Universal Studios Singapore

Yesterday, I’ve finally visited Universal Studios in Singapore since its official opening in May. It’s my first Universal Studios experience so I was pretty excited over it!

We started the day early and reached Vivocity’s monorail station around 10 something but there was already a crowd queuing to get their monorail tickets. Luckily, we are locals, so we used our EZ-link card to get pass the gates and take our monorail. We got down at the next station, Waterfront station and bought our entrance tickets which cost S$72 at the counter. Luckily, the queue was short (since the crowd is still back in Vivocity) and we barely waited for a minute! And so our adventures started!

Our plan (if you call it a plan =p) is to slowly warm up and take the easy rides first and leave the thrilling rides till the last. So we turned left into Madagascar zone and took the kids-friendly river boat ride “A Crate Adventure”. The animals are cute and funny but it’s just a pretty normal ride without any thrills or excitement.

 

Next, we moved on to Far Far Away land to try out the junior roller coaster, “Enchanted Airways”. It was a prelude to the more thrilling “Battlestar Galactica” ride later. After my experience on this junior roller coaster, I told my friend that I don’t want to try “Battlestar Galactica” anymore. Please don’t laugh at me! You must understand that it takes a lot of courage for me to try the roller coaster rides as I’m slightly acrophobic! =p

After the ride, we decide to go for something more relaxing, so we went for the 4D animation “Shrek 4-D Adventure”. It was a really fun experience as you can see, hear and feel the action right from your seat as Princess Fiona and Shrek embark on their fairy-tale adventure. I’m quite sure that both kids and adults will enjoy the show. Oh, those who are afraid of creepy crawlies, beware! LOL

The Lost World was next in line. I was hoping to try out the water raft ride in “Rapids Adventure”. I even prepared another set of clothing in case I get wet during the ride. But much to our disappointment, the ride was under maintenance and won’t back till early next year.

 

By then, the skies were getting dark and a heavy downpour seemed to be inevitable. So, we decided to complete the outdoor rides first. We quickly rushed to Sci-Fi City for “Battlestar Galactica”. I finally mustered enough courage to try the “Human” ride. I was very jittery during the queue, and when I got into the seat, I thought to myself, “Why am I doing this?” As the roller coaster made its climb, I couldn’t control but close my eyes and kept them shut during the whole ride while screaming my head off! But I must say it’s really a thrilling ride and a must-try! For the braver souls, you can try the “Cylon” ride that goes around and upside down with an intense corkscrew and cobra roll.

 

Finally, we went for the “Revenge of the Mummy” ride. A friend of mine claimed that this is the scariest ride and I was really anticipating the ride. It is an indoor roller coaster in total darkness so I don’t have to worry about my acrophobia. The ride was indeed up to my expectations. It was full of excitement and surprises. The only con was that it was too short! The “Mummy” ride was the last ride we had.

After we came out of the ride, it was raining heavily. Having no choice, we went for lunch at the nearby Egyptian-themed buffeteria, “Oasis Spice Cafe” as we can’t go anywhere too far. The Middle Eastern food was not bad but I must say the taste of the Almond rice dessert was very unique.

We went for a shopping spree after we have replenished our energy from lunch. We even went for a musical show “Monster Rock”. I would advise those of you who wanted to watch it to give it a miss if you are rushing for time. Go only if you have lots of time to spare and nowhere else to go. Enough said.

With that we left the park and promised to return next year when the Transformers ride is ready.

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Things to take note

  • Go on a weekday (Mon to Thurs). The tickets are cheaper and it will be less crowded.

  • Go early in the morning to avoid the crowd.
  • Go straight for the rides you want to try first, leave shopping the last. *Wink*
  • If you are using the lockers next to the rides, the rental is free for the first 30 mins, but if you exceed the time limit, you’ll be charged. So, make sure you have some money (at least S$3) in your pockets before closing the lockers!
  • Bring an extra set of clothings as some rides may get you wet or the weather may just change and starts raining.
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Feng Shui for Singapore Flyer

With courtesy of The Singapore Flyer, http://www.singaporeflyer.com/

Recently, I’ve read an interesting news article that talks about the usage of feng shui on the Singpaore Flyer.

The Flyer has 28 cabins, each cabin can take only 28 passengers, each complete turn of the ferris wheel takes 28 minutes and the wheel is programmed to turn 28 times a day! The number 28 appears everywhere in the wheel’s operation. The reason for this is that “28” is an auspicious number in feng shui and it sounds like “easy to get rich” in chinese. Chinese also believe that after taking ride in the Flyer, their luck will change for the better.

Not only that, the authority board has changed the wheel’s rotation from an anti-clockwise direction to a clockwise direction – with views of eastern Singapore on the ascent and that of the financial centre on the descent. This is to signify bringing wealth from the east to the finanancial centre. Not only that, this also ensures that the best view, that of the skyline of Singapore, stays in the minds of the passengers.

After reading all these, don’t you feel like taking a ride in the Flyer? I know I do.

Getting to Alishan (阿里山)

Alishan is a famous forest recreation area in Taiwan. It is famous for 5 things:

  1. Alishan Forest Railway (铁路)
  2. The forest trail (森林)
  3. Sunrise (日出)
  4. Sunset (晚霞)
  5. Sea of clouds (云海)

The most popular activity for tourists is to watch the sunrise and sea of clouds at Zhushan (祝山).

Alishan National Scenic Areas: http://www.ali-nsa.net/english/00home/home.php

An interesting way to go up to Alishan is to take the Alishan Forest Train. There are many scenic views along the way. One can also stop by Fencihu (奋起湖) station to try the many bento sets (lunchbox sets, 便当). Besides that, Fencihu also has some old streets and a small train museum which one can explore.

However, all that cannot be achieved at the moment as the Alishan Forest Railway is down due to damages caused by typhoons. According to news reports, the railway won’t be up till next year, 2012.

http://tw.news.yahoo.com/article/url/d/a/110918/78/2ywoc.html (Chinese)

An alternative mode of transport is to take a bus from Chiayi train station (嘉义火车站) up the mountain. However, buses on weekdays do not stop by Fencihu, so it’s really a pity!

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My friend and I are travelling from Kaohsiung (高雄) to Alishan on a weekday. We are disappointed that we can’t take the forest train, but nevertheless, we are still excited over the forest trail, sunrise and sunset!

We plan to take a TRA train (台铁) from Kaohsiung to Chiayi, then switch to a public bus (嘉义公车) from the train station to Alishan.

The train to Zhushan is said to be up by the end of October. But we are still worried about not being able to watch the sunrise, so we booked a room that comes with guided tour for the sunrise and forest trail. For those who do not wish to book guided tours, you may want to ask the tourist service centre (located near Alishan train station) if there other ways to go up to Zhushan other than by train.

Looking for accommodation in Taiwan

I usually look for accommodation in the following 3 sites. Out of the 3, asiatravel.com offers the cheapest quotations.

But for this taiwan trip, we decided to use taiwan-based portals to search for hotels. Reason being these websites offer more hotels at a cheaper rate. We found two such sites:

Both sites offer English version so there’s no problem for travellers who do not understand Chinese. 🙂