30.10.18

Singapore 2018, Day 1: Vintage Inn, Little India, Rainforest Lumina, Night Safari & Tep Wireless

While I am still on antibiotics, hence the self-imposed house arrest, I will be working on my pending travel posts. (Wrote this a week ago, I'm all well now! Yipee!). Still so much to share with you, guys! I am done with Krabi, Melaka and Coco Beach, now I'm working on my Singapore birthday trip before I move on to Siquijor! Writing about recent trips excites me, maybe because the memories are still fresh in my mind. Soooo, I MUST finish Singapore STAT. Haha. Anyway, it was Nico and I's first time alone together in Singapore. We've been there before (with my family), so we never really got to do what we wanted. Our 8-day trip in the Lion City all started because of an online seat sale to Malaysia (for only P1500 roundtrip!) and the rest was history. Read on to know more...



So as I was saying, we booked our super discounted tickets last March during one of Cebu Pacific's online seat sale. With the discount and my Get Go points, we were able to book tickets to Malaysia for only P1,500 each! And then from Malaysia we rode a bus going to Singapore. 




Waiting for our flight

Finally boarding!

Look who greeted me in KLIA-- my love Park Seo Joon! Hehe

nakiki-oppa din sha haha

First order of business? Have money exchanged!

And then ate at NZ Foodhouse for post midnight snack. Nico's fave!

We arrived in Malaysia at around 1 a.m. and after having a few money changed, we immediately bought bus tickets (60 MYR each) to Singapore from one of the counters on the lower ground floor. Starmart Express' first trip was at 6:10 a.m. so we just spent our free time watching movies. Thank God for free WiFi! We were not able to nap or whatever, so we just saved it for later.

Our bus finally arrived at around 6am! 

The bus routes. It was a pretty long & exhausting ride.

First class StarMart coach bus. Seats were comfy and love the foot rest.

To be honest, I expected the trip to be shorter than it turned out to be. Last time I did this (cross border via bus) I remember it only took 6 hours. Well, to be fair, it was a different stop (SG to Kuala Lumpur and vice versa). Overall, our trip from KLIA2 to Singapore (drop off was at Golden Mile Tower along Beach Road) took more or less 10 hours. We didn't have any stopovers other than immigration, so if you're doing this I suggest you bring food and drinks so you won't starve. No, scrap that. I just remembered that food and drinks were not allowed on the bus. I don't know if it's company policy or just our Indian driver's snottiness. He told us no food allowed 'coz he does not want the bus to get soiled. He did allow me to bring my bottled water on board after I told him I need it for my meds (had a bit of a cough that time). I just slept through my hunger and thirst. I also avoided drinking too much water so I won't have to piss. 

After going through the Malaysian immigration, we were told to board another StarMart bus (now a double decker). Driver was kinder but still strict. Hehe.

After a 4-hour plane ride, 5 hours of waiting time and 10 long hours in the bus, we finally made it to Singapore!

Fresh ka pa ba? Haha

Beach Road

Nearest train station was Nicoll Highway

Had my EZ Link card reloaded, while Nico just paid for his train ticket in cash. 

Okay, here's a tip. If you're traveling to Singapore and you plan to tour around or visit as many places as you can, get an EZ Link Card. It's a no-contact smart card used for the payment of public transportation fares which makes commuting more convenient and hassle-free. You don't have to line up for train tickets every time or scramble for change when you board a bus (which Nico did 'coz he didn't listen to me so he ended up asking for change from a kind lady on the bus). I bought my card April of last year when I went to Singapore for the Coldplay concert! Good thing I kept it. EZ Link cards are valid for 5 years. Huge savings! :) I also found out that fares are discounted when you use them. Tipid tips! :)

Got off at Little India station!

We took Exit C -Race Course Road

But found out that Exit E was closer to our hostel, Vintage Inn!

Saw this cute mural along the way! By the way, all my things fit inside my new Cabin Zero bag from URBANIZE

Here's another travel tip! Choose a nice, roomy bag which could fit all your things so you won't have to buy extra baggage allowance. For this trip, I chose this black Cabin Zero 44L backpack which I got from URBANIZE. I just rolled my clothes to make more space and neatly packed all my other things inside containers and organizers. Don't forget to limit your liquids to 50mL! It was exactly 6.9kg when we weighed it. :)


After a few minutes, finally saw our hostel!!! It was just a short walk to and from Little India train station (Exit E). 

 All freshened up!

Before I show you where we went to next, let me first show you our home for 2 nights, VINTAGE INN! Located along Race Course road in Little India, this compact, capsule boutique hostel is ideally situated in a heritage conservation shophouse that was built in the early 1900s. Luxury, budget & history? Yes, please! I love how it's located at the heart of the ever so vibrant Little India-- a place brimming with culture, art, history and delicious food! Extra points that it's just a 3-minute walk to the nearest train station. 

