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Sunday, June 02, 2013

Lion City, Rawr!!!!

Here comes the post. My trip to Singapore, the Lion City :D

Not to say I'm a huge fan of Singapore, but you know how I always loved to travel around and explore. And I have a mission of filling my house's refrigerator with magnets from all over the world! For now, the fridge has only two magnets, one from Universal Studios Singapore, and one from Australia which belongs to my brother. So yea, to kickstart the mission, Singapore seems to be a good place to start with, as it is near and convenient hehe.  Oh let me clarify, I've been to singapore twice before this, but for both trips I was at Universal Studios Singapore ONLY. My dad always teased me that I in fact have never traveled to SG at all, just passed by only.

Anyways, sem 2 at UTAR ended and I had two weeks holiday, which doesn't seem enough for me, so I self declared one more week holiday haha... just to make one week time for me to travel down to JB, to visit my relatives and also visit to SG. The best part of this trip is, I get to travel with my college buddy Sheauwen who is now studying in SG!

ok, cut the crap haha, so I took a CW1 Bus (Yellow Color Causeway Link) from JB Sentral to SG's Kranji MRT station. Bus Fare is only RM1.00 Stopped at woodlands checkpoint to meet up with the friend.

1. Merlion Park + Fullerton Hotel + One Fullerton
From Kranji MRT, took the NorthSouth Line and East West Line to arrive at Raffles Place MRT station. well I can't tell u the exact directions to the merlion park, but what I can say is, the moment u walk out from the station (according to the correct exit), just walk along the river, pass by the Fullerton Hotel and cross the Fullerton Road, look for the sea and you'll find the Merlion Park without fuss. Honestly, I didn't really memorize the map or whatsoever, there were clear directions given and with some simple sense of direction you can navigate on your own.


 This Bridge I sibeh LIKE!


LOL sheauwen's mischief muahahahahah 

The Fullerton Hotel, which was the General Post Office.
Do marvel on its beautiful, grand and elegant architecture!

 Merlion Park
the place was crowded! loads, i repeat LOADS of tourist!
of course there were, this is like the identity of SG. I must say, to look at the real thing itself, can't help but to think that whoever that came out with this Lion Head Fish Tail concept to represent the nation is really genius. U can't find this anywhere else. Malaysia, well if we can come out with something related with tiger then it should be pretty cool hehe...

Thanks to sheauwen's awesome photography skills for this photo!
haha I really Like this!
sorry that I didn't come out with similar effect on her one. 


Yeap, you get to have an awesome view of the Marina Bay Sands and also Esplanade (not in photo).

I think they should clean the statue, look at all the dark stains under the mouth. Looks weird.  

By the way, If you fancy some breakfast or brunch
Do go for the Cafes and Restaurants at One Fullerton. 
The Cafes all have seats that overlook the sea and also the Merlion park. Definitely an awesome chill out place. 

 Anyways, we took an underground passageway at One Fullerton to the inside of Fullerton Hotel.
To be honest, the Fullerton Hotel looks so majestic on the outside, and I really don't dare to just enter it from its main entrance, through the heavy double doors. Great that they have this passage way that directly leads to the interior of the hotel.
  
Can't take my eyes off this beautiful cake shop. seriously envy those people who stay in this hotel.  

The hotel interior that made my jaw drop. Yes, lift your head up, u'll be looking into the sky.

Had breakfast at Mr Bean at Raffles Place MRT Station.
this is also something very popular among the locals. The soya bean milk is really good. and they sell pancakes with all sorts of fillings.
http://www.mrbean.com.sg/index.aspx

2. The Shoppes and Art Science Musuem @ Marina Bay + Helix Bridge + Louis Vuitton Island Maison
From Raffles Place, took the train to Bay Front station 
walk out and find ourselves at the bottom of this massive triplets tower hehe
Once again, impressive architecture! I'm not an artsy person, but I can totally sense the epic-ness behind this building. The lines and the angles, beautiful.
However, I did not visit the hotel. Probably some part of me just genuinely feel that I don't belong to that place haha.



Instead, we visited The Shoppes
which is a huge mall, with top notch brands. Like what sheauwen say, it's like Pavillion of the Pavillion LOL
and yes, I jaw dropped dunno how many times as I walk along the super-couture street with all the top luxury brand shops and honestly, more than half were totally new to me. 
Anyways, if you're a shopaholic, this is totally ur place. Wide and spacious, the place looks very open and warm, and I like how the corridors are so so huge hehe....
Yeap this is the super couture street with all the Rolex, Bvlgari, Chow Tai Fook
again, the I-do-not-belong-here feeling comes 

this is one of the pretty shops that I saw in The Shoppes
It's like europe-style's Candylicious
with all things related to chocolate.
There's a cafe, a chocolate shop and also a dessert bar that sells supersized Macaroons haha



Well one of the things that I must do in a foreign country is to at least visit a museum, just for the sake of gaining knowledge. The Art Science Museum is just around the corner, with its impressive lotus-like shape and beautiful glass walls. 




