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Kids' activities & Japanese things

Kids' activities & Japanese things

Old Oct 1, 16, 2:20 pm
  #1  
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Kids' activities & Japanese things

We have a 2-day trip to Singapore coming up with 2 kids (7 & 5). We're using 1 day to do touristy things that are fun for kids. Another day to get a feel for what type of place it is to live, how it is for Japanese expat community and what's available for Japanese people.

This is the first time in many years I'm traveling to a country I've never been to. So I'm nervous. Sadly, I'm also not good at researching and planning visits to places I'm not familiar with.

We're probably staying at the Hilton on Orchard Rd, possibly Conrad. We're going to be up probably 5a~6p (well, breakfast till ~7.30a). Definitely in bed by 7p.

Questions:
-- For the one fun day, we're thinking zoo, Gardens by the Bay, one mall (Marina Bay Sands?), one place we can get a view of the city (ferris wheel or Sands Sky deck?), Bukit Timah time permitting. Bukit Timah is only because my kids would love to see monkeys running around, but it can be crossed off. Could we fit all that in in one day? It sounds like the zoo alone will require half-day at least.
-- I read that subways are very crowded. I'm also nervous about catching the wrong train, etc. Other than going back and forth between Hilton and the Marina Bay area, we plan to take taxi's everywhere (too/from airport, zoo, Bukit Timah, Japanese school). Do you think this is a smart way to get around?
-- I heard that all the popular food places have long lines. Chicken rice place, food market, etc. So skip those if on a tight schedule, right?
-- Love Crystal Jade in HK. Is the one in Singapore even better, and is it worth going? We'll be in HK right after SIN, btw.
-- Any other good sit-down Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant in Orchard Rd area that will not require a wait at ~5pm?
-- As far as Japanese things are concerned, we're going to check out the Japanese school. Otherwise, all the Japanese things are concentrated around Orchard Rd, correct? Is that where there's highest prevalence of Japanese people walking around? It's the main reason why we chose Hilton over Conrad... to get a feel for where most Japanese people live and hang out at. Any other areas to check out with regards to this purpose?
-- Does Singapore have a city'super (that's a HK store) type grocery chain that caters to expats? If so, I'd like to check it out.
-- Do we need cash for anything besides taxi? (we only have VISA card, and I hear taxi's don't take VISA)

I apologize if some of these are stupid questions.
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Old Oct 1, 16, 3:05 pm
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According to this there is a large Japanese expat community in River Valley https://www.99.co/blog/singapore/uno...ves-singapore/

For the Japanese-specific questions maybe contact the Japanese Association or similar.

-Unless your kids (and you) are used to the high humidity, you will struggle to do too many outdoor activities in one day.
-The MRT is easy to use and well signed in English.
-5pm is very early for dinner. Doubt there will be waits.
-Cash only at hawker centres but doesn't sound like you'll be eating there...
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Old Oct 1, 16, 4:08 pm
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Thank you.

River Valley is very close to the Hilton! Will go wander around that area. That whole area, including the walk down from Orchard Rd towards River Valley, is completely safe, correct?

We're not fans of high humidity. It's just that we only have one day to pack in touristy stuff. But we'd better keep that in mind.
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Old Oct 2, 16, 12:05 pm
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I will attempt to offer as many responses to your questions as I can. However other posters should (and probably will) contribute, in case I am wrong or my information incomplete. Additionally I am not Japanese so cannot really respond to those questions, although I think I can help you perhaps fine tune your questions.

