Here is our daily journal during our one-week trip to Singapore. Travel date was December 27, 2016 – January 2, 2017.
NOTE: ALL IMAGES IN THIS ARTICLE ARE OWNED BY ME, ELDON B. TENORIO AND WERE TAKEN USING CANON EOS 500D and iPHONE 6 Plus.
You may also visit my Flickr account to view some of the images I took from our trip in Singapore: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ebtenorio
PRE-DEPARTURE AND PREPARATION
After the Hong Kong trip, I and my wife Mary Rose decided to have another trip abroad and it had been agreed on that the next destination would be Singapore! So I booked a round trip ticket with Jetstar bound for Singapore from Manila on June 8, 2016. Next step was to find a good hotel that would be near our locale. With God’s help, we were able to book at Harbour Ville Hotel. It turned out that this hotel was just minutes away to Downtown Core (by bus/MRT) and Harbour Front area (by foot/bus).
DAY 1 – TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2016
We arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 approximately 4 hours before the scheduled flight. The line at the Jetstar counter was very long, since there were a lot of passengers taking the Jetstar flight bound for Singapore. We boarded the plane by 10:25AM. Our flight was scheduled to depart at around 10:50AM. The plane arrived at Changi Airport in Singapore at around 2:11PM.
After going through processes at the Immigration counter, we immediately headed to the Sightseeing Counter just outside the baggage area, and bought the Singapore iVenture Attractions Pass. Then, we immediately headed to the Skytrain going to the MRT Changi Station. From MRT Changi Station, we alighted at MRT Tanah Merah Station and changed to the East West Line. From MRT Tanah Merah Station, we headed to MRT Outram Park Station and alighted there. We headed and took a bus at Outram Park Bus Station going to Harbour Ville Hotel. We alighted at Opp St. Theresa’s Church Bus Station and walked our way to the hotel.
Harbour Ville Hotel along Kampong Bahru
Arriving at the hotel, we immediately checked in and were assigned Room 903. Hurriedly, we went to our room, rested for about 30 minutes, and planned to go to Downtown Core where the Elgin Bridge, Singapore River and mainly the Central Business District of Singapore are situated. From the hotel, we took a bus from Opp Keppel DP Blk 519 Bus station and alighted at Clarke Quay Bus Station. From Clarke Quay Bus Station, we walked towards South Bridge Rd where the Elgin Bridge is. We had a view of some skyscrapers of Singapore CBD from the Bridge. Realizing that we were tired from the long travel, we decided to have a break, and had dinner at one of the stores along South Bridge Rd. After the dinner, we again headed to Elgin Bridge, took some long-exposure photos of the buildings, and headed to the Merlion Park. There, my wife Mary Rose had a good look of one of Singapore’s icons : The Merlion. She had a good view of the Marina Bay Sands, as well as the Esplanade Theaters. We witnessed the Lights and Sounds at the Marina Bay area. We then decided to go back to the hotel since it was already getting late at night (9PM). Again, we headed to Elgin Bridge, turned left upon reaching South Bridge Rd, and walked until we reached Opp The Treasury Bus Station. We took a bus from there, and instead of alighting from Opp St. Theresa Church Bus Station, we alighted at Keppel DP Blk 519 Bus Station and walked towards the hotel.
Top left : The Merlion with the CBD Skyscrapers at the background. Top right 1 : Marina Bay Sands and the Arts and Science Museum. Top right 2 : Elgin Bridge at Singapore River with my wife. Bottom : The Central Business District as seen from Elgin Bridge.
We planned for a more detailed itinerary for the rest of our stay when we arrived at the hotel. We had fun this day, and this was just the first day – and we thanked our God before retiring for the night.
DAY 2 – WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2016
Early in the morning after waking up, we called up Duck and Hippo Tours at Suntec City Mall to book our lunch at Singapore Gourmet Bus. We were able to book our lunch at the Gourmet Bus on Friday, 30th of December. The agent also told us that we could already redeem our booking at their counter at Suntec City Mall. From Harbour Ville Hotel, we took a bus at Opp Keppel DP Blk 519 and alighted at Bugis Bus Station. From Bugis Bus station, we walked our way to Suntec City Mall (with the help of Google Maps, of course). Upon reaching the mall, we redeemed our booking using our Singapore Attraction Pass at Duck and Hippo Tours.
