We woke up early for day 2, so we could make the most of Universal Studios. We took Bus 2 in front of the 7-Eleven on Geylang Road, then alighted at the Aft Sims Way stop. From there, we walked to Kallang station. There was an Old Chang Kee at the station, but we decided to just eat after we rode the loopy rides.
We transfered from the green line to the yellow line via Dhoby Ghaut station. We reached the Harbourfront station, and entered VivoCity mall. I led V and Big Sis to the escalators, since I sort of remembered that the Sentosa Express station was at the top level. When we got to the area, there was already quite a line at the ticket kiosk. Good thing was, we could pay using our EZ Link cards.
|Sentosa Express at VivoCity|
We got off at Waterfront Station, since that was the stop for USS. After some photos by the Universal Studios globe, we headed to the entrance. USS is divided into 7 "worlds": New York, Sci-fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away, Madagascar and Hollywood.
We went right from the entrance to New York and walked until we reached our first ride: Transformers 3D.
The line was short, so our wait time was just about 5 minutes. It wasn't a roller coaster, but I enjoyed this one. I won't spoil anything, though. Haha.
Next up, we rode the Battlestar Galactica: Human ride. That ride was absolutely fun, with drops and twists. Right after BSG: Human (red), we rode the BSG: Cyclon (blue). The difference between the Human and Cyclon roller coasters is that the latter is "suspended" and moves on an inverted track. That's also why it's scarier, too (for me, at least). There's nothing for my feet to step on!
Before we rode the BSG roller coasters, we had to stash our things in a locker. There are lockers in selected spots, and most of them can be used for free for 20 minutes. After the 20-minute duration, you'll have to transfer your things to another locker. Alternately, you can opt to leave your things in the locker for a fee. If I remember correctly, the maximum locker rental amount is 20 SGD, for the whole day. Once you put your things inside the lockers, be sure to check if the lock works on your unit.
Anyway, next ride was The Mummy. A bit dizzying, but also fun. :)
After the Mummy ride, we headed to the Lost World for the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. This ride will get you wet, so if you like, bring extra shirts, or a raincoat (although that won't necessarily keep you dry). There was a French dude-and-son tandem who wore swimming trunks/board shorts with light shirts to this ride; they just changed back to their regular clothes afterwards. How smart, right? Then, there was this group of Korean teenagers, all of whom purchased raincoats from the kiosk just outside the ride entrance. By the end of the ride, they were soaking wet. Hehe.
We decided to have lunch at Friar's after Jurassic Park Rapids, since we've already "conquered" the major rides. So, we headed to Friar's in Far Far Away for some sandwiches. Big Sis and V ordered the fish sandwich, while I got a caesar wrap, cold Milo, and chicken pops. The servings were humongous, we were all stuffed at the end of the meal. Ugh.
After lunch, we headed to the Shrek 4D Adventure. The wait time here was 45 minutes, maybe because the staff wanted to fill the whole place with people before starting the adventure. This attraction was one of my must-do's, so we decided to wait it out. We were getting a bit sleepy from our big lunch and the afternoon heat. But Shrek 4D had the right stuff to wake us up. :p Big Sis enjoyed it, especially the "surprise" part. Hehe.
Next ride was the Canopy Flier, which was in The Lost World. Just a tip: avoid the back seats. Unless of course, you like it more thrilling. Hehe.
Our last ride was the Treasure Hunters ride. Wait time was about 15 minutes, which was a waste of time for us, because Treasure Hunters is a kiddy ride. With emphasis on the kiddy. Haha. I wanted V and Big Sis to see the Lights, Camera, Action attraction, thinking it might be similar to the Backdraft attraction in Universal Studios Hollywood. Sadly, we didn't get to watch it. Maybe next time. :)
We spent the rest of the afternoon snapping photos of USS, and running after the "celebrities". We had pictures with Beetlejuice, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Boop, Pinocchio, and those two Egyptian man-horses, so yay for us!
Since we already covered most of the rides in USS, I thought of bringing V and Big Sis to the other attractions in Sentosa: Siloso Beach and the fake Merlion in Imbiah. So we took the Sentosa Express again and alighted at Beachfront station. This part of Sentosa was much less exciting compared to Universal Studios. There were less people around, and the feel of the place was a bit boring. Well, except for the indoor skydiving "ride" near Coffeebean. V wanted to try it, but the fee was about 80 SGD for two jumps. I told him to weigh his priorities (jump, or toys - haha, how very grown up); he went with Iron Man. Maybe, if we ever go back to Singapore, he'll try this next. :)
We didn't reach Siloso Beach anymore, nor the fake Merlion, because Big Sis and V got bored with that area. Instead, we headed back to Harbourfront to take the train to Dhoby Ghaut for Plaza Singapura. A friend of ours tipped V that he could buy toys here. We had about two hours in Plaza Singapura, so we agreed to meet afterwards.
