Sunday, March 29, 2015

See Singapore! iFly, Universal Studios, and more fun activities for the family!

For the first time ever, a guest post! My family was generously invited by the Singapore Tourism Board to check out their beautiful country. Since my baby Piero didn't have a passport yet and his vaccines weren't complete, we had to decline. Imagine my amazement when the Singapore Tourism Board extended their invitation to anyone I want to send! So I asked for volunteers and Kaye Estoista-Koo, an entertainment, lifestyle and travel writer, was the lucky pick! Kaye will regale us with her fab four-day trip, which I hope will encourage my readers to visit Singapore. I know I want to go! Enjoy!

Four days and three nights. It's the usual length of stay for a Filipino family especially for trips abroad. If you've been following this blog, you'll notice that lately, we've been posting a blog series (#yoursingapore #thegreateggventure) about Singapore, specifically, Sentosa Island. 

Everything I've written about so far may seem like a lot, but let me tell you, we did all that in the four days and three nights we spent on Sentosa Island. 

I hope that this blog series on all things Sentosa and Singapore has sufficiently whet your travel appetite and made you realize that actually, four days on Sentosa isn't enough. Or that you'll find more than enough to do on this island alone given the schedule. 

Here's the last rundown of things we did and what you can do next time you're in the land of laksa and chilli crab. If you're wondering why chili is spelled like chilli, see our post on what we ate, chilli is not misspelled! 

iFly Singapore
Most of us were scared of heights, so with trepidation we let go of our guide Azreen when she told us we had a 5:30 p.m. 'flight.' As soon as we entered the hangar chamber, we all felt like disembarking! But when the excitement of four young kids who were on the same flight as us bubbled over, we just let all our inhibitions go!

Our instructor Ian assured us he had more than enough actual outdoor skydiving experience to get us through two indoor skydives.

iFly is definitely something you should try at least once! And believe me, kids will be raring to go and even do more than two skydives. Imagine this: it's the act of skydiving but without the stomach-churning drop from the plane as you go straight into free fall and just fly.

A basic package at iFly Singapore lets you go for two skydives and if you decide to go for a third that day, you get this at 1/3 of the price of a new dive. Be sure to order your photo prints or video of your dives upon exiting. And smile... even if the wind in Singapore's finest indoor skydiving facility busts your cheeks to their limits! 

Singapore Cable Car
Take the Singapore Cable Car to Faber Peak. This cable car is different from the one that takes you up and down the luge area. For one, it's enclosed with 360-degree panoramic windows. Two, it goes through office buildings and takes you all the way to Faber Peak, the last stop. It's one way you can cross from the main island into Sentosa and back. Three, you can even order dinner or lunch here! With four stops, you'll get a new course at each stop as you enjoy a bird's eye view of Singapore City, the harbour, and Sentosa. Fourth, there's an app that, as you take a selfie or photo inside depending on which cable car you rode, will show your picture with Superman, Batman, etc flying behind you. 

Kidz Flea
Kidz Flea is outside the iFly Singapore entrance. Take your kids here as they will surely be inspired by the kiddie-preneurs, who for a very minimal rental fee, sell their wares all week long. What's amazing about this fair is that all the kids had to undergo training weeks before where they were taught about customer service, managing a business, customer management, and retail operations. 

S.E.A. Aquarium
S.E.A. Aquarium is extremely kid-friendly. Every year, up to four times, the theme changes. This season it's all about jelly fish. The aim is to teach kids and even adults not to fear creatures of the sea and to better understand them. Also, it teaches the importance of preservation—and on this trip, we learned all about shark eggs.

There are kiddie-sized holes where kids can view a habitat of fish from a vantage point that works for them. And in the main aquarium, kids end their guided tour with activities and lesson plans handled by the instructors. All in all, I'm sure you and the kids will have an enjoyable time here and in some habitats, you actually won't want to leave!

By the way, the only way you enter the S.E.A. Aquarium is through the Typhoon Theater, where you're shown a story of sailors taking an ancient galley ship with valuable goods and finding themselves in the eye of a vicious storm. As you're seated on deck, you'll suddenly be brought down into the ocean and when the doors open again, you've actually descended one level into the S.E.A. Aquarium! Be sure to spot the precious cup in the first habitat where you find your shipwreck. Also, watch for the diving Easter Bunny. In every season, a diver dressed as Santa, Easter Bunny, Cupid or Halloween monster descends into the habitats for 20 minutes at a time.

Universal Studios Singapore
Sentosa is somewhat synonymous with Universal Studios Singapore and a trip without this in it is unlikely. If you're traveling with young kids, be sure to avail of the Universal Express pass for the day. Waiting time in line is virtually a breeze!

Also, be sure to spot the very thoughtful stroller parking areas and ample seating for your whole day in USS. Each of the 8 zones have these in abundance.

To maximize your time here, as soon as you get your USS guide map, check which rides have height requirements so you don't waste time in line. Also agree with the kids which street and stage shows you want to catch so you plan your rides accordingly.

If like us you got all fueled up at Hard Rock Cafe for lunch, you'll be set for the afternoon. But if yours is a hungry brood, worry not, each zone has multiple dining establishments with a lot of seating. For the Easter season, be sure to go to the Royal Lunch at Eggingham Gardens, an amusing and musical 20-minute show featuring the Egg Lord in an original USS production. It's on three times a day so you should have no problems catching this.

I hope that this #yoursingapore series has gotten you excited to immediately book your family's vacation in Singapore. Why not rediscover this wonderful city-state this coming long Holy Week? Sentosa Island will have everything you need for the week: a wonderful place to relax and chill, so many varied and diverse activities to keep you occupied, and of course food fit for kings and queens.

Kaye Estoista-Koo is a guest writer for Topaz Mommy specifically for this #yoursingapore #thegreateggventure series. Kaye is a lifestyle and features writer for the entertainment website, a contributing writer for Manila Bulletin's lifestyle and travel section, a website content writer, an events script writer, and the go-to of a PR group that would like their various brands to be highlighted in a major TV station. 

Thank you so much, Singapore Tourism Board and Sentosa Harbourfront Business Association for inviting Topaz Mommy to be part of your tourism efforts. Thank you also for taking care of my writer, Kaye. I loved her stories on her Singapore adventures and made me plan for a family vacation there! Especially now that Piero has his passport! Congratulations on your 50th year!

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