Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Journey to Universal Studios, Singapore.

In the end of last January, I had a chance to go to Universal Studios, Singapore. I left on Sunday the 30th, and going back on Tuesday the 1st of February.

So, the only attraction this time was the Universal Studios (USS) only, since it is not possible to cover the whole main attractions and places in Singapore in a day. I booked almost everything online, from the admission ticket into USS, return bus tickets to and from Johor Bahru (JB), and also two-nights stay at Tune Hotel, Danga Bay JB. Altogether, all of this costs me around RM500.

Departure Day (30th January)

I left Putrajaya (I'm staying in my sister's house here for few days before that) to Johor Bahru at 10.30am (from Putrajaya Sentral) with Transnasional (You guys can buy your tickets HERE). It takes around 5-6 hours before arrived in Larkin Sentral Terminal. From there, I took a cab to the Tune Hotel which is around 5 minutes drive from Larkin. I checked in and took a rest before going down to the lobby to claim my shuttle's ticket to Universal Studios the next day (Altogether with the stay, I was offered to buy a voucher for the journey to USS with the shuttle organised by Odyssey Travel that departs daily from the hotel. This costs RM23 for return journey).

Tune Hotel, Danga Bay

View inside my room.

Unfortunately, I was told that it is already full (since the service on first-come-first-serve basis) for the next day. So, I was refunded back on the spot. The receptionist told me that, she was nearly getting slapped by one of the emotional guy who staying there because he didn't get the ticket. She said that, it was not their fault since the complaints were many times posed on the travel agency and till now, they didn't manage to provide extra shuttles from the hotel. I didn't complaint anything since I've prepared for this earlier, and I know there are so many options of transport to go from JB to Sentosa Island :) I decided to take a bus from city, directly to Sentosa Island and going back later that day with MRT and a bus back to Larkin before taking a cab to the hotel.

Singapore (31st January)

5.00 am. I woke up already and getting prepared. Luckily, Subuh prayer is around 5.50 am so, I managed to do mine before going down to the lobby. I asked the receptionist there to get me a cab. I went out that morning to the Terminal Kota Raya 2, situated in the heart of the JB city :)

It was raining heavily that morning, that I hope and pray to God that it will stop soon. Anyway, I waited there for about one hour until the bus come and picked me up. For your information, there's plenty of bus services that going in and out of Singapore on daily basis. So, need not to worry. I'm taking the Transtar Cross-Border TS-8 service since it takes me directly to Sentosa Island. Any other services mostly will end up in Kranji MRT Station, Queen St and also Woodlands CIQ. This costs me RM 5 to go from JB to Sentosa.

Transtar Cross Border bus service.

Basically, there are two checkpoints that need to be done before getting ourselves into Singapore. First, in our land, Bukit Chagar CIQ. This doesn't takes much time since I'm using e-Passport, the same like one in airport. And then, the bus took me across the causeway to Woodlands CIQ, the next checkpoint in Singapore. Here, we will be required to fill in the immigration form called, "White Card" which later to be handed to the officer. You will be given a portion of the card that need to be presented later on the way out of Singapore. Another things happen here in Woodlands was the X-Ray scan on your belongings, and that's it. Time estimated for both checkpoints are vary depends on whether it is the peak hours or not. It might take 10-15 minutes during off-peaks and might take up to 1 hours during peak hours.

After this was done, I was realised that the bus I took earlier has already left. I don't worry much since I know, if I still have the ticket I don't need to buy the new one on-board. Things that I only worry was the time constraint, since I know that it is the peak hours and it's also heavy raining. I planned to get to USS by 10 am. Luckily, the next bus arrived on time as I seen on the schedule. The journey from Woodlands to Sentosa took around one hour since most roads from there to Sentosa are all congested. Plus, it is raining heavily that time.

View from the Transtar's bus. There's a message I'm trying to tell through this picture. Can you guess? :P

Finally, the bus reached Sentosa Island at around 10.30 am. It stopped at the coach bay situated underground so, I have to go upstairs on escalator. It's still raining, but there's plenty of covered areas so I didn't get wet much.

Upon arriving, I didn't go directly into the USS since I want to go walking around first, looking for any photography opportunities. There's still a lot of constructions taking place around. For your information, USS is not the only attraction there. The place is actually a huge complex, comprising few hotels, a casino and convention centre (plus USS as well).

