Universal Studio Singapore

Having experience driving to Singapore to visit Singapore Zoo And Night Safari in 2011 is a privilege and our second roadtrip to Singapore last December was smooth as we know what are the requirements to enter Singapore by car. But we did have little extra things to do before we can enter Singapore; get new Autopass Card with VEP at the LTA office and get new IMM27E cards to be filled. I forgot where I keep the cards, if not it would’ve been much faster to write it at home instead of writing at the immigration booth. I have to get new Autopass as I was using another car. If you want to know how to enter Singapore by car, read my 7 things you need to know before travelling from Malaysia to Singapore by car.

Anyway, to the main point: Universal Studio Singapore (USS). Bought our tickets from a travel agency in Danga Bay, Johor Bahru. Saved us the hassle to queue for tickets at USS. We reached Resorts World Sentosa around 1.00pm and it was raining.


 First thing we did when we arrived: find food! Yassin was hungry to the max.

Yassin having nasi lemak with fried chicken at the food area in the Resorts World Sentosa.

Next, USS!

Yassin and his dad in front of the famous Universal Pictures’ rotating globe

USS is the talk in town and after talking for few months about wanting to go, we finally have the time to visit the place. We wouldn’t want to miss for the Southeast Asia (read: world)!

USS Entrance
Heading to enter the USS.

USS is a theme park located within Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa Island, Singapore. It is the second Universal Studios theme park to open in Asia (Japan being the first), and the first in Southeast Asia.  Opened on 18 March 2010, USS has since attracted more than 2 million visitors in the 9 months from its opening.

Yassin in front of USS Store.

Universal Studios Singapore is 20 hectares (49 acres) in size, occupying the easternmost 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. Dining outlets that are certified Halal are marked with “Halal”.

Themed zones here include Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away and Madagascar.

Hollywood: Themed after the real Hollywood Boulevard of the 1970s, the Hollywood zone is framed by dynamic architecture, palm trees and the famous Hollywood ‘Walk of Fame’.

Emila goes to Hollywood!

Posing at John Forsythe’s star.

Yassin and me admiring a jewellery store in Hollywood. I was attracted by the Red Poppy poster.

New York: Themed after post-modern New York City that features sidewalks and classic landmarks that mimic its cityscape. The area is enhanced by neon lights and flanked by street facades that set the scenes for big city fun and also real-time movie production for most Hollywood blockbuster films. We went in the Lights, Camera, Action! Studio and got to see an mazing show of how effects are made.

At the set of movie production- Lights, Camera, Action! Mr. Spielberg giving his talk about effects.

A model boathouse studio in New York City. Once the command to roll cameras has been given, the sky darkens, thunder and lightning fill the room, heavy rain pours through the ceiling, and we were immersed in various effects such as strong wind, intense fire, signboards crashing through the roof, the boathouse windows blowing away, movement of the platform they are standing on, and a huge cargo ship slamming through the boathouse entrance.

My husband in front of New York Public Library.

Rockefeller Center
Yassin and me in front of Rockefeller Center.

Sci-Fi City: Sci-Fi City is themed after what cities and metropolis may look like in the future, equipped with space-age technologies and the ultimate modern conveniences. We took the Transformer Ride and I tell you, the effect makes me went dizzy! Yassin and his dad thought that the ride is the coolest thing at USS!

Patiently waiting in line for the Transformer Ride.

Yassin in front of his favourite Transformer car.

Ancient Egypt: As the name suggests, the Ancient Egypt zone is themed after the rich Egyptian architecture and artifacts found during the Golden Age of Egyptian Exploration in the 1930s.

Yassin standing at the foot of giant Anubis statue.

At the wall of Ancient Egypt.

The Lost World The Lost World zone features two smaller themed regions: Jurassic Park and Waterworld. We went to the Jurassic Park but skipped the Waterworld.

Yassin and his dad taking the Dinosaur Ride.

Far Far Away: Far Far Away is based on the kingdom of the same name featured in DreamWorks Animations’ Shrek. We went inside the castle and got to see two shows: Shrek 3-D Show with added physical effects that is based on the story of Shrek and his quest to save Princess Fiona and Donkey Live Show – an interactive live show using digital puppetry technology, which features Donkey entertaining and engaging guests in conversation in an intimate theatre setting.

It was raining Shrek and Donkey, so we had to get ourselves raincoats when we reached the Land of Far Far Away.

Madagascar: The Madagascar zone features a displaced cargo ship that houses the Madagascar: A Crate Adventure ride. It also features all of the characters from DreamWorks Animations’ Madagascar.

Posing with Madagascar’s stars: from left – Melman, Marty, Alex and urm..Melman’s body.

We went on A Crate Adventure ride and had to queue for an hour and it was fun. Could not take pictures during the ride, so I cannot show you how it was like. A Crate Adventure is a river boat ride with state-of-the-art animatronics, digital projection and surround sound, all housed within the hull of a displaced cargo ship. This attraction features the famous voice talents of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith throughout the ride.

