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Thursday, February 14, 2019

2-day trip to Singapore with older kids - Day 2 Marina Bay by night

Marina Bay looks so magical at night with all the colourful lights

We found out from the Singapore Visitor Centre next to Orchard Gateway #iLightSingapore and the River Hong Bao 2019 Festival so off we went after an afternoon nap to recover from our nature walk during the day. So we took the MRT from Orchard to Raffles Place and with the help of Mr Google Map, we first walked to Lau Pa Sat to have Satay.

At Lau Pa Sat entrance

Our timing was not too bad. We had heard that it starts at 7pm. So we were in time to watch the street transform from a motor vehicle road to a food street within minutes from 7pm sharp.

Right on the dot at 7 pm, stalls and tables were set up

The stalls and tables are pushed into place within minutes.

The Satay stalls at Lau Pa Sat
Within minutes after it was set up, the tables begin to fill up. There's quite a bit of competition among the sellers and you can't just sit anywhere you like. You must sit only on the tables allocated for the particular satay stall you ordered from. Being noobs we just ordered from the first person who approached us. We later read that the best stalls are stall no. 7 & 8. We didn't have a chance to try because we had ordered from stall no 3 & 4. The satay was only just so so and nothing to shout about but the whole experience was quite fun.

It was nice to sit in the cool evening air and watch the day change to night and the buildings light up.

Satay at Lau Pa Sat

The buildings lighted up as we ate

Panorama of the satay stalls at Lau Pa Sat
After dinner, we walked to Marina Bay with the help of Mr Google Map. Everything looked so beautiful and magical with lights everywhere. Marina Bay Sands looked very grand in the backdrop.

Even the Singapore Merlion was given a makeover with a light show on it while colourful flags line up the Jubilee Bridge.

Marina Bay Sands

Singapore Merlion
Singapore Merlion Light Show

The Jubilee Bridge

Colourful flags light up the jubilee bridge

View of Jubilee Bridge

Entrance to the River Hong Bao Festival.

Visitors are greeted by a dragon shaped like the number 200. Besides a stage show which are brought to life by 3 gigantic screens to the many visitors of the festival, you can walk around and admire the many lighted lanterns showcasing the history of Singapore. The 12 zodiac animal lanterns were placed all round the festival grounds too. There were so many pretty lanterns, I didn't managed to take pictures of all of them. Below are some of the nice looking lanterns featured at the festival.

The display include a giant God of Fortune lantern with showers of fortune (golden confetti) on at certain times.

Red Dragon shaped like the number 200

Entrance to the River Hong Bao Festival

Modern Singapore Lantern Display

Dragon Lantern

Peacock Lantern

Lucky Cat Lantern

Fish Lantern

Giant God of Fortune Lantern

The climax is the fireworks display at 10 pm, so beautiful.

After the fireworks, we went back to the hotel, again with google map leading the way to the nearest MRT station.

The next day was basically packing, checking out and finding our way to the bus for our journey home.

We managed to squeeze in quite a lot of activities for the short time we were there and for those we missed, maybe another time.....

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

2-day trip to Singapore with older kids - Day 2 Southern Ridges (Daytime)

Southern Ridges

"Let's go hiking" said the man.

"What, you came to Singapore to go Hiking?" said the woman

The man won over the woman and so that's how the man, the woman and the kids ended up at the Southern Ridges and the Henderson Waves.

Southern Ridges, Singapore is 10 km of open space connecting Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve.

We started by taking an MRT from Orchard to Dhoby Ghaut and changed lines to Harbour Front MRT Station.

The Marang Trail is a few minutes walk from the Harbour Front MRT Station. Some footprints on the trail assured us that we were on the right track.

Follow the footprints and the signs and there's always good old google map to help out.

Printed footprints along the way serve as a guide

Signage helped too

Walk among the trees

The start of the Marang Trail

We did not go all the way as our target was Henderson Waves bridge. So we walked about 3.5km from the start of Marang Trail to HortPark. Too bad, we did not have time to look around HortPark. At Hortpark, we took bus no 100 to Raffle's Place MRT station and walked to Golden Mile complex to try to purchase bus tickets home but decided against it. Eventually, we took the MRT to Novena station to purchase tickets from there.