The Forum, walkway in front of the casino.

Bankruptcy starts from here.

Well, it's almost 11 am. So, I went to the turnstile, and scan my ticket that I printed earlier at home. Upon the admission, I was given two vouchers, one for food and another one for retail worth $5 each. It's a big place, consisting few sections and parts in it. The first part is Hollywood and New York City. It's covered so raining is not really a big problem.

New York City

New York City Library, Singapore
The library

There's shows going on schedule so you need to be aware what time they'll commence. Here, I saw few famous and glamour characters like Marilyn Monroe, Frankestein etc where you can go to them and take pictures. The assistants will help you for this.

Marilyn Monroe with the tourists.

I don't know who's this character in any Hollywood's films. Batman?

The next part or the next section is the Sci-Fi City. This is supposed to be the main attraction in USS. But, since the well-known Battlestar Galactica roller coaster is closed from last year for maintenance, so mostly people will just going across this part to the next section (also there's few of the Battlestar characters are there for you to take pictures.

The gateway to Sci Fi City

Under testing.

There are two type of the coasters ; Human and Cylon

From there, I moved to the next section ; Ancient Egypt. Since it is already afternoon and I didn't eat anything from morning that day, I went to the Oasis Spice Cafe that situated in front of the Revenge of the Mummy's roller coaster. Using voucher I got earlier, a plate of biryani rice + roasted chicken + acar + fresh orange + bubur cha cha costs me $13.50.

Finished with lunch, I went for my first ride. The Revenge of The Mummy. The entrance is guarded by two huge Anubis figures with a representation of miniaturized Karnak Temple in front. There's a locker available near to the entrance where I put my backpack and tripod. The locker's system is unique. To rent a locker, firstly you need to type your date of birth and your favourite colour before you're assigned a locker. To retrieve your items back, you need to type again these two details and also the locker's number. Simple, right? The first 30 minutes is free, and minutes after that, you'll be charged $2. I rent two lockers for my backpack and tripod.

The Revenge of the Mummy's entrance.

The ride? Well, I can said it is superb. Much frightening than make a bungee jump I guess. Because I'm riding most of the time in dark. Feel like I'm jumping or going down out of nowhere. Huhu. The part that I remembered was when the coaster hit the "dead-end wall" with high speed where lotsa beetle's scurrying in the sides. And without warning, the coaster moves with high speed and goes into reverse, DOWNWARDS.

Finished with Egypt. I walked to the next part which is, Far Far Away Lang (I skipped the Jurassic Park's part since I don't want to get soaked in the last part of the ride). This is the place where I spent most of the time taking pictures. The view was superb! The Farquaad Castle is surreally huge and here, I went for the Shrek 4D show inside the castle.

View of the castle from the front

The gateway to the show

Inside the castle, there will be an opening show first before the 4D. Nothing much, just the excerpt from the movie I guess.

Movie before movie

The closest you sit to the front, the more effect you'll feel (that's what they told us)

The movie begin! You need to wear the 3d glasses to experience the "3d"ness of the movie. I think the another D that makes it 4D was the feeling of wind, feeling of rain and effect of spiders going around my feet being made up.

Finished with that, I'm still going around the castle to take pictures.

View from the side

There's a frog looking to the castle, 24/7 :P

My HDR seemed not working due to the rain.

When I'm about to going out from the castle, I meet with Faris Fikri. , one of my facebook's friends. What a coincidence :) It was first time that I meet him in person. He's in vacation with his family around Singapore that time.

with abg nadly aizat
The only picture of me.

Finally, I finished the first round which took me around three hours. I decided to spend the next couple of hours around the New York and Hollywood's part, looking for any shows that taking place.
Walk of the Fame, modelled after one in Kodak Theater, Hollywood

New York City, Singapore
U.S. Embassy I guees?

Madagascar's show. There's also a section and also Madagascar ride, which is still under construction and will be opened this year.

While waiting for the next show, I found an alley which leads to the Wharf. The alley is modelled after a Gotham City I guess. Or New York City around 1930s' . I managed to take some of the pictures there.

Archway to the alley

Where's the Batman?

