Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Exploring Singapore like never before!

Some people may find this crazy, but I've finally fulfilled a little wish of mine today - To bring my mum in exploring Singapore like we've never been!

If you are thinking that Singapore is a boring place, hopefully I can change your perception after this because I had such an amazing experience today that I just can't wait to share with all of you here! (If you are a foreigner reading this entry, then I hope that this blog entry can benefit you in your itinerary in one way or another, too.)

Having lived in Singapore ever since I was born (Sorry, but I am not gonna' reveal my age here *chuckles*), I have never experienced Singapore with such depth.

BELIEVE ME, being a tourist in your own country can be a really mind-blowing experience in a special way - and it made me burst with pride that such a beautiful place is where I call my homeland.

Before planning on an 1-day itinerary, I did quite a thorough research on the places AND most IMPORTANTLY, the PRICES that would cost to visit them.
Honestly, the prices can be sky high if bought over the counter (Sorry to say that things are not cheap in Singapore though). I took to the internet for better prices and managed to source for cheaper deals.

As below is my itinerary for the 1-day tour:
LUNCH @ My Dining Room -> DUCK TOUR -> SINGAPORE FLYER -> DINE-IN @ The Food Trail that' located below the flyer -> SINGAPORE RIVER CRUISE.

I managed to accomplish them within a day and without the irritation of crowd as I took a day off from work to enjoy the off-peak hours. Trust me, it was the best decision I've ever made. No squeezing with crowds, and we even had the luxury to enjoy a full-journey boat ride to ourselves during the trip (You shall read more about this in the later part of this entry)

We started off our one-day tour by having a sumptuous 6-course lunch at My Dining Room (located at Suntec City Mall) - I purchased the deal from Groupon and I would recommend it!

Here's the Groupon deal: -$69.60 for 6-course meal for 2 people (worth $170)


A real-life pic I took: (Haha)


Despite the fact that I purchased the deal through Groupon, the staff were very friendly to us throughout. Good customer service. Checked.
Our 6-course meal includes:
  • Fish slices stewed with beer in hot stone pot
  • Pan-fried Japanese king scallop
  • Pan-fried Kurobuta pork
  • Poached vegetables in Superior soup
  • Whole abalone stirred in stone pot with noodles
  • Chilled mango sago with pomelo

Sounds Gooooood?? We were served the menu in sequence!

Fish slices stewed with beer in hot stone pot. The soup was very tasteful and I enjoyed it.

Pan-fried Japanese king scallop. Not my big favorite as the texture appeared to be a bit too "dry" for my taste. Nonetheless, I still think it tasted good in general!

Here's a closer look at the scallop, purposely to make you salivate before your computer/mobile screens *feeling evil*


Pan-fried Kurobuta pork. Very soft and tender meat of premium quality! The after-taste would make you yearn for more.


Poached vegetables in Superior soup


Whole abalone stirred in stone pot with noodles. This is... SEDAAAAP! Look at that abalone!! I love the thick gravy as well.

Chilled mango sago with pomelo. Beautifully presented.

After satisfying our tummies, we proceeded to our first destination - which was the DUCW (Pronounced as "Duck") Tour!
In case you are wondering how it looks like, here's a picture I snapped just in time when one of the DUCW vehicles drove past us! It's just way too cool because ... Not only can this vehicle travel on land, but ON SEA as well. 
SO YES, this is actually an 1-hour guided tour in which you can experience being on LAND and on SEA on the same vehicle! It felt just like any bus when on the road, but it will "transform" into a boat when nearing the waters - and it plunged into the sea as we squealed in excitement.
(The interesting vehicle is an amphibious Vietnam era war craft during the WWII!)


CityTours - Captain Explorer DUKW Tour

The tickets that I purchased online and collected from a travel agency: (More details below)

Tickets have to be exchanged over at the counter for this sticker which is to be pasted on our shirts.


It was a real shame that we did not get to enjoy the ultimate experience due to the bad weather. It started to rain cats and dogs during the journey, which was somehow a spoiler... But I still managed to capture some nice photos to share!


And here we were - onboard!!


These were pictures taken when we were still on land:


It would pass by different iconic places of interest, such as historical buildings, etc.
Pardon some blurry photographs as I snapped them while the vehicle was moving.


The Fullerton Hotel looks beautiful!


The dark sky that would signal a rain... very soon.


Our tour guide during the 1-hour journey. She would introduce the history of certain buildings as we passed by.



I was waiting patiently for it to reach the waters (I have seen YouTube videos of the land-water transition and couldn't wait to experience it myself!!)
When the moment finally arrived...

The tour guide began to countdown, building our excitement even further.
"3...2...1..."

AND *SPLASH*!!!
My mum was laughing so wildly as we entered the sea. I wish I could've recorded that moment.

 The feeling was just... amazing. I swore I had an adrenaline rush.

Unfortunately, we were accompanied by rain throughout our journey on sea. We had to pull down the transparent plastic "curtains" so that we wouldn't be affected by the rain.

Urgh... Of all times... WHY, RAIN, WHY?!?!


I wanted to post this photo because this was a strange one. My camera did not have any color filter function and the result startled me. How did it turn out to be in this color?!?! It looks like an old age photo.


Ok, this doesn't seem that bad... Looks like an artistic photo, huh? It somehow makes the Singapore Flyer seem deserted.





So what happens to your photographs when there's a heavy rain?
We can play "Guess what it is" game.


 I know, I know. I was shaking my head in pity too. Can you image how awesome it would have been if there's a good weather??


