Thursday, February 4, 2016

Visit Singapore – With little ones in tow

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My Travel Story 

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Fun at Singapore Zoo

Bird Show at Jurong bird Park
Scaring the Tiger - at Sentosa
Museum at SEA aquarium
Orchard Road walk
Singapore Zoo
Singapore Zoo
Singapore Zoo
Palawan Beach - Sentosa
Touch and Learn - SEA aquarium
Chilly Crab
Octopus Fried rice
Elephant show at Zoo
at Zoo
Fun on Orchard Road
With the mascot at SEA aquarium
Deep in thought - Singapore Zoo
Flamingo show - Jurong bird park
Jellyfish wonderland - SEA aquarium
  Traveling internationally with children can sometimes be overwhelming. But a little care during planning can go a long way in enjoying your vacation as a family. Here is how my Singapore trip was planned with my 5 year old and I would like to say that it couldn't have been more fun!
First off, selecting Singapore as your holiday destination has many benefits for you and your little one.
  • It is just 5.5 hours away from India (in case you are traveling from India), and you get direct flights thereby avoiding the restlessness of long-haul journeys and layovers
  • The time difference is only 2.5 hours, and it does not mess too much with the bio-clock of the child. You have only limited number of days and you don't want to deal with jet-lag along with another 1000-odd things
  • Singapore offers a wide range of entertainment and educational activities for children and adults alike, making it a good composition for a family audience. Let the kids learn about animals, birds, marine life, food, culture - all in a child-appealing way, while you refresh your lessons from school!
Ideal Dates: Feb, Mar, April
Cost: INR 150,000 for a family of 3
Day 1- Land at Changi airport and transfer to hotel. We chose a daytime flight as it was convenient for us, and transferred to hotel by 6 pm local time. We stayed at Concorde Hotel on Orchard Road, which was a pleasant experience. After freshening up, take a leisurely walk along Orchard Road, the shopping and entertainment hub. The Christmas decorations were up although it was only mid-November, making the place more festive for us. There are numerous small eating joints and food courts on this road, therefore always providing you ample options for dining or snacking.
Day 2 - Visit the Jurong Bird Park. You can take the MRT easily from Concorde Hotel to Jurong Bird park (you would need to transfer lines). The local bus takes you from The MRT station to the park. For exact bus numbers and MRT routes, you can contact your hotel tour desk (who was very helpful in our case). You are likely to be done with the park by 4 pm. Keep a less busy evening, maybe just strolling around the malls near the hotel as your child is very likely to be exhausted (from previous day's travel). End the day early.

Day 3 - Visit the Singapore Zoo. Again MRT can take you there easily. Plan for the night safari in the evening if you have older children. But with younger ones (atleast mine who is 5), they tire out by 4 pm, and your evening safari may not be worthwhile. Instead you can schedule a quick freshen up at the hotel, and head out to Clarke Quay. This is the night-life spot (we adults also need our share of fun right! ;) ) with plenty of fine dining restaurants. Indulge in some wine and dine experience by the river while your little one can much on some fries and sip on coke. It doesn't hurt for them to take a quick nap after a long day, while you adults enjoy your evening.
Day 4 - Keep this day a little flexible to explore the city. You may visit the Singapore flyer, the Merlion Park, Marina Bay or the various shopping malls. The flower dome at Marina bay is quite informative. Go for a Duck Tour, if weather permits. For all Indians, a visit to Little India is a mandatory experience! Have an Indian meal or 2 here.
Day 5 - Visit Sentosa Island. You can take the MRT or Taxi, but for a unique experience you can take a cable car ride. Drive up to Mount Faber which is a small little hill on this tiny island, and is the highest point in this city. From here, take the cable car to Sentosa station. Spend the day at Sentosa, choosing the activities that appeal to your family. (you can see guides and timings online prior to your visit). A must visit is the SEA aquarium and the Dolphin interaction programs at the Dolphin Island. If you want to opt for a cheaper option, Underwater  World is also a fantastic aquarium. End the day by watching sunset at Palawan beach which is reached by a suspension bridge, leading you to the southernmost point of continental Asia.
Day 6 - Return. You can plan to spend about 2 hours at the airport as Changi Airport itself is an entertainment hub in itself. Shop, eat, and visit the butterfly park before you depart this friendly and entertaining place.
Some tips and tricks to help you plan:
  • Download a Singapore MRT map in advance and study it to understand your location against your planned destinations
  • Look up hotel information in detail before you book, as most hotel rooms are very small (Singapore being a tiny country and there being a hassle for space). You may not even have enough room to open your luggage if you are not careful
  • Before visiting the parks/zoos, look up the timings on the website 1 or 2 days in advance. There are live shows in most parks which have a schedule based on weather, and you may want to plan your visits around those. Check also for weekly offs
  • If you are a family of 4 or more, calculate your fares for travel by MRT and Taxi. Sometimes taxi turns out cheaper and much faster which we may not realize
  • Most park and entertainment tickets are available at the hotels tour desk at good prices. It makes sense to buy from them as you also get some good offers and free tips/guidance :) (versus our normal tendency to book online)
  • Carrying a child stroller always helps. Children tire quickly and get cranky. The stroller saves you from carrying them around, and also enable them to doze a bit if they want to
  • I strongly recommend trying the local cuisine there like Chilly Crabs and Singapore Chicken rice, but if you prefer Indian meals, plan your evenings in the Little India area, so that you can have dinner there
  • Singapore rains are very unpredictable, so build a day of buffer in between. Always carry umbrellas and rain footwear. Don't let the rain spoil your mood or plans. Th weather is warm and humid round the year, so dress accordingly

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