We saw many tourist buses which stopped along the peaks for photo sessions. Below are some images of our walk.

Mount Faber Park

To Henderson Waves

Spotted: Cable cars leading to Sentosa Island

Hilltop View

Henderson Waves

Attractions to visit

At certain points, you can choose to walk the Earth Walk or Tree Top Walk. We went for the tree top walk which was more like a nature walk rather than a hike. It can be rather high too, among the trees but you don't really feel so unless you look down.

Our trail for the day:

1. Orchard to Harbour Front by MRT
2. Harbour Front to Marang Trail on foot
3. Marang Trail to HortPark on foot
4. HortPark to Golden Mile Complex by bus
5. Golden Mile Complex to Novena by MRT
6. Novena back to Orchard by MRT

Next up: Day 2 Marina Bay at night

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

2-day trip to Singapore with older kids - Day 1 Chinatown and Sentosa Island

What do you do with two teens for a very short 2-day trip to Singapore? Actually, it's 4 days 3 nights but considering the fact that we checked in at 10 pm and checked out at 10 am, the extra days/nights don't really count plus we wasted half a day going around to buy our bus ticket back to KL so we had only 1 1/2 days to go around. What to do in such a short time? We still managed to squeeze in plenty of activities.

Where we stayed.

We stayed at York Hotel. I couldn't find a good air bnb in short notice so I had no choice but to look for a hotel. We wanted to be a little bit more central plus, I usually like to book one room instead of two so I often hunt down hotels with family rooms. When you travel with teens, they are no longer considered "children" so you have to pay adult prices and when family rooms are not available, it usually means that you have to take two rooms which is quite expensive. If they are in their early teens, being in one room also makes me feel safer though taking turns using the bathroom may be a little bit more time consuming.

It so happened that York Hotel, Singapore has a quadruple room for 4 adults. It has a king bed and two twin beds in the room, is clean and spacious with a walk in wardrobe as a bonus. Perfect for us.  Below are the photos from Agoda where I booked the rooms. I didn't have any personal photos because it was always in a messy state. We arrived at 10 pm and I was too tired to take photos. It remained in a messy state thereafter.

The nearest MRT stations to York Hotel are Orchard MRT and Somerset MRT Stations about 10-15 minutes walk. Good strategic location.

Day 1 - Late check in, dinner, sleep

That's all we did. As soon as we checked in, we set out on foot looking for food because we were hungry from our long train ride with no proper lunch. However, since it was Chinese New Year, it was rather quiet at Orchard Road (unlike Christmas) and we eventually managed to get some chicken tenders from KFC before they closed for the day. Then we went back to sleep.

Day 2 - Chinatown, Sentosa Island

As it was only the 2nd day of Chinese New Year, it was very quiet and we had to buy instant noodles from 7-11 for breakfast!

Singapore Chinatown 

Later on we dropped by the  Buddha Tooth Relic and Museum. The information center is also nearby so you can get Chinatown maps from there.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

 After that we took the MRT from Chinatown MRT station to Harbour Front MRT station to get to Sentosa Island. We opted for monorail to Sentosa Island.

Not a fan of rides, we opted out of Universal Studios and selected only 3 attractions at Sentosa.

1. Sea Acquarium
2. Madame Tussauds
3. Sentosa Merlion

Some of the sea creatures we saw at the Sea Acquarium.

The 4-D experience at Madame Tussaud's was quite fun with water being sprayed at us and soap bubbles released during the short 4-D Marvel Superheroes show. There was also a live show about Singapore history by real life actors.

We didn't realize that we could go into the Merlion's mouth and head.

Sentosa Merlion

View from inside the Merlion

 After a full day at Sentosa, we headed back to rest before going to Chinatown again to see it lighted up at night.

Singapore Chinatown

Singapore Chinatown lights

Next up: Day 2 - Southern Ridges by day and Marina Bay at night

Previous: Travelling to and from Singapore by Train and Bus

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