Studying experience in Johor Bahru will not be complete without taking the time off to visit its world-famous neighbour, the metropolitant city-island of Singapore, touted as one of the world's best city for business, leisure, and entertainment.
Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore is a theme park located within Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa Island, Singapore. It was a key component of Genting's bid for the right to build Singapore's second integrated resort. On 8 December 2006, the Singapore government announced that the consortium had won the bid. Construction of the theme park and the rest of the resort started on 19 April 2007. It is the second Universal Studios theme park to open in Asia (Japan being the first), and the first in Southeast Asia. The official plans for the park were unveiled to the public when Universal Studios Singapore released a park map to the public on 20 October 2009. Universal Studios Singapore has since attracted more than 2 million visitors in the 9 months from its opening.
Universal Studios Singapore is 20 hectares (49 acres) in size, occupying the eastern most part of the 49-hectare (120-acre) Resorts World Sentosa. There are a total of 24 attractions, of which 18 are original or specially adapted for the park. The park consists of seven themed zones which surround a lagoon. Each zone is based on a blockbuster movie or a television show, featuring their own unique attractions, character appearances, dining and shopping areas. The park features the world's tallest pair of dueling roller coasters that are based on the popular television series, Battlestar Galactica; a castle from the world of Shrek and Monster Rock, a live musical show featuring the Universal Monsters. Universal Studios Singapore has over 30 restaurants and food carts, together with 20 unique retail stores and carts located around the park. Attractions premiering are marked "Premiere" and dining outlets that are certified Halal are marked with "Halal"
Address and Contact: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269, +65 6577 8888.
Singapore's Night Safari with Jungle Tram Ride
The opportunity to see a myriad of nocturnal animals in the secondary jungle full of mystery and drama will be yours. Look out for fierce predators and timid forest dwellers in their natural habitat under the subtle glow of the moon. The tram ride takes the visitors to the east and west loop passing by a large reservoir and weaving through selected habitats designed specifically to replicate the natural environment from the Himalayan Foothills to the Southeast Asian Rainforest and Indian Subcontinent.
At the end of the tram ride, there would be a walking trail where animals can be seen up close. See the place which was voted as the Singapore Tourism Board Leisure Attraction of the Year for three years.
Address and Contact: 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826, +65 6269 3411.
Singapore City Tour:
Merlion Park is located at One Fullerton, Singapore near the Central Business District (CBD) area of Singapore. This park is a popular tourist attraction. There are two structures of the Merlion located at the park with one standing at 8.6 metres which is the original Merlion statue and a 2-metre tall Merlion cub located just behind the original statue. The park is also a major tourist attraction and a landmark of Singapore. The park was first designed as an emblem for the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in 1964 and on 15 September 1972, the park was officially opened at an installation ceremony of the statue, officiated by then Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. The original statue of the Merlion used to stand at the mouth of the Singapore River. The statue was made from November 1971 to August 1972 by the late Singapore sculptor, Mr Lim Nang Seng, it measures 8.6 metres high and weighs 70 tons. Upon the completion of Esplanade Bridge, the view of the statue was blocked from the Marina Bay Waterfront. The statue was moved to its current location on 23 April 2002 and was finished on 25 April where it is now located adjacent to the famous hotel One Fullerton.
Address and Contact: 1 Fullerton Rd, Singapore 049213.
Thian Hock Temple
Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest and most important Fukien, or Hoklo (Hokkien) temple in Singapore. The main temple is dedicated to Mazu, the Taoistgoddess of the sea and protector of all seamen, while a second temple at the back is a Buddhist one dedicated to Kuan Yin, the bodhisattva of mercy. Thian Hock Keng Temple was gazetted as a national monument on 6 July 1973.
Constructed in the temple architectural style of southern China, Thian Hock Keng has a grand entrance with a high step in front. The side entrance gates feature brightly coloured tiles portraying peacocks, roses and the universal Buddhist swastika in green and brown. This symbol representsgood luck, eternity and immortality.
