Friday, June 24, 2011

Sentosa in a day

Wow! Time flies so fast! It seems it was jut yesterday when my wife and I went to Hong Kong and Macau for our wedding honeymoon trip. Today, we flew to Singapore, this time with our son Ethan to celebrate our first year of marriage. Whew!

For this trip, I redeemed my Delta-earned miles for our flight to Singapore via Jetstar. For 20,000 miles per person (totaling 40,000 for two us, infant excluded for miles redemption) and USD121.04 worth of taxes (not including travel tax), I thought it was a good deal. We paid for the PHP1620 travel tax per adult and PHP200 for the infant travel tax exemption certification directly at the airport, plus PHP750 per person for security and terminal fee.

It is a first for me to fly Jetstar, an Australian-based low cost carrier (budget) and a subsidiary of Qantas. Our flight left Manila today at 4:35AM. The flight wasn't full (perhaps a bit over half its capacity) and it was a pleasant flight all along.

As a budget airline, they don't serve meals like the premium ones (though they were available for sale in-flight). We just bought coffee and soft drink as our beverages before we caught some sleep on the way. There weren't any entertainment movies or shows shown being a budget-carrier too (to cut costs and allow lower airfares of course) which is understandable.

Throughout the flight, Ethan was very cooperative and he just slept mostly on the way, which gave us time to get a good rest too. 

We arrived minutes earlier than the scheduled 8:10AM arrival. As soon as we cleared immigration and customs, we took the MRT from Changi Airport to Orchard station (SGD3 each).
 
The hotel we are staying on, Singapore Marriott Hotel, is located just above the MRT Orchard station and is accessible using Exit A. What's good about the hotel is it is just adjacent to Tangs, a famous but a bit upscale department store. Also, the hotel is located in Orchard Road, it is walking distance from a lot of retail and entertainment outlets in the city.
 
It was still mid-morning and check-in was supposed to be at 2PM, so we had to wait for a few minutes to have our room ready before we were able to get up. As soon as we got in the room, Ethan started crawling like a wild animal, very happy with the carpeted room for him to explore. We just brought down our things and left after a few minutes of resting and repacking things to use for the day.

Our plan today was to go to Sentosa Island. We took Sentosa Rider, costing us SGD8 per person for 1 day unlimited ride which is a good deal already as it stops right in our hotel (collected inside the bus).

They were also selling packages on the bus so we took advantage of it to minimize lining up when we get to the park. We got ourselves the Fantastic Fun Package, priced at SGD24.90/adult and included entrances to Tiger Sky Tower, Images of Singapore and The Merlion. Our bus dropped us off in Imbiah Lookout in Sentosa. As Ethan is an infant, he gets in for free.

Ethan and me

It was lunch hour when we arrived and our first agenda was to eat. We had a large spicy chicken pizza and a couple of drinks for lunch (SGD29), served at Sentosa Pizzeria.
 
As soon as we're done eating, we walked over to Tiger Sky Tower (previously Carlsberg Sky Tower when I first went here with my family last 2006). It is the highest observation tower in Singapore with a height of 110m above ground level.
 
The cabin, wrapped around the tower like a disc, starts from the ground level and slowly goes up the tower to give visitors a 360 degree of unobstructed view of Sentosa and nearby areas. As soon as the tower reaches the top, it slowsly turns itself on its axle so that you don't even have to walk around the cabin to see the other side.

view from above

Ethan and Roshie looking over

Ethan and me
 
It was just a few minutes of fun above and then the cabin started to descend back to the ground level. As soon as we're done, we then walked over to Images of Singapore, a multimedia museum exhibiting the culture and history of Singapore.

inside the museum
 
 
 
 

There is a replica in Sentosa of The Merlion, a mythical half-lion half-fish creature that serves as an icon of Singapore. The 37m statue is located uphill and also gives a good view of Sentosa Island.

 
me
 
 
 walking towards the Merlion
 
 some displays inside the Merlion

some structure supporting the Merlion statue above

view from The Merlion

view through The Merlion's mouth

After the visit to The Merlion, we roamed around the area and caught some rest first on benches nearby before we proceeded again.

The Merlion from afar

Then we walked over to Resorts World at Sentosa. This is where Lake of Dreams show is held nightly. As described officially by the resort "Flaming dragons, water cannons, and laser special effects, all in a spectacular show.".

The Thinker replica
 
colorful Merlion

We walked towards Universal Studios Singapore where we plan to cap-off the day. This is the third Universal Studios I visited, after Holywood (Los Angeles, California, USA) and Japan (Osaka). Entrance tickets was priced at SGD72 for a peak one day pass (as it is weekend). As usual, infants get in for free.

me

inside the park

with Po of Kung Fu Panda

Titanic

Characters roam around the park for meet and greet and photo opp.

fountain

Ethan trying out head wears
 

One of the most thrilling ride inside the park - Battlestar Galactica: Human vs. Cylon. A rollercoaster ride twisted as if riders were dueling, adding more thrilling effect to the attraction. As you see here, there were blue track (inverted rollercoaster) and red track (for traditional rollercoaster).

character parade

statues of ancient Egypt, for the movie The Mummy

Dinosaurs
 
WaterWorld, live action show with stunts and effects. There is a tendency to get wet, depending on which zone you are seated. Explosive effects are also part of the show which may scare little kids (but not Ethan).
 
 
some scenes during the show

Far Far Away

Far Far Away Castle

Shrek's Swamp

Donkey and Dragon with kids

Carousel

As Ethan is not allowed to ride the animals in the carousel, he is just allowed to be seated (with his mom) on a bench in the rotating carousel.

Madagascar

with Madagascar characters

with Woody Wood Pecker

with Frankenstein

Lights! Camera! Action! Hosted by Steven Spielberg

New York-themed zone 

We didn't have a sit down dinner because we were tying to catch the bus back to our hotel. Instead, we just bought food from 7-11 like dimsum and hotdogs.

Ethan munching on a hotdog

The bus back to our hotel came 30 minutes after we started waiting and as soon as we were dropped in our hotel, we immediately went up to rest. We booked using Marriott Rewards points that I have left (30,000 points per night, Category 6 Hotel) for a Deluxe Room King Bed. We were surprised that they provided a rollaway crib for Ethan in the spacious 32-34sqm room.

Another surprise is that they provided us a bottle of wine, strawberries and chocolates and greetings for our first wedding anniversary. I truly appreciate the gesture Marriott has been giving me on special occasions despite my downgrade of status (from Gold Elite to Silver Elite) due to lack of trips recently.

fruits in the room

Oh, they even left Ethan a plush toy to play with. Thank you so much for the warm welcome and nice service!

Before we headed for sleep tonight, Ethan was very happy with the bath tub and dipped a bit before dozing off.

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