I couldn't find nice shops at first, so in my frustration, I just bought a chocolate macaron at Canele. Big Sis followed suit, and got the lemon one. Oh my goodness, those macarons were so darn good! The size of the macaron was fairly large, compared to the ones we have in Manila. The chocolate filling wasn't cloying, and there was enough of it. Every time I took a bite, I could still taste the chocolate filling. The macaron itself was also good. Crunchy-chewy chocolatey goodness. Big Sis let me have a taste of the lemon macaron, and it was equally delicious, with a refreshing lemon cream taste. Yum. Those macarons were so good, we forgot to take photos of them. Hah.
We met V afterwards, and he showed us this nice crafts store called Spotlight. I wish we had this store in Manila, because they had all sorts of items for crafting---from knitting supplies to scrapbook-making, to party supplies to ModPodge to glitter spray. They also had quite a number of house stuff, such as curtains, beddings, storage bins. Crafters paradise, this store.
V was able to purchase an Iron Man action figure from one of the stores in Plaza Singapura, so he was pretty happy. And hungry. As we headed back to the MRT station, we passed the food court. Singapore mall food courts are always enticing. So, when we saw this hotdog stall, which of course had beef and chicken options, V readily ordered a chili and beef hotdog sandwich. Big Sis and I didn't order anything, since we were going to try the Beef Kway Teow near our hotel for dinner.
The three of us rested our tired and aching feet for a bit at the hotel. Then, when we were ready, we walked to Lorong 9, where the famous Beef Kway Teow restaurant was. The restaurant wasn't air conditioned, but there were fans everywhere. We sat down near the drinks counter, and soon, a lady approached us for orders. Contrary to the smiling servers at the Cavenagh food center, the servers here were quite grumpy. One of them even made a lot of noise as she cleaned the tables.
Anyway, we ordered beef kway teow and Thai-style chicken wings, and were given these:
|Thai-style chicken... strips?|
|Beef kway teow|
Piece of advice: whenever the servers are asked if a particular serving is enough for a certain number of persons, they would say no, and will tell you to get the next larger serving. It happened to us, that's why when our orders arrived, we were greeted with a huge platter of horfun and beef swimming in sauce. The serving was more than enough for 4 hungry people!
The horfun was slightly burnt, but was good, nonetheless. The beef was tender, but had those stringy bits. The sauce was okay. Honestly, though, I found the beef horfun in VivoCity food court better. I had that the first time I visited Singapore, and I can still remember how good it is.
The Thai-style chicken was good, but I wondered why there were no wings, just chicken strips. The sauce of this dish was yummy--- sweet-sour, with a hint of chili pepper.
I ordered homemade lemon tea, too, and of all the food we ordered at Beef Kway Teow, that was my favorite.
Day 3: IKEA Tampines, Mustafa, Chinatown, Plaza Singapura, Suntec Mall
We woke up a bit late on Day 3, because we were so tired from walking all over Singapore for the past two days. Hehe. After getting ready, the three of us headed to IKEA. We took the MRT to Tampines, where the IKEA warehouse was. Our initial plan was to take a cab from the Tampines MRT to IKEA, but we were pleasantly surprised that there was a free shuttle service to IKEA from selected MRT stations. The downside is, it could take about 30 to 40 minutes before the next shuttle arrives.
|at the Tampines MRT|
We also made the mistake of not asking if there was a queue (since we didn't notice any lines at other bus stops) for the shuttle. When I noticed that this Filipino lady kept frowning at us, I suddenly realized why. So I asked her if there was a line, and offered to go behind them. I guess, she realized that we didn't know there was a line, so she and her husband smiled and said it was okay. When the bus arrived, we just let them go in first.
The drive to IKEA was pretty long, and the shuttle had to make a stop at the nearby Giant hypermarket before IKEA. The route was MRT-Giant-IKEA-Courts-MRT.
We were starving when we arrived at IKEA, so we had brunch at the restaurant at the top floor. We noticed that, unlike the IKEA resto in Hong Kong, the one in Tampines was rather old and dirty. We ordered the Halal meatballs (20 pcs. for 10 SGD, I think), chicken wings (about 7 SGD), and a chocolate cake (3 SGD).
After brunch, we walked around and took mental notes for our "dream houses" and "dream home office". Hehe.
