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Jay Park live in Bangkok: First Step in Thailand fan meet (Fancam)

Though I spent 13 days in Thailand, I thought I’d get this story out first.

When I won the contest to go see Linkin Park live in Abu Dhabi during the F1, I had to postpone by trip to Thailand. At first, the dates were Nov 17th to Nov 28th, a Sunday, so I could get back to work on a Monday. Then I heard about Jay Park’s fan meet happening in Bangkok — so I pushed my return date to the 29th!

Jay Jaebeom Park Korean star profile
Jay Park

Now, if you’re someone who reads my blog or is wondering, who the hell this guy I pushed my dates for is, here’s a brief intro on Jay Park. Park Jaebeom, is a Korean-American (though more American than Korean) artist who gained fame when he became a member of a Korean boy band called 2PM. He was the group’s ‘leader’ and with their smash hit “Again & Again,” they were one of the hottest boy bands (both in terms of fame and appearance) in Asia.

And then, controversy. Apparently he said something on his Myspace page (back when people still used Myspace) about how much life in South Korea sucked (he’s a third generation Korean American born in the US) and that riled up a few Koreans. Demanding an apology, they asked for action to be taken against Jay Park. 2PM’s label said all is well but then a few months later, bad news. Jay Park is out of 2PM.

Fans are shocked. Mostly because JYP didn’t make it public as to why he was “fired” from the group. All that was mentioned was that he did something worse than saying “South Korea sucks”. What it was, nobody knows… which pissed off fans even more.

Jay Park soon left South Korea and made his way back to his home town in the US. Tears were shed at Incheon Airport by 2PM fans but to no avail. “Leader” Jaebom Park was officially out of 2PM, and the country.

Months pass and no word on what the guy is up to. And then, he pops up on YouTube and decides to sing a cover of “Nothin’ On You,” the then fresh single by debut rapper B.O.B featuring Bruno Mars. His version became sooo popular that he actually released a version of his own and a Korean version of the same featuring B.O.B.

Jay Park is now signed to Sidus Entertainment, another Korean agency and announces he’s going to be appearing in a dance flick called Hype Nation out in 2011. Jay Park has always said he loves b-boying more than anything so it seemed like a natural fit that he stars in a movie on the same (though, its not like there hasn’t been others).

So when did I become a fan? When he teased a single from the movie called “Demon”. I can’t really share a link or anything… because the single hasn’t been released yet.

I heard it for the first time back in August I believe and since then, the initial performances have been since removed from YouTube. It was from a performance he had done in South Korea and the audio wasn’t very good. But even despite that, from what I heard, I loved it! It’s a killer track!

Produced by the legendary Teddy Riley, “Demon” was a song originally written for Michael Jackson, and now posthumously given to Jay Park. Either his label paid shit loads for the song — or even Teddy Riley realized Jay Park is destined for greatness and agreed to give him the song.

None the less, “Demon” is going to be featured on the soundtrack to Hype Nation, so I’m guessing the music video (even though they have already finished filming it) isn’t going to come out until a few months before the movie does.

Anyway, coming to the Thailand fan meet. I booked my ticket while I was in Chiang Mai and I opted for the 1000 baht (Rs. 1500/$33) seat because… well the guy hasn’t even got an album out, so I was going just to see him perform “Demon”. Plus, I didn’t want to sit so close to the speakers because when recording, the only audio I would have gotten would have been the thumping bass… plus a lot of girls screaming.

It was on the 28th of November, a Sunday evening, held at the Royal Paragon Hall — which is located on the 5th floor of the Siam Paragon mall in Bangkok city.  I got there by around 5pm as I had to collect my ticket. There was quite a line already.

Jay Park Thailand fan meet ticket lineJaywalkers were out in full force too.

Jay Park Jaywalkers Thai fansJay Park Jaywalkers Thai fans waitingJay Park Jaywalkers Thai fans t-shirt

Jay Park Thailand young fan
Even very young fans
Jay Park Thailand fan meet media
So were the media

Jay Park Thailand fan meet MTV interview

After standing in line for nearly 45 minutes, I make my way near the counter only to be told I only had to go to another counter for online bookings.

Jay Park Thailand fan meet tickets
All I had to do was come here

Oh well. Once ticket in hand, the next queue was for the security check. I came fully prepared with all my lenses, extra batteries, extra memory card and with my Canon 70-200 f2.8 in tow, I wasn’t worried about being so far away from the stage.


Jay Park Thailand fan meet no cameras
... they were taking away camera bags and DSLRs

But guess what, I put my bag on the other shoulder and made it past them! Woo hoo!

Unnnfortunately when it came to the gates, where security were checking handbags, they saw my DSLR and asked me to hand it over to the folks in charge of taking away cameras.


I went in with lenses, but no camera body to fit those lenses onto. Well, at least I still had my phone.

Once inside, I got my seat. The hall wasn’t sold out, but had a very good turnout none the less.

Jay Park Thailand fan meet Royal Paragon Hall
Waiting for the show to start

At around 6:30pm, the lights go out. The crowd (mostly girls) start to scream! And then two Thai MCs come on stage. I obviously didn’t understand what they were saying but I’m pretty sure they were asking if the crowd was ready to see Jay Park. Obviously, we all were.

So the hall goes dark again. And then:

The girls sitting beside me were going crazy! This was a ‘sit down’ show, and in their excitement, I expected them to stand up to get a better view. But they didn’t. They were just jumping and shaking in their chairs. I couldn’t help but laugh!

Anyway, after kicking off the show with his cover of “Nothin’ On You,” the lights dimmed once again and then a video came on screen:

After hearing the song (twice) I essentially came for, I felt satisfied.Yeah, I didn’t manage to get the best recording, so if you want a closer look, check this or this one out instead.

After the performance, Jay came back on stage and was joined by the two Thai MCs for a Q & A session.