When you see the signage, just look for this door on the right side and enter

Stairs from the building's main door to the hostel

You'd see this sign on the 2nd floor

We were assigned a shoe box and we left our shoes there

Main door has electronic security lock which you can open with a key card

Reception area! 

So glad to have finally met the hostel's PR manager Sandy Kailyn! Been corresponding with her for months before our arrival and she's the nicest! :)

Our room! I love how it's spacious and well-lit. I could move around freely without fumbling around. 

Our double bed capsule comfortably fits 2 people! Nico and I had 2 pillows each (yey!), fresh sheets and comforter.


Vintage Inn’s Capsules were designed and built with the comfort and privacy of their guests in mind. Each capsule is equipped with ample room space, high quality beds and a privacy curtain that when drawn, makes you feel like you are in your own private space. I personally love it! Nico snores (which could be a hassle in dorms), but I could barely hear it when I'm outside our pod. Bed prices may vary depending on season but Single-Bed capsules range from P800-P1,200 while Double-Bed capsules range from P1,300-P2,000! Worth it though. 

It was actually quite spacious! I always prefer dorm rooms where beds have curtains. 

There are hooks inside which we used to hang our clothes and bags

Love this quiet corner by the window! 

Each bunk bed or capsule has a corresponding locker

Asked Nico to pose for me haha

Love this extra storage space inside the room. It has a folding door if you need some privacy while you dress up or fix yourself up. :)

Common area on the 3rd floor! Where they serve free breakfast. Complimentary breakfast is a rotation between Malay, Indian and Chinese local food. 

Now this is the laundry room/kitchen and behind the brown door is the bathroom!

They have a microwave, toaster, hot water dispenser, utensils, etc.

Bathroom was a bit small and the cubicles compressed but it was okay! :)

Toilet was clean but a bit tiny. Nico accidentally hit the shower knob while he was defecating (eew haha) so he got wet and went out dripping. Haha. I love that they have a bidet though and that there's always toilet paper. :)

Shower might be a bit of a challenge too 'coz of the tight space. It was not a problem for me but Nico got his clothes all wet while taking a bath. Hehe.

Free maps! They also offer discounted attraction ticket rates!

Aside from our comfortable mixed dorm room and capsule, the hostel also offers high speed internet, good aircondition, free document printing, laundry, dry cleaning services and free domestic calls. And although it is not a party hostel, I loved the peace and quiet. It was really quite nice. The founders of Vintage Inn also understands that there is one thing more important to a hostel than just its appearance, and that is excellence in service. I experienced it first hand! From the manager to the housekeepers. It really felt like home.  


Book here: 


60 Race Course Road, Singapore 518567 | Tel: +65 63968751  |  stay@vintageinn.sg | Reception Hours: 7am–12am daily


Okay, so let's talk about my new, favorite travel essential-- TEP WIRELESS Portable WiFi device also called the TEPPY! It's a pocket sized personal WiFi hotspot that keeps you connected while you're traveling. Perfect for digital nomads like me! I heavily rely on Internet Access during all my trips, so carrying a portable WiFi device has been nothing but useful and convenient for me. I use it for almost everything-- my online work, last-minute bookings, creating itineraries, navigation, currency conversions, contacting friends, and many many more! It's truly a blessing. 

So what is a TEPPY?

It's a pocket wifi / mobile hotspot that works similarly to your wireless router at home. But unlike wireless routers, Teppy is small, portable, doesn’t require setup, no cables or installation, and it works seamlessly over the world. Simply turn it on, wait for it to start up, take note of the password that will appear on the device's screen and connect! When turned on, it creates a wireless hotspot which up to 5 people could connect to! This means you can travel the world knowing that you can securely and reliably connect all of your devices to the internet, whenever you want. No more heart attacks because of expensive international roaming rates! 

Used TEP WIRELESS portable WiFi during our whole trip and it was awesome!
How does Teppy work???

To connect your WiFi-enabled device to your Teppy, just turn the power on, it will then automatically figure out what country it’s in and choose the best data network operator for you. With the Teppy on, locate your unique network name (SSID) and password. Now open your phone (or laptop or whatever) go to WiFi settings, find your Teppy’s SSID and enter the password. You will then be connected to the internet. Easy peasy!!! 

My Teppy was delivered at Vintage Inn (they were kind enough to accept the package and safekeep it until my arrival) 2 days after placing my order! 

