Sunday, September 05, 2010

Launch of Singapore City Pass

On 31st August, 10 Nuffnang Glitterati+ members met at Singapore Flyer for the launch of the Singapore City Pass - a new initiative by City Tours. I was happy that I didn't have school on Tuesday and could take part in this media launch.

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Do I look like a Japanese tourist here? SAY YES! :)

I think that it is about time that Singapore had a city pass. City Passes are prevalent in European countries, with many cities like Brussels, Copenhagen, London and Malmo having such passes. Since Singapore is aspiring to be a tourist hub (or perhaps have already achieved such an accolade), it should make an effort to increase convenience for tourists wanting to explore Singapore.

Previously, perhaps the only sort of Tourist Pass in Singapore was the Singapore Tourist Card, which is essentially a transport card. Personally I feel that the name of this pass is misleading, and should be renamed to be the Singapore Transport Pass. It offers unlimited travel on the buses and trains (of course some conditions apply, like Night Riders are not included) for a 1 Day fee of $8, 2 Day $16, 3 Day $24. However, it fails to include tourists attractions in Singapore and thus may not be so useful for tourists. Moreover, considering our rather complicated bus system, I can imagine that tourists will only use the MRT and travel between Bugis, City Hall and Orchard.

This is where the Singapore City Pass proves superior - it is the first SmarTapTag pass in Singapore, which allows you to tap into various attractions, reducing the hassle of purchasing tickets or queueing at each respective attraction. When travelling, especially when you are a budget traveller who aims to see as much as possible, time is of the essence.

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On first look, you know that this card is different. It is not really a card per se, more like a sticker tag which is no bigger than those long rectangular stamp. It has RFID in it, which allows tourists to track remaining locations left in their package on their SmarTap Tag. Tourists can also stick the tag onto the back of their mobile phones for increased convenience. It is actually also a non-slip sticker - so that is a 2-in-1 sticker for you! For environmentally-conscious folks out there, this is not a plastic sticker. It is made of biodegradable silicone, which will reduce any negative environmental consequences when it is disposed.

Seems like lots of technology packed in that tiny sticker!

Photo from official photographer: Tapping your phone, where you have pasted the sticker

Photo from official photographer: Tapping on the FunVee bus

Our gathering point was at Singapore Flyer, which is one of the outlets selling this Singapore City Pass (specifically at the Tourist Transit Hub at Singapore Flyer). There were many other media and trade partners there. No celebrities though, else I will definitely take photo with them :p

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Tourist Transit Hub at Singapore Flyer

As we waited for everyone to gather, we snapped lots of pictures, and the event photographer also took lots of pictures for us. And soon, it was time to board. It was funny how we almost walk in twos - like those kindergarten children boarding a school bus!

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So we boarded the FunVee bus, which is part of Package A and C, provided you choose it (more details about the packages below, so read on!). As you can see, the bus is half open-topped, half air-conditioned. We actually wanted to rush for aircon seats, but there wasn't enough!

Which left us stuck in the merciless hands of the sweltering sun.

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Jianhao hiding from the sun - too hot until cannot slp!

Essential tip: Quickly board the bus, run to the top and snap a shot of the Singapore Flyer! Being at the top, you appear to be closer to the Singapore Flyer so you kind of get a close-up shot with it! It is easier to do a self-shot of yourself and the Flyer too.

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Well, I didn't get a good shot from my angle, I was too far behind. I should have ran in front, and I will be able to get the entire wheel!

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Yay, I'm all ready to head to the Dolphin Lagoon at Sentosa - which is our next destination! I like this picture alot by the way. I bought that hat from Shanghai, and I love it!

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With hongpeng

Here is a photolog of our journey towards Sentosa:

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First we pass by the Marina Bay F1 circuit
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And then we pass by the uncompleted Marina Bay Sands
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The Financial District
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Subsequently, there are just alot of buildings, so you can take the opportunity to take photos!
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St James Power Station
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We are finally in Sentosa!
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At the Group Arrival Centre

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We passed by Resorts World Sentosa
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After a 20minutes ride, we are finally at our destination - the Dolphin Lagoon! Well, I personally prefer the Underwater World actually and in my heart, I was wishing that we had gone there instead. But in the end, we did go (more about this later). But first, we headed for the VIP lounge where we had a bird's eye view of the dolphins' performance!

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The FunVee bus may create some havoc in your hair, if you are sitting at the top!

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Entering the VIP lounge

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As we were sadly again the last to reach the VIP room, we had to stand around and watch the performance, while others had nice sofas and better views. It was abit tiring on my legs for super un-fit me, but I still managed to get pretty good shots of the pink dolphins performance (yay, loving my lumix!).

Here are some photos of the performance:

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After the performance, a speech was made by Mr Ang Eu Khoon, Managing Director of City Tours who provided us with more information about the Singapore City Pass.

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Picture from official photographer


He emphasized on how City Tours

"recognise the need to be innovative and create new improvements to our services for a better customer experience"

and that in a business mindset, it is

"now much easier for us and our partners to work together and market Singapore to the rest of the world on a single common platform".

It was an enlightening speech about the overall concept of this Singapore City Pass and the vision of City Tours, but here is a more detailed price plan (alternatively, you can also visit the website to find out more)







There are currently 3 packages that you can choose from when purchasing your Singapore City Pass.