We had a great time at Universal Studio Singapore and hope to return again to explore some other part that we skipped. And here are some more photos from USS. Enjoy!

Yassin and vintage Chevrolet, in front of Mel’s Dine-In, Hollywood.

New York buildings.

Street of New York.

 Reference: Wikipedia – USS

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Art & Places: Singapore Zoo illustration by Sally Heinrich

One thing that I love about travelling is to discover art. When I visited Singapore Zoo with my family, this illustration really caught my attention. The details of trees, plants and animals are amazingly and finely done. The information of the illustrator is not written there, I did look hard through the details to find signature of the creator but could not find any.

Finding the information on the Internet was not easy as well without the right keywords. I searched for Singapore Zoo illustration/s, Singapore Zoo illustrator but could not find any information. Then I hit ‘Singapore mural illustrator’ and voila! #3 search on the list leads me to Sally Heinrich. The illustration has been done by Sally for Singapore Zoo. Other than four sections of the mural (each approximately 100cm x 75 cm), the mural has been used in the Zoo shop, and also on buses, packaging and merchandising.

Sally has illustrated more than twenty books as well as writing and illustrating her own picture books, non-fiction information and activity books and novels. Besides publishers, her clients include advertising and environmental agencies, design studios and Government departments. Her commissioned artwork ranges in scale from wine labels to a mural for the Singapore Zoo, to one-off pieces for celebrations such as weddings and birthdays. She also regularly runs workshops in creative writing and illustration for both children and adults.

Her work has been recognised through fellowships from the Asialink Foundation, The May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust, Varuna-the Writer’s Centre and Arts SA, and her original artwork and lino-prints have been exhibited in Australia and Asia.
Having previously lived in Darwin, Sydney, Singapore and Malaysia, Sally is currently based in Adelaide.

Here’s Yassin admiring the details of the illustration.

Information credit: http://www.sallyheinrich.com/

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7 things you need to know before travelling from Malaysia to Singapore by car

Here are some information that I gather during my visit to Singapore by car. I’ve gathered some basic information about the Autopass beforehand, thanks to my friends, Enida and Bella.

Passport – A passport with at least 6 months validity. Please remove your passport cover to facilitate immigration clearance.

IMM27E Disembarkation/Embarkation Card – In my case, I got it from the Singapore checkpoint and filling in the 3 cards took about 10 minutes. I was very sure that the car behind us was in fury because they had to wait longer. And please do not misplace the portion that they gave you, you need to give it back upon leaving Singapore. They will give spare cards when you leave Singapore so that the next time you come, you can have it already filled at home.

Autopass card – You can purchase the autopass card at the LTA office after the custom clearance. To get to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) office, you need to turn right after two police booths. To get the autopass, you need to show your car’s Road tax – you can either capture it by camera or your handphone camera and show it to the LTA Officer. Deposit is S$6 and you can buy for the value of S$10 or 20. Autopass Card is a stored-value smart card for paying Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fees, toll charges and ERP fees in Singapore. As vehicle information is encoded in the card, it is not transferable between vehicles. It can also act as a CashCard for all CashCard transactions.

Parking – You can use the Autopass card for parking and you can refill them at any Seven Eleven stores. Top-up is also available at most tourism attractions.

Toll fee – Toll fee is S$1.20 at the Causeway checkpoint (Singapore). Not sure about Tuas Checkpoint, though.

Touch N Go card – you need to have Touch N Go card in advance to pay for the RM2.90 toll upon entering Malaysia..

Things that are not allowed in Singapore – any kind of fireworks including pop-pop firework pellets and of course, drugs.




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Singapore Zoo and Night Safari

My family and I recently traveled to Singapore by car during the Hari Raya holiday to visit the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. We, especially my son Yassin, had a blast exploring both the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.

signboards to the zoo and night safari

signboards to the zoo and night safari

Set in a rainforest environment, Singapore Zoo’s world famous “open concept” offers the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the wonders of nature. Home to over 2,500 specimens from 316 species, 36% of which are threatened, the Zoo has attained a strong reputation internationally for its conservation initiatives and breeding programmes. Opening hours are from 8.30am to 6.00pm daily
(Last ticket sale at 5.30pm). Tickets are priced at S$20.00 for adult and S$13.00 for children between 3 to 12 years old. If you are not a Singaporean, you have to show your passport, so keep it inside your bag before you enter the zoo.

Daily shows include Splash Safari, Rainforest Fights Back and Elephants at Work & Play. We got to see the latter two and in the Rainforest Fights Back show there are a spectrum of animals ‘fighting’ back to restore their rainforest home to its full splendour when its serenity is disturbed by man. The Elephants at Work & Play show transports us to a Burmese elephant logging camp and reveals the incredible bond between the mahouts and their working elephants.

An Orang Utan peeling coconut in the Rainforest FightsBack show.

Yassin got to feed live insects to these Rainforest Fights Back casts.

Posing at the Elephants at Work and Play show.


