Singapore is 50 this year! That is why you probably see SG50 everywhere you go. We had got an extra holiday this year because this is our Jubilee year which falls on a Friday. National Day which falls on 9th Aug is a Sunday and hence, Monday becomes a replacement holiday. That means we had a super long weekend this year.
In addition, we were spoilt for choice because there were plenty of free activities going on! Many were pretty tempting, such as free exhibitions, free shows, free cable rides and open houses. Finally I narrowed down to only 2 activities for family fun. That is going to the Art Science Museum on 7th and to the Science Centre on 10th . I had signed up 3 walking trails for myself. Below were our activity.
Morning:Tracing Lee Kuan Yew's footsteps in Singapore's first satellite town
As Little One is not very interested in heritage trail, I only sign myself for this. The trail was brought in specially for SG50 by the volunteers of My Queenstown. They are now conducting 2 different trails from last month. Trail 1 - Tanglin Halt and Duchess Trail and Trail 2 - Dawson & Alexandra Trail which started only recently. We were told there will be trail no 3 which covers Commonwealth Close!
Back to this special trail. We were brought to various spots that Mr Lee Kuan Yew left his footprint. The various spots include Queenstown library, Alexandra Canal Park and Commonwealth Close, covering part of Trail 1 and upcoming Trail 3 (Commonwealth). For those who are interested in cemetery. Yes, we were brought to visit the Hakka Cemetery which was located within the midst of HDB flats! Best of all, I discover that the tour guide was actually my senior!
|Mr Lee Kuan Yew took a photograph at Block 85 & 86 Commonwealth Close where the Home Ownership Scheme was introduced. Now the trees had grown and the 2 blocks of flats are upgraded.|
My hubby had brought the girl to see the RSAF Black Knights (official aerobatics team of the Republic of Singapore Air Force) but their bus were stuck in a traffic jam even at 12 pm. It was also raining during that time. Hence, it was unlikely that they would be able to catch the Black Knights in action. As part of the plan was to go to ArtScience Musuem (ASM), we joined in the queue at Marina Bay Sands (MBS). In fact, for the first time, I thought MBS was like mini Orchard Road. There were people everywhere. The queue for ASM was overwhelming. Actually, it was the first time I saw a queue for ASM. We have been visiting to ASM's free exhibition every National Day since Essential Eames in 2013 but nothing compared to the crowd on this very day. And I think this is the first time ASM opened all its exhibitions for free! The rain poured and stopped and poured again. By the time we realised we have to queue at least 2 hours, we were already in queue for an hour. We find it pity to drop out of queue since we had already queue so long. We were fortunate to bring some musical instrument for Little One to entertain herself. Otherwise, we would be off somewhere else. In the end we queued almost for 3 hours. this is our craziest queue record.
As the crowd in the basement housing "Dreamworks Animation" and "The Deep" were crowded, the usherer asked us to go to "Singapore Stories". True enough, there was not a lot of people, we could go through the exhibits comfortably, the same cannot be said for the other 2 exhibitions. In fact, we need to queue again to visit these other 2 exhibitions. In my opinion, there were too many people in these exhibitions especially "The Deep". Many times, I could not read the plaques as they were blocked by people standing in front of the exhibitions. Usherers came in from time to time to request the crowd to move in. Despite the fact we had to rush through the last 2 exhibitions because the museum is closing at 7pm, I am glad that I can came down to have a glimpse those mysterious creatures of the deep. Would I visit again? Probably, depending on whether I could save enough money from my marketing allowance. Heh...
|I can't tell you the names of all these creatures as I fail to read the plaques|
(Top right: Goblin shark , Bottom right: Rabbit fish)
We decided to dine at Millenia Walk to avoid the crowd every where else and glad that we chose here. We heard fireworks in the middle of our dinner and decided probably we would come back tomorrow to view it. After dinner, we decided to walk to Singapore River. We managed to catch an 8-minute long music and visual display entitled “A Celebration of Our Heritage” at the Fullerton Hotel's facade. I did not take much pictures as I was carrying Little One, explaining everything that appeared to her.
|Waiting for show to start|
We had breakfast at near our home. Initially, I thought probably we would go to Botanic Gardens or to the Merlion in the morning but guessed probably there would be lots of crowds. So last minute, I decided to give it a miss. Just try to enjoy the holiday.
I went alone to the bus tour which I sign up online with SG Heartmap. By the time I sign up, the website only had 1 vacancy for Northwest tour. Hence, I could not sign my family for it. The bus brought us to 3 locations, Woodlands Waterfront, Chong Pang Market and River Safari.
Believe or not, I have not been to the Woodlands Waterfront as well as Chong Pang Market. Hence, this tour is a good opportunity to know more about these places.
Woodlands Waterfront seemed a good place for fishing, and overlooking the Straits of Johore. When I saw the playground, how I wished Little One was here to enjoy it. This is one place which is not very accessible. There is only one bus (856) that goes here. Nevertheless, I was also glad that she was not here because we only have 15 minutes of free time, I doubt she would be satisfied with 15 minutes of play.