In my TEP Wireless travel pouch is the Teppy device, user guide, universal travel adapter & micro-usb charging cable. The device was not complicated at all and very user-friendly. A Teppy with a fully charged battery lasts 6-8 hours and could be charged via a USB or wall outlet (both cables included in package). Rental is $8.95 per day (including device + data) for all 100+ destinations (I tested it and did a mock booking) or $8.00 per day (data only) if you already own a Teppy. If you're a frequent traveler, I suggest you just buy your own device for only $129 (includes free 3-day passes upon purchase) and just reload it every time you fly OR avail the Unlimited Subscription package for $99 a month! I think it's cheaper if you just buy your own device because for rentals you still need to pay for shipping and it's a bit pricey. Shipping to and from Singapore is more or less $70! Pick-up and drop-off can only be done if you're in UK or Venezuela. Check their site for more infos! :)


Click here to check countries covered:

Do you want to rent or buy a TEPPY? Click here!

Love our neighborhood!


After settling in, resting for a bit and freshening up, we headed out again for an exciting date with nature & the wild. More about it below... 


Nico buying his train ticket (he finally got an EZlink card the next day thanks to Ate Grace!)

Was so tempted to eat here but we were in a hurry. Next time!

We took a train from Little India to Ang Mo Kio station.

Upon exit, we crossed the street and walked towards the bus station.


Just follow the signs

Found the line for Bus 138. Last stop is the Singapore Zoo! 


Bus arrived after 10-15 minutes of waiting in line. I think fare was about $2 (SGD)

Other commute options


After 30 minutes on the bus, we finally arrived at the SINGAPORE ZOO! We made it just in time for Singapore Zoo's newest attraction as part of its 45th anniversary celebration -- the lush & luminous world of RAINFOREST LUMINA




Rainforest Lumina just opened last July (until February 2019) so I really didn't know what to expect which made the anticipation more exciting. This attraction is open from 7:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. (last entry at 10:30 a.m.) so it was perfect for night owls like me! When we got there, we immediately went to the ticketing booth for our tickets and then we headed straight to the entrance. 


You must follow the specified time on your ticket. If you're late, you might have to wait for a bit before they let you in.

Rainforest Lumina map!

Being the first in Asia, this one-kilometer immersive multi-sensory journey in the zoo's tropical rainforest consists of eleven unique zones with an unlikely band of heroes called the Creature Crew who will take visitors on a whimsical adventure in their magical & enchanted home. If you're expecting to see live animals, sorry to disappoint you, but you won't be seeing any inside. But if you're looking for a unique experience and you have a penchant for walking in the dark (like me hehe), then you might find the whole experience thrilling and enjoyable. I was squealing like a kid the whole time. Hehe.


Closer look at the map!

Pull the vines aside and meander along the path to where a lush and luminous universe awaits. 

This new attraction is a collaboration between Wildlife Reserves Singapore and Moment Factory, an award-winning multimedia entertainment studio who also created the critically acclaimed Lumina night walk series. Rainforest Lumina is the newest Lumina installment in a series of seven around the world. Both teams have come together to create Southeast Asia’s first multimedia night walk experience at a wildlife park. 

Treetops

Singapore Zoo's new illuminated, interactive night walk attraction blend lights and sounds together for that fun and exciting audio visual experience & multimedia walk on the wild side. Expect smoke effects, light projections, glow in the dark areas, and many more. 

The Garden of Virtues where we were introduced to the Creature Crew. Here you get to choose the animal that best represents you and then get a wristband from the basket which you could use for some activities later on.

I chose Passion represented by Bisou-Bisou the Chameleon 

The Creature Crew, a quirky group of unlikely heroes including Orangutan, Flying Fox, Sloth, Chameleon, Asian small-clawed otter, Pangolin, Hornbill, and Tiger cub, believes that nature, humans and animals all have the power to give back to the rainforest. Their motto, “We Are One”, means that everything in the world are inter-connected and everyone has a special role to play to sustain life on earth. I love this.


The magical Luminous Pathway

It looks like a thousand fireflies lighting the trees and sky!

Lure out the Creature Crew and make them appear with the use of your vocals! Sing or scream your lungs out at any of the many microphones there.

At Sing Like An Animal, each microphone shows a different creature crew! So cool!

Call of the Wild features an astounding visual narrative of how the Creature Crew bands together in times of adversity to overcome all challenges and protect the jungle.

Took a photo at the Light Huts area!

It's like this cool, mini village made of wood. Reminds me of our very own Banaue and Benguet!

Hello!

Mesmerizing glow in the dark orchids at the Shimmering Islands!

Step on this lighted platforms and Play Like An Animal by jumping on it! And then see a Creature Crew do the same thing on screen. So much fun!


Immortalize your adventure at the Wall of Fame by scanning your wristband, taking a photo and see your face on the screen! You can scan the QR code on your wristband when you get home to view your photo on your computer. 

Can you see Nico on the screen? Patience pala pinili niya. Bagay!

