Sunday, May 31, 2009

Singapore Flyer

One last go and Chester and I will be off the city! Coming from Chinatown, we went to City Hall MRT station and paid SGD2.80 (inclusive of SGD1 refundable deposit). I made mention of this process of buying of tickets a number of times already but just for your appreciation, this is how the ticket machine looks like. We use the touchscreen to point where we're headed and then insert the fare requested at the coin slot or bill feeder and then the ticket pops out.

Couplets on Chinatown

Chinese writings on the floor

Upon arriving in City Hall MRT Station, a shuttle bus along Coleman Street, near St. Andrew's Cathedral will take you to the gigantic wheel. By almost 7:00PM, we finally reached the place after the 15-minute shuttle ride.

Singapore Flyer is actually a giant observation wheel and often mistaken as a ferris wheel. Admission ticket to the flyer is a hefty SGD29.50. However, since we bought our tickets online prior to coming here, we got 10% off admission prices.

one of the capsules

Our flight time tickets are scheduled for 8:00PM, an hour away from the time we arrived. We happily took our time to explore around take photos of the place and ourselves.

Inside and on the way up to the platform is the President's Charity Heart Box.

A "Dr. Fish spa" is also within the vicinity where one can dip their feet in an aquarium and the fishes will feast on the dead skins on your feet.

Earlier than expected, we went up the flyer 30 minutes before our time slot. Better safe than sorry for us on our way to the airport later, or so we thought. Actually there were not a lot of people lined up so we breezed our way to the loading area of the capsule in no time.

bridge to the capsule loading area

before loading a capsule

And we were in! Good thing I brought my tripod and camera remote control so that I can take a picture of myself!

Inside the capsule, it wasn't scary at all. I expected it to swing at least a bit, but it was stable and attached to the frame that you'll hardly feel anything, even the moving. For someone like me with a fear of heights, this is definitely a big plus!

Singapore skyline view from the capsule

chester and me

the frame and another capsule above us

other views of Singapore from the top

Benjamin Sheares bridge, near the observation wheel

last photo of Singapore Flyer at night, right before we left

We whisked our way to the airport by taking the shuttle bus once again back to the City Hall MRT station. At the MRT station we paid SGD2.40 (inclusive of deposit) and rode the green line train that will take us to Changi Airport MRT station.

In Tanah Merah, we had to alight the train and took another green line train to the airport.

After 40 minutes, we finally reached the airport, 30 minutes ahead of our targetted schedule time (10:00PM). We just took pictures of the airport that to me looked more like an upscale mall.

We lined up 10 minutes before 10:00PM at the check-in counter. For some reason it opened later, at exactly 2 hours prior to flight time (10:15pM, for a 12:15AM departure). I'm used to checking in to this airline 3 hours ahead in an international city but just went with the flow. There was a long line ahead of us because of this.

Before approaching our terminal gates for boarding, we just went around to see the shops but because we are on a budget-mode, we didn't buy a thing.

Renault car on display

Finally, airplane food again. I had beef with rice this time. We had an early dinner at 4:30 so I felt hungry already when they began serving food.

In literally 2 full days in the city (arrived Friday before midnight and departed midnight of Monday), I'm proud to say we have covered a lot in Singapore. This is what I want being with someone who is interested to see sights and experience the city rather than shopping or just joining a tour, we get to see places at our own pace and our own time. Looking forward to more trips with buddy Chester!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Singapore's Chinatown

It was 3:00PM when we left Marina Barrage and still got a lot of free time to burn before our flight takes off that midnight. Originally, a visit to Chinatown was categorized as an optional activity in our schedule and we sure are glad that we were able to squeeze it in our itinerary. Rain was still pouring when we reached the Marina Bay MRT station but still, we decided to proceed. Taking the red line train that took us to Chinatown MRT station (purple line), we had to transit and change trains in Dhoby Gaut MRT station, a 30-minute trip that costed us only SGD2.80 (including the refundable SGD1 card deposit).

The rain has stopped when we got to Chinatown but intermittently, drizzles were spraying indefinitely for a few minutes. Stalls and stores on the streets were covered to protect the goods from getting wet. Good timing to shop around for not a lot of goers were there yet.