Sadly, that’s all I could record. Security came by and told me to stop recording — and then went around telling everybody else the same. They were pretty strict about it henceforth.

During the Q & A, the questions were fairly childish and basic. Like what he likes to do in his free time, his hobbies, etc. Jay Park looked lost most of the time, mostly ‘lost’ in translation. The hosts didn’t seem well prepared either. Took ages for one of them to understand “bromance” and when it came selecting 3 girls to come on stage, oh boy, did that seem like ages.

Three lucky fans did get a chance to get up close with their idol though.

Jay Park Thailand fan meet lucky girls

One of them even got Jay to draw something for her, one of them got to squeeze his nose and the last girl got to hug him. There were fans who had come from Indonesia and Hong Kong; but since the guy who came from India was sitting all the way in the back, he wasn’t noticed :/

Jay Park was also joined on stage by his b-boy crew Art of Movement.

Jay Park Thailand fan meet AOM Q & A
Jay Park is right in the middle

The hosts were asking the audience what they’d like to know and when it came to asking for secrets about Jay Park, Cha Cha from the AOM crew said “Jay likes to bathes himself in hot sauce,” to which Jay LOL’d. Not quite sure if he meant Jay just loves hot sauce or he actually likes to smear hot sauce all over his body.

The crew left the stage and said they’d be back for their performance, which I was so looking forward to. When they did perform, the minute I raised my phone to try and record, the security came by my row. Sucks.

Anyway, it’s not like Art of Movement doesn’t have videos on YouTube.

There was also a performance by rap duo The Quiett & Dok 2. They performed two songs, along with the usual rap instructions: “Throw your hands up in the air” and “Say ‘Yeeeahhhh’…”. There were okay. Then Jay Park returned to the stage and joined the rap duo for a song.

Other songs Jay Park performed were “Speechless” with ChaCha (who wrote & produced it). Jay Park also hit the stage with a cover of Jay Sean’s “Down” and Usher’s “U Got It Bad”. The roof came down during “U Got It Bad” when towards the end, Jay Park finally did it — he ripped off his vest. I’m sure the girls got their money’s worth.

The last song Jay Park performed was “Bestie” and the entire AOM crew came on stage to join the performance.

After that, he and AOM said their goodbyes and left the stage. Immediately, some got up and began to run towards the exit. Maybe they just wanted to head home quickly or wanted to pick up their cameras. I know I sure wanted to, so I got up as well. And then the Thai MCs came back on stage.

Jay Park Thailand fan meet Thai MCsAgain, they were speaking Thai so I couldn’t understand but I got the drift they were asking if we enjoyed the show. Also, they pointed out to the fans making their way out as if to say “You’re leaving? You think it’s over?”

Guess what, it wasn’t! Jay Park along with the AOM crew hit the stage once again for a dance off…

Jay Park Thailand fan meet Art of Movement
... and all I have to show for it is this crappy cellphone photo. Sorry, but even now the security was looking at me.

After another stellar show of their dance skills, this time the show was actually over. And everybody knew it.

Jay Park first step in Thailand fans leaving
The show ended at around 8:30

After a good 2 hours of entertainment, I collected my camera and saw several fans queuing up again!

Jay Park Thailand meet & greet
There was going to be a meet & greet with Jay Park now

Of course, it wasn’t for everyone. It was open only to those who bought the most expensive tickets — 4500 baht (Rs. 6600/$150).

I wasn’t one of them, obviously, but I did finally get a chance to shoot with my 70-200mm lens.

Jay Park Thailand fan meet handing out posters
Every fan got an autographed poster & a chance to shake hands with Jay Park

Here’s just a few who were lucky:

Even though the fans were instructed not to get too physical or spend more than 2 seconds with Jay, some did manage to get what they wanted.

Jay Park Thailand greeting fan
And Jay Park gladly obliged
Jay Park Thailand fan meet young fan
This kid even got a hug from the burgeoning global star

After 15 minutes of shaking hands and receiving many, many gift bags from his loyal supporters, Jay Park finally said goodbye.

Jay Park Thailand fan meet thank you
First, a big "khob-kun-ka" ("thank you" in Thai) to his fans...
Jay Park Thailand fan meet goodbye
... and finally, lots of love.

With that, Jay Park left the building.

Jay Park Thailand first step in Thailand ticket
So was my ticket worth it?


I pushed my dates just to see Jay Park for a reason. Ever since I heard “Demon” and started getting to know more about Jaebeom Park, the more I started to believe Jay Park is going to be a huge star. The guy can rap, sing and dance. He’s writing his own material with his friends in AOM and working with some of the biggest names in the music business.

Sure, the tickets were slightly expensive. But I can understand why. I can imagine how much it would have cost to not just bring Jay Park down, but his AOM friends as well (and not to mention his management staff too). Sure, I didn’t get to capture the event the way I had hoped to share it with everybody. It’s ok. I can understand if MTV paid for exclusive performance footage. It’s all business at the end of the day.

Sure, if I had a chance to ask him some questions, I would have asked him about his music. Like who are the other producers or artists he’s collaborating that we don’t know of yet. Or like, what date and time is “Demon” getting an official release! But I guess I’m in the minority. I’m a 28-year old guy who likes ‘Jay Park the artist’. Most Jaywalkers (mostly young girls) like him for his music, his 2PM legacy, his abs, his hair, his looks, his… anything!

And Jay Park knows that.

I know it’s too early to shower so much praise on a guy who hasn’t even come out with a full-fledged album yet, but I’m calling it now itself…

– Jay Park is going to be the break-out star of 2011

– won’t be surprised if “Demon” tops the Billboard Top 100

– the next big ‘Jay’ of Asian descent (the first being Jay Sean) and the first Korean-American solo singer to have a no. 1 single globally

I may end up being wrong of all the above, but even if I am, I still have faith in Jay Park’s talents. Even if he doesn’t crack the Western markets, he’ll still be crazy popular in Asia.

