of Jurassic Park. After reaching here we realized that there was some technical problem and they have stopped the ride. We got into Dino Soarin. It was great fun moving up and down and we can control our own pteranodon. After the ride we were hungry and started to search for a good restaurant. We reached FAR FAR AWAY. A huge palace welcomed us. There was Shrek 4D show starting in 5 mins. We rushed inside forgetting our hunger. The show was good and you will feel a part of the movie with water getting sprinkled on you, chair moving. When we came out MADAGASKAR characters were dancing to the tune of ‘I like to move it’. We stood in line to get a snap with the characters. After this Shrek and Fiona also came out. We had a snap with them. We felt as if we have completed seeing the Universal studio. We went around searching for vegetarian food, but could find only onion rings, French fries and ice cream. After enjoying the meal we went to LOST WORLD again. The rides are open now and we joined the Queue for RAPID ADVENTURE. It has taken us 1 hr to get into the ride. My cousin who was avoiding the rides has joined us now. As there were chances of getting wet on this ride people were wearing pochas. We were worried as we don’t have them and we were carrying our Passports and money. The ride went on smooth with dinosaurs appearing and shouting and trying to scare us, ride went into a dark tunnel, took us up and then left us we came down and water splashed on us. Few on the ride got wet; others are fine. We got down the ride with smile on our face. Everyone enjoyed it. Then we got on to the CANOPY FLYER. Here we feel like we are flying like a bird. We can see bird eye view of the LOST WORLD. Then we came back to the SCI FI CITY for the transformers ride. This is a 3D battle against evil. It took us long to get into the ride. But was worth, the ride took us through Newyork tall buildings, lanes and at last we have saved Newyork!!! from evils. Then we saw LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION. This show is about how special effects are used in the cinemas. The empty sound stage becomes the setting for hurricane hitting the NEWYORK city. It is a good one for all ages, worth watching. Then we got into Sesame Street Spaghetti Space ride, it was quiet and good ride for the young children. After the exhausting day we came out. It is already 7 P.M. and the park is open till 7 P.M. only. We moved down and waited for the max cab. We could not get it so we got into two cabs and reached hotel. After having dinner we went back to sleep with good memories of the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS.
22 May: Today again we went to Sentosa Island. We took two cabs as it worked out better. After going to some distance the other car got a flat tyre. The cab driver called his friend and has arranged for the cab and has refused to take money (that is the customer service offered in SINGAPORE). After reaching Sentosa we went to S.E.A Aquarium. It has a good collection of marine creatures from various habitats. It is a feast to eyes to watch fishes of different colours pink, yellow, red and all other colours we can recollect. My favourite is Nemo. Whenever I see Nemo fish I remember the movies ‘Finding Nemo’. The OPEN OCEAN is the best of all, we can watch all kinds of marine creature living together. We were able to point to ray fish, sharks, saw fish. It is funny to see small fishes moving like bands, they look like school children going to school. After a good 1.30 hr tour we came out. We wanted to go to ‘Adventure Cove’ where you can swim with Dolphins, go under water and see the wonders, but then we need to have swim dress to enter and only one person in our group have come prepared with swim dress. So, we cancelled this and wanted to go to Madame Tussauds wax museum. This is a museum with famous personalities from sport, music, films around the world crafted in wax. The museum is in another level, we have to use elevator or can use mono rail. Monorail is convenient for families with small kids. So, we went into the station. The station we are in is called ‘Water front’ we have to go to next station IMBIAH. As we walked up the rail has arrived. It is just 2 minutes journey to the next stop. After we got down and walked towards our left we were welcomed by Merlion Sentosa. Merlion is a mythical creature, which is half lion and half fish. It is believed to protect the prosperity of Singapore. When compared to the original one in the main land this statue is 37 ft tall. To preserve our memory of visit to Sentosa we took photo graph here. Then we started to walk up by stairs to reach the museum. Thankfully there was not much crowd. We bought the ticket and this ticket is for 20 minutes movie about Singapore ‘ Images of Singapore alive’, walk in jungle, boat ride(the spirit of Singapore) and for entry into the wax museum.
