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Monday, August 26, 2013

Jin's Amazing Singapore Vacation {plus videos}

Isn't it crazy how fast time flies, especially when you're having fun? It has already been a week since we returned from our trip to Singapore! Our vacation came and went by in such a blur that I can barely believe that we really did make the trip. After years of talking about it, I am so glad that Hubby and I finally gave our girls a chance to experience the little island country.

We wanted the kids to get as much out of this trip as possible and so prior to the flight, Hubby made all three write a list of things that they wanted to do and see in Singapore. During the course of their research, they found out about Jia Jia and Kai Kai- two giant pandas that arrived in the River Safari last September. Given that my 7 year old is crazy about pandas, it was no surprise that a trip to the Giant Panda Forest was on top of our priority list.

And so we found ourselves at the River Safari park at opening, on the day after we landed in Singapore. We had heard that the pandas are most active in the mornings and we were super excited to find Jia Jia...

...and Kai Kai busy having their breakfast!

Here's a quick video of Kai Kai having his meal:

We also stopped by the Mama Panda Kitchen to have a bite.

I love their panda furniture and decorations but most of all, I love the panda cappuccino and panda bao (bun with bean paste).

It was after our trip to the River Safari that I heard from Ivy Toh, a Singapore reader of this blog, about the MT Masking Tape Exhibition. The kids and I went to the fair 3 days in a row! If you had missed my post about the expo, click HERE to read all about it.

Another park that was on our Must-See list was the S.E.A. (Southeast Asia) Aquarium. It is the world's largest aquarium with the world's largest acrylic viewing panel and so I was really curious. Just how big is it?

Before we saw the ginormous viewing panel, we stopped by to see the jelly fish and the dolphins. We loved the mini jelly fish but we really really loved the dolphins!

It was SO COOL to see the dolphins swimming in the water and even more fun to see one of them totally taking in all the attention.

Check out this clip and see how the dolphin slowed down to take in every one of the "oohs" and "ahhs" that many of us let out in wonder as it swam by us.

Then there's the giant viewing panel. It's huge! See those squares in the background? I learned from Ivy Toh that they are actually windows from the adjoining hotel rooms! How cool is that?!

Here's a short clip for you so you can better see how huge this thing is. Also, look out for the manta ray and the school of fishies taking a ride on it.

Thanks to Megastructures, my kids learned about Singapore's Gardens by the Bay. They had put the gardens on their Must-See list  and there was no way they were going to let us skip this.

Here is a picture of the iconic Super Trees. I took this shot with my Windows Phone while on the Audio Tour (tram ride). Not bad, eh?

The plants in the Flower Dome and the Cloud Dome are spectacular. I really wanted to stop and take pictures of all the pretty flowers but then there are so many, I would have taken forever.

This is the indoor waterfall inside the Cloud Dome. I loved looking at all the plants while we took a walk up to the top.

Another building that the kids learned about from Megastructures was the Marina Bay Sands Resort and Skypark. As it was within walking distance from the Gardens by the Bay, we decided to take a walk there.

Here's one more look at the gardens as we strolled along the boardwalk.

Marina Bay Sands is a resort and a casino but we really only wanted to go up to the Skypark (observation deck). Supposedly it cost the Las Vegas Sands folks S$8billion to build this "ship-hotel". It does look like a ship somehow got on top of the building, doesn't it?

It costs S$20 per person (about US$15) to go up to the Skypark. I thought it was pretty expensive but I guess it was something we had to do- the girls really wanted to see how Singapore looks like from the top of the building.

From the Skypark, we could see the Singapore Flyer- the world's largest ferris wheel. It was about 5pm when we got up to the deck and we could see the peak hour traffic down below.

Here's another view from the observation deck. Can you see the Super Trees on the bottom right? By the way, Singapore is the world's leading busiest port and that should explain all the container ships in the picture below.

Here's a shot of the two who really REALLY wanted to go up to the Skypark - Daddy and Twin B taking in the view and making the most of out of their $20 entrance fee.

During our stay in Singapore, we also visited the Singapore Zoological Garden. It was at the zoo where we met Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics.

We also went through the streets of Chinatown. It was interesting to see the old buildings nested in the heart of the modern skyscrapers.

14 days came and went by quickly and I am SO PROUD of my kids for being such troopers. Despite the heat (Singapore is only 85 miles north of the Equator!) and the humidity, they handled the weather like a pro and were super adventurous in trying out new foods. Hubby and I are happy that we finally got to share with the kiddies some of our favorites treats that we grew up on. The last time that I visited Singapore was 12 years ago and so many things have changed since. Places that I used to know are either no longer there or have been replaced by something else. It was strange to feel like a local and a foreigner at the same time. I didn't feel like I know the country enough to call myself a local anymore and yet this was where I grew up. Could it be that Gotye really meant "Some country that I used to know?" instead of "Somebody that I used to know?". Probably not but if he did, he would likely be feeling the way I did. Anyway, here's hoping that it wouldn't be another 12 years before I make another trip back.  There are still a lot of the island that I'd love to share with the kids.

Speaking of sharing, while I was shopping in Singapore, I thought of all of you who visit my blog. Check back here tomorrow and I'll show you my loot or at least part of. Who knows, I just might have a giveaway too. *wink*


  1. OMG, the pics and videos are gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. You are a gem Jin.

  2. So very wonderful! It sounds like a trip to remember and such a fabulous opportunity for your girls! Thank you so much for sharing your pictures and videos! I'm a panda fanatic so I really loved all the panda moments you shared especially!

  3. I loved reading about your trip home. Everything looks so wonderful, maybe I should plan a trip there too!

  4. Can't wait to see your washi tape "haul" and other unique items you found on your trip!-Jamie

  5. Wow Jin, what an amazing trip! I love pandas, they look so cute! Thanks for sharing!

  6. What a phenomenal place! The architecture is amazing, both the "old" and the new. I'm so glad you were able to share this experience with your girls. They will never forget this trip - even if you never get back there with them! I loved, loved, loved the pandas! OMGeee - the one lounging on his back, he looked like he was using the bamboo as a toothpick - tee hee! So glad you had a wonderful trip and time with your family! ~ Doris

  7. Thanks for sharing your trip is lovely to know more about singapore.

  8. Oh how fantastic! I would love to visit Singapore someday. I grew up with a couple of girls who's family was from Singapore and I have always wanted to visit. Maybe someday, but I have to get to Germany first since that is where I was born and I haven't been back since I left as an infant! It looks like you had a lot of fun and I am sure your girls did too. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  9. Hi Jin,Wow!! What can one say it looked OMG!! It looked totally amazing what a lucky family i am so pleased your children loved it so much.Thank you for the fabulous photos.Definitely a place to visit if ever i was rich.!!It looks amazing ..The Panda's and the aquarium Wow!! How amazing... Also you crafting buys How can you not buy your crafting items seems like a crafter's paradise to me.Alto i am not in your league...
    But you love such pretty items..I'm going to have a go at your kind giveaways purely as i have two grandsons whom i should love to make something for..But your photos simply rock..well done an dwell done to your beautiful daughters plus your very kind husband..In Awe! Mary xx

  10. Ah such adventures! It's great to have a taste of your explorations and the details we all enjoy. Your kids will remember this forever.