Left : Suntec City Mall facade along Raffles Blvd. Top right : Suntec City Mall along Nicoll Highway heading to the Central Business District. Bottom right : Suntec City Mall as seen from the intersection of Raffles and Temasek Blvds.
The agent at the counter told us that we have to be at their counter by 11:30AM of Friday. Since we were already at their counter, and that we planned to go to the Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck or commonly known as the Skypark, we redeemed our Skypark ticket from there. We also asked if we could also redeem the Singapore Flyer ticket, but we were told we could already get the ticket directly at the counter there.
After having arranged our booking for the Gourmet Bus, we headed straight away to Singapore Flyer, and looked for Travel Trade Concierge where we once again used our Singapore Attraction Pass and redeemed the ticket there. We did not have to fall in line in the long queue anymore at the Singapore Flyer entrance. Then, minutes after, we were already inside one of the glass capsules, along with other tourists of various nationalities. There were about more or less 10 persons inside. The view from the glass capsule was superb! You get to see most of Singapore CBD skyscrapers, and structures around Marina Bay area including the Marina Bay Sands and the Gardens by the Bay. Towering housing structures could also be seen from afar on many angles. It was a view I will never forget. It was only a plan many years back to ride this Wheel. And I never thought I would be inside it one day. It took us about 45 minutes to complete a 360-degree spin, then alighted from the Flyer afterwards.
Left : Singapore CBD with one of the glass capsules at the foreground. Top right : My wife, while seating inside the glass capsule. Bottom right : The view of the Singapore CBD and the Marina Bay Sands and adjacent areas as seen from the glass capsule.
After the Singapore Flyer, we decided to head straight to the Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck or the MBS Skypark! I took Mary Rose to the Helix Bridge and showed her the Central Business District from there. Passing through the Helix Bridge, we went inside the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and headed to Marina Bay Sands. We had lunch at a food court at MBS. After which, we walked towards the Skypark counter. Good thing we already had the tickets, and once again evaded the queue at the ticket counters at the basement of the Marina Bay Sands! We showed our tickets, and went straight to the elevators. The Skypark is located at Level 56. And so we went there. Reaching the surfboard-like structure, we headed immediately to the observation deck and a very breathtaking view surprised us. From up there, you get a much better view of Singapore from a higher vantage point. If the view from the Singapore Flyer impressed me, the view from the Skypark impressed me more! This was a dream I did not realize would come true! And I was very happy about having decided to go to the Skypark. I recalled years ago when I was there at Singapore that I would only stare at Marina Bay Sands from Merlion Park and Esplanade, and I dreamed then that I would be at the top of that structure one day – and so it did. We stayed for 2 hours and then headed back to the Harbour Ville Hotel.
Top : Panoramic view of Singapore as seen from the MBS Skypark (5 stitched photos). Bottom left : Singapore Flyer and adjacent areas, as seen from the Skypark. Bottom right : The Gardens by the Bay as seen from the Skypark.
Left: The Skypark as seen from the Merlion Park
Right : The Skypark as seen from the Gardens by the Bay
From Marina Bay Sands Theatre Bus Station (which is just below MBS on the other side of the road), we took a bus going to St. Joseph’s Church Bus Station. We alighted at that the latter then walked towards Cosmic Insurance Bldg Bus station and took a bus that would bring us to Opp Keppel DP Blk 519 Bus Station. We alighted at the latter and walked our way to our hotel to rest for an hour or two, before going to attend our Prayer Meeting at our locale there. We thank God for the Hotel we stayed in, is just 20 mins away by foot from the locale. At around 6:30PM, we took a bus going to the nearest bus station to the locale. After the prayer meeting, we took a bus dropping us to the the bus station near our hotel. Reaching the hotel, we reminisce what transpired for the day – Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck, and most of all, attending our Prayer Meeting together with our brothers and sisters whom we were very happy to meet. Thanking God for everything concluded our day this day. An exciting morning the day after awaited us. We were very excited!