We had to wait for 10 minutes for others to join us. When the show started it was all about how Singapore has transformed from a small fishing village to a world class city. We have to move from one room to another and see gradual transformation of Singapore from a small village to a big city. In between you will walk 10 steps through a jungle like environment created. Then there is a boat ride of 2 minutes. On either side you can see native plants of Singapore, down town Singapore, flickering lanterns. Then woo... we entered the wax museum. The museum is divided into SPORTS, FILMS, A LIST PARTY, HISTORY AND LEADERS, and MUSIC. There was a bad rush to get photo’s with all the status in the museum. Of course the best for us is the Bollywood section. Our own Bollywood stars Amitabh, SRK, Madhuri, Aishwarya. It looks like half of the objective of visiting Sentosa is done. The grand finale is a photo with Oscar trophy. Then we went SKYLINE LUGE SENTOSA . It is the first Luge in Southeast Asia offering 2 unique experiences, the Luge and the skyride. Luge is a fun filled gravity thrill ride with unique steering and braking system. Here we can go down the trail in Luge and come up by the skyride. We choose to go down by skyride. It was a strand experience hanging in the air. We can get a bird eye view of Sentosa, Singapore skyline and South China Sea. After getting down we went to the beach. The beach was clean and the kids had a good time. There is no stop to their joy of jumping in the water. After about staying on the beach for an hour we decided to watch the laser show ‘Wings of time’. This night show is set against the backdrop of the vast open sea. We will be transformed into another world with the music, laser and water display. We needed some energy to walk to the show. So we to a nearby restaurant and ordered for the pizza. It was an emmeee... treat. After relaxing for some time we walked towards the show. Now, there was a lot of crowd. People have started moving towards the show area. When we reached the ticket counter we have realized that all the tickets for the show were sold out and only the premier seats were left. We have to pay twice the normal amount for it. We had no option but to pay for it. We received a free gift and coupons for free snacks. SO, I suggest to book tickets in advance for this show. There is no difference between the Premier seats and other seats, except for the chairs provided. The show ended with spectacular fire work. After the tiring day we went back to the hotel with the beautiful memories of Sentosa Island.
23 May: Today one other family from Hyderabad has joined us. We have planned to visit Singapore Flyer and then book our trip to ‘Lego land’ in Malaysia. It was drizzling outside, but that could not damp our spirit. We took a maxi cab to go to Singapore Flyer. On the way we passed through parliament house, Buddhist temple, Gurudwar and a Masjid. Then we came to the Huge Giant wheel. It is not like the regular Giant wheel. It is more like a cabin on the wheels. There was not much crowd. So, we got in easily. As soon as we got in to the Flyer we ran to the corners to watch the city. The Flyer moves very slowly so that you can enjoy view. We were all busy posing for the camera. We were so worried about the photos; we were able to see the view only through the camera lens. The elder kids wanted to take single selfies and then upload it to their friends. AT last, I put down my camera and started enjoying the view with my natural lens. It is a beautiful view, with sea on one side, tall buildings on the other side. One side the football ground built in the sea and on the other side is the highway. After 45 mins we got down. Then we ran to check our photos that were clicked on the way to the flyer. Next day we have planned to go to Lego land (Johor Bahru , Malaysia).So I went to book our tickets to LEGO Land . There are two buses that start from Flyer, take us to Lego land, Hello Kitty city and then bring us back and drop near the flyer. I went to book our tickets and I got it for 9.30 A.M bus.
After resting a while we went for a duck tour. It is a 1 hr tour on the land and on water. There was a guide who pointed to the important land marks and explained their significance. The tour on land was mainly through the down town. We saw 72 floor hotel, Parliament building, high court. Then we went into the water. We saw the Park Hotel, Merlion, Bay of Gardens. The weather was very pleasant and the sea breeze soothened our souls. We saw Singapore team preparing for the upcoming boat race. On the way back we saw the arena being decorated for Singapore independent day celebrations. This year they were celebrating 50th year of independence. After the tour we came back to the hotel. We started to pack for our trip to Lego land. The youngest in our team was much exited.
24 MAY: Today we woke up early to catch the bus that will takes us to Lego Land. We took a cab and reached Flyer. Buses will be starting from here. After finishing the formalities we got our tickets. There was still time to board the bus. SO, we went around in search of a place to get breakfast. We have managed to get bread toast. We heard a call to board the bus. After we have boarded the bus the bus has started even if there was 30 mins left for the original departure. It was a pleasant journey and we had an opportunity see the other side of the Singapore. We passed through Jurong Bird park, Singapore University, Sony, Panasonic offices. After 45 mins we have reached Immigration centre. We have to clear immigration to continue further. After completing immigration we boarded the bus. Then after 15 mins we have to get down to clear Malaysian Immigration. Here it took us some time. Then again we have boarded the bus. Now, a guide has boarded the bus and gave us instructions on what to do and what not to do. They have mentioned that we should not carry food items like beef, chicken back to Singapore. No cigarettes, chewing gums allowed. Then she mentioned how to get back to the bus in the evening. At last we saw Lego land. It looks bright under shinning sun. The kids were already exited and ran towards the entrance. It is a good 5 mins walk from parking area before we reached the gate. We choose only the theme park so we entered the gate to the theme park. Adjacent to the theme park is the water park.
