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Lake Toya, Japan

Spot of Tranquility.

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Little India, Singapore

Spices, gold and splashes of colour!

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Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay

Garden City, City in a Garden.

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Bryce Canyon, USA

Thor's Hammer

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Chocolate Test, Singapore

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." -Charles M Schulz

Saturday, March 10, 2018

River Safari

The River Safari officially opened in 2014. However, I never really had the impetus to visit the safari because honestly, it did not sound particularly interesting. That said, as I had a corporate pass to visit the River Safari for free, it was a good chance to visit the attraction.

As its name suggests, the River Safari is a river-themed zoo and aquarium, located between the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari. If rivers do not fascinate you, there are two pandas located in the River Safari (which was really the main highlight for me).

1. Themes

The River Safari's attractions are categorised by major rivers of the world. For example, there are zones named Mississippi River, Yangtze River, Mekong River etc.

You can see animals such as catfishes, alligator snapping turtles etc. in tanks, both small and large.

Leaving aside the Giant Panda Forest, one of the more impressionable zones was the Amazon Flooded Forest. I never knew that the forests along the Amazon's bank could be submerged for a couple of months each year! Here, we got to see, amongst other animals, the manatees and giant river otters.

The manatees are large animals and it was quite a sight seeing them swim. As for the pair of otters, one moment they were sunbathing on the bank, the next moment they were diving into the water demonstrating their excellent swimming skills.

2. Pandas 

Of course, the pandas deserve a separate mention. Do note that it can get pretty chilly in this section as the bio dome is kept at a cool 16 - 24 degrees to simulate the pandas' natural climate.

The first animal that you see upon entering the Giant Panda Forest is not the famous pandas, but the red panda. At first sight, the red panda looks nothing like the lazy black and white pandas. This particular red panda was very active and hopping from one branch to the other. We were pretty fascinated by this cute creature.

Although we did not manage to see the famous pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia the first time we walked past their enclosures, we waited for a while before walking back because there was no way I was going to miss seeing the pandas at the River Safari.

It was exciting seeing the pandas in real life, Kai Kai enjoying the bamboo like a boss while Jia Jia was just sitting back and relaxing, and simply enjoying her meal.

3. Reservoir Cruise

There is a Reservoir Cruise which you can board for free. They suspended the cruise when it was raining and resumed it when the rain stopped.

This was a cruise along the upper Seletar Reservoir and honestly, boring. We got to see a giraffe and rhinoceros at the ride. The guide also passed around some giraffe poo which attracted some curious looks from tourists. I would rather they skip passing the giraffe poo around because most people were either not interested or did not know what it was.

It was a nice, slow boat ride, where we got to enjoy some breeze. Other than that, there's nothing much to the reservoir cruise.

4. Amazon River Quest

There was also a Amazon River Quest right next to the Reservoir Cruise. It costs S$5 per adult and S$3 per child. You can purchase your tickets at the Boat Plaza. The signboard states that you should be prepared to be wet.

It was a good thing we were there on a weekday because there was totally no queue. There were a few mini roller-coasteresque drops but nothing too frightening. We sat in the middle and did not get wet but do not know whether those sitting at the front or back would get wet- if this is a concern, you should speak to the guides before purchasing your tickets. This gave some thrill factor to the River Safari, although rather insignificant, as the ride was short.

If you do not take this boat ride, you would not be able to see some animals, such as the Caribbean flamingos, capybaras, black howler monkeys and jaguars etc. Some of the animals had gone into hiding so we did not see them.

5. Food

When we were at the entrance of the zoo, my husband asked if I wanted to eat the food at the entrance (e.g. KFC). I did not want to because I wanted to have the cheesy panda food served in the River Safari.

I got my wish at Mama Panda Kitchen. I have to say that the price of food here is pretty decent and reasonable. I remember being shocked with the prices at some other attractions but am glad that this place did not seek to charge exorbitant prices. I tried the Chicken and Mushroom Bamboo Rice ($9.90) - nothing too gourmet, but decent.

For good order, I also tried the adorable Panda Chocolate Custard Bao ($2.90). I told my husband that all these cute food exist for females and children.

6. Planning your trip 

The walkways are covered so this can be a wet weather activity (except that you may not be able to sit the rides if there is bad weather).

That said, there are a number of activities which are scheduled at certain timings. If you want to catch those, I suggest that you download the map which states the timings of these activities. For example, the Meet the Green Iguana Grey Parrot is at 5:15 p.m., and the River Talk is at 11:30 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. We did not catch any of these.

There are hydration points around and you can save the earth and money by bringing your own water bottle.

As it may be slightly cold in the panda dome, do bring along a light jacket if you are not comfortable with a temperature of 16-24 degrees.

River Safari 
80 Mandai Lake Road

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Fatboy's The Burger Bar (Upper Thomson)

Before moving to my current abode, I used to live near another Fatboy's outlet. But, well, because it looked like I might potentially put on a few kilograms eating their burgers, I wasn't that interested in giving the burgers a try. 

However, as we were on a quest to try all the eateries along Upper Thomson, we decided that it was only right that we tried the burgers at Fatboy's.  

Their menu looked enticing, with a couple of arteries-clogging burgers. But the thing I was truly attracted to was the fact that you could build your own burger, with a good variety of toppings. 

I first chose the healthy sounding honey oat bun ($2), then chose toppings including portabello mushroom ($4.50), fried egg ($1.50), fried onion strings ($1.50), and topped it off with truffle mayo ($1.50). For my dream combination, this burger only cost $11, which is reasonably priced. The honey oat bun was thick and fluffy, the deep fried onion strings were rather addictive (except that it was a tad over deep fried, and a little dry), and the mushroom was juicy. However, the mushroom was slathered with a tad too much balsamic vinegar and it overwhelmed the otherwise earthy taste of the mushroom. All burgers came with fries. Now, if they ever want to expand their menu, please include fish!

If I were craving for burgers, I would bear this place in mind, simply because it is decently priced and the food is reasonably good. The wait for the food can be a little slow because they have delivery orders to handle as well.

Fatboy's The Burger Bar
187 Upper Thomson Road
Tel No: 6252 8780