And I’ll still pay to see him perform. Maybe just a little bit more the next time.

P.S: He he, I even made an appearance on Thai television. Around the 0:53 mark ^_^

Singapore Zoo white Bengal tigers staring

Singapore 2010: Day 3 – Singapore Zoo, Marina Bay Sands; leaving Singapore for Penang

Date: 27th September 2010

We only had from morning to evening in Singapore today, so we decided to skip Sentosa as the journey all the way to the theme park wouldn’t be worth it unless we could spend time at Universal Studios as well… for which we didn’t have “sufficient funds”. So, Singapore Zoo it was.

This being our last day in Singapore, I decided to take a few photographs of ABC Hostels, in case you were curious as to what its like from the inside.

ABC Backpacker hostel reception Singapore
The reception
ABC Backpacker hostel reception free internet Singapore
The hostel provides free internet; we found it quite slow

ABC Backpacker hostel reception free internet Singapore

ABC Backpacker hostel breakfast kitchen Singapore
This is the kitchen
ABC Backpacker hostel breakfast kitchen restroom Singapore
…where you’d come to make your own breakfast or anything else
ABC Backpacker hostel breakfast table Singapore
Once made, you have to sit outside. Once done, wash the dishes yourself. (Photo taken by my friend Loi)

ABC Backpacker hostel breakfast table eating area SingaporeABC Backpacker hostel moped Singapore alley

ABC Backpacker hostel rooms Singapore
Our room was at the end to the right

I didn’t take a photo of the room we got because it was in a mess, but picture this: not a big room, big enough bed for 3 mid-sized adults, functional split A/C, well-lit, with a mirror and table. That’s it. If you want more than a room for just sleeping, its best you book yourself into a regular hotel.

After finding out how to get to Singapore Zoo, we set off for Bugis MRT station.

Raffles Hospital open field Victoria street junctionRochor Center Victoria street junction SingaporeTo get Singapore Zoo, we first needed to get to Ang Mo Kio MRT station, and then take a bus from there.

Ang Mo Kio bus station Singapore
Ang Mo Kio bus interchange

Ang Mo Kio bus interchange station opposite MRT SingaporeBut as soon as we got down, there was a van waiting with a woman approaching tourists with a deal. Buy the entry ticket with 4 tram rides and a drop to the zoo in a van (one way) for SGD23 (SGD18 + 5 for the tram rides). We knew the entry fee is SGD18 (Rs. 620/$14/€10) for adults so it seemed like a good deal (but what do we know). Plus we didn’t have to take the bus.

Singapore Zoo agents van ride ticket

Singapore Zoo entry ticket special
The entry ticket costs SGD18 even if you were to buy it at the zoo entrance

When the van quickly filled up with other tourists, we set off.

Ang Mo Kio branch office Singapore
This part of Singapore was noticeably different
Ang Mo Kio metro road traffic Singapore
It’s still well connected by the metro

Ang Mo Kio public library SingaporeAng Mo Kio MRT track Singapore

Driving to Singapore Zoo lush greenery
There was lush greenery around these parts

After a 15 minute ride, we arrived at Singapore Zoo. The weren’t a whole lot of people in queue — but we just walked straight in as we already had our entry tickets.

Singapore Zoo entrance gate

Singapore zoo elephant statues
They have real ones too

Singapore zoo entrance leaves greenFirst up, monkeys…

Singapore zoo cotton top Tamarin monkeySingapore zoo cotton top tamarin monkey habitatSingapore Zoo cotton top tamarin information… then parrots.

Singapore Zoo cockatoo parrots entrance

Singapore Zoo parrots at the entranceSingapore Zoo cockatoo pink parrotFrom this point on, the zoo truly begins.

Singapore Zoo animal shows timings ridesSingapore Zoo wooden bridgeSingapore Zoo alligator in water

Singapore Zoo greater mousedeers
Greater mousedeers they are called

Singapore Zoo waterfall

Singapore Zoo asian small clawed otter
These otters were ‘busy’

Singapore Zoo Asian small clawed otter info

Singapore Zoo siamang hidden in tree
There was a siamang (a type of ape) hiding in the trees

Singapore Zoo wooden bridge ledge

Singapore Zoo Tiger Trek gate
Next up, my favourite animal

Singapore Zoo tiger trailSingapore Zoo tiger statue

Singapore Zoo white Bengal tiger den
There they are!
Singapore Zoo white Bengal tigers staring
Hello beautiful
Singapore Zoo white Bengal tiger yawning roaring
Its roar was sooo… (oh who am I kidding), it was only yawning

Singapore Zoo white Bengal tiger sleepy scratchingSingapore Zoo tiger exhibit wooden platform

Singapore zoo babirusa wild boar
Babirusa, native to Indonesia

Singapore zoo babirusa wild boar hornsThe zoo has a few sections for smaller creatures, like reptiles which are on display in enclosed exhibits.

Singapore Zoo lizardSingapore zoo aquarium fishesSingapore zoo tortoiseSingapore zoo aquarium large fishSingapore zoo aquarium large fish full

Singapore zoo pygmy hippo water
The pygmy hippo… or at least half of it
Singapore Zoo desert warthog
Desert warthog a.k.a Pumba

Singapore zoo pond boat house

Singapore zoo Australian lizard
This was at the Australian Outback section
Singapore zoo carpet python
Carpet python

Singapore zoo path to kangaroos

Singapore zoo Australian kangaroo
If you don’t know by now, they’re called kangaroos
Singapore zoo Australia kangaroo meaning
This I didn’t know

Singapore zoo Australian kangaroo feedingSingapore zoo Australian jeepSingapore zoo Australian kangaroos

Singapore zoo Australia Steve Irwin tribute
Remembering the late Steve Irwin
Singapore zoo big bird small head
Funny looking thing, this bird
Singapore Zoo Hamadryas baboons entrance
Next up, baboons!