DAY 3 – THURSDAY, December 29, 2016
Very early in the morning, we took a bus from the nearest bus station from the hotel going to ViVoCity (which is just around two bus stops away – approximately 5 minutes). We headed straight to Harbour Front Tower 2 where the Harbour Front Cable Car Station is, going to Sentosa. Again, using our Singapore Attractions Pass, we redeemed the our tickets at Level 1 and took an elevator to bring us to the Cable Car Station. We went inside one of the cable cars (luckily there were only two of us inside) and excitedly waited for the view to behold us.
Left : Cable Cars operating in Sentosa Line. Right : My wife enjoying the ride at Mt. Faber Line, going to Imbiah LookoutS tation in Sentosa.
From the cable car going to Sentosa, one would see the Singapore Port which is the 5th busiest port in the world, part of the Resorts World Singapore and parts of the Central Business District. We alighted from the Imbiah Lookout Station. From the Imbiah Lookout Station, we decided to have a roundtrip going to Siloso Point Cable Car station, then going back and alighted from the the Merlion Station. We walked towards the Sentosa Merlion, took some photos with it as a background.
The Sentosa Merlion
I was a bit confused as to where we should be headed then, so I asked one of the maintenance guy present. Got a bit confused with the directions he told me, and we walked the wrong direction. Instead of going to Universal Studios (which was only less than 5-min walk from where we were), took us close to an hour of walking. Only then we realized that we were walking the wrong path to Universal Studios. You won’t believe it, the direction we were traversing was headed back to the City (Downtown Core area)! We had to walk back to the Sentosa Merlion once again, then walked towards Resorts World, and voila, the Universal Studios rotating globe! We basically wasted about an hour walking.
The famous Universal Studios at Resorts World
Without any hesitations, my wife redeemed the tickets from one of the counters there and we headed to the entrance of the said theme park. There was only one ride we took actually – Transformers 4D ride! I was impressed by the way it was done. I could actually feel that were was falling, bumped into by a vehicle, and caught by Optimus Prime while we were “falling.” It was an unforgettable experience. Then we went to see the Waterworld where a “play” or “acting” was done, the Jurassic Park, Ancient Egypt and many other things. Mary Rose had her photoshoot at New York City section (took the photos myself, of course). Later in the day, we felt that we need to rest, and decided to return to our hotel at around 6PM.
From Universal Studios, we headed back to the Merlion Cable Car Station, then alighted from the Imbiah Lookout Station. From the Imbiah Lookout Station, we headed to the Sentosa Cable Car Station, and had to wait for the long queue, since there were a lot of people waiting in line to go back to Harbour Front Station. Instead of alighting from the Harbour Front Cable Car Station, we decided to let the cable car reach the Mt. Faber Cable Car Station, then back to Harbour Front. We just wanted to make the experience longer. From Harbour Front Tower Two, we headed to the nearest bus station going to Kampong Bahru (although we took the wrong bus, and had to alight from that bus and take another bus on the opposite side of the road – haha!). We alighted from Keppel DB Blk 519 bus station and walked towards the hotel. This was a very tiring day! A lot of walking really.
DAY 4 – FRIDAY, December 30, 2016
In the morning, I requested that we go to the Downtown Core area (Central Business District) before going to the scheduled lunch with the Singapore Gourmet Bus! I would like her to see the Merlion Park and the view from there in the morning when the Sun shines its light to the skyscrapers, and other structures around and near the Marina Bay area. There were a lot of people at the Merlion Park. I think there isn’t a day when the park isn’t filled with tourists. At around 10:30AM, we decided to go to Suntec City Mall since we have to be there at the Singapore Gourmet Bus counter by 12:30PM. Walking around Singapore isn’t that difficult – in fact it is not difficult at all!(Merlion Park – Jubilee Bridge – Esplanade – Suntec).
Left : Singapore’s Icon, The Merlion. Right : Skyscrapers of Singapore CBD as seen from The Merlion Park
Upon reaching Suntec City Mall, we immediately went to the counter, and waited for the bus to arrive. We waited for about 30 mins I guess. Then the bus arrived. The person in charge called our names one by one. We were actually given seat numbers beforehand by the way, when we redeemed our ticket. The Singapore Gourmet Bus is the first in Asia. Ambiance was like a resto placed inside a bus – a two-decker bus. All were actually seated at the second level of the bus. Lunch was served. By the way, all food are NON-HALAL. While we were having lunch, the bus started to roam around passing the some parts of the Marina Bay area (including the Singapore Flyer), Downtown Core area, then headed to the Gardens by the Bay. We stayed for about an hour at the Gardens.
