Friday, January 7, 2011

A 5-day exploration around the Merlion City, Singapore

[Trip from September 2008] 

It was F1 season in Singapore back when my Rubel and I vacationed in September 2008. We were actually bummed about being a week early from the actual date of the event. But the good part of it was that we got to see firsthand the actual tracks and sidelines. Anyway, it was my first time to visit Singapore, and I must say that being in this country was sight for sore eyes! Seeing the Merlion was a superb treat for a tourist like me. And to start off, let me show you what we did in our first day in the Merlion City 

DAY 1 

ARRIVAL @ SG’S BUDGET TERMINAL 

Singapore’s Budget terminal was literally just like a receiving area. It seemed like it was smaller than NAIA Terminal 1. Nonetheless, the terminal maintained a good flow and process. And as we got our passport’s stamped, we immediately rolled our trolleys outside the airport. 


A free shuttle service was also available, where passengers from the budget terminal will be transported to Terminal 2. Anyhoo, Terminal 2 was way bigger than the budget terminal. On top of that, the airport also housed an array of food establishments. But since we were on a budget, we ate at Burger King that morning (Rubel’s family wanted to treat us to some Fish and Chips brunch but it was still closed when we arrived). 


EXPO STOPOVER

The EXPO can be accessed through a 10-minute cab ride from Terminal 2. Our hosts took us there to check out the on-going clothes sale, and to see the Road Safety Community Park. Kids were taught here about following certain traffic rules via mini bikes and small toy cars. Rubel’s 2 year old nephew wanted to try. But he wasn’t allowed yet since he was still too young to ride any of the vehicles. 


WOODLANDS Accommodations

Our cab ride from the Expo to Woodlands took about 45 minutes. The fare cost us less than $15 SGD. Rubel's family had an apartment in this part of Singapore, which we stayed in for the whole duration of our vacation.


SCIENCE DISCOVERY CENTER [By Jurong Town Hall Road]

After settling our things at the apartment, we went to see the Science Discovery Center. We rode the MRT from Woodlands to Jurong East Station, and then rode Bus 66 to get to the science center. Here's a few of the photos that we took while exploring SDC:


There was also a ‘Water Exhibition’ at the time, so we checked that out as well. The famous Snow City (a man-made snow hill) of Singapore was also a few steps from SDC, so we did one last stop there. The Snow City was also comparable to Star City’s Snow World, but smaller. 


NIGHT SAFARI

The Night Safari was our last stop for the day. It housed famous food establishments like Ben & Jerry’s, Bongo's Burgers and more. Anyway, after purchasing our Safari tickets, we headed out to eat dinner at Bongo’s Burgers. And after an hour, we headed to our tour. 

Other than the safari ride, we were also given the chance to walk on some of the safe trails to check out other animal attractions. The fruit bat encounter was by far the scariest for me! 


DAY 2 

CAUSEWAY POINT MALL by WOODLANDS

Rubel’s family treated us to some authentic KAYA Toast Breakfast (pineapple jam and butter slathered on toasted bread) before heading to the mall. We also went for a little window shopping right after. And since Singapore was also an expensive place, we made sure to stay on budget. So come lunch time, we decided to eat at the mall’s food gallery (food court). 

BUGIS ST./JUNCTION

After lunch, we headed to where Bugis Junction was located. We got there via the MRT. Anyway, Bugis is famous for its location and good finds. Although expensive, I saw quite a few pieces that were interesting to my taste. But a lot of what was being sold there can also be purchased in the Philippines. 


SIM LIM SQUARE

Singapore has also been recognized as one of the countries in Southeast Asia that offers affordable electronics. And Sim Lim Square is a building that is known to have some of the best and cheapest electronic finds (just a short walk from Bugis). I was actually able to spot my dream phone in SLS – a purple Sony Ericsson K770i. I was able to get it cheaper in Singapore (much cheaper compared in Manila). Aside from that, you can also find a variation of computer products to camera kits in SLS. It’s certainly a one-stop shop for all of your tech/gadget needs. 

MUSTAFA CENTRE in Little India

If you’re looking for cheap perfume, Merlion keychains, or Merlion Chocolates boxes in bulk, then you should definitely stop by Mustafa Centre. I was able to buy 3 boxes of chocolates for just $10 SGD!