Chong Pang Market is named after Lim Chong Pang, son of Lim Nee Soon. He was a prominent businessman and long-time member of the Singapore Rural Board. The market is well known for its good food. This was my first visit. We were given free tasting of some food sold in the market. Duck Rice, Popiah and Fishballs. Mind you, they are delicious!Allow me to side track a bit, I am not a fan of fishballs because they make me puke if they are not fresh but these, I believe are very fresh because I have no problem consuming them!
|Left: Jetty at Woodlands Waterfront; Right: free food at Chong Pang Market|
|Sleeping pandas - Kai Kai and Jia Jia|
I headed down to Esplanade Concert Hall's open house. I know hubby was already there with Little One. However, I could not contact him. I guessed he must have gone into the concert hall whereby no reception would be detected. I headed the concert hall and queued. Yes, it was a queue again. Luckily, I have a book with me. Otherwise I would be bored stiff.
The open house was an eye opener! We were introduced to the special features of the concert hall and they did confirm that there is no reception in the concert hall, so you can forget about 'wadsapp'ing or 'sms'ing. Sit down and truly enjoy the concert while you are in there. I simply enjoyed the performance by Ms Margaret Co Chen who played the pipe organ, National University of Singapore Society Choir which are made up of senior citizens with scintillating voices and Nanyang Polytechnic Chinese Orchestra which played our favorite drama theme songs! To tell you the truth, I was famished by the end of the concert because my lunch was actually the snacks at Chong Pang Market and some biscuits which I ate before entering the concert hall. Thankfully, hubby bought me some sandwich which I ate hungrily. Two days in a roll, we were in Marina Bay and we did not managed to catch a glimpse of the fireworks. Hubby said that the Esplanade was very crowded to the extent the crowds were jamming at the escalator landing. Hubby had to go to Marina Link with Little One to have dinner then and hence missed the fireworks again.
|Left:Pipe organ Right: NUSS choir performing.|
I had signed myself up for the longest walk in my whole life. NDP Walk from Former Rail Corridor to Bukit Brown. It was a 20.5km from Kranji MRT Station to Bukit Brown starting from 8 am and ending around 4pm. If you are interested in the whole route covered, visit here. Hubby decided to stay at home but apparently Little One wants out. They ended up visiting Sentosa's Sand of Time.
I started the day waking up late. Kranji is nowhere near my home. I skipped breakfast and rushed to the meeting point. I was 10 minutes late and fortunately the group only started to leave. Heng ah! Lucky me! This was not your typical kind of guided tour although I did wish so. I did not learn much from the trip. It was more of a walk promoting healthy lifestyle. The crowd turn out was rather huge. I guess there were around 50 or more. There was a guide in front as well as the back of the group so as to ensure no one went missing on the way to Bukit Brown. This walk covered part of the green corridor and part Bukit Timah Nature Reserve , passing Mac Ritchie before arriving Bukit Brown.
Basically, although the guides did explain at certain point of time what we are seeing. I soon find myself lagging behind because I tried to capture some photos of what I saw during the trip. Hence, most of the time, I guessed I was in the middle of the group because we were mostly walking in a single file or in twos. The guide in front was walking very fast, in my opinion because the moment I stopped for photography, I lagged behind. There were at least 2 incidents groups were lost. The first being somewhere between Junction 10 and Rail Mall. The second being a T junction at Bukit Timah Reserve. In fact, we were lost twice at Bukit Timah Reserve and what was worst, my data plan did not work. Lucky for me, my friend joined me from Rail Mall so I was not so afraid of being in the "wild" all by myself. And also lucky for us, there was this senior participant with his friends who was rather familiar with Bukit Timah led us out to Mac Ritchie.
|Monkeys at Bukit Timah and tracks near Rail Mall|
After visiting ‘Orchids of Singapore Botanic Gardens & its heritage’, I went home with dinner. So our dinner was spent in front of the television watching National Day Parade. We tried to ballot for tickets for this special occasion but failed to get any. We continued our tradition of watching fireworks from our windows. LOL...
We decided to spend the whole day at the Science Centre. From the facebook status of the Centre, it was quite crowded at the Centre every day. Many free tickets were fully redeemed early in the morning for the first few days of Jubilee weekend. Despite those facts, we decided to go ahead because we promised Little One that we would go explore the Waterworks of the Centre that day. She had been wanting to visit HBX (Human body Exhibition). I was surprised that she repeatedly request for it because the first time I tried to bring her last year, she withdrew at the entrance and was even unwilling to go in via the side door.
We reached Science Centre at about 10:30am. Already all the free passes to Omni Theatre and Kids Stop were already full. We were diverted to enter via the Annexe where Interplay exhibition was held. Not a queue although people were filing in from different directions. We targeted to queue for HBX. According to notification, it was a 2 hour queue. The queue moved rather quickly to Maxwell auditorium where we got the entry tickets to HBX. Marine Alcove, my daughter's favorite exhibition hall, was also used to cater the queue to HBX.
|Left:Recollection Six at Interplay|
Right: Alveoli of the lungs at HBX
All in all, the Jubilee holiday is pretty tiring but rather fulfilling. I have been to places which I have never step foot on, complete a challenge which is rather physically demanding. We board on free rides and maybe even free calls and messages, went to free exhibitions and open houses. We are truly grateful to the people who worked or volunteered during these few days and made our Jubilee holidays memorable. Thank you so much every one. Happy SG50!