- Singapore is overall a very safe place, possibly as safe as most places in Japan. You should feel ok walking the streets at almost any hour.
- It is not clear to me there are a lot of Japanese expats around the Orchard Road belt. It is one of the major shopping areas and attracts a lot of tourists, however one does not notice a majority group of tourists from one country or another while wandering along Orchard Road.
- Assuming you stay at the Hilton, there is an Isetan just down Orchard Road (other side). On the Hilton side, there is a very large Takashimaya Department Store at Ngee Ann City - this is just a 10 minute walk. The Conrad is in the Suntec City area. Note that it's sort of isolated from the touristy/visitor sorts of things to do; it's a ten minute walk from the City Hall area, for instance.
- On supermarkets, I haven't been to city'Super in Hong Kong, but there is a supermarket that caters to Westerners called Jasons. It will be easy for you to check out - it is part of the Orchard Towers complex and just a five minute walk from the Hilton. If you wish a more Japanese supermarket, there is one in the basement of Isetan, as well as in the basement of a shopping center called Liang Court. There is a chain of supermarkets that is more mainstream for Singaporeans but which, depending on the location, modifies its product selection for its immediate neighborhood. It's called Cold Storage (is owned by the same group that owns Wellcome in Hong Kong) - there's a Cold Storage in the basement of the Takashimaya. BTW there's also a Best Denki in Takashimaya, if that matters.
- River Valley is actually the name of a road with many upscale condos that is favored by expats and locals. (The Liang Court Shopping Centre is at one end of River Valley Road.) I'm not sure it's worth the walk. Here and there you will see some stores but it's all residential. You can get a feel for it just by taking either a bus that runs down it, or by taking a cab. On the other hand, there are a lot more Japanese that live in the Clementi area, I suspect because it's close to the Tuas industrial zone further west. There's at least one Japanese school along West Coast Road; I think that West Coast Plaza (another shopping center) has a heavier Japanese clientele but I may be wrong.
- Your best bet to learn more about Japanese related issues is to contact The Japanese Association. They are on Adam Road off Dunearn Road, which is in the Bukit Timah area.
- More monkeys can be found around MacRitchie Reservoir.
- On your question on kid friendly things to do, one day is not enough. You'll have to cross a few things off the list. MBS and the Skydeck will be good for the view; they have a huge shopping center but note that a lot of the shops are seriously high end. Gardens by the Bay is right there as well. The Singapore Zoo (and Night Safari) is at the northern end of Singapore in Mandai. According to their website it's a 30 minute cab ride from town areas in Singapore (including the Orchard area). Mass transit is doable but you would need to take a bus after the MRT (subway) to get there.
- Crystal Jade is a Singapore restaurant. You'll just have to try it to see if they're as good or better than the one in Hong Kong!
- Take mass transit when you can; use taxis for remote places or if it's too hot to get around. The MRT (subway) is going to more and more places and is pretty easy to make use of - it's nowhere near as confusing (I think) as the Tokyo subway (no insult). Having said that, cabs can be ok. They're much cheaper by distance when you compare them to cabs in the US. Having said that, note that there's a lot of different surcharges that can apply (one for CBD, another for peak hour) which can be confusing for visitors. In fact, cab fares are not regulated (different flag fall and distance rates), therefore rides on two different cabs by one cab company between the same point A/point B can be quite different.

Hopefully this information will be of some use. Please post again if you have other questions. Additionally I'm sure other posters will have their own comments as well. No worries - you're going to have a great visit here!
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Old Oct 2, 16, 11:41 pm
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dsgtc0408: Thank you so much for such detailed post! Your info is invaluable.

I was really hoping to take the kids to the zoo. But if you think we have too much on our list for one day, then I guess the logical thing to do would be to cross off something that's really out of the way and then maybe focus on hanging out primarily in the Marina Bay area. We're actually going to HK's Ocean Park (for the 4th or 5th time) right after Singapore, so I guess that makes it all the more logical to skip it in Singapore... although it seems that Singapore's zoo exceeds OP by a large margin. Maybe we should skip trying to see monkeys, as well.

Do you think just spending time in the Marina Bay area (MB Sands for the sky deck, Gardens by the Bay, merlioin) will easily take up a good part of a whole day?

