Friday, January 9, 2015

Our Singapore DuckTour Experience


Kids and walking really doesn't fit well together. 


I figured it would take a lot of walking if we insisted in touring the Singapore Marina area on foot, and so decided a tour onboard an open tour bus and the river cruise. However, due to limited time, I thought it is brilliant to do a Wacky Duck Tour instead.


The Original (with live commentary) Singapore Duck Tour takes you on a Singapore Heritage Tour by Land and Sea on onboard a DUCK, which is actually a remodeled WWII amphibious Vietnamese war craft

I booked a combo tour, through Asiatravel, which included: a ride on the Singapore Flyer; a DUCKtour and tickets to the Gardens by the Bay twin conservatories. 

The entire package costs SGD70 for adults and SGD55 for children. 




The tour boards by the Singapore Flyer tourist center and
lasts for about 60 minutes.






Hubby and I got to see most of Singapore's famous attractions without the trouble of dragging and forcing the kids around the city.


The land adventure included sights of Esplanade, the Historic Civic District and the Suntec City.  This is followed by the harbor tour view of Marina Bay, Merlion, Art Science Museum, Skypark and Gardens by the Bay Domes.


VERDICT

I think nothing beats walking, if you are yearning for a more authentic Singapore experience.  However, if you have children around, your next best bet is a Ducktour that combines both land and sea tours.


TIPS
  • The chairs near the commentator may get wet, as the duck makes a huge splash as it enters the water.  It was fun to watch my kids giggle in laughter as they moved away from the "danger zone". 
  • Remember to reserve seats though phone, especially if you intend to ride on a weekend or a holiday.  I have seen a couple, turned away since the tour is full and they have not made reservations.


Check out the Duck Tour webpage for additional details.





Monday, January 5, 2015

Festive Hotel - Resorts World Singapore


Hotels inside Sentosa are really expensive, if not for a credit card promotion, which included a 2 nights stay in Festive Hotel's Family Deluxe Room, inclusive of multiple attractions tickets for 2 adults in: SEA Aquarium, Universal Studio and Adventure Cove - staying in a Sentosa Hotel would not have been included in our Singapore adventure.

I booked via Agoda using my MasterCard and used earned reward points from my previous Agoda hotel bookings.  The entire package is less than P20,000 total.

Breakfast was not included in our package though, but no worries since there are numerous restaurants in the adjoining Forum Mall and nearby Malaysian Foodstreet.



Festive Hotel is connected to the USS Theme Park through the Festive Walk and Forum.  It is still about 5-10 minutes walk to and from USS, but a lot convenient than staying outside the Resort's World complex.  



The room was huge with a king size bed, loft bed and sofa bed, that can comfortably sleep 5 pax.  The hotel provided enough linens and pillow.


Room was clean enough (since my dust allergy was not trigger), although it has seen better days and would soon need renovation. 


There is a bath tub, but I find it quite high for the average Asian.  You would need to use steps to climb in and out the tub, which could be slippery when wet.  You have to be extra cautious, especially of the kids to avoid accidents.

There is also no bidet, which saddened by husband. Bidet sprayer happens to be one of his hotel requirements.

But that was okay, as the view compensated for the missing bidet....



Our room opens up to balcony, with a pool view and a glimpse of the USS park at the back ground.


VERDICT
Would like to try other hotels in Sentosa next time.  I have heard about Movenpick, which is cleaner and newer than Festive.  Would consider staying here again, but only if on promotion.


TIPS:
  1. Entry via taxi is free for hotel guests, just show a proof of your hotel confirmation (SMS or print out).
  2. Ask for the special children toiletries pack upon booking.
  3. Request for Sentosa Espress Pass tickets.  This would give you free access to the Sentosa Express to and from Harbourfront Station.
  4. Standard Hotel Check-in at Festive Hotel is 3pm, but you may leave you luggage at the hotel concierge before exploring Sentosa Island.   
  5. Festive has a pool, but the Hard Rock Pool is much nicer.  Hotel guests may use the Hard Rock Pool, just by showing their Hotel Key card.
  6. For convenience, you may opt for the hotel limousine for transfers outside Resorts World.  As the taxi bay, was located near the Forum Mall (5-10minutes walk from Festive, through Festive Walk), we decided on a limousine transfer to the airport which cost us about SGD55 (regular taxi, on a non-peak hour from Resorts World would cost approximately SGD22-25).  The limousine transfer was more expensive obviously, but so convenient, considering regular taxi going outside Resorts World is difficult to get especially during rush hour.  With 4 pieces of full luggage, excluding backpacks and 2 EXTREMELY (we've been walking across Singapore for 8 days straight  now) kids in tow ~ a hotel limousine was a welcome luxury.