Singapore Zoo Hamadryas baboons sectionSingapore Zoo hamadryas baboons habitatSingapore zoo hamadryas baboons lazing sleeping

Singapore zoo hamadryas baboons ibex
They have to share their space though

Singapore zoo hamadryas baboons ibex rocks

Singapore zoo hamadryas baboons acting human
It’s fun watching monkeys behave human

Singapore zoo hamadryas baboons scratching back Singapore zoo hamadryas baboons close upSingapore zoo hamadryas baboons close up staring

Singapore zoo hamadryas baboons waterfallSingapore zoo hamadryas baboons injured

Singapore zoo banded mongoose sand
Banded mongoose
Singapore zoo saddle billed stork bird
Saddle billed stork
Singapore zoo black backed jackal
Black backed jackal

Singapore zoo bamboo path Ramesh

Singapore zoo elephant fountain statue
Next up were Asian elephants
Singapore zoo elephant show panorama
This is where they have the shows

Singapore zoo Asian elephants

Singapore zoo Asian elephant SBI adopted
Good on SBI for doing so
Singapore zoo hog deer
Hog deer

Singapore zoo long billed bird

Singapore zoo manatee water
Singapore zoo African penguins
African penguins
Singapore zoo African penguins info
Didn’t know there were penguins in Africa
Singapore zoo crocodile eyes above water
Guess what this creature was
Singapore zoo crocodile under water
Yup. I didn’t bother knocking on the glass or anything. I was too chicken.
Singapore zoo lake boat ride
Boat rides on the lake are also available
Singapore zoo chimpanzee trees
This is where the chimpanzees play
Singapore zoo chimpanzee
Couldn’t get a clear shot of its face

Singapore zoo chimpanzee climbing

Singapore zoo pony rides
They have a few ponies at the kids area

Singapore zoo pony

Singapore zoo model house old chinese
This was some model of an old farm house
Singapore zoo KFC restaurant
Oh the irony of seeing a KFC at a zoo

Singapore zoo mountain goats

Singapore zoo llamas
Singapore zoo mandrill baboon
Mandrill baboon
Singapore zoo proboscis monkeys sign
More monkeys

Singapore zoo proboscis monkeysSingapore zoo rain water level comparison

Singapore zoo Malaysian horned frog
Malaysian horned frog. Waited for the guy to turn around. He didn’t.
Singapore zoo American bullfrog
American bullfrog

Singapore zoo red birds

Singapore zoo pigeon hair small head
This is one of the most intriguing-looking pigeon-type bird I’ve seen

Singapore zoo river duck one legAfter this, we entered a fairly large netted section which enclosed a few bats, birds and some more interesting animals of this world.

Singapore zoo netted section bat hanging

Singapore zoo huge bat flying wing span
Took this on the same settings as the last shot, which is why it came out this way. Still, kinda cool.

Singapore zoo huge bat upside downSingapore zoo huge bat eating

Singapore zoo long tail animal closeup
You can get pretty close to these animals but you are asked not to touch them or feed them

Singapore zoo long tailed animal

Singapore zoo lemur family

Singapore zoo green white bird

Singapore zoo sloth hanging eating
Sloth. How these animals eat upside down is amazing.

Singapore zoo butterfly

Singapore zoo fragile forest
Went in here next

Singapore zoo leopard walking on tree

Shooting the above leopard proved to be quite difficult, and in this video you’ll see why:

Singapore zoo leopards
They did stay still eventually
Singapore zoo puma
Puma, the real thing
Singapore zoo lion
Finally, his highness truly
Singapore zoo lion tongue
😛 to you too
Singapore zoo lion den ground panorama
The king gets a pretty big ground for himself

Singapore zoo giraffe

Singapore zoo feeding giraffes
You can pay to feed the giraffes and get your photo taken

Singapore zoo zebras

Singapore zoo ostrich
Hello ostrich
Singapore zoo wind blowing trees
It was very windy and looked like it was going to rain fairly soon
Singapore zoo cheetah
The fastest animal on the planet, the awesome cheetah

Singapore zoo cheetah cubsSingapore zoo heron

Singapore zoo birds cleaning rhinos back
The rhino and its cleaning birds
Singapore zoo orangutan island
‘Orangutan island’

Singapore zoo orangutan swingingSingapore zoo orangutanSingapore zoo orangutan eating

Singapore zoo old big orangutan
I know you can’t make out much of what this is

The one above was a very big ape (I believe an orangutan), quite old in age who was kept in this glass enclosure and it was quite dark… so you really couldn’t see it. It was moving around very slowly but unfortunately, due to the darkness inside its “cage” and the reflection on the glass, I couldn’t really get a good shot.

Singapore zoo polar bear exhibit
Aww shucks, I really wanted to see the polar bear
Singapore zoo tram ride
Despite having paid for 4 rides, I never availed the tram rides

With that, we were finally done. Well, sort of. We could have stayed back longer and waited for some of the animal shows. But it was 2:30pm, we had to have our lunch and the skies were quite cloudy.

I still wanted to go to Marina Bay Sands and since Ramesh and Loi were against it, I wasted no time and decided to go on my own.

Singapore Zoo Night Safari entrance
Something for next time

I waited at the bus station just outside and in under 5 minutes, got one that goes to Ang Mo Kio MRT station.

Driving to Singapore zoo Night Safari Orchid gardenAng Mo Kio rainy day dark clouds SingaporeSingapore Ang Mo Kio Spiritual Grace Memorial GardenSingapore Ang Mo Kio shopsSingapore Ang Mo Kio Balinese massage Japanese restaurant

Singapore Tagore Drive road
They have a street named Tagore Drive; not sure if it’s after our Rabindranath Tagore

Ang Mo Kio Yiu Chu Kang Secondary School SingaporeSingapore Ang Mo Kio HBD apartments bus stationIt was nice to drive through the residential side of Singapore. Compared to all the commercial glitz and glamour of the central business district, Ang Mo Kio seemed so quaint and… nice.

