Monday, March 17, 2014

Explore Singapore! : Universal Studios Singapore (Travel Guide)

Summer in Manila is just around the corner and this just means one thing : It's time to plan your summer trips!

For those who are coming to Singapore in the coming months or even years, I will begin this series called Explore Singapore! highlighting several must-visit places that you could consider to include in your itinerary. It's true. Singapore is a small country but being small doesn't mean there's not much to see. Living here for a year, I've come to realized that there are a lot of places that I have yet to visit. As Paul and I would dedicate our weekends in exploring the city, our love for the Little Red Dot grows more and more.

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Let me begin with the most popular one -- welcome to Universal Studios Singapore!

Since it opened about 4-5 years ago, Universal Studios Singapore or USS as we would call it, has been one of the most visited spot here in Singapore. It really just shows that theme parks are not just for kids. For example, my parents who visited us last year told me to prepare their itinerary but they just have one request -- to visit USS. I almost fell of my seat laughing when Pan told me about this but being the obedient daughter that I was, I made sure that we visited USS on their 2nd day in Singapore!

I've written about visiting Universal Studios Singapore 4 years ago and since a lot of changes have took place, it's high time for an update.

Getting there:
There are several ways to go to Sentosa Island today. First is through the Sentosa Monorail which you can access from the top level of Vivo City Mall. This will cost you S$4 for a round trip ride but the whole amount will be deducted at the Vivo City station. Those who prefers a cheaper alternative is to head to the entrance of the mall and take bus RWS8 which will only cost you S$2 per way.

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Since we wanted to take a more scenic route, we opted to walk. Yes, walking to Sentosa Island is possible thanks to the wonderful planning of the Singapore government. We walked along the boardwalk in Vivo City until we reached the start of the Sentosa Boardwalk. You'll see this sign to guide you.

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Then the walk to Sentosa begins! Yes, 545m to Sentosa but the whole boardwalk has walkalators so it wasn't tiring at all. Some parts, Paul and I decided to really walk and skip the walkalator for the benefit of our heart and over-all health. I tell you, I was able to easily reach my fitness goal that day!

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As you get to the end of the boardwalk, there will be a turnstile wherein you'll have to drop a S$1 coin as your entrance fee. As you can see, this is definitely the cheapest way to get to Sentosa and I think I'll be doing this all the time from now on as I really enjoyed the walk.

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Just follow the signages and in no time you'll come face to face with the ever-popular, most photographed globe in the world -- the Universal Studios Singapore globe! While I took some shots of it, Paul queued up to get our tickets. We're so excited despite visiting the theme park for a couple of times already. It's fun to just play and enjoy the weekend at the theme park, agree? I think it's also time to consider getting an annual pass too.

What's Inside?

A lot of rides have been added since our 2010 visit to USS. In fact, they also added in a new zone since our last visit too! Today, USS has a total of 7 zones -- Hollywood, Far Far Away, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, Lost World and Madagascar.

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Let us begin with the walk down Hollywood Boulevard. This is the first zone that you'll see as you enter the theme park. I really love the bustling and glamorous structures the lines this section. Here, you'll be able to see the Despicable Me minions, Woody Woodpecker, a number of Hollywood personalities and more!

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Look what I found! A Starbucks Coffee store right inside USS! Often I'd complain to Paul that the food and drinks inside the theme park are quite sad and overly expensive. I'm glad Starbucks Coffee finally opened here, at least I can just hang out and get my favorite cup of iced Caramel Macchiatto to beat the Singapore heat.

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I can't help but take a photo of the Hollywood street sign. Yes, you'll definitely feel all glamorous in this area.

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Taking a right from Hollywood Boulevard, we were immediately transported back in time.. to the era of Drive-in Cafes, the Golden Era of Movies and our childhood bestest friends -- the gang of Sesame Street! We're now in New York and here do check out the Lights, Camera Action by Steven Spielberg as well as the fun but very relaxing Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase which the little ones will truly adore. We were also able to catch the Monsters Rock show which was pretty entertaining.

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As you go through New York, the next zone is the Sci-Fi City. Our objective that day was to finally check out Transformers The Ride : The Ultimate 3D Battle. During our last visit, the line was just so long that we had to back out. Both Paul and I are fans of Transformers (more of him actually, while I'm a very supportive wife hehe) and I guess this time, it was really meant for us to go on the ride as there was no waiting line at all! In fact, the entire USS was pretty relaxed that day. The ride was FUN! I was initially scared as I had 3D rides that leaves me horribly nauseous after but this one was really cool. I highly recommend for you to check it out too. After the Transformers ride, we headed to the Accelerator which is my personal favorite. If you're familiar with Disney's Tea Cup ride, then this is very similar to it. I just love going around and around in circles for a good one minute or two. Weeeeeeh!

