Going down south

Friday, November 26, 2010

As the year end approaches, so is my vacation. This is the first time I planned for an overseas holiday with WL. To get things started, we decided to travel somewhere nearer - Singapore, our neighbouring country. Planning & reservations started 2 months before our planned vacation in Nov. It wasn't the shopping season then so the main objective was to visit Universal Studios which was opened earlier this year.

We could've took the flight to save time but our stingy bug made us opt for a bus ride. Instead of taking the ever popular & more premium Aeroline, we bought First Coach tickets which is, no doubt, very much cheaper compared to Aeroline. Well, the bus is only a single deck & don't expect it to be as exclusive like Aeroline. It's a decent bus - comfy & quite clean. Thank God we have in-bus entertainment or we could've been bored to death. Without that, an obvious alternative would be catching sleep or bring along your own entertainment gadgets. Just like him~

Five hours later, we arrived at Novena Square & boarded the MRT to Orchard Road. Wow, how much the street has changed. It's only been 4 years the last time I came here. There were new malls here & there. Our hotel is only 10 mins walking distance from the MRT but somehow we got lost while lunging our luggages around. When we finally arrived at our hotel, we were taken aback by its less appealing exterior. On second thoughts, we kinda regretted choosing this hotel cuz it looked a little rundown compared to other hotels nearby & situated at the end of the street.

Thankfully, the interior ain't that bad. Seen here is the lobby which looks a little old with strong air freshener but is well maintained.

First day was a free & easy one for us since my ex-colleague & his girlfriend went off for dinner to celebrate their anniversary. Me & WL met up with my cousin sis instead for a sumptuous dinner at Ion Orchard. This restaurant, Paradise Dynasty is popular for its 8 distinct flavours xiao long bao wrapped in 8 different colour skins as well.

The xiao long bao was tastefully done with only 1 or 2 not to our liking - the cheese & Sichuan ones. I'd have to admit that their la mien is awesome! Omg, I totally love it~ Hours of boiling pork ribs & some herbs resulted in such incredible, savoury soup base. There was no hint of MSG at all as I didn't not feel thirsty after the meal.

Since the night was young, we took a stroll along Orchard Road & enjoying the view of Christmas deco in the surrounding. Not that the deco was elaborate & grand as previous years. Ion Orchard - being the newly built mall at the street - is the "it" mall right now. Its architecture is pretty amazing considering the piece of land was once a mini park next to Wisma Atria. The lightings & glow outside the mall & the subway linking to Orchard MRT is uber cool & probably the main highlight which made Ion stood out from the rest.

On the 2nd day, we headed for sightseeing at Marina Bay Sands. It's not like we could afford to gamble at the casino nor buy anything from the luxurious shopping mall. Our purpose was to witness with our own eyes the magnificent architectural works of world renowned architect, Moshe Safdie. The mega-scale project was extraordinary, no doubt. Just look at the interior...

And the outside view of the ultra-modern hotel building.

I love how the water fountain flows slowly around the mall, giving an illusion of a crystal clear glass. Btw, the mall is called The Shoppes.

They have an unbelievably huge Gucci store which spans across 5 stores!

We hopped on a taxi to our next stop at Bugis Junction for a lunch break at the food court. Me & WL kinda regretted eating their chicken rice cuz it did suck big time. *sighs* What do you expect from Singapore hawker food? We can never compare to those back home.

Then, we ventured out of the mall at a nearby street & came across this VERY interesting shop. It's called...

Didn't know Thai food can be sexy & erm, horny? o.O

Dinner is at food court again - this time at Ion Orchard. I shall not elaborate on that cuz it wasn't a good experience too. Fast forward the next morning, it's the day we've been waiting for after months of booking. The day we're entering Universal Studios Singapore! Happy-nya~

After almost an hour bus ride, we arrived at Resort World Sentosa. We took the escalator, walked a few steps & ta-daa! The giant globe spinning on its axis. A haven for photo junkies especially those who don't intend to fork out a sum to enter the theme park & yet desperate to prove their existence. Just to show the world they've been there.

It was only 9.30am when the queue started to form in front of the entrance. By the time we got through, it was so crowded as everyone was waiting for their turns to collect meal & retail vouchers. And the journey begins starting from the Madagascar theme park. One glance at the entire theme park, you can easily judge that the surrounding is really small. When you start calculating the cost, you'll find that the ticket is not worth it cuz there weren't much rides to play. The land is limited & some rides are still under construction. In other words, there wasn't much to play. =( Nevertheless, the buildings & structures for each theme was beautifully constructed - perfect for pictures.

The much anticipated Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure ride which I missed back in US was surprisingly lacklustre. The ride was only 10 mins but waiting for our turn was a painful wait. It wasn't as exciting as the one in the US where the boat was supposed to free fall few storeys down the slope, splashing into a pool of water & getting all soaked up. As for this one in Singapore, not everyone got wet in our boat. Me & WL were the unlucky ones - who came unequipped with raincoats were soaked to our skin. I was so scared that I could've catch a fever cuz the weather was scorching hot in the noon & started drizzling towards late evening. I only brought an extra top but not bottoms so I was stucked wearing my stinky jeans all the way back to the hotel.

We were dead tired & woke up rather late on the last morning. Our initial plan to window shop at Ion Orchard as soon as opens didn't come about as we only arrived there late morning. Since we had limited time, me & WL spent most of our time at crafts shops which sell very unique notebooks, folders & stationeries. Those of you who are fans of Daiso, the outlet in Ion Orchard is crazy huge with so many items that you can literally think of is sold there. The shop looks classy too, unlike the ones back home.

Three hours later, we were on the journey back home. Passing through the Singapore immigration at Tuas was a breeze. However, getting through the Malaysian immigration was a pain due to the limited counters & large crowd. There were no proper queues & one old lady took advantage of her seniority by attempting to jump lines. I was fuming mad & literally pushed my luggage to block the rest of her bus mates from advancing forward & pushing me aside so as to secure better position. In the end, her attempts failed miserably as one of her bus mates criticised her so loudly that she moved away out of embarrassment. Kudos to you, uncle!

Earlier before we left Singapore, me & WL bought a pair of earphones each from Daiso as we were eager to try out the in-bus entertainment. The collection of movies were decent - some I've watched while some I haven't.

I took this pic of WL in deep concentration cuz I was bored.

Just two silly humans goofing around XD

The trip was pretty fun though it could've been more well planned. Oh well, it was my first time on a free & easy trip with WL. Definitely more to come & perhaps learn to lay down the travel itinerary better next time. Hoping for more, more trips this year!