Jasons are actually also in HK. In HK I'm not as much of a fan of Jasons as I am of city'Super, but I will go check them out in Singapore. Will definitely go check out the Isetan complex and Takashimaya / Cold Storage. I feel like Hilton still works out for us, given its proximity to Isetan and Takashimaya.

We're actually going to visit the Japanese school, and yes it's actually on Clementi Rd. Would love to go check out West Coast Plaza while we're out that way, but it may not be feasible if Google is showing it as a 24min walk each way to/from the school. I will take your rec on River Valley and give it a miss.
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Old Oct 3, 16, 12:51 am
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Questions:
-- For the one fun day, we're thinking zoo, Gardens by the Bay, one mall (Marina Bay Sands?), one place we can get a view of the city (ferris wheel or Sands Sky deck?), Bukit Timah time permitting. Bukit Timah is only because my kids would love to see monkeys running around, but it can be crossed off. Could we fit all that in in one day? It sounds like the zoo alone will require half-day at least.
-- I read that subways are very crowded. I'm also nervous about catching the wrong train, etc. Other than going back and forth between Hilton and the Marina Bay area, we plan to take taxi's everywhere (too/from airport, zoo, Bukit Timah, Japanese school). Do you think this is a smart way to get around?
-- I heard that all the popular food places have long lines. Chicken rice place, food market, etc. So skip those if on a tight schedule, right?
-- Love Crystal Jade in HK. Is the one in Singapore even better, and is it worth going? We'll be in HK right after SIN, btw.
-- Any other good sit-down Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant in Orchard Rd area that will not require a wait at ~5pm?
-- As far as Japanese things are concerned, we're going to check out the Japanese school. Otherwise, all the Japanese things are concentrated around Orchard Rd, correct? Is that where there's highest prevalence of Japanese people walking around? It's the main reason why we chose Hilton over Conrad... to get a feel for where most Japanese people live and hang out at. Any other areas to check out with regards to this purpose?
-- Does Singapore have a city'super (that's a HK store) type grocery chain that caters to expats? If so, I'd like to check it out.
-- Do we need cash for anything besides taxi? (we only have VISA card, and I hear taxi's don't take VISA)

I apologize if some of these are stupid questions.
No questions are stupid. Besides, I appreciate your input in the Japan forum, so happy to return the favour here in the SIN forum.

- The Zoo will take up a good part of the day, but you can do the Marina Bay area in the evening. MB Sands for the sky deck, Gardens by the Bay, merlion will probably take approx 3 hours, provided you don't visit the paid conservatories in GBTB (Cloud Forest and the other one whose name I can't seem to recall). It will be a very packed day though. You really need to start the day early. As the zoo will be humid and there's a children's playground and water park at the Children's section, you may want to bring a change of clothes for your kids. The Zoo rents out wagons and strollers, so you may consider them (in case your kids get tired of walking).

- Agree with dsgtc0408 on the subway (MRT as we call it). You'll be okay, because they are nowhere as packed/complicated as Tokyo's. You'll really only need the taxi for the ride to the Zoo, other than that, the MRT will get you to most places. Buy an stored value card (EZ-Link card, similar to Suica/Pasmo) or this from the ticketing office and you're good to go.

- It's a Singapore assumption that long lines = good food. So the 2 Michelin Star hawker centres have very long queues. Having said that, most places sell decent food. You can go to a hawker centre/food court near your location (Such as the one at ION Orchard) and take your pick from the food options there.

- Crystal Jade originated here. I can't say that the HKG one is better than here, but you will have to try to make your own judgement. Or on the flipside, don't try it since you would have very high expectations for it and would be setting yourself up for disappointment. Or you can try Crystal Jade's competitor - Imperial Treasure. Also, there are several different Crystal Jade concepts in SIngapore, so make sure you are comparing like for like (eg. Casual dining vs casual dining).