Anyway, I arrived at Ang Mo Kio bus terminal in around 15 minutes and got down to take the underpass to the MRT station. Ang Mo Kio is located on the red line, so the train goes straight to Marina Bay — the last stop. The ride took another 15 minutes.

Once I was out of the station/construction site (it looked like they were upgrading the station) it was still drizzling.

Singapore Marina Bay construction workSingapore Marina Bay road junction

Getting to Marina Bay Sands Casino Singapore
That’s where I was headed

Singapore marina bay art monument

Singapore marina bay rainy day
It was tough holding a camera on one hand and an umbrella on the other
Singapore marina bay financial district offices rainy day
When I saw this, I smiled 🙂

Why did I smile? Because seeing the above instantly reminded me of another ‘marina’ I was at in April. I could help but go: “Ahh, so that’s where Dubai got the idea from!”

Singapore Marina Bay City Gallery rainy day
Marina Bay City Gallery
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands Singapore
The mall at Marina Bay Sands Casino & Hotel

Marina Bay Sands Shoppes way to mall Singapore

Marina Bay Sands mall shoppes Singapore
More stores are set to open

Marina Bay Sands shoppes mall Harley Davidson Furla Testoni store Singapore

Felt like going in just to see the car

Singapore Marina Bay Sands shoppes mall directionsSingapore Marina Bay Sands shoppes Gucci store

Singapore Marina Bay Sands shoppes mall canals sampan rides
They offer boat (sampan) rides on these canals
Singapore shoppes mall to Marina Bay Sands Casino hotel
To get to the hotel and Sky Park counter, you need to go down this
Singapore Marina Bay Sands Casino way to Helix Bridge
Go up, come out the left side of the lobby, which leads out to the Helix Bridge
Singapore Marina Bay Sands observation deck sky park ticket counter
Then take a left and go down this escalator. Down here is the ticket counter for the Sky Park.

And when I got there they asked me to wait because the sky park was wet.


Turns out they have a “wet policy” which essentially closes the observation deck to visitors if the observation deck is wet. I asked them if I could go up as I was leaving Singapore in a few hours but they said sorry, they couldn’t make an exception.

I told them I couldn’t wait as I had a flight to catch in a few hours time, so I didn’t.

I made way back up disappointed and decided to check out the hotel instead.

Singapore Marina Bay Sands hotel inside lobby architecture designSingapore Marina Bay Sands hotel inside lobby architecture designSingapore Marina Bay Sands hotel tower 2 lobby giant lanternsSingapore Marina Bay Sands hotel tower 3 lobby RueYou could tell by looking at the guests coming down to the lobby they were high rollers; in town to gamble a lot of money away.

Since I couldn’t check out the Sky Park, I thought I’d at least check out the casino.

Singapore Marina Bay Sands Bvlgari way to casinoBuuuuut… the casino has a strict dress code… and a “No Photography” rule — both of which I didn’t qualify for. I didn’t even bother using the “but I’m leaving Singapore in a few hours” excuse as one sight of the huge security men at the casino entrance will make you think otherwise.

Singapore Marina Bay Sands Shoppes escalators
So I made my way back to the mall
Singapore Marina Bay Sands office buildings rainy day
Damn you rain god! Ruining everything!

Singapore Esplanade concert halls rainy day from Marina Bay Sands

Singapore Marina Bay Sands wishing well rain oculus panorama
Saw this “wishing well” of sorts outside the mall. I had to take a closer look.
Singapore Marina Bay Sands casino hotel rain oculus wishing well coins
If you are wondering what those are… they’re coins!

I went to the other side of the mall to where the buses to the Marina Bay MRT station are.

Singapore Marina Bay Sands convention center
Besides having a 2500-room hotel, casino and a shopping mall, they also have Singapore’s largest convention center

Singapore Marina Bay Sands casino hotel towers

Singapore Marina Bay Sands Sky Park rainy day
Sigh. So close, yet nowhere near.

It sucks I couldn’t check out Marina Bay Sands Casino & Hotel the way I had planned. Oh well, another thing for next time.

It was past 4:30pm when I boarded the bus back to the MRT station. The drizzling hadn’t stopped, and I had to take the metro back to our hostel. I got to the hostel before my friends did and I used the time to get out of my wet clothes and re-pack. When the other two arrived, we took all our bags and walked towards Victoria MRT.

We took the MRT all the way to Terminal 2 at Changi. As soon as we got out, right in front of us was a board showing the layout of Changi Airport. Three big terminals… and then one tiny red square. That was our budget terminal 🙂

It was so funny, I regret not taking a photo of it. It was like the big guys just wanted to keep rubbing it in on how cheap people who avail budget carriers are, just so they would quit and use the regular airlines instead.

Anyway, we were at the budget terminal by around 6:30pm for our 8:15pm Tiger Airways flight. And then the flight got delayed by 30 minutes. While we could pass time by availing the free internet and having snacks at the airport, it was still annoying as it only meant our arrival at Penang would also be late.

Waiting at Singapore Budget terminal airport
A minute before announcing it was time to board, most of them were sitting on the floor
Singapore Tiger Airways Penang flight delay
Departing 20:15; current time – 20:38. Oh Tiger… 🙂

Once the plane did finally take off, we all three agreed on one thing: we were definitely coming back to Singapore!

Even though it was only 3 days, we loved every bit of it. Except the rain bit, we all hated that. We also decided we would come back during F1 week but stay much longer.

Singapore Port container ships at night from plane
Thats just some of the many container ships at Singapore Port

We landed at Penang, got through immigration quick and soon took a pre-paid taxi to head to Georgetown, where our guesthouse was.

