A 5-day exploration around the Merlion City, Singapore

[Trip from September 2008] It was F1 season in Singapore back when me and the boyfriend 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 a 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 on our first day in the Merlion City.

DAY 1 


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. 

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 (bf's family wanted to treat us to some Fish & Chips brunch but it was still closed when we arrived). 


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. Bf'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. Bf's family had an apartment in this part of Singapore, which we stayed in for the whole duration of our vacation.


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 are 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. 


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 


Bf'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 lunchtime, we decided to eat at the mall’s food gallery (food court). 


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. 


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 to 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 chocolate boxes in bulk, then you should definitely stop by Mustafa Centre. I was able to buy 3 boxes of chocolates for just $10 SGD!


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 


Bf'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 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 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 


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!


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


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 wasn't that outrageous. 


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


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. 


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. Bf 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 bf'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. 


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. 


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 with 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! 

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  1. I think Singapore is one of the most-visited countries in Asia. Haven't been there that's why I am  looking for Singapore travel deals. Maybe one of these days if our budget permits.

  2. Sayang Rossel, kasi Cebu Pacific just offered 90% off of their travel fares last week (for both local and international destinations). Pero dbale, maraming pang deals dyan for sure.

  3. I have been visiting Singapore for four staight summers now as my sister is based there. This summer though I've decided not to go there anymore coz feeling ko I've seen enough of the place. But then seeing your pictures makes me regret my decision. kakamiss din pala.:)

  4. hehe.. I was just there 4 months ago. Pumunta naman kami ng Universal this time. Pero ok lang Blanca, kasi baka gusto mo magTry naman ng ibang destination? =) Ako hopefully new country to visit na next time. =)

  5. Looking at your photos made me realize that there were so many things we missed during our Singapore trip. The Night Safari for example, we were in line but decided not to go because we were so tired lol...too bad!

  6. You should definitely try it next time you visit SIN. And also, save a little energy for the tour, especially for the walking part (the part where you get to explore on your own). =)

  7. Looks like you had a fun and memorable trip. Thank you for sharing the expense sheet. =)

  8. I did, Stef. And you're welcome. =)

  9. I so envy you maam, dami nyo nang napuntahan :( Ako kunti pa lang

  10. Ok lang po yan Herbert.. Pick a place that you've always wanted to visit, then save a little for it every day.. kaya po yan. =)

  11. gusto ko n talagang pumuntang Sg!!!!

  12. It gives me good reason to fly to singapore. 

  13. Save na for a SIN trip, gagay! =)

  14. Hey Chino! All the more.. go na! =) dami naman promo fares ngayon. =)

  15. I'm planning to surprise my family for a 3 days vacation in Singapore. Hopefully this year when I' done with my responsibilities at work. 

  16. Wow! That'll be a nice surprise, Karen. =)

  17. Salamat Stacy! =)

  18. I miss Singapore tuloy! haha.. Hope I can visit the Merlion city again soon, and the next time I'll make sure to learn from you and your budget travelling.. :) Btw, I love the $1 ice cream sandwich!

  19. Me too! I think I had too many of those $1 ice creams.. especially the coffee-flavored one. =D

  20. ang sweat sweat naman! :P
    you both look so enjoy..siempre not everyone had a chance to see F1..

  21. oh, pre-F1 ang punta namin.. was actually wishing na manood, kaso nga too early ang dating namin sa SIN noon..

  22. it's been almost 20 years since i last went to singapore and this november my wife, daughter and i will be going there again for a 3-night stay before going to malaysia. thank you for the itinerary. it brought back some memories of where i went during my 2 month stay there. 

  23. Cool! Have fun in SIN and Malaysia.. I hope to get the chance to visit the latter soon. =)

  24. Looks like you had a great time! 
    Ang kulet ng House of Condom! Are they really selling the contraceptive?hehehe...
    Hope to visit Singapore next year!  ヅ

    P.S. You may want to check our blog & we'd love it more if we follow each other! ヅ


  25. Thanks Wrey! :) Actually, I only stayed a couple of seconds inside the small shop. But surely, they're selling contraceptives too. Oh, and there were even some "toys" on display as well.. lol! Oh, and would love to drop-by your blog. :)

  26. haha I didn't know voodoo dolls were considered lucky :D and the house of condom seems, hmm , interesting? haha you surely had a great vacation.


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