- Your options at 5+pm is limited, as most Chinese restaurants open at 6pm. Imperial Treasure at Marina Bay Sands and Crystal Jade at Level 5 Ngee Ann City opens throughout, so you can consider this.

- There are a lot of Japanese, I can't say that they mostly hang out in one area. For example, my child's kindergarten (in the west side of Singapore) have a few Japanese kids. The bus that I take from the MRT to my work place (very close to River Valley) always have a few Japanese mums on board. Re the Japanese school, there's actually one in West Coast and another campus in Changi, so I think it's safe to say there are more Japanese living near the schools.

- West Coast Plaza is not that near the Japanese school. You'll need to catch a cab, but to be honest, there is nothing really "Japanese" about it, other than a Japanese supermarket and restaurant. .

- The equivalent of a City Super would be Cold Storage. There is a Cold Storage in Takashimaya, and also a huge Isetan right opposite the Hilton (with a recently renovated supermarket). There is also a Meidi-Ya in Liang Court.

- If you want to check out where most Japanese expats are located, I would also suggest checking out Liang Court. Besides Meidi-Ya, there is also a Japansese barber/hairdresser and a Japanese tailor. I'm sure if you enquire, they may give you some answers to your question.

Also, this is a Japanese magazine in Singapore which may be useful for you re life in Singapore - http://www.mangosteen.com.sg/
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Old Oct 3, 16, 1:22 am
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With family in tow and not wanting to waste too much time idling, I would suggest you either use taxis or Uber/grabcar to get around. It won't cost you much more on medium distances compares to 2Adult + 2Child MRT tickets. And certainly less if its short distance.
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Old Oct 3, 16, 5:12 am
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
dsgtc0408: Thank you so much for such detailed post! Your info is invaluable.

I was really hoping to take the kids to the zoo. But if you think we have too much on our list for one day, then I guess the logical thing to do would be to cross off something that's really out of the way and then maybe focus on hanging out primarily in the Marina Bay area. We're actually going to HK's Ocean Park (for the 4th or 5th time) right after Singapore, so I guess that makes it all the more logical to skip it in Singapore... although it seems that Singapore's zoo exceeds OP by a large margin. Maybe we should skip trying to see monkeys, as well.

Do you think just spending time in the Marina Bay area (MB Sands for the sky deck, Gardens by the Bay, merlioin) will easily take up a good part of a whole day?

Jasons are actually also in HK. In HK I'm not as much of a fan of Jasons as I am of city'Super, but I will go check them out in Singapore. Will definitely go check out the Isetan complex and Takashimaya / Cold Storage. I feel like Hilton still works out for us, given its proximity to Isetan and Takashimaya.

We're actually going to visit the Japanese school, and yes it's actually on Clementi Rd. Would love to go check out West Coast Plaza while we're out that way, but it may not be feasible if Google is showing it as a 24min walk each way to/from the school. I will take your rec on River Valley and give it a miss.
Am happy to share! In this reply, note that I'd like to acknowledge SQ319's and gilbertaue's responses as well, even though I am only quoting your post.

- On your fun day, I can see how going to the Marina Bay Sands area can take up the entire day. The thing is that I don't see all the activities there as being terribly kid oriented, ie it's stuff that both adults and kids can get into (especially going to the Skydeck) but there isn't anything that is 'kids first'. My big question is: are you sure you will be collapsing in bed at 7PM? Will this be due to jet lag, the fear of oversleeping the CX early flight to HK or simply because it's your bedtime? Assuming you and your family is somehow able to stay up into the evening to say 11PM, you might consider going to the Night Safari. It's run by the Singapore Zoo people, but focuses on animals that come out at night. Not sure if there are any monkeys but hopefully this is a good substitute. I've never been to Ocean Park in HK but somehow I have the gut sense this is better. Or else go with SQ319's suggestion and go to the Singapore Zoo during the daytime. I guess my view is that the only thing different about MBS is checking out the view from the Skydeck. Other than that, it's sort of 'been there, done that' (especially the shopping centers, some might say the Merlion is kind of touristy as well).
http://www.nightsafari.com.sg/visito...xperience.html

