This blog is about my life. How I live it with the people I love. Adventures and misadventures in my life is journalled here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tips in Singapore

Disclaimer: I've only been to Singapore three times. The first two times that I was there, I stayed for more than a week while the third and recent visit, I stayed there for four days. So, all my tips here are based on my actual experience, to those who've been there or live there, you may or may not agree with me BUT as mentioned, these are based on actual experience unless specified in my post.

Warning: Very long post

Intro, as stated in my previous post, this tips sheet was created for my younger batch officemate as they are going to Singapore tomorrow. I posted it here as other people planning to go to Singapore may find this useful too.

Recommended places to visit:

• If you want to see animals not caged and in their normal habitat, Singapore zoo is highly recommended. It is best that you pair this with the Night safari as they are situated in one area. If limited time, ok lang not to go to Jurong birdpark, for me, mas worth it to see the zoo and night safari though if you only have two nights in Singapore (and you want one night in Sentosa then another night in Clarke Quay) ok lang not to go to the Night safari. But if you decide to see all three, allot one whole day, compressed pa eto. Morning will be for the birdpark then afternoon until evening in Zoo and Night Safari.

Night Safari – S$ 22.00
Park hopper: zoo, night safari & birdpark – S$45.00; night safari & zoo – S$30.00

• Sentosa – there are two recommended ways to go there, one: through the Sentosa Express and second, through the cable car. See prices below. Must try: Skyride and Luge – take the skyride going up then the Luge going down. Meaning, from Sentosa Express, don’t go down on the first stop, go down on the beach (that’s the second and last stop of the monorail). You can also bring swimwear and stay until night time to watch the “Songs of the Sea” show in the beach area. Visit din the Imbiah Lookout – andito yun malaking merlion for picture taking. If you took the cable car going to Sentosa – dito kayo sa Imbiah Lookout bababa. Of course there’s Underwater World(not sure of the term) and dolphin show – we did not go here na, sabi nila better pa dolphin watching in Subic tapos been to Aquariums na in the US so did not try, probably if with kurt, we'll go.

In Sentosa:

Island admission ticket and transpo: Sentosa Express (better choice because unlimited ride inside Sentosa) – S$3.00 (Vivo City, Harbourfront, St James Power Station) – last train from Sentosa – 12 midnight; Sentosa Bus – S$3.00 (Harbourfront); Cable car – normal cabin: S$10.90 (one way)/ S$11.90 (two way); Glass cabin (two way): S$18.00. If you decide to take cable car, check first if hindi mahaba ang pila para di sayang ang time. ako nung 1st time ko, we only took the cable car pabalik kasi haba ng pila papunta, though mas mahal pag one way lang.

Carlsberg Sky Tower in Imbiah Lookout: S$12.00 (9am to 9pm)
4D theater – adult S$16.00 – Imbiah Lookout – 15 mins. Show of pirates
Skyride: ride from beach area going up to the Imbiah Lookout and Luge: ride going down – combo good for two – S$16.00

• For night life: go to Clarke Quay but eat dinner before you go here kasi expensive ang food (expensive sya pag nag-convert ka and if you're earning peso). You can try here the Turkish ice cream (creamy sya) then tambay-tambay lang and watch the reverse bungy jump and extreme swing

Clarke Quay – G-MAX Reverse Bungy Jump – weekend 12pm to 2am; GX-5 Xtreme Swing – free fall and rapid flying experience

Shopping (based on MRT stops):

Orchard Road – Ngee Ann City-Takashimaya, Tangs, Wisma Atria, Plaza Singapura, Isetann, Robinsons
City Hall – Raffles City, Citylink Mall, Suntec City, Marina Square/Millenia Walk – when you go out of the station Raffles City agad, but if you stay in the basement, that’s the Citylink Mall which will connect you to Marina Square and Suntec City
Harbour Front – Vivo City (schedule visit here on the same time that you’ll go to Sentosa)
Also in City Hall but different exit – Funan Digital Mall for techie items na mall format or if you want tipong style Greenhills, you can go to Sim Lim IT mall – medyo maglalakad from the Bugis MRT station but it’s six levels of techie stores