After about two hours in IKEA, we decided to head to Little India.
We alighted at Farrer Park station, and walked to Mustafa mall. Ever since I found out about this 24-hour mall, I wanted to make a trip to it. My friends tipped that they sold cheap Merlion chocolates at Mustafa, and they were right. Too bad, we just purchased chocolate bars at IKEA. The mall was disorienting, with narrow aisles and overflowing shelves and lots of people walking around. But it did not disappoint. Mustafa was where we found cardamom seeds for V's mom. Despite the disorienting feel of Mustafa, I liked that mall a lot. I probably would've left later, if we weren't pressed for time.
Our next destination was Chinatown. We entered the City Square mall to access the MRT, for a quick stop at the restrooms. On our way to the station, we saw a stall that sold yummy-looking mini egg tarts. So, we bought some flavored egg tarts. I got double chocolate, V got green tea, and Big Sis got chicken pie. I liked the double chocolate and the chicken. I'm not really into green tea flavored food, unless it's tea, so I didn't like V's egg tart.
|wide variety of yummy flavored egg tarts|
We took the MRT to Chinatown, and exited at Chinatown Point mall. V went to China Square Central, while Big Sis and I wandered inside Chinatown Point. There wasn't anything worth checking out at this mall, so we crossed the street to OG, and then People's Park. Meh. We got back to meet V at Chinatown Point, and found out that he, too, didn't enjoy China Square Central.
So, we decided to go back to Plaza Singapura. But we had to have the famous Anthony Bourdain-approved chicken rice at Maxwell Food Centre first. And so, our trek to Maxwell began. We went through exit A and found ourselves in the midst of a busy "street". It kind of reminded me of Temple Street in Mongkok, with all these shops and streetside stalls selling cheap souvenirs. We bought some ba kwa from Bee Cheng Hiang, and checked out the Tintin Shop.
We walked until we reached the intersection with the Indian temple, then turned left. At the stoplight, we took a right and walked some more.
|I thought those were real people at first glance!|
When we saw a local, we asked for directions, and he told us to go uphill towards Ang Siang Road. We did, and discovered that uphill area lined with nice little shops and quaint restaurants. We noticed that the patrons were mostly foreigners. Maybe expats? This area of Chinatown had a nice vibe to it.
|an uphill road lined with quaint shops and restaurants in Chinatown|
Walking past the restos and taking a slight left turn, we finally reached Maxwell Food Centre. Ah, food! We ordered the following from Tian Tian Chicken Rice: half chicken, and three cups of rice. The chicken was delicious and moist, and the rice was flavorful. I loved the sticky soy sauce and the chili ginger sauce as well, but I was wondering why Tian Tian didn't have the ginger sauce/oil that's served at Boon Tong Kee.
|Half-chicken is good for three people!|
|we spent about 15 SGD for the half-chicken, three cups of rice and soup|
Anyway, after Maxwell, we took a cab to Plaza Singapura (such a bad idea haha). If you feel tired walking, and are in need of a taxi ride, just tell the driver to drop you off at the nearest MRT station. That'll save you precious Singapore dollars. Or, actually, just keep walking. Hehe.
We reached Plaza Singapura around 7 in the evening. V rushed back to the toy shops, and Big Sis and I discovered that there were nice shops at the basement. I got a bag, some belts, a top and two pairs of shoes. Yay! V, on the other hand, went back empty-handed. All the toys he eyed the day before were sold!
So, we made a dash to Suntec Mall, via Esplanade station. It was actually closing time when we got to Suntec, so poor V couldn't buy anything anymore. We headed back to our hotel to rest. We bought some food from 7-Eleven for midnight snack, too.
Day 4: Terminal 1, Changi International Airport
For Day 4, we were supposed to visit the MINT Museum of Toys. But tiredness won, and we woke up late. Hehe. So, we went straight to Terminal 1 instead. We checked-in early, and wandered around the airport mall.
|awesome installation art at the departure area of Changi Airport Terminal 1|
|dancing metallic raindrops|
We had lunch at Aston's in Terminal 1, then took the SkyTrain to terminal 3, where Cotton On was supposed to be. We didn't find it, though. So, we just waited at the transit lounge until the gate opened.
|we did "scratch art" at the kids area at Terminal 1 to pass the time|
By 4:00PM, we were inside the plane back to Manila. This time, we brought our dinner with us: Texas Chicken TexMex sandwiches with fries. By 4:30, our plane was ready for take-off. We had fun, and we will miss your roller coasters, 24-hour malls and super-efficient public transport system! Bye, Singapore!