Guarding the doors are tigers, lions and Door Gods, traditional sentinels of any Taoist temple. Beyond this elaborate entrance are two courtyards. Straddling the courtyards is the temple proper, comprising the shrine of Ma Cho Po. On either side of the temple are pagodas -- the one on the left is a shrine of Confucius while the one on the right houses ancestral tablets of immigrants who founded the temple.
Address and Contact: 158 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068613, +65 6423 4616.
National Orchid Garden
Since 1859, orchids have been closely associated with the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The products of the Gardens' orchid breeding programme, which began in 1928, deserve a place where they can be displayed in their full splendour. The very design of these orchids is, one could say, 'hand-crafted' by the Gardens' horticultural staff, dedicated to bringing out the finest in any hybrid cross.
Over 1000 species and 2,000 hybrids are now found in the Gardens' collection, with about 600 species and hybrids on display. Every year, more vibrant and enduring hybrids are added on. So that all may admire and enjoy their diversity, richness and beauty, the National Orchid Garden now offers a permanent showcase, the largest display of tropical orchids in the world. Their opening hours are daily from 830am to 7pm. Admission fee is between $1 for children above 12 and $5 for adults. Children below the age of 12 is free.
Address and Contact: Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569, +6471 7138/6471 7361.
Changi WWII - A Changi Museum War Trail
Once the site of many prisoner-of-war camps during the Japanese Occupation, Changi has since gone down in history as a place of much pain, torture and human suffering. It is said that more Australian PoWs perished under incarceration than in battle itself. Whether it is on the Death Railway or the countless labour camps in Japan and Formosa (Taiwan), the Changi WWII trail commemorates the fight of brave men and women during battle and in internment. Hear their story.
Join the guides who are experts in Singapore's rich heritage and colorful history. Highlights on this tour include The Changi Museum, Johore Battery (replica of WWII 15-inch gun battery), outside Selarang Barracks, Changi Village and Changi Beach (site of Sook Ching Massacre). It is open daily from 930am to 5pm.
Address and Contact: 1000, Upper Changi Road North, Singapore 507707, +65 6214 2451.
Night Out in Chinatown with Dinner
Chinatown has also come a long way since the early days when Chinese immigrants made this enclave their home. Filled with a sprawling myriad of shops and eateries, bustling with colorful and exciting activities set against a backdrop of rich history and heritage. Chinatown is not to be missed especially in the evening when everything really comes alive.
At Yong Gallery,the fine art of calligraphy is demonstrated by the Master Calligrapher who converts your name or a creative expression into auspicious Chinese characters on a red fan which is yours to keep as a souvenir.
After dinner at a local Chinese restaurant, wander along the narrow lanes of the Night Market and test your bargaining skills against street vendors selling anything from souvenirs to leather goods. The highlight of the evening is a trishaw ride that takes you through the alleyways of Chinatown and down to Clarke Quay. There, hop onto a bumboat for a cruise along the Singapore River to see Singapore lit up at night, showcasing beautifully restored shop houses, modern skyscrapers of the financial district, colonial buildings and the iconic Merlion statue.
Singapore Wildlife River Safari
The River Safari is a river-themed zoo and aquarium located in Singapore. It is built over 12 hectares (30 acres) and nestles between its two counterparts, the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari. It is the first of its kind in Asia and comprise mainly freshwater attraction combined with river boat rides as its main highlights. The safari was built at a cost of S$160m with an expected visitor rate of 820,000 people yearly.
The Giant Panda Forest opened to public on 29 November 2012, with a soft opening on 3 April 2013, attracting close to 1,500 visitors. This attraction is the fourth zoo in Singapore, along with the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park, and Night Safari, all of which are managed by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
One of the main attractions is a pair of male and female giant pandas – Kai Kai and Jia Jia – which are housed in a specially constructed climate-controlled enclosure which change throughout the four seasons emulating their original environment. The zoo grows its own 8,000-square-metre (86,000 sq ft) plantation of special bamboo specially for the feeding of the giant pandas. These pandas are a sign of the twentieth anniversary of friendly Sino-Singapore relations. The park also received a conservation donation from CapitaLand. The names of the 2 Pandas were selected from entries of a public naming competition organised in 2010. The pandas, which arrived on September 2012, are on a ten year loan from China.
Address and Contact: 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826, +65 6269 3411.