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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jurong Bird Park Singapore: Easy Directions for Do-It-Yourself Trip

Jurong Bird Park in Singapore is one family attraction where one gets to see penguins, flamingos, parrots, and several other birds up-close in their natural habitat. The park is open everyday from 8.30am to 6.00pm (ticket counter at the venue closes 30 minutes before the park closing time). There are daily free bird shows too that are similar to circus shows and hugely entertaining for both kids and adults. Then there are bird feeding opportunities throughout the day where one gets to watch bird-feeding free of cost or can buy bird food to feed them by hand. Add to that a paid "Lunch with Parrots" which is an Asian Buffet Meal along with a special Parrot Show. All this makes for a really exciting day in the midst of nature which your kids will cherish forever. In this page you will read all the essential information to be able to experience this attraction on your own. Just know that Jurong Bird Park is the only attraction in its location, whereas if you are going to the Singapore Zoo, you also get to see two other attractions - Night Safari and River Safari in the same place. Keep reading...




Monday, October 27, 2014

Chinatown Heritage Centre and Street of The Dead Singapore

Just as Chinatown is a must visit during any holiday in Singapore, Chinatown Heritage Centre (CHC) is a must see during any visit to Chinatown. Located on Pagoda Street (Exit A from Chinatown MRT) among the hustle & bustle of the Street Market, CHC is open everyday from 9.00am to 8.00pm, while the last entry is allowed before 7.00pm. This building that occupies three former tailor shops does not appear exciting from the outside and gives no hint of the stunning exhibits on display inside. Sadly, its not free and rather expensive at SGD 10 per adult and SGD 6 per child (3-10 years). It is managed by he Duck & Hippo Group that operates Singapore's Hop-on, Hop-off tourist bus service. CHC does not get many visitors despite its worth. I do not know if the steep entrance fee discourages visitors or the fee is steep because there are not many visitors. Whatever, I found it worth the money but would have been happier to pay half of what they charged me. And yes, the place sounds friendlier if we consider the Free Walking Tour of Chinatown that they offer at 2.30pm every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. No guarantees here so please check with them about availability on a particular day. Keep reading for more...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Shopping for Souvenirs and More in Chinatown Street Market Singapore

When it comes to shop for something to take back home from a holiday in Singapore, street shopping in Chinatown is the place to be. The area is worth visiting even during the day but really comes alive at night when the colorful merchandise on sale at prices as low as 3 for 10$ looks totally irresistible. On sale are not just trinkets, but also Chinese dresses, bags and purses, Buddha statues, lanterns and other Chinese decoration stuff, rare coins, Chinese medicines, herbs, & spices, Cookies from Macau's famous Koi Kei Bakery, and even the exotic stuff if you are looking for that. There is a Tintin Shop too. All this is sold not just at the street stalls but also in air-conditioned shops and a big Chinese shopping mall called Yue Hwa. The market can be approached from Chinatown MRT Station Exit "A" going towards Pagoda Street. When you get tired or feel hungry, there is a food street (Smith Street) where you can have your favourite international food in an open air setting. Vegetarian food in Chinatown Singapore is available at Ci Yan Health Food, Eight Treasures, and Annalakshmi Indian Buffet. Best Money Exchange outlets in Singapore are also here. Chinatown Street Market is open daily from 10am to 10pm. Read more and see pictures below...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Best Tourist Prepaid Sim Card in Singapore

Interestingly, the best prepaid sim card for a tourist in Singapore may not be the one that is sold as a "tourist sim card" or by any other name at the Singapore Airport's arrival area. The prepaid sim cards on sale at the Changi Airport are all over-priced and are sold with promises of benefits that a short-stay tourist may not be able to avail of during his/her visit to Singapore. Once outside the airport and in the city, much better value and lower priced prepaid sim cards are available. The lowest priced prepaid sim card on sale that I saw at the airport was a SingTel for SGD 28. Most others cost around SGD 50, with promised value of SGD 60 or something like that. Some of these "Airport" sim cards come pre-loaded with 5 GB or more of data that may not be necessary for a short stay particularly if your hotel offers free wifi. All I am saying is that you should carefully study what is on offer and whether it really suits your needs before spending those 50 Singapore Dollars on a sim card at Singapore's Changi Airport. I bought a SGD 15 SingTel hi! prepaid sim card in Little India that came with a pre-loaded balance of SGD 18. I converted SGD 7 out of that to buy 1 GB of data valid for 7 days and still had SGD 11 worth of talk time which meant 220 minutes of talk time for calling India (at 5 cents per minute) within my six days of stay. It was more than what I needed. Not only SingTel but most other telecom operators in Singapore offer special call rates for making ISD calls. Keep reading...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Locker Rental Station at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore: An Unfair Convenience

The Locker Rental Station at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) is totally unfair and very expensive, particularly when it is used more by those headed to the RWS Casino and turned back by the security guys who think that the bags carried by the guests are too large. Their decisions in this regard are totally arbitrary. One guest is turned back and another is not, yet both of them carry similar sized bags. Another reason for this convenience being unfair is that the other casino in Singapore - 'Sands Marina Bay' keeps guests' bags in safe deposit for free. RWS does not. For the unfortunate guests who are forced to lose their money in this manner even before they enter the casino, a one hour locker rental for a small locker costs three Singapore Dollars, which is the minimum rental cost here. Every subsequent hour (up to four hours) costs 3 Dollars more. Beyond four hours, one is expected to pay SGD 15 up to one day after which every additional hour will cost 3 SGD more. What is this punishment for, RWS??? Keep reading for more...