For Festive Hotel bookings and inquiries, please visit the Resorts World Singapore website:  FESTIVE HOTEL


You may also check out, the rest of our Singapore-Malaysia trip here:

Day 1 - Singapore City
Day 2 and 3 - LEGOLAND Malaysia
Day 4 - Jurong Bird Park and Science Center
Day 5 - Singapore Zoo (with breakfast with the Orangutans)
Day 6 - Sentosa Island
Day 7 - Universal Studio Singapore
Day 8 - SEA Aquarium and Vivo City


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Legoland Hotel ~ Lego fanatics Dream Hotel!


To complete the LEGOLAND Theme Park experience, we have decided to stay over night at the Legoland Hotel.






Legoland Park is located in Malaysia's Southernmost city Johor Bahru, which is an hour away by land travel from Singapore. 


THE TRAVEL

We went here via a private taxi "SGMYtaxi", I booked on-line.  SGMY is efficient and travel is convenient and hassle free.

Note: You need not pay anything right away. Payment is made in cash after reaching your destination.


The owner Mr. KY is very easy to talk to and very generous, if I may add.  Our ride was upgraded from a Toyota Innova to a Toyota Alphard.







THE HOTEL

The Legoland Hotel is located right next the Legoland Park and WaterPark. With a two days combo park and waterpark tickets, hotel guests can leave and enter both parks anytime for two consecutive days, so you are assured you get the most out your vacation.





The moment we entered the hotel confines, I immediately felt the
excitement from my boys eyes.  My youngest rushed to the lobby and started digging in a pool of Lego blocks to start building!


The hotel's lobby alone was enough reason to visit the hotel. 




The boys were pleasantly surprised to find Lego mascots and toy models.  The discotheque elevator was also a welcomed surprise.


The fun doesn't end there.  We have been upgraded to an Adventure Themed Premium Room.  The room is huge, with a separate sleeping area (which my youngest called the "double-decker couch") for the kiddos.

The room has 2 televisions, 1 in the adult room and another at the kid's sleeping area - so there is no fighting over the television remote.





All rooms invite kids and kids at heart to a Treasure Hunt.  My boys gamely took the challenge and immediately started with their treasure hunt.




Other plus:
  • Each room also contains a Lego bucket to busy the kids.
  • Aside from the basic amenities,  kids get to have their own bathroom sink.
  • Splendid View of the LEGOLAND Park 
 
 

  • Room packages also comes with a buffet breakfast for 4 at The Brick.


VERDICT 
(Warning:  My boys are Lego fans, my review can be a bit favorable).

My boys love LEGOLAND Malaysia.  They had so much fun at the Legoland Park and my youngest won't leave the Water Park.

That being said I think there are still room for improvements, especially on the following areas:

  • Food - they serve mostly Malaysian and Indian food, which were quite spicy to for our liking. If the hotel food was a miss, you may try Medini Mall  located right next to Legoland Hotel. There are a number of Western Restaurants at Medini - we were able to try Secret Recipe.
  • Check-in is at 4pm, while Check-out is at 11am. Early check-in is highly appreciated. 

Staying at the Legoland Hotel (LH) is more costly than staying at nearby hotels, but we find it more convenient staying at LH.
  • LH is just a few hops away the Theme park and the Water park.
  • The 2 days combo ticket is  exclusive to hotel guests.
  • Guests can enter the park 30minutes earlier than other patrons.

And the experience staying in a Lego themed hotel, is really priceless.

