Universal Studios Singapore.
14th october 2012..
At the hostel, I went to the reception counter and confirmed my booking that I made via agoda.com. It was 8:30 am, most of the guest is still sleeping… since check in was after 2:00 pm, I couldn’t “physically” check in although I have “officially” checked in, paid a refundable security deposit and had my credentials cleared. I asked the receptionist permission to leave my backpack, while I go sight-seeing and promised to be back at 5:00 pm. The hotel policy allowed it. How grateful I was, to put aside 12 kg of weight off my shoulders.
Off I went to the MRT station, Chinatown, where I came by earlier and asked the staff working there how to get to Universal Studios Singapore. USS. The MRT counter staff, explained in explicit detail, the options, how, where, when and what to do. 🙂
I took the train from Chinatown station to Harbour Front station, exited from underground again, up the escalators, followed the directions provided on the sign boards, searched for the monorail to Sentosa Island and by 9:00 am was there. I was early, should have get some breakfast first, but being early has it advantages as I was able to purchase the tickets, SGD 78.00 without hassle. The crowd that came later on was unbelievable.!
Still one hour before opening so I had some breakfast, lots of choices here. First impression, nice place, clean, interesting environment and setup organised. Going to enjoy it here.
Then I entered USS with few thousand other visitors, no idea when did they came. Tips: Try to get the Show’s time-table guide at the entrance.. It’s very handy later on.
Everybody wants to take pictures of something or somewhere, just get used to it. Your face is sure to end up in someone’s album or Facebook account.. so, if you are hiding. This might not be the place for you.
There are so many rides and amusement to choose from, catering children and adults. Some rides, like the roller coaster, have a minimum height limit and not suitable for young children. Check the listing in advance to avoid disappointment. Lockers are provided for a fee, used to store cameras, small things, whatever items that are not allowed for roller-coaster rides.
Observed that one of the popular attraction is “Transformer the ride”. There’s already a long line waiting for entry. The effect is amazing and as real as it can get, for about 15 minutes, expect to be jostled and thrown around for a while.
Most of the visitors are quite civilized and stayed in line quite patiently while, there are some other tourist, which I strongly believe not from Singapore, acted like total morons, trying to cut lines, and such things, making wimpy fuss like uncivilized idiots. Quite irritating especially when you have to stand in line behind them. However, I tried to keep calm and ignore as much as possible. I have to compliment on the staff and crew, of the USS here for doing an overwhelmingly professional job, they were stern and disciplined, which managed to maintain order throughout. It makes the visit, really enjoyable and nice.
Lots of souvenir shop, selling really nice items, around SGD 5.00- SGD 20.00, bit pricey for a budget traveler but I can’t resist and got a small token for myself. I didn’t have a lot to eat, just got some drinks, as it was so much walking.
Waterworld, based on the 1995 movie, stared by Kevin Costner, another attraction that’s sure will bring a bang to you, try not to miss the show. Interactive and explosive… very safe, no need to worry because all the stunts and pyrotechnics are done by professionals.
It was getting hot, I went to a lot of the attractions, not all but a lot of them. The shows are timely, and as scheduled which makes your planning very easy and smooth. I had a good time here.
Left USS around 3:30 pm, walk around the resort for a few hours, covered most of the area I think. A huge place, but not that easy to get lost. Took some pictures and admired the architecture. Left Sentosa island by the way that I came by at about 4:30. On the way back, before reaching the MRT station, I entered a National Geographic store looked around and not long after, got myself a nice sling bag worth SGD70.00.
I reached the hostel at 5:30 pm, and take my bags to my bed, shared the room with about 8 other people there, mostly European tourist. The double bunk, was alright, sheets blankets seems clean and nice. Took a shower and soon later went out again by night to have dinner, and sightseeing again.
Although I was walking quite far and alone, and there were not so many people who I stumbled upon, I felt safe and confident walking on the streets. Not all that concerned and worried. The crowd was more eminent when I neared the waterfront area. Boat Quay, Clarke Quay.
day at the National Museum
15th october 2012.