Penang tree lights airport Malaysia
Hello Malaysia
Penang taxi at night Malaysia
It was raining here as well

It took more than half an hour to reach our hotel in Georgetown, that’s how far the airport was.  We were going to be staying at Old Penang Guesthouse during our time on Penang island.

Old Penang Guesthouse triple room interiors
We booked a triple/family room

Since it was nearing 12am, we quickly went out in search of dinner.

We were told there were 24 hour restaurants, mostly serving Indian cuisine, not too far from our guesthouse. We walked under our umbrellas and got into one.

Penang dinner Kassim Mustafa Indian restaurant

Penang dinner Nasi Kandar rice mutton curry
What I had: Nasi Kandar

Basically rice with your choice of meat and a mix of curries. Yum it was.

There were many ‘Indian’ restaurants in the area.

Penang Ros Mutiara Indian restaurant catering

Penang restoran Kapitans 24hrs Indian restaurant
Kapitan’s is quite popular – and open 24hrs

Penang street lamps glow rainy nightPenang night Chinese temple rainingPenang night cobble stone cars parked road rainPenang night cobble stone road red light

Penang night cobble stone temple junction road rain Georgetown

Penang Georgetown junction cars raining night

Penang Old Trafford Man Utd burger stall
Yup. A burger stall honouring Machester United. Just one of many such tributes we came across in Malaysia in honour of England’s most famous football club.
Penang Reggae Bar The Meeting Point Georgetown Malaysia
There is a 7-Eleven and quite a few bars near our guesthouse

Penang Georgetown garage Ken = Cow graffiti

Once back in the room, and a warm shower later, we did our calculations and thought about what had to do tomorrow.

Penang Yeo's Glass Jelly drink can
In my ongoing quest to try out things I’ve never had before, I drank this. It was okay.

Our first trip to Singapore was done, and Malaysia had begun. We only hoped it would be nice & sunny in Penang tomorrow.

Other posts in this series:

Singapore & Malaysia 2010: Planning and preparing for the trip

Singapore 2010: Day 1 – Little India, CBD, Clarke Quay, China Town… and a lot of walking

Singapore 2010: Day 2 – Orchard Road, mall-hopping… and already shopping

Malaysia 2010: Day 4 — One day in Penang (Around Georgetown, Gurney Drive, Penang Hill)

Malaysia 2010: Day 5 — Langkawi (Ferry ride from Penang, Cable car & Sky Bridge)

Malaysia 2010: Day 6 — Langkawi (Island hopping tour, Pantai Tengah beach, Night market)

Malaysia 2010: Day 7 — Kuala Lumpur (Low Yat Plaza, Petronas Towers, Jalan Alor)

Malaysia 2010: Day 8 — Kuala Lumpur (Batu Caves, Petaling Street/China Town)

Malaysia 2010: Day 9 — Kuala Lumpur (KLCC Aquaria, Merdeka Square, KL Tower observation deck)

Malaysia 2010: Leaving Kuala Lumpur… and about going back

Singapore Ion Orchard mall road night

Singapore 2010: Day 2 – Orchard Road, mall-hopping… and already shopping

Date: 26th September 2010

We woke up late.

Thought I’d get that out of the way first. After a tiring first day (with barely any sleep), we made up for it by only getting up around 10:30am. And by the time we were out, it was already noon.

But today, the skies were clear and sunny.

Singapore Kampong Glam noon

Singapore Kampong Glam Muscat street
We were ready for brunch

Singapore Kampong Glam cafe alleySingapore Kampong Glam cafe brick streetSingapore Kampong Glam Nasrin restaurantSingapore Kampong Glam shopsSingapore Kampong Glam Arab areaSingapore Kampong Glam Bian's cafeSingapore Tan + Tsakonas office

But despite the plethora of eateries and cafes, ‘the vegetarian’ (my friend Ramesh) found nothing to his taste. So we decided to go to Little India.

Singapore Rochor Centre colourful apartments
Rochor Centre
Singapore Rochor Centre apartment hanging clothes dry
This is how apartment households in Singapore hang clothes out to dry

Singapore apartment hanging clothes out dryWhile the guys headed to Little India, I instead went to Sim Lim Square – Singapore’s famous IT mall.

Singapore Sim Lim Square buildingBeing a Sunday, few stores were closed but you still had plenty open.

Singapore Sim Lim Square Nikon storeI was looking for a good tripod and the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS USM I lens. Most stores didn’t have the latter in stock anymore but I did get a chance to try out the non-IS variant.

Singapore Sim Lim square tripod store
Taken on the 70-200 f2.8; these are unprocessed & only cropped — very impressed with the image quality!

Singapore Sim Lim Square Vangaurd tripodSeveral shops I entered asked  me why I needed the IS version and suggested that I simply go in for the non-IS version and buy a good tripod instead. Something I did give deep consideration later.

Singapore Sim Lim square floors
SIm Lim Square isn’t as big as Funan Digital Life mall — but still offers quite a lot

A few smaller shops did say they had the lens and it “could be arranged,” but I decided not to deal with them. After all, Sim Lim is equivalent to Bangkok’s Pantip Plaza — you have tread carefully when shopping here. You can get ripped off, at the same while scoring some really good deals.

Singapore Sim Lim Square SNSD Gee Samsung laptop
SNSD and other K-pop shown on laptops and TV screens was such a common sight

I had only made it to the second floor before my friends called and told me they were done with lunch. Since I had to catch up with them, I had to leave Sim Lim. Just like yesterday, I left disappointed knowing I couldn’t explore the mall in its entirety.

Singapore Sim Lim Square stores

Singapore Sim Lim Square escalator Indian KeraliteI grabbed a quick bite and made my way out.

As I stepped out and crossed the road in front of Sim Lim Square, I noticed crowds and street shops ahead of me.