For Legoland Hotel bookings and inquiries, please visit their webpage: LEGOLAND MALAYSIA

Friday, January 2, 2015

Royal Plaza on Scotts ~ Our Singapore Vacation Starts Here


We wanted a hotel along Orchard Road, but find most of the hotels quite expensive.  We were truly delighted to have chanced upon the Royal Plaza on Scotts (RPoS), which was our Singapore home for 5 days.






Check-in was spot on easy. 

I emailed the hotel a night before our scheduled check-in to inform them of our estimated arrival in Singapore, which was early in the morning (Note, that I did not specify for an early check-in, but was hoping they would take a queue).  We were delighted to be ushered to our room right away and it was only 11am.


Location simply perfect.

RPoS is an affordable first class accommodation in one of Singapore's prime location. It located at Scotts Road which is a few steps away the famous Orchard Road.  Truly ideal for some mega shopping.





Accessible.

RPoS is about 300 meters away from an MRT station.  There is also a bus stop just outside the hotel and a taxi station, with the hotel's good old bellhops ready to hail a taxi for you anytime.

Our mode of transportation in Singapore is via taxi.  RPoS is never more than SGD20 away from most of Singapore's favorite attractions.


A hotel with pluses!

We were upgraded to a Royal Club Premier for the entire duration of our stay.

All rooms, except for the Suites are only 32 sq. meters, but inarguably spic and span.

The following are free with all types of room  accommodations:

  • In-room Nespresso machine (we saved a couple of dollars on coffee)
  • High-speed WIFI/wired Internet for multiple devices (really fast)
  • Mini-bar with snacks (re-stocked daily)




The upgrade gave us access to Royal Club Lounge worth over SGD190++, which included:
  • Afternoon tea
  • Evening cocktails
  • All-day coffee/tea/soft drinks
  • Breakfasts for 2 at award-winning Carousel or exclusive Royal Club Lounge (we had ours at the Carousel)
  • Pressing of 1 suit per stay
  • Priority check-in at Royal Club Lounge
  • Use of Royal Club Lounge meeting room (1 hour)
  • Luxury toiletries (L'occitane was so much better than the standard brands)
  • Dream bed by Simmons (ultra comfortable, we wake-up refreshed and rested)



VERDICT

We enjoyed every minute of our stay at the Royal Plaza on Scotts. Our next vacation in Singapore  would definitely be a stay at the RPoS.
 


Royal Plaza on Scotts
25 Scotts Road, Orchard, Singapore 228220 (View map)
Contact Numbers: (65) 6737 7966(65) 6737 7966
Email: royal@royalplaza.com.sg


Smart and Easy Travel Tips You Have to Know


Want to Travel?




There are about fourteen long weekends in 2015, if you are planning to go out of town or out of the country, check out these travel tips from seasoned travelers and see how you can get cool travel upgrades:
 
From coach to business class

If you want to get upgraded from your cramped coach seats up to roomier business class, then you have to dress the part. Sure a t-shirt and flip-flops might be comfortable for your flight, but the airline will be less likely to put you with their top paying clientele if you don’t look the part.




 
From deluxe rooms to suites


The only time tardiness might actually be worth something. Checking in later in the afternoon or even evening gives hotel front desks a better idea of their occupancy; which means asking for an upgrade at this point might be more feasible. Remember to be polite (you are boldly asking for an upgrade, after all) and do so when there are no other guests around.

 

From casual to cosmopolitan

 
It’s hard to be fashionable when you’re essentially trying to fit a week’s worth of outfits into a single suitcase while making sure they’re comfortable, but it is possible. For instance, bring flat shoes that run a half size bigger (feet swell while on air and you’ll need the respite from all that walking), bring clothes that you can layer depending on the weather, try to keep your color palette strictly basic—blacks, whites, navys and nudes are easy to mix and match.


 


From falling into tourist traps to taking the road less travelled

 
Smart travellers know that most popular tourist destinations are expensive and sometimes, not even all that interesting; so try going for the road less travelled. If you absolutely have to or want to go to a popular tourist destination, go on a weekday and at a weird hour to minimize lines.