Basically, the Art Science Museum is more like an exhibition center instead of those usual museum with permanent exhibits and showrooms. The exhibitions were all for a limited time only. However, there is a permanent exhibition space which basically guides you about creativity and inspiration. Well since we were on budget, we decided to go for only one of the seasonal exhibition, which is the Mummy : Secrets of The Tomb exhibition. Tickets are priced at $15.00

to know what exhibitions are available : go to http://www.marinabaysands.com/Singapore-Museum/



Before entering the exhibition hall, there's a photo area where you can wear Egyptian hats and snap a photo.Well the exhibition starts with a 3D film that details about the virtual unwrapping of a real mummy, named Nesperennub. Yes, Virtual! using scanning technologies! Btw, for this exhibition, no photos were allowed. Which I believe is to respect the mummy perhaps?

Anyways I'll describe about the film and also the exhibition.


So the, film basically tells how they used X-Ray n CT scan to show whats inside the coffin of a mummy without actually opening it. Impressive, as it does no harm to the artifact and I believe this is also a sign of respect as well. They basically discover a lot of information based on the scans, and also had insights into the ancient Egypt mummification process.Well I wont say much about their findings haha, you should go check out yourself!
After the film, we are lead into the exhibition hall. Where there are all sorts of Egyptian artefacts and statues that shows the culture, beliefs and history of the Ancient Egypt. if I'm not wrong, they are from the British Museum. Some are genuine while some are replicas. Nesperennub's coffin was indeed in exhibition. There was a mummification workshop as well, of course it's not showing the real thing haha, just a demonstration. Mainly targeted on kids to show them the procedures, materials and techniques of mummification. Be amazed by how the Egyptians make use of natural plants in the process and also the science behind it.
In a nutshell, all I can say is, I'm just amazed. I mean like, how on earth could they think of such a way to treat a dead body? But somehow, they had their beliefs and I'm sure that they acted on the best interest of the deceased. Okay, my vocab is limited, so I cant exactly describe what I've experienced. But I do recommend this exhibition, for it shows us a vital part of our past.

So after the Mummy exhibition, we took the elevator and went up to the highest floor, where the permanent exhibition is. I'm sorry I didn't take much photos, because I really didn't exactly visited the exhibits. But I remember one of the room was a huge huge space with 5 different objects hanging that represents the combination of Art and Science. There are interactive computers that tells you about the art and science behind those objects. One of the object was the Bucky Ball!! The C60 molecule with a cage ball shape. Yeap I remember this the most because I totally can understand what they meant by the fuse of art and science. 

      Photo from Art Science Museum's FB
This is the room with the Bucky Ball, Kong Ming Lantern and also Chinese Scroll

Other than that, the exhibition space also has several sketches of the building itself, showing how an initial idea of the building's shape comes into execution. The exhibition space was really huge and the lighting and decorations was great, yes you'll feel like you are in some creative space where imaginations are unlimited. I know the way I describe it sounds funny, but trust me, I really did felt that way when I enter those halls.  

Thats one of the touch screen computers that allows you to design your own e-cards (as their effort to ignite your creativity through inspiration, curiosity and expression.)  

 see all the lotus flower around? 

By the way, another place that I wanted to go but due to time constraint I did not do so. It's to take a walk at the Double Helix Bridge! (the bridge behind me in this photo). Yes you can see it right outside the Art Science Museum. Well if you watch SG dramas, this bridge is seen quite frequently. It's a pedestrian bridge with the shape of the DNA chain. Yes as a science student, I find this idea of making a bridge based on the wonderful shape of our DNA rather amazing and creative! 

Moving on, we walked along the bay and saw the super iconic LV outlet!
Sheauwen said that it looks beautiful at night. I believe so, look at all the glass tiles and how the sun light bounces off the surface! It looks awesome.


Well I didn't really dare to enter the shop, but thanks to sheauwen, I followed her into the shop. Act like a tourist most of the time haha. Well I didn't take any photos, coz I felt like I shouldn't haha. Anyways, do go into the boutique, it's beautiful! It's my fave LV outlet so far (not that i visited a lot of LV outlets), probably because it was lighted up by the sun, the outlet actually seemed more welcoming, warm and livelier. It didn't felt so intimidating. The staffs are all very friendly and shows off their warm smile. The outlet had 3 floors in total, very spacious. The products are all nicely showcased. There's also a small balcony where you can rest and have a breathtaking view of the sea. 


