One of the most delightful ways to see a city is aboard an open top bus. I have always wanted to ride one but never quite got round to it in either London or Hong Kong. After arriving in Singapore I decided it would be one of the first things we would do. We could orient ourselves with the Lion City and admire all of the sights from the comfort of our own bottom. Also let’s face it, Singapore can get incredibly hot and is not necessarily conducive to a walking tour! DUCK & HiPPO offer a number of different tours (including their fab DUCKtours, more on that another time). We started with Guided Night City Tour, a daily 3 hour extravaganza starting at 6.30pm.
The Night Tour starts at the Suntec Convention Centre and dinner is included in the ticket. We were lucky enough to be in the hands of Saram, a knowledgeable and entertaining local guide. Despite Singapore’s often crazy heat during the day, the evenings are cooler and sitting aboard a topless bus is refreshing. After a brief history of Singapore and the CBD, we arrived in Chinatown for our dinner. Saram doled out vouchers and told us we could spend them in most concessions on Chinatown Food Street. The girls had great fun picking out local Chinese street eats!
From Chinatown we climbed back onboard the bus and headed for Gardens By The Bay. Gardens by the Bay is a nature park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir. Every night there’s a lightshow in the Supertree Grove starting at 7.45pm. Saram deposited our group at one of the best viewing spots and we proceeded to be enchanted by the magnificent Supertrees.
After the show and some obligatory tree photo opps, we returned to the bus and headed to Bugis Street. Now a mecca for cheap shopping, Bugis was once on of the more salubrious areas of town. We visited an enormous Singapore souvenir shop and stocked up on presents. We then crossed the road to a local food centre where Saram shared Hawker 101, a lesson in all things hawker. I had no idea that locals used tissue packets to reserve tables!
The final part of the trip was a drive through Orchard Road, Singapore’s retail haven. The tour will then drop you off at a convenient spot or return you to the Suntec Centre where you can admire the world’s largest fountain.
Singapore is such a vibrant city and really comes to life at night. We loved this tour and they really pack in a lot to the 3 hours. Due to the starting time and duration I would only really recommend for kids age 5+, even Miss Mayhem was getting a little tired towards the end.
For those who want to max out their topless bus experience, the Singapore7 is for you. You can buy either a 1, 2 or 3 day pass which gives you access to 7 lines and 63 stops. The system is very easy – if you see somewhere you like, you can simply hop off the bus. Guests of Singapore7 also get to join 2 Walking Tours for free. Chinatown and Little India Walking Tours operate daily (except Sunday).
Armed with our headphones, we started with the Red Line. Commentary is available in 12 languages and there’s even a kids channel (such a brilliant idea). In fact I thought the open top bus was rather relaxing as I was able to tune out Jetlag & Mayhem and tune into the interesting Singapore city commentary. I think the Red Line gives you the best of the city, taking in Little India, Kampong Glam (Arab Enclave), Boat Quay, Chinatown and Marina Bay Sands. We also hopped off to switch on to the Blue Line where we got to see Esplanade, National Museum, Lavendar and the famed Raffles Hotel.
Keep on eye on the timetable (you may be waiting 15-20 mins depending on the line). Also keep an eye on the weather, we had a spot of rain and had to retreat briefly to the downstairs! It’s worth planning in advance what attractions you want to see in Singapore so you can utilise the Singapore7 as a transport service (e.g. the Safari Line to the Singapore Zoo).
Jetlag & Mayhem toured as guests of HippoTours. I was not paid for this review and this is all my own opinion.