Thursday, September 22, 2016

Day 2 Singapore: River Safari

Even we only have few hours of sleep, we still wake up early because we’re excited to start our Singapore Tour. We ate breakfast and left at 9AM. According to gothere.sg, travel time is 67 minutes via train and bus. Fare is SGD1.76 each. 



Directions: 

1. Walk to Newton Station. 
2. Board the train towards Jurong East Station and alight at Ang Mo Kio Station. 5 stations later. 
3. Take Exit C and walk to bus stop at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 
4. Board Bus 138 and alight at Singapore Zoological Gardens, 30 stops later. 
5. Walk to Singapore Zoological Gardens. 

Newton MRT Station is just 3 minutes walk away from Sheraton Towers, I brought my son’s EZ Link Card (child) but I was informed that it was expired already. My son is 7 years old so he needs to use the regular EZ Link Card. I purchased two EZ Link Card, SGD12 (SGD5 card cost and SGD7 value) + SGD10 load x 2 = SGD 44. 



This is already my third visit in Singapore but I was a bit nervous because I haven’t ridden public buses during my previous visits. But I was glad that riding bus is not difficult, all you need to know is the bus stop, bus number and destination. We rode Bus 138 and the last stop is the Singapore Zoo. 




At last, I was back in Singapore Zoo after 9 years,  we went to the ticket counter first and the line was very long. I bought Park Hopper Plus Tickets SGD79 for adult and SGD59 for kid. The staff asked me, what date are we going to Night Safari? I have no idea that I need to reserve for Night Safari, my initial plan is we will go to Night Safari kung hindi pa kami pagod after River Safari or Singapore Zoo. Anyway, I need to give a date so I just chose Friday, our last night in SG. 



The Park Hopper Plus Ticket allows you to visit River Safari, Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo within one week. The only zoo that is not located in Madai Lake Road is the Jurong Bird Park. 



We can visit Singapore Zoo or River Safari but we decided to start our tour in River Safari because we’re already late for the first show of Singapore Zoo. From the ticket counter, we just walked to River Safari Entrance. 


The Rive is Calling...
River Safari is the first and only river-themed wildlife park in Asia. There are two zones in the park. The first zone is Rivers of the World which is divided in different rivers such as Mekong River, Mary River, Mississippi River, Yantze River, Giant Panda Forest and Ganges River. The second zone is Wild Amazonia where you can find the Amazon Flooded Forest, Squirrel Monkey Forest, Amazon River Quest and River Safari Cruise. 



There are Guided River Trails and Animal Encounters but we just explored the park at our own pace and time. I’ve read before that the line in Amazon River Quest is always long so we passed by the different attractions and went straight to Amazon River Quest and River Safari Cruise



We enjoyed the Amazon River Quest and we rode it three times. We took advantage the unlimited ride that was included in our Park Hopper Plus Ticket. If you want to ride this, the fee is SGD5 for adult and SGD3 for kid (one time ride only). 


On our third ride, wala si Jaguar nakatago. Nadisappoint yung mga kasakay namin sa boat. 
Each ride is a different experience because there are times that the animals are hiding, too far to see and some are sleeping. For the first two rides, solo namin ang boat. Hehehe! I will update this post for the video so you will get a glimpse of the Amazing River Quest.



The River Safari Cruise was a different experience too, the only downside of this is there is no assurance that you will see all the animals. But it was a good 15 minutes boat ride.



After our ride, we started exploring the different rivers. 




There is a Touch Pool where you can feel the sea stars, horseshoe crab and sea cucumbers. Washing areas are everywhere so no need to worry. 



The Amazon Flooded Forest is so relaxing, I can just sit there and watch the different species. I don’t need to dive in the ocean or sea because I can see the largest species such as manatee and arapaima. They are so HUGE! They were eating veggies that time. 



Then we went to Giant Panda Forest, it was our first time to see Giant Panda, unfortunately, we only saw Kai Kai, nakatalikod pa. Jia Jia was hiding, we only saw her at CCTV. So my tip is, visit the Giant Panda Forest first thing in the morning. (we went back twice but same fate, she is hiding).



And because of that, I bought a souvenir picture and we ate Panda Pau at Mama Panda Kitchen. It was cute and yummy pau. 



Our last stop is Squirrel Monkey Forest then we went home. We were done in less than 4 hours. 



There are no shows here but we enjoyed the Amazon River Quest, River Safari Cruise, Amazon Flooded Forest and Giant Panda Forest. Among the four zoos, this is our favorite because of the ride. :)



You can also see the Polar Bear here but it is too far so you better visit Singapore Zoo. I will share our SG Zoo experience on my next post. 