3. Bugis Junction, Bugis+ and Bugis Street.
From Bayfront, we went to Bugis Station. from there, the underground station is connected with Bugis Junction's basement floor. Bugis Junction is actually a mall consist of nostalgic buildings, but it's covered by glass ceilings and fully air conditioned!! It's like shopping on an old street but with the comfort of a modern city. OMG, where to find a place like that u tell me? Anyways had our lunch first. 

Deep Fried Tofu from Yummi Bites 
Snack that is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. 

Mee Rebus from Punggol Nasi Padang
The Mee Rebus comes with a drink, which I ordered a Waterchestnut drink. Cost $5.00
The Mee Rebus was quite ok actually, the peanut sauce was quite fragrant with all the shallots. The noodles were okay too, unlike some that uses yellow noodles with a weird texture and taste. 

 Ooh I Love the buildings, like really! It has some similarities with the neoclassical buildings that you find in pasar seni area, but look closely, it's also somewhat different. 

go to http://www.bugisjunction-mall.com.sg/malls/website/index.aspx to find out more about the shops and also the food that I've posted. 

Free Swensen's Strawberry Ice Cream that we received. 


So, right opposite bugis junction is a huge mall with a very cool exterior name Bugis +
Bugis Junction was more of a street mall with all sorts of shop, Bugis + is more like a fashion mall with all the famous labels and also trendy boutiques.    

I was holding myself back from not spilling money. Look at that place la seriously, it has all the shops that you want!


 Just a short distance walk from Bugis +, there's the Bugis Street. Super crowded I tell u
I didn't go into the street, but was around the corner. There's quite a lot of cafes, food stall and also gift shop. Bought some souvenirs over there. The price is quite cheap actually! 
I Love Taimei
A really cute snack stall that sells Taiwan snacks and they are named after pretty Taiwanese female artist. I think it's quite popular among the locals, there are several outlets. 

Sheauwen's Flavored French Fries. 

So from Bugis area, we took a bus to Chinatown. 
Don't know which bus to board? Just check their bus route map at a nearest bus stop, it's all clearly laid out for u! And like what sheauwen suggested, it's actually better to travel by bus, as you can actually have a nice sightseeing tour. Which I truly enjoyed as I was able to see all the nostalgic buildings, churches, and also their modern skyscrapers as well. 


Some photos that I snapped while taking the double decker bus. :D
The top right photo is actually CHIJMES -- A dining and shopping spot housed in an past catholic school grounds. http://www.chijmes.com.sg/
Omg that place is damn pretty just by looking at it from the outside, if you have time, do go inside and have a look at the beautiful architecture and pretty gardens.  

4. Pagoda Street, Chinatown Heritage Center, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (佛牙寺), Nanyang Old Coffee
So the bus stops right at the Chinatown MRT station entrance, right next to the Chinatown Point Shopping Mall. I wasn't sure where is the Heritage centre, so I decided to go into the subway station and find the exit that directly leads to the Heritage Center. 

Ascend from the escalator and you'll see this!! Ta-dah, right in the middle of the Pagoda Street. 
Look at the shops! They are all beautifully restored. At some point this street does look like our Petaling Street. but the colored buildings just simply adds another bright and lively feeling to the place. 
Anyways, the Chinatown, aka 牛车水,was the main district for Chinese Immigrants. It was a place for them to stay, work, and trade. 


If you want to know more about the history and culture, do visit the Chinatown Heritage Center which serves to educate visitiors about the difficult past of Chinese Immigrants when they first land their feet on SG.


Walk further, you'll understand why this place is called a ChinaTOWN. It indeed was, one whole area of nostalgic buildings with shops that offer wide range of goods. It's not just one street / 唐人街. Love the place, you can really find lots of things. It was an awesome experience I must say, to walk along all these streets, feeling like I'm in the early 20th century. 



So as we walk around the area, you'll find the majestic temple known as the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (佛牙寺).
http://www.btrts.org.sg/
beautiful don't you think? It's one of those temple with the ancient china Tang Dynasty style. Feel like I'm in one of those 武侠小说!



If you want to enter the temple, please wear shirt with sleeves and also knee length pants or skirt, as a sign of respect. If you didn't they actually have robes which can be borrowed.

 The Main Temple
omg so breathtaking. 


 yes the main hall was huge, and grand! with all the beautiful statues, ornaments and also fabrics. 

It was one day after Wesak Day, so quite a number of tourist were actually doing the 浴佛 ritual. 

anyways, the temples houses a Buddhist Museum as well, which I did not visit. will do it next time.  



The weather was really hot, and I was craving for some drinks. Passed by this nostalgic looking Nanyang Old Coffee shop  南洋老咖啡 that serves the signature beverages like Singapore coffee and milk tea. So we decided to take a yumcha break and enjoy a cup of milk tea while taking in the old-school surroundings. One cup of Hot Milk Tea 南洋奶茶(small size) costs $1.50.  As a teabreak enthusiast, it was quite a good experience I must say, really recommend this to be part of your tour hehe...