- On food places, Singapore is known for its hawker centres. These are essentially these are street food vendors who have been moved off the streets to work in government constructed food facilities where it's all much cleaner (SQ319 refers to this in his/her post, second item). If you take a cab from the Hilton, there's a local hawker centre not terribly far away on Zion Road (across from the Great World City shopping centre) where the food is decent to pretty good and the lines and the prices are not outrageous. It's a better choice than the Newton Food Centre which has a heavy tourist clientele and prices to match.

- For your purpose you need cash for transportation and the odd purchase (eg McDonalds, a bottle of water from 7-Eleven, perhaps supermarket items, that sort of thing). The smartest thing to do is to bring either USD or Japanese Yen and change at one of the bank money changers at Changi Airport. The buy/sell spread for retail FX transactions is really narrow here, better than taking a chance that using a foreign ATM card to withdraw cash that might hit you with foreign transaction charges and the like.
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Old Oct 4, 16, 1:19 am
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SQ319: Thank you so much for your detailed info. You are awesome! I also really appreciate your kind remarks.

Thanks again, dsgtc0408, for the additional insights.

If it were just my wife and me, we could probably stay up later. But ever since our kids were born, we've learned that the only way we can manage these short Asia trips is by planning the kids' sleep schedule in advance. For this trip, our flight leaves YVR at 5pm SIN time (1a YVR time). We've done the overnight flight from YVR/SEA enough times to be able to anticipate that our kids will probably sleep from ~7pm till 1~3am SIN time on the plane (they need more sleep usually, but they sleep less on the plane). That'll actually be perfect, because 3 days later we all have to wake up at 3.30am to head back to Changi for our 6.50am flight. But that is really the rationale to strictly keep to the 7pm bedtime each of our 3 nights in Singapore. If we deviate too much from that, then I'm afraid we'll really pay for it when we're heading over to HKG. From that standpoint, the Night Safari is certainly out, unfortunately.

Originally Posted by SQ319 View Post
- The Zoo will take up a good part of the day, but you can do the Marina Bay area in the evening. MB Sands for the sky deck, Gardens by the Bay, merlion will probably take approx 3 hours, provided you don't visit the paid conservatories in GBTB (Cloud Forest and the other one whose name I can't seem to recall). It will be a very packed day though. You really need to start the day early. As the zoo will be humid and there's a children's playground and water park at the Children's section, you may want to bring a change of clothes for your kids. The Zoo rents out wagons and strollers, so you may consider them (in case your kids get tired of walking).
You're saying the Marina Bay area will be less than half a day, whereas dsgtc0408 thinks it'll take up a good chunk of the day. Either way, it seems like a full visit to the zoo plus Marina Bay area will be too much to fit in a day, unless we do an abridged visit to each. Anyways, those are all great advice about the zoo. The word "humid" seems to be a recurring theme, so the kids probably need a break at the hotel between the zoo and Marina Bay, further limiting the time. If we hit the zoo at 8.30 or 9am and left by 12.30~1pm, do you think that's enough time to enjoy the best features of the zoo?

As far as food goes, I think we'll forget about Crystal Jade. I've been to the one in Jpn (although I think it's now closed) and thought that the ones in HkG were much different and significantly better. So I just thought maybe the original ones in Singapore might be even better than the ones in HKG. But you are right that I might be building up too lofty of an expectation. And we are definitely doing Crystal Jade in HKG later that week (hairy crab season in HKG, which means hairy crab XLB at Crystal Jade!) We will definitely check out the hawker centre at ION Orchard or the one on Zion Rd, per your recommendations. Will also definitely put Imperial Treasure on our list.

Originally Posted by SQ319 View Post
The bus that I take from the MRT to my work place (very close to River Valley) always have a few Japanese mums on board.
That is pretty amazing.