From holding up security lines to breezing through
 
Here’s a quick tip on how to make sure you don’t bumble through the security checks—place your shoes (and coat) on the first bin, your laptop and liquids in the second bin, and your purse or carry on in the third. As you wait for your things on the other side, your shoes and coat come out first giving you time to grab your bag and place your laptop back inside. Also, it pays to not wear belts and thigh high lace up boots to the airport.
 
From being unprepared to staying healthy


Stay healthy and pack your vitamins to boost protection for your immune system.

 
Travellers who have to share cabin space with 100 other humans who could possibly have cough and colds have to arrive at their destination healthy. It’s no fun exploring a new city when you’re running a flu, nursing a cold and dealing with a cough.  
 



Check Conzace!  Conzace multivitamins is proven to activate more immunity cells compare with other Vitamin C.  And when your immunity is in top shape, you can better manage illnesses – allowing your body to prevent catching common viruses or recover faster if you do fall ill.

As an added plus, Conzace also contains zinc and vitamins A, C and E, which all contain anti-oxidants good for maintaining healthy skin.
 





(It’s available per piece and only for P12.40 per capsule, but when you’re trying to keep yourself healthy for a cross-Atlantic journey, you might as well keep a generous stock. Conzace is also easily available from all major drugstores and supermarkets over the counter).

 
 

The Singapore Flyer (View from the TOP)

The Singapore Flyer is a towering 165 meters structure above an extensive spread of water, with an outstanding view of Singapore's fascinating cityscape.

It gives a 30 minutes glimpse of Singapore's perfect skyline,  especially during a clear weather.

Your Singapore Flyer experience starts with the Journey of Dreams Interactive Gallery. It is a multi-media showcase that gives visitors a better appreciation of the Singapore Flyer.








VISITORS INFORMATION
(As of December 2014)
 
Opening Hours: 9am to 10pm (last service at 9:30pm)
 
Ticket prices: Adult SGD33 / Child SGD21 (Note that you can also get discounted tickets by buying combo attractions.  I bought mine via Asia Travel and availed of a 3 in 1 combo which included: Singapore Flyer, DUCKtours and Gardens by the Bay). 
 
To reach Singapore Flyer: 
  • Nearest MRT - Promenade Station (CC4 on Circle Line / DT15 on Downtown Line) - about 5 minutes walk to Singapore Flyer (Exit A)
OR
 
  • Take a Taxi (SGD15) from the Orchard Area.  It drops you right in front of the Singapore Flyer building.
 

Legoland Malaysia (A Dream come true for Lego Fans)

Legoland Malaysia is a dream come true for Lego lovers and fanatics. The park is located in Johor Bahru, Malaysia's southern most city.  It is actually closer to Singapore than Kuala Lumpur, hence the suggested point of entry is via Singapore. 


The Park is divided in 6 major zones. These are (counter-clockwise): 

1. Lego City is where you can find most of the kiddie rides and attractions.  

    • Lego Rescue Academy*. The boys love this family firemen role-play competion with other families.  My boys did all the work, as I cheer them on.  Of course, we WON!!!


    • Lego City Airport. My son piloted a plane while I co-pilot.
  
    • Boating School*.  The boats were quite difficult to navigate.  My eldest was very good at it, while my husband and youngest struggled a bit...

My serious boat captain.



    • The Driving School* was one of my boys' favorite attractions.  My youngest was quite proud to drive his first Lego car and get his own Lego driver's license after (He wore it the entire duration of our Singapore-Malaysia vacation. Yup, even in USS - check out his USS picture with his Papa here).  



    • Junior Driving School for toddlers (pass).

    • The Shipyard is a playground for younger children (pass).

    • The LEGOLAND Express* is a mini train that goes around the park.  It is a good and easy way to tour the park, while resting your tired feet.


2. Land of Adventure takes you to:
    • Lost Kingdom Adventure* is a ride to an Egyptian-themed landscape on board a jungle vehicle, while armed with laser blaster.  Your goal: to shoot enemy mummies and tomb creatures.