5. The Central, Riverside Point and Clarke Quay
From Chinatown MRT station, took the train to Clarke Quay, which is just one stop away. 
The Clarke Quay MRT station exits to The Central shopping mall. You have to search for the promenade and you'll find the Riverside Point few meters ahead and also Clarke Quay across the river. 
The Central is a retail mall, while the Riverside Point and Clarke Quay are dining and clubbing hot spots. 
It was around dusk when we reach the promenade, and OMG, the place looks so so so so beautiful!
I wish I knew better words to describe the place, anyways hope my photos can tell you.


Yes, sitting by the river was the best way to indulge in this beautiful view. Feel the wind beating against your skin, and listen to the sounds of the water, appreciate the nostalgic buildings and look at the beautiful twilight. 




Had our dinner at Clarke Quay's Hooters, one of the restaurants that is situated right next to the river. 
It serves american local dishes and also beer. FYI, there's only waitresses and all of them are like really hot. Bet guys love this place haha... 



That's the view you get at night. I really love the atmosphere of this restaurant. Not only because it has a river view, but it gives a very warm and cozy feel, with all the wooden chairs and table, warm lighting and lively people. The waitress are actually quite friendly, but they can get so busy that they actually ignored you when you asked for their help. 


Apple Juice w/o Ice - $4.80
I was having sorethroat and requested for something without ice, the hostess actually recommended this. This is perfect, apples are good for reducing phleigm hehe... 

For food, me and sheauwen actually shared them.
Grouper's Cousin Sandwich - $15.50
Curly Fries - $4.90
I love the fries actually, it's made from fresh potatoes instead of those processed ones. It's super crunchy on the outside and mushy on the inside. Has a sweet taste and it's not too salty. You can add black pepper and salt on your own. 
The sandwich was not bad either, the fish fillet was thick and long enough to be shared by two of us. Love the fish fillet's texture and it's lightly salted flavor, it's a good match with the tartar sauce. Coleslaw was really good!! Love the bread as well, fragrant and also soft. 

Time to put down our sunglasses and just relax :D 




It was already 8pm and I'm supposed to go home immediately after dinner. But I just couldn't help but to walk further into the Clarke Quay mall. OMG the atmosphere was amazing, so lively and electrifying! Clarke Quay is definitely one of the best places to spend your weekend night. There's all sorts of restaurants, bars and clubs. There are several retail outlets as well. I just didn't want to leave that place laaaaaa...





 a really beautiful beer bar that I saw. Look closely, it's all foreigners haha...

6. Clarke Quay to Kranji
So yeap with that, I ended my day and took the MRT back to Kranji station from Clarke Quay.
btw here's a map that I did just to show you how we traveled. Basically we traveled with 4 MRT Lines haha...btw, the best part about MRT in SG is that the interchange are all within the station itself, unlike our malaysia ones, where u need to walk quite a distance. Other than that, for tourist spots, usually the mrt stations have specific exits that will lead you to the place that u wish to go, so u dun have to worry that u'll get lost or something. 


get an EZ Link card which can be used at all buses and trains. 

Souvenirs that I bought from Bugis and also Chinatown.

CW1 bus tickets. For going back to JB Sentral from Kranji
The Fare is $0.80

Well, here's some thoughts...
To be perfectly honest, SG does have lots of similarities with Malaysia, in fact, the places that I've visit today reminds me of certain tourist hotspots in KL. Like bugis, is sort of similar to pasar seni. The Raffles Place have some similarity with KL's Masjid Jamek area (the river, skyscrapers and nostalgic buildings). Then Pagoda street looks like KL's Petaling Street. They might be alike in some ways, but look deeper, you can't help but to notice the effort SG has put in to preserve all these historical buildings and heritage. For Malaysia well, I just thought that they could've done better, by restoring the old buildings instead of taking them down. Other than that, you can also feel a sense of vitality and liveliness. It's a bustling city with its own charms and identity. Anyways, if you feel like finding something that you rarely see in KL, stick to activities along the rivers in SG, i think  the rivers shows a lot of charm. For example, the Clarke Quay, river cruises, the collection of artistic bridges. And err, the night view is amazing too!! 

well when I was leaving SG, i told myself I would definitely come back to visit again. Turns out God is giving me a chance haha...


Yes, I got a scholarship to study in NTU Singapore!! How great is that? :D loads of time for me to visit SG I believe. Anyway, it means I have to leave UTAR :( can't help but to be sad....
anyways, hope everything will go smoothly :D

Okay here's some extra shots :









Finally :


A Shoutout to the friend who was with me all the time during this trip.
Thanks for being the tour guide and also treat me dinner
Thanks for being the Photographer and also the joker who made me laughed so much.
I really really really Thank You daoooo
anyways, I'm coming to SG soon, we shall stay overnight at Clarke Quay hahahahha

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