Originally Posted by SQ319 View Post
- If you want to check out where most Japanese expats are located, I would also suggest checking out Liang Court.
Wow, so many different pockets of Japanese businesses/communities. We're definitely going to try to fit Liang Court in on day2 as long as time permits.


Originally Posted by gilbertaue View Post
With family in tow and not wanting to waste too much time idling, I would suggest you either use taxis or Uber/grabcar to get around. It won't cost you much more on medium distances compares to 2Adult + 2Child MRT tickets. And certainly less if its short distance.
Thanks for the advice. You're right, time is of the essence. I feel better about taking MTR after reading what folks had to say here. But for short distances and then to get to places that are hard to get to (eg, train+bus), I will definitely look to take the cab.

Originally Posted by dsgtc0408 View Post
- For your purpose you need cash for transportation and the odd purchase (eg McDonalds, a bottle of water from 7-Eleven, perhaps supermarket items, that sort of thing). The smartest thing to do is to bring either USD or Japanese Yen and change at one of the bank money changers at Changi Airport. The buy/sell spread for retail FX transactions is really narrow here, better than taking a chance that using a foreign ATM card to withdraw cash that might hit you with foreign transaction charges and the like.
Really? In Jpn and HKG, I always draw local currencies at ATM using my US card. My bank only charges me nothing and furthermore pays for the local ATM fee up to 2x per month. And I've always avoided Travelex, etc. Also, 7-11's and McDonald's in Singapore take credit card, even for very small purchase, no?
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Old Oct 4, 16, 3:40 am
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Originally Posted by dsgtc0408 View Post
The smartest thing to do is to bring either USD or Japanese Yen and change at one of the bank money changers at Changi Airport. The buy/sell spread for retail FX transactions is really narrow here.
Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Really? In Jpn and HKG, I always draw local currencies at ATM using my US card. My bank only charges me nothing and furthermore pays for the local ATM fee up to 2x per month. And I've always avoided Travelex, etc. Also, 7-11's and McDonald's in Singapore take credit card, even for very small purchase, no?
I don't know what kind of exorbitant spreads / foreign ATM fees you guys get, but the spreads at Changi airport money changers are most certainly not narrow
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Old Oct 4, 16, 10:57 pm
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Originally Posted by shuigao View Post
I don't know what kind of exorbitant spreads / foreign ATM fees you guys get, but the spreads at Changi airport money changers are most certainly not narrow
I was thinking worse case situation by putting myself in the shoes of the poster, evergrn - he did say it's his first time to Singapore and is evidently Portland based. For me, the worse FX exchange S$/USD I recall was at Travelex at JFK T7 - the spread was bigger than what I'd seen in Asia. I'm also noting that ATM withdrawals with foreign cards can incur foreign exchange transaction charges imposed by either/both the card issuing bank as well as the bank owning the ATM.

Personally I would change money at a specific money changer at Peoples Park (starts with C), but I wouldn't recommend it for someone who has just 48 hours in the country noting the queue can be 40 minutes. For just walking around money, the money changers at Changi are fine.
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Old Oct 4, 16, 11:28 pm
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I will second the plan to use taxis with 4 people, the cost will not be that much different than 4 MRT tix and obviously far more convenient. I don't use MRT with the whole family in tow.
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Old Oct 4, 16, 11:58 pm
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<snip>
Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
You're saying the Marina Bay area will be less than half a day, whereas dsgtc0408 thinks it'll take up a good chunk of the day. Either way, it seems like a full visit to the zoo plus Marina Bay area will be too much to fit in a day, unless we do an abridged visit to each. Anyways, those are all great advice about the zoo. The word "humid" seems to be a recurring theme, so the kids probably need a break at the hotel between the zoo and Marina Bay, further limiting the time. If we hit the zoo at 8.30 or 9am and left by 12.30~1pm, do you think that's enough time to enjoy the best features of the zoo?
Actually, I was thinking one day mainly because I had factored in a break in the afternoon to avoid the worst of the sun and humidity. If you can be someplace air conditioned between say 12 noon to about 4PM, you'll be past the worse of the heat.
<snip>

Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
We will definitely check out the hawker centre at ION Orchard or the one on Zion Rd, per your recommendations. <snip>
This is going to make me sound picky, but ION has a food court, while the hawker centre is located on Zion Road. The difference is three-fold:
- food court is privately owned (shopping mall situation), air conditioned and more expensive
- hawker centre is in a government owned facility, open air (potential hot and humid) and less expensive

Arguably, the food and experience at the hawker centre is likely to be higher quality and more authentic, however food court will be more pleasant.
<snip>

Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Really? In Jpn and HKG, I always draw local currencies at ATM using my US card. My bank only charges me nothing and furthermore pays for the local ATM fee up to 2x per month. And I've always avoided Travelex, etc. Also, 7-11's and McDonald's in Singapore take credit card, even for very small purchase, no?
Not sure about 7-Eleven taking credit cards (I presume they would take the bank cards), however McD's takes Visa, MasterCard and JCB. Frankly my ignorance is because I pay cash for really small items, and use my local ATM card as a debit card to pay for others.

Last edited by dsgtc0408; Oct 5, 16 at 12:04 am
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Old Oct 5, 16, 12:40 am
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dsgtc0408: Thanks for the clarifications! You've given me tons of valuable info. Now I just have to decide on whether/not to go to the zoo, but otherwise I think I'm set.

DeepUnderground: I will heed your advice, esp for short distances and also for getting to places where public transport is not convenient. One thing I'm worried about is catching taxi back from places. I'm reading that Singapore is not like HKG where cabs are easy to catch and hail-able anywhere. I read that they may be difficult to catch at certain places during certain hours, and also you generally have to go to a designated taxi stand or a hotel to catch one. Anyways, push comes to shove, we could always take a bus/train.
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Old Oct 5, 16, 2:32 am
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
You're saying the Marina Bay area will be less than half a day, whereas dsgtc0408 thinks it'll take up a good chunk of the day. Either way, it seems like a full visit to the zoo plus Marina Bay area will be too much to fit in a day, unless we do an abridged visit to each. Anyways, those are all great advice about the zoo. The word "humid" seems to be a recurring theme, so the kids probably need a break at the hotel between the zoo and Marina Bay, further limiting the time. If we hit the zoo at 8.30 or 9am and left by 12.30~1pm, do you think that's enough time to enjoy the best features of the zoo?
The Zoo opens at 8.30am. If you are there by then since u wake up early, you should be done by 1pm.

I've included the park map here. I would assume you will want to cover the monkeys since your kids like them. You will see that there are 2 distinct loops. Suggest that you start with the one on the left, as that's where most of the monkey exhibits are. Once u are done with that, do the one on the right halfway to the rainforest kids world. Your kids can have some water play if they are keen. Once u are done with them, u can head back to the entrance, using the tram if you prefer, as there isn't much to see in the remaining half of the loop. Don't miss the orang utans in the middle (Orang Utan broadwalk). That's the signature exhibit for the Zoo. There is a feeding at 11am. http://www.zoo.com.sg/assets/pdf/parkmap.pdf?v1

If you finish with that early afternoon, u can head back to Hilton for maybe a 1-2 hours rest, then out again at 3 to the Marina Bay area to cover Merlion, Esplanade then MBS for the Skydeck and dinner after.

Frankly speaking, I don't think Gardens by the Bay is really a must do, as it's just a nice well manicured garden (I much prefer the Botanical Gardens). It's probably something you can do on your 2nd trip, or if you do decide to relocate to Singapore.

Last edited by SQ319; Oct 5, 16 at 2:48 am
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