    • Beetle Bounce (pass)

    • Dino Island* is a river raft jump ride similar to Enchanted Kingdom's Jungle Log Jump (pass)



    • Pharaoh's Revenge is a play gym for small children (pass) 

3. Imagination is a place for Lego fans creative minds. Here guests can bring their imaginings to life. 
    • Kid Power Tower you pull yourself up to get a vista of the park (tiring - pass).

    • Observation Tower is actually an observation deck, that gives you a 360 degrees view of the park.

    • Lego Studio** is a LEGOLAND's theatre showing Lego movies with 4D features.  If you have time suggest you watch all the movies.  Click here for the latest schedule - Lego Studio Shows.





    • Duplo Play Town is an interactive playground for small children (pass)

    • Duplo Express is a mini train for much smaller children (pass).

4. Lego Kindgoms is a legend and myths themed zone. 
    • Forestmen's Hideout is a play gym for school age children (pass). 

    • Dragon Apprentice* is mini roller coaster ride for school age children.

Courtesy of LEGOLAND Malaysia webpage.

    • Royal Joust is a medieval contest on a Lego horse.  Boys particularly loved riding the Lego horses all dressed up in medieval outfit. 

    • Merlin Challenge is a high speed carousel (pass).

    • The Dragon is Dragon Apprentice's mommy.  It is a huge roller coaster for thrill seekers. None of my boys wanted to ride with me after the Dragon Apprentice experience (pass). 

5. Lego Technic has action packed rides and exciting workshops for older children.  
    • Technic Twister you spin the wheel to control your ride (pass)

    • AQUAZONE is a wave surf type of ride, where viewers can water bomb riders (pass - not cool, unless you want to get wet)

    • Project X* is an 18 meters high crazy ride. I so wanted to ride this one, but you know about the Dragon Apprentice experience already, so I would no longer elaborate (pass).



    • Lego Star Wars Miniland* is the latest of Legoland's attractions.   The park has recreated various scenes from the Star Wars  movie.  On display are about 2000+ well known Star Wars models  and iconic scenes.




6. Mini Land* is the center piece of  the LEGOLAND theme park.  We were awestruck to learn it took LEGOLAND Master Builders three years and 30 Million Lego Bricks to recreate some of Asia's best known landmarks. 






We so Love LEGOLAND where everything is Awesome!






Please check LEGOLAND Malaysia website on how to get there, pricing and latest promotions -
LEGOLAND MALAYSIA WEBSITE.


Must see attractions and rides are in "*", meanwhile we did not ride attractions labelled "pass".

Feel free to ask me questions about LEGOLAND Malaysia, I would be happy to help.


SINGAPORE DAY 8 (SEA Aquarium)

Day 8.  Our last day in Singapore is a visit to the South East Asia Aquarium (more popularly known as SEA Aquarium).



Your journey begins with a tour of Asian maritime heritage at the Maritime Experiential Museum.

 


The SEA Aquarium is home to over 100,000 marine animals of over 800 species, across 49 different habitats.  
 
 
My boys were so enthralled with the multitude of marine animals present in the park. 
 
 
SEA Aquarium has 6 major attractions:
  • Maritime Experiential Museum
  • Typhoon Theatre
  • Shipwreck Habitat
  • Ocean Gallery
  • Ocean Dome
  • Shark Seas
 
My family's favorite attraction was the Ocean Dome. The Ocean Dome gives guests a 180 degrees vista of the Open Ocean habitat through the largest underwater acrylic dome 9m in diameter.
 
 
 
 
My boys occupied a window nook at the Ocean Dome and spent time admiring the marine animals.
 
 
VISITORS INFORMATION
(As of  December 2014)
(Operating Hours: 10am to 7pm)
 
Ticket Type: One Day Pass - Adult SGD38 / Child SGD28
 
The SEA Aquarium One Day Pass allows admission into Typhoon Theatre except weekends and during holidays.  An additional SGD5 will be charged during these dates.
 
SEA Aquarium is located in Resorts World Sentosa.
 
  
From the SEA Aquarium we went to Vivo Mall via the Sentosa Express, for lunch and last minute "pasalubong" shopping. 
 