Along Pagoda street, a number of old, restored and thematically-inspired buildings sprung left and right. Chinatown Heritage Centre, located near the MRT station along Pagoda street, houses memories and relics of old-time Chinatown and on the role the Chinese migrants played on the development of the country.

Another thing of interest in the street is Olde Cuban, a shophouse serving cigars mimicking the days of opium dens in this area.

another building in Pagoda street

At the corner of the street is Singapore's oldest Hindu temple - Sri Mariamman Temple. It was under restoration at the time and we wanted to come in but since we need to leave our shoes outside and it was still wet, we decided to pass this time.

Pagoda street sign

Went back to the station and crossed the street on the way to People's Park. On the way, I took this picture of the Pagoda street, as viewed from the top of the footbridge.

Up on the footbridge is a zen-like garden where one can relax, chill, and sit down for a while -something that we did later on before we left the place.

Saw this icon of the Singapore Kindness Movement that says "It's not nice to litter our beautiful city".

People's Park

Above the People's Park Complex, we saw two mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympics promoting tourism to China and a group of scottish-type band. Queer combination indeed.

Seeing the food lined up in a nearby open-air foodcourt enticed us to have our early dinner. We've been looking to try out crabs and since this is our last meal in the city, we were determined not to compromise and really have one.

For drink, I had a coconut juice (SGD2) and I find it sweeter than the ones back home in the Philippines.

Chester and I shared on this deep fried chili crab, served with chili sauce, mixed with peanuts and some assortment of spices and vegetables (SGD 18.90). Indeed a feast for us! We also had spicy beef mixed (SGD4.50) but I didn't like it that much.

This store caught my attention on the way back to the Chinatown MRT station - S.E.X In The City, obviously derived from the famous Sarah Jessica Parker series and movie of the same namesake. Okay, we didn't go in here.

Sun is still up so we're in for our last hurrah in the city. On my next post, I will be detailing our last adventure in Singapore!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Marina Barrage

A red line train from Dhoby Gaut MRT station southbound to Marina Bay MRT station (SGD1.80, inclusive of refundable SGD1 when you return the ticket) brought us nearer to our next hop - Marina Barrage, a recommendation to me by a fellow blogger Eunice. After getting off the train we followed the signs leading to a bus platform where will be riding the shuttle that will take us to our destination. We noticed that sky is getting darker and we fear that it will rain soon.

Free shuttle bus runs every 10, 15 or 30-minute intervals depending on the time and day from the MRT station to the barrage. We took this shuttle, a mere 7-minutes ride passing through a lot of construction areas like the Marina Bay Sands, a luxurious resort and hotel slated to open later this year.

Marina Barrage is a reservoir dam built in Marina Channel and is Singapore's first that is built in the heart of the city.

fountain outside

fountain in the heart of the barrage



A few minutes later, it started to rain. We were caught in the middle and we had to ran for cover!

Because of the rain, we were forced to view the Sustainable Singapore Gallery, and I'm sure glad that we did! It was a museum showcase of Singapore's efforts in being green and evironment-friendly. The twist however is that it's not your regular boring displays. Sights and sounds, as well as interaction is a must!

The place is divided into 6 galleries, phasing different projects and timelines of the country's endeavour in sustainability.

In the center of Gallery 1 is the "organic tree" that changes colors at an interval.

a wall in Gallery 1


On the right is a wall made of NEWater bottles.

Gallery 2 brings back visitors to 1970s, a decade when a clean-up project for Singapore rivers were at high.

Sustainable Singapore

Gallery 3 is about Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters program.

In here is an interactive video showing visitors how beautiful a place can be when we protect the environment.

Gallery 4 demonstrates how the whole reservoir dam works by simulating rains and how the pump works.

Gallery 5 shows how everything was planned and executed carefully. Sustainability for a country as small as Singapore can be challenging at first but determination proved this can be done.

The final gallery (Gallery 6) displays the effort and commitment of People, Private and Public sectors in keeping the country sustainable and the environment safe.

It was still raining after our visit to the galleries so we braved the rain and raced through the bus stop to board a shuttle that took us back to Marina Bay MRT station.