View of the castle and Lost World's roller coaster from the Wharf.

Upon the exit, there's a show taking place. A break dance show.



Crowd of people watching their performance

The next show is one of the main attraction here in USS. Camera, Light, Action by Steven Spielberg. I didnt take any picture since it is advised to do so. Basically the show was how Steven Spielberg design the special effects in most of his film. It starts with the introduction movie by him before the audience being brought to the next stage. The theme is a terrific storm taking place in the boathouse. You can feel the strong wind struck you, things flying, water splash, oil spill where later ignites fire and the climax, a huge ship break the door and going directly to the audience! Huhu. Show ended with the platform shaking due to the collision with the ship and it managed to makes them shout. Hehe.

Finished with that, it is the nick of time for the next show ; The Musical Show. So many people inside the hall. Well, actually it's kinda boring for me though.

They're singing and dancing "I want nobody2 but you". Haha.

There's also another show is going on outside the hall. So many people over there, especially those who're watching the musical show earlier.


It's already 5pm. Rain has completely stopped before that. Time to go home. As I said earlier, I'm going back to JB via MRT and bus. So, I went out from USS and Sentosa to Vivocity across the strait via cable car.

Adios, USS :)

The cable car's station is situated not far from the entrance of USS. I walked from the entrance through the Festive Walk and then to the Imbiah Lookout. This place can be easily noticed from the huge Merlion tower there. A single ride of cable car costs $24 per person, while a return ride costs $26. The last station is at Mount Faber, but I decided to stop in VivoCity since it is nearer to the MRT station.

View of Keppel Harbour from the gondola. Keppel Harbour is one of the busiest port in the world.

Keppel Harbour and Tanjung Pagar Industrial Park

From ViVoCity, I went to the Harbour Front MRT station and buy a ticket to Kranji MRT. This costs me $3.20 (Which later you can claim the $1 deposit from the ticketing machine). The journey is pretty long, around one hour. I need to change to another line at Dhoby Ghout Station and then, change to another train at Yishun Station before arriving in Kranji. From there, I take a bus to Larkin (Causeway Link 2 - CW2), which costs me $1.30. As usual, I need to go through the two checkpoints first in Woodlands and Bukit Chagar before arriving in Larkin (Arrived around 8pm). Alhamdulillah, I managed to get to my room safely.

Later that night, I went out to Danga Bay. Well, not so many people that night as weekend. It's a place with waterfront, an amusement park and few seafood restaurants. Since I brought my tripod with me, I decided to play around with light trails :) Finished with that, I have my dinner at one of the restaurant there before going back to hotel.

Cruise. Dunno when it will leave.

Light trails of a train inside the funfair.

Merry go round.

The Last Day (1st February)

I checked out around 10 am. Since the bus depart at 1.30pm, I went out to Larkin quite late, around 12pm. The journey back to Putrajaya takes around 6 hours, since most of the passengers dropped by the roadside altogether with those at Bukit Jalil, and Tesco Puchong before finally disembark at Putrajaya Sentral.

I spent a night at my sister's house for a night before heading back to Taiping the next day.

THE END.....


built of cornflakes said...

Wow! They've got Hollywood Boulevard in USS.. Definitely worth going. Did it rain when you were at USS?
Did you take a cab from hotel to larkin bus terminal?

Nadly said...

yep it was raining heavily before it settled down by the end of the day. I did take cab from Tune Hotel to Terminal Kotaraya 2 instead of Larkin to catch bus directly to Sentosa.

Gwen said...

Hi, may i know how much does it cost to take a cab from Tune Hotel to Terminal Kotaraya 2?

Nadly said...

Hey Gwen,

It will costs around RM12 to RM15, depending on the driver.

Gwen said...

Ok, thank you so much.
Btw, is there any bus station outside Tune Hotel at Danga Bay?

Nadly said...

I think there is one bus stop close to the mainroad at Bandar Baru Uda, but you have to walk quite far to that stop.

And I dunno where these buses are heading to, whether going to Larkin or Kotaraya.

mimieux said...

hye..may i know..how much you expense trouugh all the day at sgpore?

Nadly said...

hey mimi,

roughly around SGD40 - SGD60 if i still remember. I went there for just a day tho'.