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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

~Singapore Stint~

Singapore Stint! Summer vacation 2007 culminated with a short visit to Singapore from July 14~19 with good buds > chie, reg and (pahabol) emg!

It was a tiring but fun experience… running from one spot to another to make sure that we cover all the spots while we were there… from the famous Orchard Road, to the Merlion, Esplanade, Clark Quay, Suntek, Simlim, Bugis, Chinatown, Sentosa, Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park… name it, we did our best to see it. But 4 full days is not enough to leisurely enjoy the sights of Singapore. It’s a city that has a lot to offer and it really is advisable to spend more than 4 days there.

Going through our itinerary, here’s an advise for you budget vacationers: try out the YMCA International House @ One Orchard.

YMCA was our home in Singapore… it was definitely a great bargain, being able to get a bed for approx S$35 per night inclusive of a buffet breakfast. It was worth it J The place was strategically located in Orchard Road, Singapore’s major shopping district. A bus stop was just at the corner from YMCA and a walk across the street would take you to the Dhoby Ghaut MTR Interchange Station.

Going around Singapore was very easy… with the MTR, buses and cabs always by your doorstep, there is no excuse for you to stay home! Our first MTR experience was a breeze thanks to a helpful Filipina who was assigned for the day at the Dhoby Ghaut Station. She helped us get our EZLinks and out MTR maps, gave us tips on the routes to take, etc! thanks thanks!

Our first stop from YMCA was Lucky Plaza as we were advised that this is the best place to exchange our moolah to Singapore Dollars... Wow… Lucky Plaza was simply chaotic on a Sunday… we were warned about the waves of Pinoys there on Sundays but I was still surprised to see that 98% of the people there were indeed Pinoy. A couple of signs around the shopping complex were written in Tagalog – about remittance and other money-matters stuff…

The shops inside Lucky sold mostly electronic goods – which Singapore is quite known to have good bargains for. It was a good chance for us to canvass on the items we intended to purchase… from one store to another, prices would jump to peaks and plunge to pits… it was a good start…

Aside from electronics, we also spotted Dollars and Scents. The perfumery that friend Reysy, who resides in Singapore already, raved about. We couldn’t stop and buy them just yet as we had other plans for the day. With Lucky Plaza just around the corner, we can always visit it towards the end of our stay.

We then headed of to Jurong… to see the famous Bird Park, Science Center and Snow City!

After a MCDonald’s stop, a train ride and a bus ride away, we were already at Jurong Bird Park.

To get a bargain, we decided to get the package for S$40 which includes admission to the Bird Park, Singapore Zoo, Night Safari. With the short time that we had to go around the Bird Park and the warm summer weather, we added S$4 to be able to grab the Panorail ride around the park.


Before going aboard the Panorail, we visited the Penguins… penguins are hilarious. Couldn’t help but laugh at their crazy antics:

The Panorail led us first to Lory Loft (Seth’s fave place! >> now I know why!). took mucho pics with the birdies… bought some snacks for the lories which gave us a chance to be up close (and personal?) with them.



The Loft was huge! Had hanging bridges and a tower in the middle where we enjoyed watching and listening to the lories Ü
Moving along, we found the man-made waterfall… it reminded me much of our CDO-Camiguin Twip! Nice stop!

Saw ducks, swans, flamingos, parrots, etcetera, etcetera…
Took crazee pictures around the park before finally going to our next stop…
Singapore Science Center and Snow City

We were prepared to sprint after seeing the schedule of Snow City –we had 2 mins. before the door closes. We made it! Haha! They were really lenient about the schedules ;) borrowed some jackets and boots and since we brought our own gloves, we didn’t have to rent them anymore! (cheapskates!) haha! Just after two slides down the slippery slopes of the snow-covered arena, our fingers were all freezing numb!
Looked around the Science Center… didn’t get the chance to go inside anymore as we had a date with buddy – Roy.

We found our way back to the city and off to Clark Quay we went!
Roy and Reg emailed each other that we were to meet at Café Iguana at 5:30pm. It was like back in the 90’s when we didn’t have mobiles to check where each other is! We just crossed our fingers that despite being a couple of minutes late, he’d still stick around to wait for us. It didn’t help that I was a first-timer and my other friends are not regular visitors of Singapore! Thanks to Chie’s excellent eyesight, we spotted the café in no time… Roy was waiting :P lols
Had great Mexican food… mmmargaritasss! :P
Walked around Clark Quay, Boat Quay, Riverside (?)...

and emg, reg and roy were brave enough to try the (in)famous GMAX.

after that nauseating ride, everyone decided it was time to call it a night!

The following day was supposed to be set for our Zoo and Night Safari adventure but instead, we thought it be best to get our major shopping out of the way…

Off to SimLim we went! 6 floors of nothing else but electronics! From digital cameras to mobile phones, to laptops, and gaming consoles… name it, SimLim has it! Best deals around!

Of course everyone wants the cheapest price but note that it’s still best to go to the more reliable stores… for cameras, make sure to visit Song Brothers. This was our first and last shop to visit. They gave us warning about other shops on our first visit… experienced what they warned us about… and went back to purchase the item from them!