Night shopping:
Mustafa Center – 24 hours (haven't been here)
Chinatown night market – Weekend: until 1am – try local finger food stalls at Trengganu Street (haven't tried this)
Late Night Shopping – every Saturday until 11pm – Paragon, Tangs Orchard, Wisma Atria


DHL Balloon – helium balloon ride- open 11am to 9:30pm – MRT: Bugis station (haven't tried this)
Esplanade (durian shaped theater) – go down City Hall station then follow the signs or para scenic go out of the station, you can see it already so just use the pedestrian walks towards there. On my first time, I tried this instead of sa ilalim kasi at least you’d get to see the surroundings. After Esplanade, cross the bridge and you’ll see the smaller version of the merlion then in front of the merlion is the famous Fullerton hotel – cross the street towards the hotel then walk to the side going to the back – it’ll be a riverbank – lakad-lakad lang until you reach the parang business section – there’s an MRT station near there, Raffles Place yung name. May bago pala at the back of Esplanade – yun malaking ferris wheel, when we're there di pa sya open but I believe March open na.


• Food is really great in Singapore because of the different cultures – basta don’t eat on restaurants and it won’t be that expensive (if converted to peso). Don’t eat on American fast food chain kasi through food mo talaga mae-enjoy ang Singapore and for the price you’ll pay for Mc Do – same amount na rin when you eat at Hawker centers
• For breakfast, eat the kaya toast with teh (milk tea) or kopi (local coffee), or you can have their numerous variety of noodles
• Try the following food: chili crabs (when you order this, samahan nyo nung mantou bread), black pepper crabs (though ako I like the chili crabs better), cereal prawns, bbq stingray, laksa, roast duck, chicken rice (hainanese chicken) – this can either be roast or steamed chicken
• While in Orchard you can eat in either of the two: mini hawker center near Le Meridien or in Food Republic in 4th level of Wisma Atria
• For experience, buy the S$1.00 icecream na binebenta ng mga mama sa kalye most especially in Orchard in front of Takashimaya. You can have it sandwiched between wafer or nasa one piece of loaf bread.
• For drinks, try the sugarcane drink, Pokka tea
• If you want to eat in a restaurant, I recommend these two for chili crabs: No Signboard (in Esplanade) or Jumbo (in Clarke Quay) – both are good!

You can go to Orchard by going down to either of the three stations:

1. Dhoby Ghaut station – farthest from the other side – first mall you’ll see is Plaza Singapura, continue walking and you’ll see the house of the prime minister – Istana Park (their version of Malacanang) then you’ll see Le Meridien and after that yung mini hawker center na.
2. Somerset station – (middle of Orchard shopping area) when you go out, cross the street and you’ll see on your left side the Visitor Center – you can get pamphlets and maps here for free, may free foot massage pa. You can also buy here your park hopper tickets.
3. Orchard station – the farthest naman from the other side after Wisma Atria.

(Recommended by their website):

Note: I brought this list too when we went there the last time, but due to time constraints, we were not able to visit any of the recommended restaurants here.

Chin Mee Chin – hole in the wall on 204 East Coast Road opens 8:30am – 5pm; closed on Mondays – Food: kaya toast, swiss rolls, cream puffs and coffee the old way (20 unique things to do in SGP)

Katong Laksa Wars (stalls 47, 49, 57 and 328) – in East Coast Road claiming to be the best/the original/the real McCoy – Corner of Ceylon road and East Coast road (20 unique things to do in SGP)
Hokkie mee stall Thye Hong at Wisma Atria’s Food Republic – noodles served on traditional opeh leaf (20 unique things to do in SGP)
Joo chiat area – Kim Choo Kueh Chang (60 Joo Chiat Place) – glutinous rice dumpling, Awfully Chocolate (451 Joo Chiat Place) – melt-in-the-mouth chocolate cake, Canton Wok (382 Joo Chiat Place) and Casa Bom Vento (467 Joo Chiat Place) (20 unique things to do in SGP)