Top Left : Gardens by the Bay marker. Top right 1 : Marina Bay Sands as seen from the Gardens. Top right 2 : One of the flower domes. Bottom : Supertree Groves at the Gardens.
We had a good view of some area in the Central Business District, having the Marina Bay Sands as the foreground. We went back to the bus afterwards, then headed to the Chinatown area passing through Downtown Core, then back to Suntec City Mall.
Top : Singapore Gourmet Bus. Bottom left : My wife seated inside the bus. Bottom right : Me, feeling excited for the booked lunch inside the bus.
From Suntec City Mall, I and Mary Rose decided to go back to Marina Bay area, towards the Helix Bridge and the Marina Bay Sands. We had dinner inside the food court at the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Then, took some long exposure shots of the Singapore Central Business District. My wife was very tired, and sat at a corner near below the Arts and Science Museum and had a good view of the place and the skyscrapers lining the Singapore CBD. We decided to head back to the hotel afterwards. The nearest MRT station was MRT Bayfront Station and alighted at MRT Chinatown Station. From Chinatown, we headed to the nearest bus station which was New Bridge Ctr Bus Station. We alighted at Keppel DP Blk 519 Bus Station, then walked our way to the hotel. We had fun this day!
Top : Singapore Central Business District. Bottom left : The Helix Bridge and the Marina Bay Sands. Bottom right : The Helix Bridge to the direction of Esplanade.
DAY 5 – SATURDAY, December 31, 2016
We started the day with our Worship Service at our locale. Then we headed to VivoCity and had our lunch there. From VivoCity, we took the Express Train (Sentosa Station) and alighted at Waterfront Station. From the station, we headed straight to SEA Aquarium, redeemed our tickets at the counter (faster, since we did not have to fall in line in the long queue), and headed towards the entrance to SEA Aquarium.
The SEA Aquarium so far has the largest viewing panel I have ever seen. The concept is somewhat the same with HK’s Ocean Park. We stayed there for about two hours, then headed back to VivoCity via the Express Train (Waterfront Station at Sentosa to Sentosa Station at VivoCity). We took a bus at Harbourfront Bus Station and alighted at Keppel DP Blk 519 Bus station, and walked our way back to the hotel. We rested for about two hours.
Top : The largest viewing panel for an aquarium. Bottom left : Seemingly a smiling dolphin. Bottom right : Mr. Sharkey seems friendly as well!
In the afternoon at around 3PM, we went to the Chinatown by bus, and bought ‘pasalubongs’ there. Sixty percent (60%) of the pasalubong we bought in Singapore was from Chinatown. We did walk to adjacent streets at Chinatown passed by some temples there, and food stalls. By the way, we ate in one of the stalls, and almost the entire staff know a bit of Tagalog – basic that is).
Top left : Pagoda street is lined with many souvenir shops. Top right 1 : New Bridge Rd. Top right 2 : Eu Tong Sen Street. Bottom : Giant colorful rooster at the crossing of Cross St. and Eu Tong Sen-New Bridge Roads.
After Chinatown, we headed to Little India by MRT (MRT Chinatown Station going to MRT Little India). We did nothing much in Little India and just walked meters away from the MRT station,strolling some streets there then going back to the MRT Station once again.
Left : One of the markets in Little India. Right : My wife, who had just alighted from the station.
From Little India, we headed to Bugis by MRT (MRT Little India Station going to MRT Bugis Station). At Bugis, we did buy a lot of sweet pasalubongs! I would recommend going to Bugus Street mall. It is just almost across the road opposite the Bugis Station. We headed back to the hotel, since we also planned to go to the Marina Bay area for some fireworks show.
Bugis Street, where food trip should be done here. A lot of pasalubong can be bought inside, at a cheaper price!
Arriving at Marina Bay Sands at MRT Bayfront we saw a lot of people going to the same direction as we were. Security personnel had to be positioned inside the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and outside the MRT Bayfront Station. These people had to be coursed to a designated path going to the area where the fireworks would be best seen. When we were already outside MBS, near Louis Vuitton building, we saw multitude of people already waiting for the main event (New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Marina Bay).