Lego land in Malaysia is a first of its kind in Asia and the 6th one in the world. There are around 40 rides, shows and interactive rides. First we visited Mini land, here the world famous structure are built in Miniature using Lego’s. PETRONAS Towers(Malaysia), Forbidden City, Singapore Flyer, Angkor Wat( Cambodia), Taj Mahal(India) are few attractions built with Lego’s. By touch of buttons the people, buses, trains came alive. Thrirty million legos were used to build this and it has taken three years to complete these attractions. It looked like we had a tour of Asia after seeing all these miniatures. You cannot stop clicking seeing these wonders in Lego’s. The weather was very hot and humid. We took rest for some time and then we proceeded to get into the mini train. On the way we saw a lot of rides which are suitable for small kids. The best part of the Lego land is that there is something for the people of all ages, from Infant to the teenage and adults.
The train journey was very good and we were able to see all the main attractions sitting in the train. Then we went to Lego City. This zone is for young kids. Rescue Academy, City airport, Boating are few attractions. In Rescue academy we have to push the fire truck, spray water on the window and then reach the finish line. So, there was a lot of competition to get to the finish line first. We went to City Airport and got into planes. We managed to take our plane to high and enjoyed the ride.
Next we went to the Land of Adventure. This is the best place where elder kids had a good time. First stop is at ancient city, the city is design with the theme of ancient Egypt, mummies, soldiers, heliographs. It looked like we are inside a pyramid. Here we played with laser gun, and hunted for treasure. Beetle Bounce, where you are taken up 15 feet and they start shaking you then get you down. Kids had a great fun, and as there were fewer crowds, we had requested for one more ride and they had accepted it gracefully.
Our next stop is at Dino Island. The big, adventurous ride through the Dino land and ending in the splash of the water is the star attraction. We did not get ponchos to cover so we had a nice bath whenever water splashed. As there was hardly any crowd we went to the ride for 4 times. The Dino’s built using Lego’s are worth seeing. Then took some rest and walked towards IMAGINATION. On the way they have built huge giraffe, dinosaurs and other animals using the legos. The main attractions here are OBSERVATION TOWER, KID’S POWER TOWER, DUPLO EXPRESS, and DUPLO PLAYTOWN. The Observation Tower gives the best view of the park inside and outside. Then there are 4d Shows. As there was a good half an hour for the show to start we walk towards other rides. Duplo Express and Duplo Play town are for Young kids. Then we went to the KIDS POWER TOWER. Here we have to pull our weight to the top and then drop to get down. There was a lot of fun and you realize how difficult it was to pull our own weight. There was competition between us and my cousins. Each of us pulled with all our power and each one of us were winners. Then we stopped for food. There is actually no choice for vegetarian food.
The next place is LEGO KINGDOM. The place stands majestic with the Kings palace complete with drawbridge. It looks like you are in the real palace. The way up leads to the DRAGON ride, the favourite of our group. The ride takes you in to a dark cave and then we get out of cave to be dropped, twisted and climb up. As there was no crowd we got onto the ride 3 times. Each time it was a different experience and all the bones in the body had a good exercise. Next to this ride there is a mini dragon ride DRAGON’S APPRENTICE. It is just a mini version of the main one. People who are afraid of the big ride can get into this roller roaster. Though there was not much thrill in this ride after the original one we got into this ride for two times. We were tired after this ride, but still there is a lot to see and kids did not want to miss anything. So, we took a break for some time and then started looking for food. We have managed to get Malaysian Parata with chilli ketchup. There is no choice for vegetarians and we have to survive on coke and French fries.
The other attractions were STAR WAR series, GO TECHIC zones. This zone has high speed rides for the brave. The interesting ride is Aqua zone wave racers where people outside can use guns and water blasts to spray water on the riders (Water racers). Project X, testing the technical track is also challenging ride where you have to survive drops, twists and turns. We got into this ride for four times. As it was a lunch time there was hardly any crowd.
It was already time for us to leave and board the bus. We had few refreshments in the restaurant at the entrance. Then we bought a LEGO set as a memory for the trip. With tired feet we walked towards the bus. The bus came exactly at 5 P.M. The guide told us continuously that chewing gums, meat is not allowed into Singapore. Again we had to clear the customs from Malaysian side and Singapore side. After a long day it was good to put the tired body to sleep.
This is the last night for us in Singapore. Tomorrow we will be catching train for Kuala Lampur.