Singapore 2011

Last year I went to Singapore with my sisters for a year-end break. It was my 2nd time to the Lion City; the 1st being the department trip to Universal Studios Singapore (USS) and a bus tour around the city center, all in 2 days! 

1) Wicked - The Musical
The hit Broadway musical based on the novel by Gregory Maguire came to my attention via a friend who watched it in London and Glee (the cast performed a cover of the song Defying Gravity). The musical depicts the unlikely friendship between 2 young girls of opposing personalities who grew up in Oz. I'm not gonna say much about the story (which is AWESOME), the music penned by Stephen Schwartz is beautiful; we were crying in between scenes. The show was played in the Sands Theater by an Australian cast; fantastic set and great performance! It was mindblowing, and has got me hooked on musicals! Check out the show while it lasts!

2) Singapore Zoo
Adopting an upclose interaction with the zoo residents, the Singapore Zoo is a great place for family outings and animal lovers! It was huge and clever presentation of space makes us feel like we're really walking in the wild! The no-cage practice (for certain animals) certainly helps create the feeling that we're really one with nature. There are various animal shows - we got to see the Elephant show, which was impressive; though I'm not a huge fan of animal shows, it certainly got the crowd going! We didn't get to go on the Night Safari, though the sisters claim it was a fun and entertaining ride! Official site here.
Elephant Show

Cheetahs roaming behind the glass

Zebras upclose & personal
3) Botanical Gardens
The Gardens are separated into different sub-gardens; each garden follows a theme and it was a pleasure walking through the park enjoying the green. Clean, and well-kept, I wished I'd time to browse the Orchid Garden (a separate fee is required for entry). We managed to cover most of the ground in 1 hr. A rehearsal was underway as we went around the Symphony Park; how wonderful it must be to be indulging in music while immersing oneself with green all around you! Official site here.

4) Art Science Museum
Conveniently located at the Marina Bay Sands, we visited the museum to kill time before attending the Wicked musical. The Titanic exhibition was on-going and we got ourselves a boarding pass; each pass has the name and details of a real-life passenger from the ill-fated ship. The exhibition was extensive; there were artifacts (brought up from the wreck) on display, news clippings, old videos, photographs etc. The display was impressive and by the end of the tour, I felt sad for the victims. The exhibition also informed about the fates of several passengers and I feel it has done a good job immortalizing the ship and its history. Check out more here.

5) Universal Studios Singapore
We spent the 2nd day at USS. The park is big, I love how the themes are faithfully embodied in the props and the architecture of each park. We were lucky to have good weather, it drizzled a bit but we managed to cover the entire area. My personal favorites are the roller coasters; even on a full tummy, I enjoyed the ride screaming and hands-free! :D The main draw was the newly-opened Transformers ride; combining stunning 3D effects with an exciting coaster ride, it took us 2.5 hrs to get to it but it was great fun. Though I wished I took the ride at night when the crowd was barely there! The great thing about USS is that there's something for everyone, whether you're a thrill-seeker, camwhore or just out to be somewhere else for a while, USS has got it all ;)
The welcoming Universal Studios globe

Sci-Fi City! 

Fancy digs!

6) Maritime Experiential Museum
We got the USS ticket at a cheaper price with a pass to the Maritime Museum located nearby USS. There's a huge replica of a ship in the middle of the museum and we were treated to a short movie depicting the travels of China's Admiral Zheng He around the world. There were different "ports", each with displays of the goods usually traded there. We get a little "passport" and we get a stamp at each "port" we visited. It was an interesting display of the different goods from around the world, and it displays the diversity of trade back then. 
One of the "ports"

7) Katong Laksa
A dish unique to Singapore, we had a taste of it at the famous 328 Katong Laksa on East Coast Road. My cousin informed that the proprietor used to participate in beauty pageant and her noodles are popular around the island. It's loaded with cockles, coconut milk, spices...good brunch experience! But...I'll take my assam laksa anytime, sorry! :p Good to try though, at least I can tick Katong laksa off my list of must-eat foods! ;)

The trip to Singapore was short but sweet. It was a good break; I enjoyed the quality time with my sisters and the family! :)

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