SUNTEC MALL

We finally had our Fish & Co. fix at Suntec Mall. But before that, we stopped for a while to watch the mall’s hi-tech fountain show.


Evening stroll by RAFFLES BLVD, and more!

We passed-by the Singapore Flyer and a few F1 structures; and also took pictures with the famous Esplanade mall and Merlion statue as our background. 


DAY 3 

LUNCH TIME AT VIVO CITY

Rubel’s family no longer came with us on our third day, so we opted to have our lunch at our first stop for the day --- Vivo City. This is where we purchased the SENTOSA PACKAGE TOUR (package rate was $33.90 per person). We also purchased our roundtrip Cable Car Ride somewhere near the mall, which came with a free bottled water each.

Cable Car Ride to Sentosa

Our first stop in Sentosa was the Imbiah Beach. The other attractions that we also went to were the Luge Ride, Sky ride, Sky Tower, and Images of Singapore. The Images of Singapore was like a museum that showcased the history of SIN. 


As for the Merlion Walk (which was a few minutes away from Images of Singapore), this was where a huge Merlion replica was situated. Our ticket was also allowed entry inside the Merlion, so we were able to enjoy a short AVP of the Merlion’s history, as well as a 360 view of the city (atop the head of the statue). 


Sentosa’s Underwater Dolphin Lagoon ($22) and Oceanpark

Both attractions weren’t included in the package that we purchased, so we had to buy these separately at Sentosa. Anyway, we were able to reach both places via Sentosa’s free shuttle rides. 


Cable Car ride back to VIVO CITY

We had dinner at Carl’s Jr. soon after our Sentosa adventure. We also decided to eat at Carl’s Jr. since we missed having it back in Manila. And right after dinner, we went around the mall for a while, and then left for Dhoby Ghaut and Plaza Singapura (to check the SASA stuff there). 

DAY 4 

ORCHARD ROAD 

Our first stop for the day was at Orchard Road, where we first tried the wafer ice-cream sandwich (priced at $1 SGD only). It was quite delicious!


FAR EAST PLAZA

I was able to get a few cheap pairs of flats here, while Rubel checked out the shop that sold Macbeth items. 

LUCKY PLAZA 

Lucky Plaza has been made famous for housing one particular store – The House of Condom. I was actually hesitant to go inside, for fear that people might judge me! But then again, I was a tourist and I highly doubt anyone would recognize me anywhere. So I went inside to check their merchandise. Much to my expectations, the stuff there weren't that outrageous. 


TAKASHIMAYA

Takashimaya is a posh mall by Orchard. We didn’t stay here for long since all the merchandise that was being sold were super expensive! 

WISMA ATRIA Mall

Another mall that had a lot of good finds. It also had its own SASA and Cotton On Store. 

Of High-end Hotels & Designer Boutiques 

Much to my excitement (for my eyes and not for my wallet!), I saw designer boutiques such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel while walking around the area. I could not help but take photos, while having these posh displays as my background. 

BUGIS JUNCTION

We went back to the Bugis Junction to check out this DHL Hot Air Balloon Standee of sorts, plus this Team Manila-ish store called Graniph. Rubel had to make one more stopover at this store before heading back to Woodlands.


Dinner at HOOTER’S, Clarke Quay

We had one last dinner with Rubel’s family, wherein they decided to bring us to Hooter’s at Clarke Quay. They treated us to some beef fondue meal and buffalo wings.


DAY 5 

SMRT to CHANGI Airport

We took the earliest trip via SMTR to Changi Airport Terminal 2 (got into two interchanges). Our last ride was the free shuttle back to the Budget Terminal. 

BUDGET TERMINAL 

By the time we arrived at the airport, we immediately walked towards the Cebu Pacific counter to get our tickets. And to kill some time, we went around the Duty Free area to do a little more souvenir shopping. 


NAIA 3, PHILIPPINES 

We got back in Manila around the afternoon, thus ending our vacation. Singapore was a pleasant country. But Manila will always be a place that I’ll always come home to. 

Of course, before I end this entry, let me share to you the TRAVEL EXPENSE SHEET that I created for our Singapore trip. Hope it helps you with one of your future trips in the Merlion City! 

Explore & Be Free! 
Mai

Post a Comment