#1: SUPA SELECT PACKAGE A (Adult S$39.90/Child S$31.90 - save over 45%)
In this package, you are to choose 2 out of 6 attractions. The 6 attractions are:

i) Captain Explorer DUKW Tour (U.P: A - S$29.90/C - S$20.90)
ii) MINT Museum of Toys (U.P: A - S$15/ C - S$7.50)
iii) Singapore River Cruise (Bumboat Ride) (U.P: A - S$15 / C - S$8)
iv) Cineblast @ Sentosa (U.P: A - S$18 / C - S$11)
v) Sentosa 4D Magix (U.P: A - S$18 / C - S$11)
vi) FunVee City Tour (Open Top Touring) - unlimited 1 day (Value: S$19.90)

So I guess to make it more 'worth it', you should choose option i and vi because that will give you the greatest savings. Hopefully in time to come, there will be more options available to choose from.


#2: MARINA BAY PACKAGE B (Adult S$48.90/Child S$33.90 - save over 45%)
A combination of the Singapore Flyer and Captain Explorer DUKW Tour.

This is probably the best package for a great view of Singapore's Marina Bay, where you can see the Singapore skyline which is really beautiful especially in the evening.


#3: WILDLIFE PACKAGE C (Adult S$41.90/Child S$29.90 - save over 45%)
A combination of the Night Safari Admission and Tram Ride, together with the FunVee City Tour.

This is probably the ideal package if you have young children in the family. Of course, that is not to say that adults do not visit the Night Safari, in fact I visit the Singapore Zoo once in awhile too (to relieve my childhood days)


All 3 passes come with 4 Free items:
- FREE Marina Bay Walking Tour
- FREE Drink at Manchester United Cafe
- FREE Drink at Hard Rock Cafe
- FREE Transport at 09:00hrs, 11:00hrs and 13:00hrs to Singapore Flyer to pick your card


Wow, I didn't know that there was such thing as a Marina Bay Walking Tour! I think I need to go check that out soon..


Some important things to note:

- The Singapore City Pass for all 3 packages are valid for only 2 days (do note that the FunVee Open Top Tour is for one day use though, you will need to top up S$6 for an additional day use)
- Airport transfers are not included in this card
- Only transport mode included for this card is the FunVee hopper
- Other upgrades that you can make includes S$8 for a Singapore River Cruise Bumboat Ride (U.P S$13 per person) and S$17.90 per person for a Night Tour including Dinner and Resorts World Sentosa (U.P S$32.90 per person)

An official Singapore City Pass guidebook will be launched soon, so do check out their website (http://www.singaporecitypass.com/) to find out more when it is launched.


You may notice that I have been using "tourists" in my initial paragraphs of this entry. However, this card is not just meant for tourists, but also for locals. Sometimes, a holiday does not mean flying overseas, but just chilling and relaxing in your own sunny island. This is especially so if you are cash-strapped and want to enjoy, but not fork out thousands for expensive airfares and accommodation.


After the event, there were some refreshments which we snacked on. And of course, we took more photos too!

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With Joyce Stella

There were 2 FunVee bus arranged to send us back to the Singapore Flyer where we can depart from there. So we decided to take the later one, and to rush to the Underwater World! Must I remind you that I love the Underwater World? :) I have been there a few times, the most recently with gh if I'm not wrong... or is it with my cousins and ah gong? Hmm...

Well anyway, I love to see the smiley stingrays there, they always look so happy! That is until they end up in my stomach I guess. I love eating stingrays *muahahaha*

Here are a few pictures from the Underwater World:

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Touch Pool

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Freshwater Aquarium

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What's this technology called? I forgot

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The predators of the ocean

Okay, not much pictures because the water seemed abit more murky than usual, especially at the shark's enclosure. And we were also rushing for time! In fact, some bloggers who were lagging behind had to run for the FunVee bus!

Overall, it was a fun event and I was glad to be a part of it.


However, I do feel that more improvements can be made into the Singapore City Pass. The first and foremost, adding more attractions into it. In Europe, I used quite a few city pass, namely the Copenhagen, Brussels and Goteborg passes. I bought 24hr passes, where I was able to enjoy free transport everywhere in the city, and also a list of attractions that I could go. And by list, I really mean like over 50 free and discounted attractions.

So for example, I bought the 24hr CPH card at DKK199 (around S$60, but I think the price has increased already) from the airport and I could take any forms of transport. Thereafter, we looked from a list of free attractions and discounted attractions and planned our day. Of course we chose the more expensive attractions like the Copenhagen Zoo. We also went to Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum even though it was not free - but there was a 20% discount.

I think that the European city passes provide more flexibility in terms of where you want to go. And of course, the limit to the amount of places that you can go is only determined by the time factor. So if you want more bang for your buck, you can hop around many places. I can understand the logistical and pricing issues behind having such a card, but Singapore should work to provide more flexibility in its city pass. If other cities can do it, I don't see why we can't. There is limited flexibility in this Singapore City Pass as you have to decide what packages you want first during purchasing. As mentioned during the launch, it is modelled after the London Pass, which I did not buy in Europe despite spending 4 days there. All because it was too expensive, and I am limited by the credit inside - though no doubt there are some discounts.

Under than that, I feel that the transport card which I mentioned in my earlier paragraphs should be integrated with this Singapore City Pass. Yes, no doubt I did say that foreigners may not really know how to use our bus system (it IS really complicated), but they do still take MRTs. To integrate ez-link features into the Singapore City Pass will provide them with an even greater amount of convenience!


Aside from these areas of improvement, I do feel glad that the Singapore City Pass has been launched. Hopefully in time to come, it will become more established amongst tourists and locals, thereby encouraging widespread usage in our island. So do check out the Singapore City pass!

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For more information about the city pass, you can check out the Youtube video of the broadcast on ChannelNewsAsia here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hllEdXdA2gA (it doesn't allow for embedding, hmpf)

Before I end off, here are some group photos taken by the event photographer, and also some snaphshots by me of the printed cards that we were given:


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