Singapore Bugis Street shopping back entrance

Singapore Bugis Street shopping centre snake charmer
… and street ‘performers’ like this guy
Singapore Bugis Street Shopping centre Rochor
Turns out I was now inside the Bugis Street Shopping centre

Singapore Bugis street shopping centreSingapore Bugis Albert CentreBugis Street Shopping is the largest street shopping market in Singapore.

Singapore Bugis street shopping insideFor me, it wasn’t really impressive. Not after you have visited Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market (or JJ Market). In fact, a lot of the merchandise sold here was from Thailand — which obviously meant it was slightly more pricier here.

Singapore Bugis street shopping sex shopSingapore Bugis street shopping food

Singapore Bugis street shopping main front entrance
The main entrance to Bugis Street
Singapore Bugis Street shopping Iluma mall
We were really curious as to what this Iluma building was
Singapore Bugis iluma mall exterior
I thought it was some boutique hotel

I had to get to Suntec City to meet up with my friends, but instead of taking of the MRT, I just walked.

I passed through another mall, this time — Bugis Junction.

Singapore Bugis Square G.NA autograph session fan meet
K-pop star G.NA was going to be here in two days

Singapore Bugis square water fountain shoppingSingapore Bugis square water fountain

Singapore Bugis Square Porsche sports car
Spotted at Bugis Square. It was F1 weekend after all.

Singapore Victoria Street public library buildingSingapore Bugis Suntec City laneSingapore over bridge to Suntec city

Singapore city traffic diverted F1
Singapore’s roads aren’t this empty, just that traffic was diverted because of the race

After catching up with my friends, Ramesh made his way to the F1 tracks to begin his evening. While myself & Loi pondered what to do next. I had plans of going to Marina Bay Sand Casino to go up to the sky deck. When I had called them up earlier in the day, I was informed it was only open to visitors until 4pm, after which it would be off limits to non-guests.

We were inside CityLink Mall (yes, another mall in the area) when we decided to check out the HMV store.

Singapore CityLink mall HMV store

Singapore Jay Park HMV store
Damn, Jay Park was in Singapore yesterday! (Jay Park is an K-pop star who’s going to be big worldwide… trust me)

By the time we stepped out of the HMV store, we already spent SGD150 (around Rs. 5,100) on official band t-shirts — and it was past 4pm. So I pushed Marina Bay Sands for tomorrow and headed to Suntec City mall instead.

Singapore Suntec City Tropics Atrium

Singapore Suntec City Canon booth

Singapore Suntec City stores
This is just one section to Suntec City mall

After shopping some more at Suntec, we made our way back to Victoria Street where I had plans to show Loi the Bugis Street shopping centre.

Singapore National Library building
The Singapore National Library building

Singapore greenery trees BugisSingapore Victoria Street iluma mall signalBut lay before us was Iluma — the alluding building which I assumed was a boutique hotel.

Singapore iluma mall exterior design

Singapore iluma mall Victoria street
But upon closer inspection…
Singapore Iluma Mall entrance
… guess what…
Singapore Iluma mall interior design
… it’s just another mall

But a funky one at that. Iluma is a pretty cool mall mostly targeting a younger crowd. Despite its appearance, we didn’t find the usual selection of high-end designer brands. Instead, we came across stores like this:

Singapore iluma mall Comics Connection storeThe merchandise on display was good enough to draw me & Loi in. Nearly half-an-hour later, we step out after having spent some dime on anime merchandise.

Singapore iluma mall floor design
We window-shopped a bit more…
Singapore iluma Otaku House shop
…. before stepping into another nerd’s toy haven

Inside the Otaku House was more anime merchandise; more necklaces and keychains (like the ones we bought from Comics Connection), to cosplay outfits and other props for rent or purchase.

But we sighed… and quietly walked out, reminding ourselves that we had already spent enough and would soon run of Singapore currency at this rate.

It didn’t stop us from exploring the mall still.

Singapore iluma mall inside design
Pretty cool looking mall

The top-most floor houses what they claim to be Singapore’s largest arcade. And then there is the open roof top.

Singapore iluma roof top National Public Llibrary

Singapore sunset skyline iluma rooftop
You get a nice view of the Bugis surroundings from up here
Singapore Raffes hospital Bugis Victoria street
Victoria Street and Raffles Hospital in the distance

Singapore Raffes hospital Bugis junctionSingapore evening sky building iluma rooftop

Singapore iluma rooftop restaurants
There are a few rooftop restaurants up here

As we made our way down, I realized iluma was one of the more unique malls in Singapore. Not only does it look cool, it really manages to cater to a young crowd with more affordable options compared to the rest of Singapore’s malls.

Singapore iluma mall ground floor

After we stepped out of iluma, I took Loi to the Bugis Street Chopping centre.

Singapore Bugis Street shopping Tokyo ShopAnd by the time we were done with that, we were hungry. So we popped into the near by Burger King for a good ol’ beef burger

(Note: Beef burgers are a rarity in India due to religious sentiments so even McDs are too ‘chicken’ to serve beef burgers here).

Singapore Burger King Bugis

Anime jewelry necklace keychain Singapore purchase
Some of the anime merchandise we bought
Singapore iluma building lights night
iluma mall lights up at night

After this, we took the MRT to Orchard Road, our next destination.

I actually wanted to go back to Sim Lim Square, but Loi needed to meet his cousin — and since he didn’t have a local SIM, I had to tag along with him.

When we got to Orchard Road, we stepped right out to Ion Orchard mall.

Singapore Ion Orchard mall road night
There was some dance competition open to the public
Singapore Orchard road Ion Orchard dance contest
And this fat dude was getting a lot of fake screams from the women… so he kept dancing

Orchard Road is Singapore’s famous shopping stretch (as if the rest of the city didn’t offer enough already), home to many star hotels and a very popular stop for tourists.

And boy, does this one-way road live up to its reputation!

