Exploring Singapore, Part 1

If you asked me ten years ago, I probably couldn’t have even pointed out Singapore on a map. At just over 277 square miles, this country is among the smallest in the world. But within this island lies a vast metropolis full of lush greenery and massive waterfront areas that light up at night.

We only had four days and four nights in Singapore, but were able to see a ton of sights during our stay.

Universal Studios Singapore

After a restful first night in Singapore, we made our way to Universal Studios. As I’ve never been to either of the parks back in the states, I had no idea what to expect.

Universal Studios is located on Sentosa island and although it’s accessible by bridge, the coolest and by far most fun way of getting there is via the cable car.

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The cable car to Sentosa
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Most creative Wet Floor sign ever!

For the park, we ended up getting the Express Unlimited passes, which allow you to bypass the lines on nearly all the attractions at the park. As there’s not much of a slow season for this place, getting the passes is definitely worth it.

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The entrance to Universal

Once inside the park, we immediately checked out Transformers: The Ride and Revenge of the Mummy, both of which were incredible. Being a bit of an amusement park geek, I noticed that a lot of the mechanics of the Transformers ride were similar to Curse of DarKastle, which was also manufactured by Oceaneering International.

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Transformers: The Ride
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Revenge of the Mummy

 

Next up was Battlestar Galactica: Human vs. Cylon. One of the only dueling coasters in the world, it has an inverted side and a sit down side, with a completely different ride experience on each.

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Battlestar Galactica: Human vs. Cylon

We grabbed some lunch, which I have to say, was unlike any theme park food I’ve ever had. Absolutely delicious.

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Lunch at Universal Studios

Next, we made our way to my favorite section: Jurassic Park.

The theming here was incredible. As were the rides. We ended up riding the Rapids Adventure twice. The design of the ride was amazing. I’d never been on a rapid ride that had an elevator for the boats as opposed to a belt lift.

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Jurassic Park
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Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure

We also saw a raptor in the flesh.

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The infamous velociraptor

With the express pass, we were able to see everything in the park and ride all the major rides at least once in about half a day. We made our way towards the exit, where I was able to snap a pic with Beetlejuice.

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Posing with Beetlejuice

 

Chinatown

We spent a good chunk of our time in Singapore exploring Chinatown with its vast selection of shopping, sights, and food stalls.

One of the easiest ways to get around the city (and to Chinatown) is via the Mass Rapid Transit system that spans the city. Unlike many other subway systems that I’ve been on, the MRT stations are air conditioned and have platform doors to increase safety and allow the stations to be kept at a comfortable climate.

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One of the immaculate Singapore MRT stations
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Lanterns lining one of the streets in Chinatown

One of the things I’ve always wanted to try was a fish pedicure. From what I understand, the fish are supposed to eat all the dead skin on your feet, leaving them nice and soft. I think I could tell a bit of a difference afterwards. I will say that it’s definitely one of the weirdest feelings in the world.

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Weirdest feeling ever
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Fishes just nibbling at my feet

One afternoon, we grabbed lunch at Hawker Chan, which was opened last year by Chan Hon Meng, owner of the hawker stall that sold the cheapest Michelin starred meal in the world. Although there’s often a long line stretching out the door, it’s definitely worth the wait. A meal for two sets you back just $12.20 SGD (about $8.75).

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Delicious Michelin-rated chicken rice

In addition to the famed chicken rice, there are numerous other interesting things to try in Chinatown. Although it took a bit of searching, we finally found a stand that sold durians. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the…umm…aromatic fruit, it’s native to southeast Asia and some people find it to be delicious. It also smells so bad, it is banned from public transport and many hotels.

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Sign on the MRT banning durians

Although it looked like a miniature pineapple on the outside and like a mango inside, it tasted like neither. The owner of the shop was even so kind as to give me a glove to eat it with, so I didn’t get the pungent aroma on my hands.

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Fresh durians
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Mmmmm…tasty

After indulging in the odorous fruit, I found a drink stand and bought a fresh coconut so I could cleanse my palate with some coconut water.

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The freshest coconut water you can get

 

Central Perk

Just down the road from Chinatown is Central Perk. The interior is an almost exact replica of the coffee shop from the TV show Friends.

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Drinks at Central Perk
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Sitting on the famous couch

They served various coffee blends, one for each of the characters in the show and multiple show-inspired alcoholic drinks as well.

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Central Perk menu

In addition to the coffee shop area, which had an endless loop of Friends episodes playing, they had mock ups of the apartments from the show.

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The girls’ apartment
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Joey and Chandler’s apartment

Overall, I was surprised to see that Friends had such a following in Singapore, and I was glad I came across the random article on Facebook a few months prior that led me to this place.

So that’s the first part of my Singapore trip, More to follow in the next post.

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