Read: 5 Days in Singapore 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Food Trip at IKEA Alexandra

IKEA is not only known for affordable stuff and easy to assemble furniture. It is also famous because of the Swedish Meatballs so it is also on my list to taste this popular meatball.



I was disappointed when the Swedish meatballs were not available in IKEA Tachikawa so I was really looking forward to our Singapore trip. 



So for our third night, we went to IKEA Alexandra to eat our dinner. At the first floor, we only saw few tables and counter. I immediately checked the menu and I was sad because I only see, chicken wings, ice cream and hotdog, hmmm same fate in Japan. I was excited to eat swedish meatballs then wala pala. So we just ate chicken wings, hotdog sandwiches and ice cream. 



Again, self-service for the drinks and condiments. I was surprised when the cashier gave me IKEA tokens, so I need to use this for my ice cream pala. We did not experience this in Japan. We just followed the instructions.



When we went to the second floor, we saw the restaurant and nandun pala ang heavy meals so I told my husband that we will go back again. So before we went to the airport, we had late lunch at IKEA Alexandra.

It was not easy to find a vacant table and the lines were very long so patience is a virtue. Pero deadma na because I really want to taste the meatballs. We ordered Swedish Meatballs, Salmon, Blueberry Cheesecake, Almond Cake and drinks. I can’t remember the exact price of each meal but the bill is less than SGD30. 



Finally, natikman ko na rin swedish meatballs, well the taste is just ok for me. It is good naman but my favorite is the salmon + hollandaise sauce. This dish made me remembered my summer in Norway where salmon is just an ordinary dish. 



The Blueberry Cheesecake is good too. I think the Almond Cake is really yummy because it was gone in 60 seconds. We were surprised when my son finished everything and di man lang kami nakatikim. We wanted to order again pero ang haba talaga ng pila.




Well, I really hope that we will have IKEA Philippines soon. 

Read: Shopping Haul at IKEA Alexandra 
              5 Days in Singapore

Sunday, September 18, 2016

6 Must-Pack Items for Your Family Safari Trip


A family safari is a once in a lifetime experience and careful packing can ensure that it's a positive and memorable one. What you haul with you is of extreme importance, especially if traveling with children. For adventurers traveling to distant, exotic lands, here are five items a safari tripper can't do without.

Outerwear

A lightweight down jacket is ideal for the extreme weather shifts one is likely to encounter in the African bush. Though the days can be sweltering, the nights are often chilly. A lightweight jacket that is amply warm and compressible will keep you warm in the evening and early morning but will shed easily and can be compacted down enough to fit into you day-pack. 

A Hat

A sturdy, wide-brimmed hat is essential for long days in the sun. A simple baseball cap will not suffice in these conditions. You will need something that provides coverage for your neck and ears, as well as eyes, so an actual canvas safari hat is best. The material allows it to be crushed and stuffed into a bag or back pocket when it's not needed, the brim extends over the ears providing optimal shade and many safari hats come with a cord that you can secure under your chin in windy climates to ensure it stays atop your head. After all, it's not called a safari hat for no reason. 

Socks 

There is no substitute for wool socks on safari. Tromping through foreign terrain can wear on your extremities, but wool provides both the padding and warmth required to keep those tootsies in working order. Be sure that your socks and the rest of your clothing items are beige and nude colors. Not only do you want to blend into the environment while trying to spy the wildlife, but bright colors may attract unwanted attention. Blue, in particular, will garner the attention of tsetse flies that are wont to nibbling on tourists. 

A Smartphone

A smartphone with a good camera should be at the top of your list (or at least immediately under "passports"). Lugging around an additional item like a camera is unnecessary if you find a phone that comes equipped with a good one. The LG G5 has a 16MP dual camera with both normal and ultra wide-angle lens ideal for capturing the wild game and picturesque landscapes you'll find on safari. 

Sanitation 

For on the spot sanitary needs, antibacterial baby wipes reign supreme. Germ-fighting and disposable, you will find 101 uses for these while on the trail and a whole host of things that you never realized would need cleaning. Saline solution is another multipurpose item you may overlook as you pack. Not only is it good for rinsing your hands and eyes, it's perfect for flushing your nasal passages after a long and dusty tour of the bush. You would be surprised what can get stuck in there, and trying to keep up with clogged sinuses can be miserable. 

Though a family safari is the chance of a lifetime, if you don't pack smart, it can also be a disaster. Pack for comfort, sanitation and mobility and you and your family are sure to make the most of your trip.