NEVER MIND THOUGH. I can always come back next time again. 
*The perks of being a tourist in my own country *

Cost of a DUKW tour: 
$29.90 per pax (if bought over at their counter)
I paid: Lesser than $24.80 per pax (From Qoo10) . I've used Qoo10 coupons to gain even further discounts.


Some Important tips to remember BEFORE taking the DUKW tour:
-Reservation is highly recommended (Hotline: 6738 3338) . I made a booking almost one week in advance to secure the seats as they are limited.

-Reach 10 minutes earlier than appointed time. (We were actually late for our appointed time and was scolded by the counter staff as the vehicle was almost leaving)

-Do not sit in the first 2 rows of the DUKW craft as you are likely to get wet (The tour guide will most likely inform you on this before boarding)

Our 2nd destination: - The SINGAPORE FLYER!
It was easy to get to the Singapore Flyer after alighting from the DUKW Tour as they are basically within the same location.


However, we had to wait for the rain to stop before purchasing our tickets to board the Singapore Flyer. 
(Unfortunately, we did not purchase Singapore Flyer tickets online which would be cheaper. On-site prices are quite expensive, priced at $33 per ticket. Senior citizens would be $24 per ticket)

AND I've found online prices at only $22 per ticket!!! Urgh. As it would be my mum's first time to the flyer, we decided to go ahead with it despite the heart-pinching prices.


We sat down for tea-time just below the flyer while waiting for the rain (There was an announcement that the rides were temporarily suspended due to the weather so we had no choice but to wait)
I find this funny & interesting, and decided to snap a picture. 

(In case you do not understand what it means, this infographic is teaching their customers how to order their tea or coffee like a Singaporean! Hahaha)




Tickets finally purchased after tea-time. Very expensive, leh...


There was a walk-through known as "Journey of Dreams" before we reach the capsules to board the Flyer. It was quite interesting as it was like walking down memory lane with various historical photographs, completed with captions and stories of Singapore in its Yesteryear.
Bear in mind though, that there was a security bag check as well.




  A random photograph of a model of the Singapore Flyer.  I would love to own one!

Ok, let's just cut to the chase... I shall let the pictures do the talking!
Up, up and away... I tried to capture as many photos as possible so that I wouldn't waste the $33! *grits teeth*











The ride was a slow and steady one. It took around 30 minutes.
(Most importantly, my mum enjoyed her first ride on the Flyer!)
When we stepped down from the Singapore Flyer, we headed for some good food at the Food Trail that I've been looking forward to. I've mentioned it to my mum before as this place sells food that are nostalgic, mostly from her era.
 (Ok, I admit it is not my first time here so I know they have some really good food here)


I love the ambience!


Fried Oysters - $6 per plate.
VERY TASTY.

I'm sorry if it makes you salivate. Can't help it.


Main highlight: STINGRAYS.


A close-up, again. LOL


After our dinner, it was time for River Cruise!!!
(I purchased the River Cruise tickets beforehand online from the same seller as our DUKW tour.)
Initially, we had wanted to take the River Cruise from Boat Quay which we thought was the only jetty to board. Fortunately, we found a jetty near the Singapore Flyer by random chance and we were told that we could board the cruise there!


However, waiting time was inevitable. We waited around 20 minutes for a boat to arrive. 
BUT IT WAS OMG WELL WORTH THE WAIT.



BECAUSE IT APPEARS THAT THE BOAT WAS SPECIALLY CALLED FOR US! They let us have the WHOLE boat to ourselves. DAMN COOL OR WHAT.


Not only that, the staff had specially directed them to send us to Marina Bay Sands area just so we would be able to get to the nearest MRT, instead of the original standard route plan to return to where we came from. 
Thank you so much for the kind gesture!! Really appreciate it. :)



 There was a slight drizzle so I couldn't step out further to take more pictures.


No words can describe my emotions during the boat trip. I JUST WENT LITERALLY SPEECHLESS by the night view. Seriously, my photos can't do even 50% justice to the real deal.




Here's The Fullerton Hotel - The night view version!




Inside the boat:


The TV was turned on and there were commentaries on the history of Singapore. 
But I couldn't focus on it as I was too busy admiring the scenery!


At this point of time, I almost wanted to scream out loud at the top of my lungs..
"I LOVE SINGAPORE!!!!!"




Beautiful lights that added to the lively atmosphere:


Looking at the water felt so serene...


 All the photographs are uploaded raw here - which means they are not edited in any way.
And I think they look so beautiful already!!



MERLION!!



I ALMOST CRIED WHILE WATCHING THE NIGHT SCENERY. I couldn't stop mouthing "It's so beautiful. Oh my God, oh my God"



 And we were nearing our final destination... 


Cost of a River Cruise boat ride: 
$25 per pax (if bought over at their counter)
I paid: Lesser than $20.50 per pax (From Qoo10) . I've used Qoo10 coupons to gain even further discounts.


So that marked the end of our fruitful 1-day trip! 
Admittedly, it is not cheap to tour around Singapore - But I have no regrets because my main objective is to create wonderful memories for my mum. Memories and experiences are priceless - and most importantly, we enjoyed the bonding time we had together. Those, ARE priceless.
I would definitely highly recommend a Singapore tour for anyone. Never underestimate the amount of activities you can do in Singapore! 

If you are interested to purchase the tickets online, here are the links (I am NOT affiliated or being paid to advertise for them at all, but purely sharing the good finds!) 
They are definitely cheaper than over-the-counter tickets. AND They are trustworthy because you can collect the tickets from them physically at their shophouse, unlike some other sellers that offer only e-tickets. (I don't really trust e-tickets)


I hope you enjoyed reading my Singapore tour as much as I did writing it.
I would love to plan another tour in Singapore again - Probably to Sentosa area next!