The Warning:

Shopkeepers will entice you to stay in their store by giving you a low price for what you’re looking for… (at this point, since you know what you’re looking for, you already have a basis for the price of the item in the market) they then let you test the product and show you how bad the quality of the item is… and then… offer you a ‘better’ brand for a much lower price… you test it yourself and sure enough, it seems better! You buy it for the price that they give you (because you don’t know the price of it in the other shops)… and later find out that they sold you an inferior product for a ridiculously higher price.

OR if you’re firm with your decision to buy the brand of your choice, they’ll just tell you that sorry, they don’t have any on stock.

You mustn’t be embarrassed to leave the shop and move on to the next – it probably is the wisest thing you should do. Research! And Bargain! If they can’t lower down the price, ask them to throw in an extra battery, memory stick, even a carrying case!

In the middle of that, we were able to get what we were there for:

2 units of Wii

A vaio!!! Wootwoot!

Got mucho extra stuff for the vaio and mucho discount and extra stuff for the wiis… big smile! After that tiring episode… with bags on both hands, we decided to head home first…drop off our loot and head off to Suntek City Mall!


We were too late when we arrived Suntek and we weren’t able to make our wish around the fountain… but the fountain was beautiful… and the music and laserlight show that went along with the dancing of the water was great.


Ate our free chili crab special (tourists get it for free by getting the voucher from any tourist information center… mmm… yummy food!

After recharging, we headed off to the Esplanade… durian building as some people call it… very pretty at night…
Just a bridge away was the Merlion – the symbol of Singapore.
...couldn't help it... had to take some crazee merlion photos:


By the time we got closer… the water was turned off L was still majestic nonetheless.
After a hint that my allergies were acting up (from the seafood), I made sure we went home straight away to get some meds…

We started day 3 bright and early! We were at the buffet line by 730am… and off to Sentosa to try to make it by it’s opening time of 9:00am. Went to VIVO City… pick up point for the cable car… and rode across to Sentosa!

Well, Sentosa really isn’t much but we also had a fun time there! Rode their free bus to the underwater world… pretty fishes…

My fave: turtles!
Then off to the Palawan Beach

and Dolphin Lagoon where the pink dolphins proudly showed their talents…

Of course, we didn’t miss the photo opportunity at Siloso Beach:


Siloso Beach: Where I was acquainted to a sweet little girl that took shade inside one of O’s of the Siloso sculpture.

The highlight of our Sentosa trip though was the Luge! It was mucho fun! Once again, my need for speed was quenched!

Followed by the skyride that brought us back to the start of the line.

Ate a quick lunch at subway and headed back to the city as we planned to catch the Singapore Zoo open!

Made it to Singapore Zoo at around 5:00pm (note that it closes at 6:00pm). Went around as swiftly as our feet could take us… to the White Tiger, Pygmy Hippo, the Polar Bear… tried to catch the African Elephants but we were too late…
Had dinner outside – dinner we bought in the mall… hawker style char kway teow! Wootwoot! Yumyum! And a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s for dessert :D

By 7:30pm, we were back on our toes… to catch the first tram at the Night Safari… We left Emg to do her accounting while we do the Night Safari Tram Ride… really don’t have pix here coz flash photography was a big NO! NO!

Emg joined us for the Creatures of the Night Show… it was very interesting show and the animals were amazing…

The next day was our last in Singapore and it was reserved for last minute shopping and spots we haven’t visited yet!

First stop was Bugis… we went there to check out the shops… and to catch the DHL balloon (as per emg’s request). We found it! But when we got there, the gates were closing because the clouds, thunder and lightning were signaling the approach of rain… emg was happy enough to just have our photos taken with the balloon! Yahoo!
After Bugis, we went straight away to Chinatown where we bought our pasalubongs… cheaper items… but you really can’t haggle much… prices are usually set and they often offer 3 items for S$10…

Had yumyum lunch at a Chinese hawker stall – hand-pulled noodles! Yum! Some regular mami, laksa, tom yum!

A train ride to Orchard Road was next as we did a final sweep of Lucky to buy or fragrances and Takashimaya to buy Royce’ (yum) chocolates and eat a MOS Burger!

Off to the airport by a little past 7:00pm :D

Unfortunately, we couldn’t go around T1 of Changi Airport since we flew Cebu Pacific and must check in at the Budget Terminal…

Izallgud…

Pointers:
  1. remember to get your GST refund form from the stores where you bought products costing S$100 or more (single receipt) so that you can get your approx 5.5% refund at the airport, yipee!
  2. use an EZLink so you can easily use the MTR and buses!
  3. and refund it at the end of your stay if you don’t plan to visit Singapore again anytime soon!
  4. stay longer than 4 days… it’s quite tiring to go around and force to see everything in such a short time! If the budget and the ‘leaves’ permit, stay a few more days!

1 comment:

Lizeth Rafael said...

how i wish i was with you guys!!! :(