Back late last night, Up early around 7:00 am and ready to go out again. I decided to go to the National Museum today as my roommates said I should go there and check it out. A bit reluctant but, I wasn’t planning any place else anyway. So I reviewed the map and got online for some info (the hotel got wi-fi and 2 notebook for use at the seating room as well). After some bread and jam, compliments of the hotel, with the rest of the guess, I went out, took the train to Dhoby Ghaut station. A couple, foreigners definitely, asked me for help on how to buy tickets from the machine and I helped them, with ease. 🙂 Emerged from the underground station as usual, onto the streets and started looking for the museum. Got disoriented for a while but reached the museum anyway, which was just 100 meters or so from the station.
Bought tickets for the museum, was assisted by the friendly and helpful staff there let it be the counter, or security officer, they are all professional and courteous. Although entrance is free, It’s advisable to get the entry tickets (SGD12.00) which allows access to the permanent exhibitions, as it’s the largest display gallery consisting 70% of the contents here. The special exhibitions, depends on the display at time of visits, is another ticket. I went for the permanent gallery only.
There’s also a guided tour service offered, not sure about the fees but instead of taking a personal guide, I took the audio guide for the history museum, which is provided at the entry, of the gallery.
The audio guide, while it talks too much at sometimes, Is really helpful, and very informative. Not to mention patient as well 🙂 I spent three hours at this gallery alone. Then exiting the History gallery, visited the other gallery, much smaller and done in about 30 minutes. I left the museum at 4:00 pm. Maybe I am a museum geek I don’t know, but I just got a thing for museums.
Overall, I had a great time, it was very informative and the interactive audio guide just made it better, with all the information needed at your fingertips. The beautiful architecture itself is an amazement to see.
Hunger is a side effect when all that information is divulged at a short time, find my way around and had a nice meal at one of the many cafeterias nearby, After a short break, walked around for a few more hours and head back to the hotel. I didn’t have much time visiting the area near my hotel so took the liberty of doing so today. Got some street pictures and all. Found a Tintin shop, but most of the items there for display only. They sell t-shirts and books mostly. At a camera store got myself one camera strap, black rapid style.
5:00 pm, back to the hotel for my bags and checked out, straight to the airport where I left my bag pack at the luggage deposit for a low fee of SGD5:00 for 24 hrs, took the MRT back to Marina Bay with the intention of taking some photos. Too bad I was late and the access to the rooftop was closed at 9:30 pm. The ticket is SGD20.00 for access only. Instead I walked along the skyline, waterfront, took pictures of the scene while heading to City Hall station and ready to go back to the airport. Being a city by the sea, Singapore is not a very windy country. You can feel the heat as if it was day time.
When I reached the Tanah Merah station, where we are supposed to change trains to the airport, It was already 12:00 am, so there was no more trains and we had to leave the station. So got into a taxi instead of waiting for a bus.
Singapore, in my opinion is peaceful and calm. The people are friendly, very helpful and I felt safe there when going out. Taking pictures around won’t be much problem.
Efficient and reliable public transport, with remarkable frequency interval, no need to rush and push, even on peak hours, enough train for everyone.
Maybe it’s just my timing but I sometimes feel like they are more foreigner than Singaporeans around.
Public toilets are very clean with most of them providing baby changing rooms and disable person friendly. Traffic light is a little strange, where the green lights for pedestrian, but cars still do go by, they do stop for people crossing, gets kind of scary if not used to.
The only downside is that this is an expensive city to visit.
Changgi International Airport
Waiting overnight for the flight back, I explored Changgi International Airport . Lots of shops and eating places and alive through the night. Interesting interior design.
My flight home was not until 11:30 am. I could have used the morning for more sight seeing but risk missing the flight. Anyway It’s alright because I could use the break t as I would have to fly to Cambodia in a few hours later. 🙂