Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mount Faber

This article is originally posted on ABN's Asia Travel Blog here.

Mount Faber, one of tourist attractions in Singapore, is not really a mountain. It is just a hill, about 106 metres in height, located just north of the Harbourfront area. The highest point is called Faber Point, and from there, we can have a panoramic view of the surrounding areas, including the Harbourfront area and the buildings at Singapore's central business district area. There's a small Merlion statue in Faber Point, and on the lower level, there are some stone carvings depicting some of Singapore's history.

Just further down from Faber Point, there's a building called The Jewel Box, houses some fine dining restaurants and some souvenir shops. From there, we can also catch a cable car to Harbourfront and Sentosa. Apart from that, there's nothing much to see and do there other than enjoying the greenery of the secondary rainforest around Mount Faber.

The best way to reach Mount Faber is by taxi. There is a bus service from SBS Transit called Parks 409, which runs from Harbourfront bus interchange to Mount Faber on Saturday, Sunday and public holiday. The bus fare is $1, payable using cash or EZ-Link card. If we drive a car there, finding a parking lot might be difficult, especially during evening peak hours. However, The Jewel Box provides valet service for those who need it.

At the moment, the National Parks Board is building a bridge to connect Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park, with a further connection up to Kent Ridge Park, connecting all the three parks. This means that visitors can jog or walk from one park to another without having to exit the park and/or take other methods of transportation. When I visited Mount Faber recently, I saw that the bridge is still under construction, and might be fully operational in the next couple of months.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Dolphin Lagoon in Sentosa

This article is originally posted on ABN's Asia Travel Blog here.


DolphinLagoon Sentosa, a small island located south of Singapore, is one of the country’s most visited tourist destinations. With only S$2 entrance fee per person (excluding transport), going to Sentosa is now much more affordable compared to several years ago when the entrance fee was still a hefty S$6 per person. There are many ways to enter Sentosa, and the most convenient and cheapest method is to take the Sentosa Express monorail from VivoCity shopping mall, with a transport fee of a mere S$1. Alternatively, you can also take the Sentosa bus from Harbourfront bus interchange with the same fee. Taking the cable car from Harbourfront tower or Mount Faber to enter Sentosa is also possible, with a much higher fee. Once we enter Sentosa, all the transportation methods within Sentosa (bus, monorail, tram) are free.

There are many attractions inside Sentosa, each with its own entrance fee, which is on top of the S$2 entrance fee into the island. One of the attractions which tourists usually visit is Dolphin Lagoon, which is located near to the Palawan beach in Sentosa. The entrance fee is quite steep, S$19.90 for adult and S$12.70 for child, however the fee includes the entrance tickets for both Dolphin Lagoon and Underwater World. To reach Dolphin Lagoon, we can take the Sentosa Express monorail to the Beach station, and from there, we can take the Palawan beach tram which will bring us right into Dolphin Lagoon’s doorstep. Alternatively, we can also take the red or yellow line bus within Sentosa.

There are dolphin show sessions where we can watch all the pink dolphins in action, four times daily at 11am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm and 5:30pm. It’s advisable that we manage the time properly and be at the Dolphin Lagoon gate at least 30-45 minutes before the show time. This is to ensure that we get the best seats for the show. Take note that the waiting time for buses and trams in Sentosa is quite long, especially during peak holiday period where Sentosa can get very crowded and it seems that the available buses and trams are outnumbered by the visitors.

MeetAndGreetTheDolphin After each session, there’s a meet and greet session where we can touch the dolphins and have your photos taken with them. For this, we would need to pay additional $15 fee per photo session, and each session is valid for up to two persons. We will have to go to one of the two corners of the lagoon compound and queue there to have our pictures being taken while touching the dolphins. We can then collect the photo at the souvenir shop near the exit of the lagoon complex. If we have another friend with a camera there, we can also ask the friend to take our pictures with the dolphin, so we can also have our own version of the photo.

Do not forget that the admission fee for Dolphin Lagoon includes the admission to Underwater World, which will be valid on the same day. So we might want to manage our time properly so we can visit both attractions on the same day. Underwater World opens until 9pm daily while the last show session is at 5:30pm daily, so if we reach Sentosa in the afternoon, we might want to watch the Dolphin Lagoon show first before heading to the Underwater World, which is located on the other side of the island.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Writing for ABN's Asia Travel Blog

At last, I'm now contributing to Asia Blogging Network (ABN). Specifically, I'll be writing on ABN's Asia Travel Blog, and on that blog, I will write more information about travelling in Singapore, the country where I live currently.

Yes, I had expressed my interests in contributing to ABN since the day it was launched, but I was afraid that I might not have the time, and especially, the "passion", to write on ABN. Therefore, I decided not to apply to become one of ABN's contributors. However, Budi offered me to write on ABN's Asia Travel Blog and asked me to write anything about travelling in Singapore, and it's really an offer I couldn't reject. I like travelling a lot, and I often write about my travel experience in my blogs. I was thinking, I might as well share the experience by contributing to ABN, to reach a much greater readers' base.

My article about Dolphin Lagoon is my first contribution to Asia Travel Blog. I'm looking forward to contributing more to ABN and hope to see you guys there. :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Canonian vs Nikonian

Picture courtesy of Andri Setiawan.

This picture shows four photographers (the guy on the far right side is not counted), one of them is an amateur (that's me!) and the other three are professional photographers, all using Canon digital cameras. The photo is taken by another photographer, who was using a Nikon digital camera.

Since I consider myself as an amateur photographer, I am satisfied of using a pocket camera to serve my photography needs. Yes, I wanted to have a so-called "more professional camera" like the Canon EOS which that guy with the white T-shirt is using, especially after I tried to use his camera the other day. But hearing that the camera body itself (without the lens) would already cost almost $2k, I backed off. :) :)

Well, if Pangeran Panda is dreaming of someone giving him a $99k lens for his birthday (which is still months away), can I also dream of someone giving me a $2k Canon EOS camera for my birthday (which is even further months away)? That is only a fraction of Panda's $99k wishlist. :P :P

Hmmm... *dreaming...*




OK, back to reality. :P  Which one is actually better? Canon or Nikon? :)