Attractions and features of the zoo include Australian Outback, Cat Country, Critters Longhouse, Elephants of Asia, Fragile Forest, Hamadryas Baboons, Orang Utan, Polar Bear, Primate Kingdom, Proboscis Monkeys, Rainforest Kidzworld, Reptile Garden, Wild Africa and White Tiger.

White tigers, also known as Bengal tigers, are rare animals that possess an amazing combination of awesome beauty and impressive power. They have blue eyes, a pink nose, and creamy white fur covered with brown stripes. White tiger males range in length between 2.7 and 3 metres. They weigh between 190 and 260 kilogrammes on the average. Females are smaller, and range in length from 2.2 to 2.7 metres, weighing around 165 kilogrammes.

White Tiger

We didn’t really get to see wallaby or kangaroo skips about the Australian Outback area except for this very one–resting under a tree.

Australian Outback — we’re going for a ‘ride’ to see wallaby and kangaroo and whaddaya know, Yassin gets to ‘drive’!

We further meandered into the Zoo’s depiction of the Dark Continent and discovered a mosaic of fascinating animals: White Rhino, Cheetah, African Wild Dog, Zebra, Giraffe and African Lion.



Overall, it was a great experience visiting the zoo and it lives up to its title, World’s # 1 Rainforest Zoo. Yassin surely wants to visits again, highlighting which area that his old parents skipped. He actually compares the zoo map and his encounters with all the animals and noticed that he had not seen few animals as shown in the map. We told him that we did it purposely to give him enough reason to visit again. Haha. OK maybe enough reason for us to visit Universal Studio next.

As for me personally, I love the fact that the lavatories in the zoo are very clean and I love the creative concept where the hand-washing area is actually an open area. Of course the toilets have doors, if you wonder. Lol.

I also love the fact that the zebra-crossing is really a zebra-crossing, not just straight lines of black and white stripes.

one happy mother about to walk on the zebra-crossing. Haha.

Last but not least, I just love the main illustration around the zoo.


After the zoo, we waited for an hour to visit the Night Safari as the opening hour starts from 7.30pm. Admission + Tram is S$32 for adult and S$21 for children between 3 to 12 years old. We got a 50% discount that day, so YAY!

Night Safari, the world’s first wildlife park for nocturnal animals is an nine-time winner of the Best Visitor Attraction Experience, awarded by Singapore Tourism Board. This internationally acclaimed leisure attraction embodies innovation and creativity in products and services, and service quality, thus attracting more than 1.1 million visitors yearly. Over 1,000 animals from 115 species (of which almost 30% are threatened) inhabit the 40-hectare park.

There’s no photos of animals taken as we were not allowed to take pictures with flash when visiting the animals. Here are some photos from the entrance area where we can see Thumbuakar performance for free. We wanted to see the Creatures of The Night Show but the queue was so long that we had to skip it.





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My Yahoo! Experience

Leonardo da Vinci once quoted, “Learning never exhausts the mind.”

my Yahoo! latte

my Yahoo! latte

Indeed, learning new things are never exhausting. I had so much fun much yesterday during an editorial training session with Yahoo! Southeast Asia’s for one day.

Winning 2nd place in iMasTravel is the best thing that happens to me this year. Beside winning double trips to Cape Town, South Africa and Seoul, Korea, I also won iMasTravel special page on Yahoo! And yesterday, together with Yuven and Ti Ming, 1st and 3rd winner respectively, I flew to Singapore to meet the Southeast Asia team.

At the training session, we were given insights on how to write professionally by Karen Vera, Custom Brand Experience Editor and Wendy Ferrer, Yahoo! Southeast Asia Sub Editor. They explained about Yahoo! Voice; how Yahoo! writes, the qualities and the spectrum. We also discussed about important angles to cover during our big trips in June-August.

Basically, we have to keep these pointers in mind:

  • Focus on the audience
  • Use a conversational tone
  • Keep it simple, short and direct
  • Have fun

quote on glass door

a quote on glass door

Apart from the editorial training, we got to meet Manali Pattnaik, Corporate Communication Manager and Jonas de los Reyes, Lead Community Manager of Yahoo! Southeast Asia. Manali talked about Yahoo! and it’s direction in general, While Jonas talked about social media. And from Jonas, we got to know an inspiring story about Gary Vaynerchuk, a businessman who made it with the help of social media.

If content is king, your community is GOD! ~Gary Vaynerchuk.

I had a very valuable training session with Yahoo! Southeast Asia. And truly, it’s a dream come true to be on the spotlight on Yahoo! iMasTravel page, writing for millions of people. And to meet the talented and creative people behind Yahoo! was truly priceless!

Overall, I have gained great tips on how to write better and how to benefit from social media. And from now on, I will try to put to use what I had learned yesterday to my blog writings. If you want to know more, be sure to comeback here and read my blog articles. I am working on improving my writings and also working hard to improve my grammar. I will be submitting my first article for Yahoo! iMasTravel special page on first week June.

And don’t forget to add me here: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr.


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