Thousands of people of different cultures flocked to the Marina Bay Sands to witness the fireworks on New Year’s eve, as Singapore welcomed the year 2017.
I spoke with one of the persons there, and said that there were more than 100,000 onlookers at that time waiting for the fireworks. Midnight struck, and the fireworks began. Singapore welcomed the year 2017. After the fireworks, we immediately headed to MRT Bayfront Station and found ourselves with the same flock of people going to the same direction as we were. It took us about an hour (maybe) to reach the station. Then from there, we headed to MRT Chinatown Station, and alighted from there, changed line going to MRT Harbourfront Station. Since buses are only available until 12 midnight everyday, we had to walk for about 30 mins from Harbourfront Bus Station to Harbour Ville Hotel. We were very tired, and it was already 2AM.
Singapore welcomed the year 2017 through fireworks at the Marina Bay area. Onlookers witness the fireworks from the Entrance/Exit points of the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.
DAY 6 – SUNDAY, January 1, 2017
We headed straight going to VivoCity in the morning, although we were still very tired from last nights activity. I and Mary Rose had breakfast at Food Republic and we were satisfied with how the cooking was done. The place too will give you the feel of an old Chinese restaurant. After lunch, we headed to the Sentosa Express. The fare was SG$4.00, and this covers the roundtrip fare already. We waited for the train to arrive, then once in the train, headed to Sentosa. We alighted at the Beach Station, since this day was scheduled for the Palawan Beach! From the Beach Station, we walked a few more meters going to the Tram Station. Trams are actually free! So we waited and boarded a Tram that brought us to Palawan Beach. There were a quite a few people were there, and the beach wasn’t that crowded. We changed to our swimming attire, and soaked ourselves to the beach. He stayed at the beach for about two hours – we just needed to soak for quite some time. Mary Rose saw two Slovenian children with their mother and she wanted to meet them – and so she did. The mother was so friendly that she approved about having their photos taken by me with my wife together with the children (Theodore and Henry).
Left : Palawan Beach at Sentosa. Top right : My wife enjoying at the beach. Bottom right : Two Slovenian babies with my wife.
It was time to leave the beach and return to our hotel. We went to the nearest Tram Station and waited for the tram to arrive. We boarded the tram and alighted at the nearest station close to the Beach Station (Sentosa Express), boarded the train and alighted at the Sentosa Station located at VivoCity. From Harbourfront Bus Station, we took a bus and alighted at Keppel DP Blk 519 bus station and returned to the hotel. We had to rest for about two hours.
Then, of course we headed to our locale to offer Thanksgiving.
DAY 7 – MONDAY, January 2, 2017
This was our last day in Singapore. We decided to go to VivoCity and had our breakfast cum lunch at Food Republic. All the time, we had to order for fish-related cooking. After lunch, we went back to our hotel and prepared all our things. We had to check out at 12 noon that day.
From Harbour Ville Hotel, we took a bus from Opp Keppel DB Blk 519 Bus Station and alighted at Pearl’s Ctr Bus Station. MRT Bugis Station is just right there after alighting from the bus. From MRT Bugis Station, we headed to MRT Tanah Merah Station, alighted there and changed platform going to MRT Changi Station. From MRT Changi Station, we headed for the Skytrain, the would take us to Changi Airport Terminal 1. We immediately searched for the Jetstar counters (Row 2-3 I guess), and self-checked-in our luggage. The boarding pass was already printed there, so we did not have to fall in line in the long queue. We then headed to the Immigration counters, had our passports stamped. We took lunch at Subway inside the airport, and took some Starbucks coffee before heading to the designated gates for our flight. At 2PM, headed to our gates, and boarded that plane bound for Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. Around 8PM, we arrived in Manila.
Left : My wife while verifying our flight schedule. Top right : MRT station bound for Changi Airport. Bottom right : Entrance to Terminal 1
Good bye for now, Singapore! Hope to see you once again God-willing.
Left : My wife with the Marina Bay Sands and the Helix Bridge. Top right : My wife and the Arts and Science Museum and part of the SG CBD. Bottom right : My wife with the CBD Skyscrapers at the background.