Singapore Lucky Plaza Orchard road
Opposite ION Orchard, Lucky Plaza is very popular among Filipinos working in Singapore
Singapore Ngee Ann city mall orchard road
Ngee Ann City mall, the largest mall on Orchard Road
Singapore Takashimaya shopping center Orchard road
Popular for housing Japanese department store Takashimaya
Inside Ngee Ann city mall Singapore
You can get into Ngee Ann city to get to the underpass which comes out the other side of Orchard Road

Inside Ngee Ann City mall fountain Singapore

Singapore Paragon Tod's Prada Miu Miu Orchard road
Paragon, a high-end mall housing luxury brands like miu miu, Prada and more

Once Loi met up with his cousin, I was on my own to explore the rest of Orchard Road for some time.

I got back to the other side to continue from where I left off.

Singapore Emporio Armani store Orchard road
Next up, Mandarin Gallery
Singapore Orchard road street performer gold
You’ll find a few street performers on Orchard Road… and for the love of god, do not taunt them like a few tourists did. They don’t like it.

Singapore Orchard Road woman bikini sculpture

Singapore Orchard Road female bikini sculpture
This can be found in front of the Mandarin Gallery

Singapore Mandarin Gallery Orchard road

Singapore Tourism Visitors center Orchard road
This is the Singapore Tourism office where you can get info, maps, make reservations and such
Singapore Courts electronics store Orchard road
Courts is a large multi-storey electronics store
Singapore bus stop bed ad Orchard road
Pretty innovative ad

Singapore Orchard Road old building traffic signalSingapore Orchard Road The Centrepoint mall RobinsonsSingapore Orchard road mall escalator

Singapore Orchard Central mall Orchard road
This was a pretty cool looking mall

Singapore Orchard Central mall lights Orchard roadSingapore Orchard road Orchard Plaza Hotel GrandSingapore Orchard road green grass treesAfter this point, the malls slowly disappeared.

Singapore Orchard road art gate monument

Singapore Orchard road Orchard Central signal
Crossed to the other side and made my way back

Singapore Orchard road crossing Meritus Mandarin hotel

Singapore Orchard road Tangs store
Tangs is a local department store
Singapore Orchard road Wisma Atria mall
The Orchard Road MRT station is connected to Wisma Atria mall
Singapore Orchard road Ion Orchard Paterson road junction
Ion Orchard, from across the road

After catching up with my friend Loi, we decided to see off his cousin at the bus stop and take one ourselves as we hadn’t done so yet.

Singapore Orchard road Ion Loiyumba cousin
My friend Loi with his cousin sister who studies in Singapore
Singapore sbs transit bus inside
The buses use the same MRT cards

Since we didn’t really know where to get down, we just got off at the end of Orchard Road.

Singapore Orchard road Plaza Singapura Carrefour
There were still more malls this side

Singapore Cathay Mall 75 years oldAs I looked at the map, we realized that Victoria Street wasn’t very far from where we were currently, so I asked Loi if we could just keep walking.

Singapore School of the Arts campus building
The School of the Arts Singapore campus
Singapore YMCA hostel building
We passed by quite a lot of landmarks

It was nearing 11pm, so we stepped into a food court to have dinner and to quench our thirst with some beer.

Singapore Kopitiam food court 24 hours
Open 24 hours, Kopitiam has mostly Chinese and Pan-Asian fare
Singapore Kopitiam roast honey duck pork
We weren’t really hungry so we just had roast duck and pork with our beer

Singapore Kopitiam Master Duck counterAfter ‘dinner,’ we resumed our walk towards our hostel.

Singapore Arts Museum night sculptures
This was the Singapore Arts Museum

Singapore Arts Museum building nightSingapore Victoria Street church junctionI couldn’t help but remind ourselves how good a location we chose to be stay in, given how close we were to a lot of what Singapore has to offer (especially if you a re shopaholic!).

Singapore Management University building
Singapore Management University campus

Singapore Victoria street at night building

Singapore Bugis street shopping closed night
The Bugis Street Shopping centre… closed
Singapore Kampong Glam at night Sultan Mosque
Sultan Mosque down the street

Singapore Kampong Glam trees moon sky

Singapore Old Street cafe & bar hotel
Santa Grand Hotel Bugis is in front of ABC Hostel

We were finally back in our room…. oh wait, we ran out of drinking water.

(Steps out again)

Singapore Kampong Glam Al Baik Mariam restaurantSingapore Kampong Glam cats at nightSingapore Kampong Glam Biriyani Bistro restaurantSingapore Kampong Glam wall grafittiOnce back from the nearby 7-Eleven I was finally done with day 2! As we checked out out our merchandise, we also counted how much we had already spent and soon realized we were running out of Singapore dollars.

We just had one more day left in Singapore, so it was either going to be Sentosa or the Singapore Zoo. I also wanted to hit the sky deck at Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino.

Would I be able to do it all?


Other posts in this series:

Singapore & Malaysia 2010: Planning and preparing for the trip

Singapore 2010: Day 1 – Little India, CBD, Clarke Quay, China Town… and a lot of walking

Singapore 2010: Day 3 – Singapore Zoo, Marina Bay Sands; leaving Singapore for Penang

Malaysia 2010: Day 4 — One day in Penang (Around Georgetown, Gurney Drive, Penang Hill)

Malaysia 2010: Day 5 — Langkawi (Ferry ride from Penang, Cable car & Sky Bridge)

Malaysia 2010: Day 6 — Langkawi (Island hopping tour, Pantai Tengah beach, Night market)

Malaysia 2010: Day 7 — Kuala Lumpur (Low Yat Plaza, Petronas Towers, Jalan Alor)

Malaysia 2010: Day 8 — Kuala Lumpur (Batu Caves, Petaling Street/China Town)

Malaysia 2010: Day 9 — Kuala Lumpur (KLCC Aquaria, Merdeka Square, KL Tower observation deck)

Malaysia 2010: Leaving Kuala Lumpur… and about going back

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