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From all futuristic rides and designs, we headed back in time when Mummies and Pharoahs exist. Welcome to Ancient Egypt. Here's where you can find the famous Revenge of the Mummy ride. We skipped this one as we're both not too fond of roller coasters...and an indoor one at that. Instead, we tried the Treasure Hunter which is a kiddie ride. Quite boring for adults like us but if you have a kid in tow, be sure to line up for this.

We've been going back in time, so the next zone really took us back to where everything began -- The Lost World. This section is divided into two areas -- Jurassic Park and Waterworld.

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Visiting Jurassic Park will allow you to say hello to Diane, a baby triceratops. Reminds me more of Land Before Time more than Jurassic Park actually. :P Above you, you'll hear screams coming from the Canopy Flyer. I've been wanting to ride this actually but I just do not have the patience to line up for more than 15 minutes. Someday...someday.

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However, I do love the popular Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. This is perfect for those who do not mind getting wet or even soaked! My tip is to bring along a raincoat to save yourself from walking around the park dripping wet.

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One show that you should not miss is Waterworld. I haven't watched the movie but I would go watch the live show almost every time I'm in USS and once in Universal Studios California. I loved it every single time as I can't help but be amazed at the effects and how technologically advanced the show was.

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After getting our adrenaline all high in this zone, we moved on to the very dreamy Far, Far Away. Here's where you'll see Shrek, Fiona and of course, Donkey! Must-see is the Shrek 4-D Adventure as well as the Donkey Live Show.

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During our recent visit, we skipped the 4-D adventure as we saw it twice already so we opted to just relax and watch the show. I tell you, I loved every minute of it! It was so funny, highly interactive and we both had a great time. How I wish my parents were able to watch this show too as I'm so sure they'll enjoy it as well. Maybe next time...

The last zone was Madagascar. This was the newest addition so we made sure to try both rides found in this area -- the King Julien's Beach Party-Go-Round as well as the Madagascar: A Crate Adventure. Both very kiddie friendly but adults will enjoy clapping and dancing to the fun beat as you go round and round the merry go round!

It's Chow Time!

food cart uss
Now, the question is -- where to eat inside the theme park. I have to admit that I still find the snacks and meals here quite disappointing and for visitors, I would still recommend that you check out the restaurants outside the park. However, for those who just wants to munch something in between the rides, there are a lot of food carts available. I just love how each is designed to match the zone. The choices are similar all over the theme park though. You can have corn dogs, noodle dog (not so yummy and very messy!), nachos with cheese, ice cream, soda and in certain kiosks, they sell Turkey Legs too but a way smaller version compared to the one I had in California!

There are also a number of food outlets in USS as well such as KT's Grill, Loui's NY Pizza Parlor and Mel's Drive-In. Normally, Paul and I would just have lunch prior to heading to the theme park as we're really not too impressed with the food inside.

Ending your day with a BANG.

After going through all the rides and watching the show, be sure to stay around for the fireworks display. In my opinion, it still comes second to Disney Land as it lacks that emotional tug that Disney has succeeded in. However, it was nice to just rest our legs while ooh-ing and ahh-ing as the Singapore sky is filled with beautiful colors.

The best time to go to USS is definitely during weekdays and do make sure that it doesn't coincide with a school holiday or school break. We really enjoyed strolling around the theme park without having to elbow our way through the crowd. For first-time Singapore visitors, I highly recommend for you to dedicate at least half a day at USS.

Ticket rates: (as of March 2014)
Adult: S$74
Child: S$54
Senior Citizen: S$36 (yes, even tourists can avail of this just present your passport/valid ID)

There are a number of promotions that USS would have periodically, be sure to visit their website before booking your theme park tickets.

Universal Studios Singapore is located at Sentosa Island, Singapore. Visit their website for more information


  1. Wohoooo!!!! really helpful Fran!!! Just keep em coming and I'll keep on bookmarking them.. LOL I plan to go back again later in the year and I hope I get to do the stuff you wrote down!! Love it!!!

  2. How fun that you have this right at your back yard, franny! <3 Inggit ako. If I livedin Singapore I would probably be in Universal Studios every single week from sun up to sun down haha. LOVE! <3

  3. @jeng: thank you thank you!!! let me know if you're coming to visit

    @jane: mismo!! its a good place to go when we just want to unwind and have fun

  4. Excited SG Tourist here (tho this 3Q pa). Inquiries lang po, yung ticket po all-in na ba yun? I mean, access na sa 7zones pati rides? And can i just buy tickets na dun to avail tourist discount? Thanks :)

    1. Hi Xiaolian! Don't worry, planning ahead is key to save more when travelling ;) Yes, all in na yung ticket rate unless specified that there may be some rides/shows with additional costs but parang wala naman. I also recommend that you buy online as they only release a certain # of tickets baka maubusan kayo esp when it's peak.

  5. Hi, I'd just like to ask if USS has an entrance ticket only as an option? I have adult companions that would not want to experience any of the rides/activities and would just prefer to explore the place.

    1. Hi Chinee! Unfortunately I think they don't however you might want to visit their website just to be sure :)


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