 

 
 
Lunch was at Food Republic.   
 



Meals were cheaper here than inside Resorts World. Total food bill for all these was less than SGD20. 
 


 
 
Check out the rest of our Singapore-Malaysia escapade here:

Day 1 - Singapore City
Day 2 and 3 - LEGOLAND Malaysia
Day 4 - Jurong Bird Park and Science Center
Day 5 - Singapore Zoo (with breakfast with the Orangutans)
Day 6 - Sentosa Island
Day 7 - Universal Studio Singapore 
Day 8 - SEA Aquarium and Vivo City
 
 
 

SINGAPORE DAY 7 (UNIVERSAL STUDIO SINGAPORE)

Day 7 is an entire day at the Universal Studio Singapore (USS).




We came on a busy holiday, so half of our time was spent lining up for queues. We have not much choice really as our entire vacation coincided with the Christmas Holiday. The crowd lightened up though, at about 6pm.  

As it was Christmas, the theme park time was extended to upto 930pm, so that was an additional 3 hours rides' time (Note that most of the shows last performances were at 7pm).

Our USS Itinerary:
  • 930am - Breakfast at Slappy Cakes. Quite expensive, food wasn't that great either.  The boys did enjoy making their own hotcakes though. 

  • 10am - USS
    • Lights, Camera, Action (hosted by Steven Spielberg) was just awesome. You get to see a studio transform into a backdrop to a major hurricane in NYC.   

    • Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase bring you to a space adventure with the Sesame Street gang in search for the missing spaghetti.  This one is for kids and I suggest you skip unless riding with children. 


 
 
 

    • Transformers The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle is a must, must try!  If the queue is long, do not hesitate to get a Universal Express pass.  Lining up can sometimes take forever and you wouldn't want to waste precious time.  


 
 
 
 
 
 
 


  • 1pm Lunch at Goldilocks, Far Far Away.  Prices inside the park is triple compared to costs outside (Note: You can leave the park and request for (same day) re-admission, by presenting your USS tickets and hand stamped).   

    • Revenge of the Mummy* is an indoor roller coaster thrill ride, not for the faint of heart.  You would be asked to deposit bags and loose belongings.  You would know why, once you begin the ride. 
 


    • Treasure Hunters takes you into a dessert jeep ride in an abandoned Egyptian excavation site.  



      • WaterWorld* show is one of our USS highlights.  The boys were awed by the breathtaking stunts and awesome explosions.  Note:  Don't seat on the blue colored seats less you want to get soaked. 





      • Dino-Soarin. My boy won't leave the Lost World without a piloting his own dinosaur.  It is a ride we have here in Manila and I must say a 30 minute waiting was an absolute waste of time, but how can I say no to my dinosaur flyer kiddo?


      • Shrek 4D* takes you up close to Fiona and Shrek's fairytale adventure.  Must try as well, very entertaining. 


      • Enchanted Airways* is a roller coaster ride.  I initially thought it was a mini-roller coaster for kids, but was wrong.  It has the scary loops of full roller coaster and was ultra fast.  I was a bit scared for the kiddos and my husband (who hates roller coasters). 

      • Madagascar: A Crate Adventure is a funny and amusing trip to Madagascar on a river boat.     


      • King Julien's Beach Party-Go-Round is a carousel ride.  



    Rides we missed, because the boys were already too tired:
    • Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure* a river rapid ride similar to Enchanted Kingdom's Jungle Log Jump
    • Canopy Flyer* an upside down roller coaster ride
    • Magic Potion Spin a ferris wheel for children
    • Donkey Live an interactive live show hosted by Shrek's sidekick Donkey.


    Note: The attractions with "*" must not to be missed.

    Check out the rest of our Singapore-Malaysia escapade here:

    Day 1 - Singapore City
    Day 2 and 3 - LEGOLAND Malaysia
    Day 4 - Jurong Bird Park and Science Center
    Day 5 - Singapore Zoo (with breakfast with the Orangutans)
    Day 6 - Sentosa Island
    Day 7 - Universal Studio Singapore 
    Day 8 - SEA Aquarium and Vivo City