Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 August: Singapore: City Tour During YOG Opening

Travel Date: August 13, 2010

Some of my closest friends are already in Singapore (SG). It was last year when I learned that the famous Universal Studios will be built in Singapore. Early this year, we decided to go there to visit our set of friends and go to USS – but not this early. It was June 12, Independence Day – Cebu Pacific (CP) Sale, this is the same day for my flight to Shanghai. I have no way to check the available dates and cheapest price to Singapore. Thanks to my friend who booked for my plane tickets going to SG. Singapore, this is where all it started. Way back 2006 when I first stepped to a foreign land by the help of my sister. August, Friday the 13th, my flight to SG. Noticed that CP has already been using an ordinary receipt type of Boarding Pass compared to the traditional one (just the same as Air Asia in Brunei – April 2010).

We arrived at Changi Airport at around 50 minutes after 12mn. The Budget Terminal is just simple, as if you are just in a Provincial Terminal in the Philippines, but still better than Pinas. Rough ceilings and walls, less decorations, no way you can say that you are Singapore – unlike my first trip. For Filipino travellers, we are allowed to stay at a maximum of 30 days in their country. First freebie that we got – candy at the Immigration.

CebuPac and Tiger Airways arrive in the Changi Budget Terminal. If you arrive there earlier in the day, you can choose to take the Airport Bus or take the Airport Service going to Terminal 2, and take the MRT going to the city. Since it was already late night and the trains are already unavailable; after exchanging some money to Singapore Dollars we took a cab. Due to other charges, like coming from the Airport and evening charge – it costs us 19.50sgd to reach Haig Road, Paya Lebar.

Can’t share much about the accommodations since I did not book for one. We lived in our friend’s place for 4 days. But for those who wanted to check cheaper hostels, a lot can be found in Bugis or Little India area. Hotel 81 will be one of my targets based on my research. After a nap, we are now ready to start our adventure. Purchase your EZLink card from any Train Stations. You can use it in trains and buses. It costs 12sgd = 5sgd is refundable and 7sgd is consumable. You can also top-up your card using the machines like the below. From Paya Lebar, we took the Green Lane and dropped off at Raffles Station.

Birds at the used chinaware in Fullerton

Read the station map, and find your way to Merlion – for most travellers, you have never been to Singapore, unless you have a photo with it.

If you don’t want to do the city tour on your own, try the Hippo Tours ( that would cost from 23sgd – 33sgd. Some pedestrian walks are also closed due to the opening of Youth Olympic Games (YOG), which we did not know few months ago. Just read the road signs and you’ll find your way. After going to Esplanade and checking Makansutra (opens at 5pm – 3am) in the morning, we decided to go to Marina Square and Suntec City malls.

Cultural Exhibit at Suntec Mall

Thanks to the Fountain of Wealth (2006) – I came back and visited you again.

My friends tried Swensens, but since I’m not allowed to eat cold and sweet stuff – I was playing with their coloring book while they were eating. We tried to reach the Flyer, by passing at Millenia Mall. However, due to YOG, most of the streets were closed and the Flyer was also not on service due to the fireworks later in the evening – so we skipped it. From the Red Lane – City Hall station, we dropped off at Marina Bay Station. On normal days, there are shuttle busses from the train station to Marina Bay Resort. Again due to YOG, the roads were closed and we need to walk about 15 minutes to reach the resort. Some of the areas around the resort are still under construction, some stores in The Shoppes are still closed. The gondola is already working, but the one in Venetian is more beautiful. We passed by the Casino until we reach the Sands Hotel Lobby Tower 3. The tickets costs 20sgd and the Observation Deck is open from 10am – 10pm. The souvenir shop closes at 6pm. I bought some postcards, 5 cards for 10sgd. The stairs going to the infinity pool is unnoticeable - so try to find it and you'll not miss the breath-taking view.

Youth Olympics Ceremony - seen from Sands

One thing I find weird is that I don't see the worth of paying for an expensive hotel stay if there is no privacy to the hotel guests. The public can see a large area of the infinity pool where the guests are swimming. Giving a public visit to Sands is enough for me.

Flyer - seen from Sands

We’re just so tired to walk back to the station, so we decided to take the cab going to Makansutra. Had a great dinner and big laugh with some college friends. I'm able to eat again the stingray. Got this nice night shot of Fullerton Hotel and the bridge is so amazing. On our way back to Raffles station, my friends tried the dollar ice cream – Walls, their local brand for Selecta. This time, I got the chance to take this photo of a bike – a good shot to end the night.