Monday, October 20, 2014

RWS8 Shuttle Bus to Resorts World Casino or Universal Studios from HarbourFront MRT Singapore: Fare, Timings, Pick-up and Drop Points

In Macau, one gets a free shuttle bus to almost any major casino from almost any part of the city. But then, Macau is a casino city and Singapore is not. There are only two casinos in Singapore, one of which is at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) one level below the Universal Studios Theme Park. RWS casino is open 24 hours a day but the only travel option to get there or to get out of there will be a public taxi unless one is travelling within the MRT working hours. Trust me it matters, particularly after having a bad day at the casino, it would hurt your sentiment even more if you have to pay another dozen Singapore Dollars to get back to your hotel. So a smart thing to do will be to get there early and plan your exit by 11.00pm and another 15 minutes earlier if you have kept your bag or other stuff at their Locker Rental Station. Keep reading for the fare, timings and pickup-drop details & directions about this service and also about a weekend late night service that operates between 11.30pm and 2.00am...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum Chinatown Singapore: Essential Information

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is one of the main attractions of Chinatown in Singapore. In this page, you will find all the essential information that you need to do a fruitful visit to this place. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple can be reached via an MRT train. Alight at the Chinatown MRT Station and take Exit A, that goes towards Pagoda Street. Here you will find Chinatown's famous street market. Go all the way through the street market and come to the South Bridge Road. On this road, turn right and walk a little. You will find yourself outside the temple. The temple is open everyday (including public holidays) from 7.00am to 7.00pm. Car parking in this building (in basements 2 and 3) is also open everyday from 7.00am to 7.00pm. The Buddha Tooth Temple and Museum houses, among other artefacts, a Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic on the fourth floor, in a room called the Sacred Light Hall. Photography inside this room is not permitted. Free guided tours of the temple are available on Saturdays. To register for a tour, one needs to SMS one's name followed by the selected Saturday's date to +65 81460717. The meeting point for the tour is outside the front office on the 1st floor. The date and time of the next available tour is displayed at the temple. Keep reading for more...

Why You Should Not Trust Tripadvisor Hotel Review Score With Your Eyes Closed

This article is meant to help my fellow travellers in being cautious while booking or rejecting a hotel solely based on its review score on Tripadvisor. But even before I start, I would like to clarify that I have a very high regard for the millions of travellers who share their actual travel experiences through reviews and forum posts on Tripadvisor. These genuine reviews are alone responsible for the massive influence that Tripadvisor has today over the global travel industry's business. However, sadly, all does not seem well there. In May 2014, BBC ran an online story titled "Trip Advisor 'fake reviews' investigated in Italy" (Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27486870). In fact if you type three words in Google: "Tripadvisor Fake Reviews", you will be surprised to see how hot this topic is. From what I could learn online and from my own personal knowledge and experience, these are the problem areas: (i) Fake positive reviews by hotel owners to attract more business, (ii) Fake negative reviews by a hotel's competitors meant to hurt its business. (iii) Totally fake business listings, and (iv) Reviews solicited by Tripadvisor by offering incentives. Now let us talk about the above problem areas one by one...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Is It Worth Buying Electronics in Singapore Any More?

I remember the good old days when any trip to Singapore would mean bringing home several "Made in Japan's", like cameras, handycams, TVs, music systems, and what not. Then a few years ago, things changed. In the year 2010 to be precise, my friend in Singapore told me that the only electronics item worth buying in Singapore was LCD/LED TVs because everything else had become too expensive. I got to verify his claim too. During that trip, I spent a lot of time in Little India and so I was able to visit the three main shopping destinations for electronics in Little India, Singapore. Those were: (i) Mustafa Centre, the ever popular 24/7 shopping mall of Little India Singapore, (ii) Naranjan (close to Mustafa), the twin shops selling electronics at prices slightly lower than what would be charged by Mustafa, and (iii) Sim Lim Square, the digital mega mall which is at a walking distance from Little India and Bugis MRT Stations. Most of the stuff available in these three places was more expensive as compared to most of the online shopping websites in India. On top of that, the quality  and international warranty on the electronics purchased in those three places emerged as big concerns. Keep reading...
Blog by: Narinder Singh