Makansutra Gluttons Bay – 01-15 Esplanade Mall daily 6pm to 3am
Eng Seng Restaurant – 241 Joo Chiat Place – signature black pepper crabs. Open 5pm – 10pm (20 unique things to do in SGP)
Sin Huat Seafood Restaurant – signature Crab Bee Hon – place is fully packed so better to visit after 9pm – Geylang Lorong 35 (corner of Geylang Road) – opens 6:30pm – 12:30am (20 unique things to do in SGP)
Chomp Chomp – hawker center in 20 Kensington Park Road – serves up one of the most authentic local food experiences – bbq stingray, won ton noodles, fried carrot cake, laksa, sugarcane juice

Note: I only tried the Newton Food Center, haven't been to the others recommended below.

Hawker’s Center: - to really save, I suggest that you eat here. Kami parati hawker center except pag may manglilibre we eat sa restos
Lau Pa Sat Festival Market – 18 Raffles Quay – MRT: Raffles Place – highly recommended
Newton Food Center – along Clemenceau ave. North – MRT: Newton
Geylang Serai Market – Beside Blk 1, 3, 4, 5 Jalan Pasar Bahru – MRT: Paya Lebar
Glutton’s Bay – refer above
East Coast Lagoon Food Village – 1220 East Coast Parkway – MRT: Bedok

Don’t forget:

• Bring your own tissue paper – they don’t usually provide you with this when you eat
• Don’t bring gum – BAWAL! As in big deal sa kanila
• It is better if you get the reloadable MRT card as even on bus you will use this pay – but since hindi practical to buy as tourists kayo – be sure to always have coins kasi sa bus, dapat eksakto ang bayad. Ako, my MRT card has been with me for three years and hindi sya nag-eexpire even if on that three years eh, once a year lang ako nagpunta
• For big purchases (above S$100), make sure you ask for the GST refund receipt para you can refund the amount you pay for tax sa airport
• Bring folding umbrella and sun block – it’s a tropical country with weird weather as ours so better be ready

If you’ll ask me of a good itinerary, I suggest the following:

Day 1: go to Orchard, go to the Visitor Center and get the maps and pamphlets, buy ticket for park hopper and ask for directions na like paano kayo makakapunta sa mga zoo and Jurong bird park kasi may bus pa eto after train ride; ikot na sa mga malls, check out Istana park then sa gabi – go na to Clarke Quay

OR, kung ayaw nyo ikot sa mall after going to Visitor’s center go to Istana park na then take the MRT in Dhoby Ghaut station then diretso Harbour Front station na for Sentosa.

Day 2: visit the zoos (Jurong bird park in the morning, zoo in the afternoon then night safari). Though eto sobrang puno na (kasi maganda talaga is whole day sa zoo then tsaka night safari)

Day 3: Marina Bay area naman– go first to Funan (my opinion – better pa rin to buy at Funan than Sim Lim kasi mas sure kang di ka lolokohin, sa Sim Lim kasi, if they know that you’re a tourist, minsan lokohin ka pa) then Raffles City then go down and use Citylink Mall to go to Suntec or Marina Square

OR if you don’t want to go shopping: from Raffles City, don’t use the walkway at the basement, instead use the pedestrian walk to go to Esplanade para you’ll see the scenery, then since you spent the night of Day one in Sentosa, pwedeng this time naman you go to Clarke Quay.

Recommended website to check:

St. Andrew’s Cathedral – MRT: City Hall
St. Joseph’s Church – MRT: Bugis – 143 Victoria Street; Sunday mass: 8:30am, 10am, 5pm
The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd – MRT: City Hall and walk along Bras Basah Road. ‘A’ Queen street; Sunday mass: 8am, 10am, 6pm

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