Verdict: Even if there were no actual animals inside (if you want to see live animals visit Singapore Zoo or the Night Safari) and everything was just interactive and animated, we still had a blast! This enchanting multimedia experience brought out the kid in us. Hehe. Tickets are priced at $22 for adults and $16 for children. It's the perfect way to spend the night with your family and friends. Aside from the magical experience and visual feast, you will also learn a lot of lessons along the way. :)

After Rainforest Lumina, we immediately rushed to our next stop--  Night Safari!!! We wanted to make it to the 9:30 p.m. show.

Night Safari, the world’s first nocturnal wildlife park, has close to 900 animals from approximately 100 species (of which almost 41% are threatened) that inhabits the 35-hectare park. In line with its mission to promote biodiversity, the park focuses on the captive breeding of threatened species. Over the years, it has bred Malayan tigers, Asian elephants, fishing cats, red dholes, anoas, markhors, bantengs, Malayan tapirs and Asian lions, among other threatened species. I think it's pretty cool that it is us humans that needs to adjust to these nocturnal creatures and not the other way around. Hope we could do the same sa tarsiers noh? Anyway, it was Nico's first time and it has been 7 years since I last visited this attraction, so I was pretty excited. :)

Sir Paul assisted us and escorted us to the Creatures of the Night Show


This 30-minute interactive spectacle features a few nocturnal superstars who will leave you in awe as they showcase their natural and unique behaviors and skills.


No flash photography!

This cute bearcat knows a trick or two. 

He's smart and hungry. Hihi.

Owls are such fascinating creatures! They showed us how they can fly without making a single sound.

Hyena

Huge boa constrictor was shown with audience participation! 

Otters showing us humans that we ain't worthy. If they can easily segregate trash and clean up, then how could we not?! Inspiring.

The Creatures of the Night Show is a must see when you're visiting the Night Safari park. Just make sure to be there 30 minutes before the show because the theater fills up pretty quickly. It's also entertaining and inspiring to see the animals' beauty and strength. The host also did a pretty good job! 

After the show, we took a tram ride to see all the other nocturnal creatures inside the wildlife park.

Night Safari is an entire open-air zoo set in a humid tropical forest that is divided into seven geographical zones which can be explored either on foot via four walking trails, or by tram. We didn't have enough time to explore the whole safari so we just went for the tram ride. 


"Designed to be explored on a 40-minute tram ride, visitors will be taken through six geographical regions, from the Himalayan foothills to the jungles of Southeast Asia. Through engaging and exciting live commentary, guests will get a deeper understanding of the habitats of our nocturnal friends and hopefully, an appreciation for wildlife conservation." 

lion and lioness

I tried taking photos using my camera and phone but I gave up after a few minutes because it was really, really dark and all efforts proved futile. We saw lots of interesting animals like the Indian rhino, more hyenas, lions, tigers, Asian elephant, pangolins, fishing cat, etc. I love how the animals are free to roam in huge spaces. You can also explore the park through one of the four walking trails which lets you see even more animals that are not visible from the tram. My favorite would be the popular Leopard Trail which features the largest collection of wildlife indigenous to Southeast Asia.


Photo with Chawang, the Asian elephant / park icon of Night Safari!

We got there late so we weren't able to explore the place fully. We left the park after our tram ride because it was almost 11 p.m. and we still had to take the bus and then train back to our hostel. Hope we could come back next time! It was such an awesome experience I'm glad I was able to share with Nico. :)

* Night Safari operating hours is from 7:15 p.m. til 12 midnight. Tickers are priced at $47 for adults, $31 for children, $20 for Senior Citizens. Enjoy savings of up to 15% when you buy tickets online! Click here to buy: https://store.wrs.com.sg/)


We didn't go home just yet because we were famished, so we decided to eat super late dinner at this Indian restaurant a few minutes away from our hostel and Mustafa Mall.


It's called USMAN and they serve authentic Indian food! Nico's favorite! 

Beautiful mural across the street

I wasn't able to take a photo of what we ate because we finished it in 5 minutes haha. We ordered Chicken Biryani, Aloo Gobi, Cheese Naan & Iced Milo. So good! Paid more or less $17 for our meal.


Went home after eating and then I binge-watched Meteor Garden until dawn. Haha. Anyway, this ends my Day 1, Singapore 2018 post! Will work on Days 2-4 next! Hope you found the reviews in this post helpful. Thanks for reading. :)



Click here for links to Rainforest Lumina & Night Safari:

*Singapore Zoo is located at 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore 729826. 


General Expenses: (in PHP)
Plane ticket - 1,500
Airport tax - 1,620
____________________
TOTAL = P3, 120

Budget Day 1 (in SGD)  
Airport dinner - 3
Bus ticket to SG - 60
EZ Link card reload - 20
Lunch at Nicholls station - 5
Dinner at Usman - 8
Convenience store/Miscellaneous - 5
---------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL =  $101 or P3,900



*budget depends on shopping habits and food preferences



Link to all my travel posts:

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