Mesmerizing tranquility at River Safari, Singapore : Something we don’t see on a daily basis!

May 24, 25, 26, 2013. Singapore. It’s my fourth trip back to the Lion City, third time for Tina & Gabby. With the exception of interrupted sleep due to mandatory bladder breaks, we comfortably endured another 9-hour-bus-trip that departed Penang Sentral few minutes before 9PM, May 23, Thursday. We woke up the following morning (Holiday : Wesak Day) at Larkin Sentral Station in Johor Bahru, alighted the bus with luggage and backpacks in tow, and quickly grabbed bites from the ever reliable fast food joint that offers Big Breakfast. We left again Penang, where we’re currently based, and crossed the borders of Malaysia and Singapore on foot once more. I fear it may become a habit, hehehe!

After checking in at Hotel ibis Singapore on Bencoolen, (blogging next!) we refreshed and hit the roads to ate lunch with Gina, our Filipino good friend who lives in Singapore. After a few hours of engaging chit chat, we went our way to prove what iVenture card is all about.

Fast forward to our second day in Singapore, Tina, Gabby and I decided to use our iVenture cards at River Safari.

When in Singapore, must enjoy its highly efficient  buses and MRT

How to get to Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari via bus & MRT?

  • Board the MRT’s North South Line (red line) and alight at Ang Mo Kio station.
  • Take Exit B and walk to the bus stop at Ang Mo Kio Interchange, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8.
  • Board Bus 138 at Ang Mo Kio Interchange, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8.
  • Alight at Singapore Zoological Gardens, Mandai Lake Road and walk to River Safari or Singapore Zoo or Night Safari.
  • TIP : Use http://gothere.sg to locate your traveling directions in Singapore from point A to point B.

That moment when we owned seats at the MRT even for a while 🙂

Hello, Singapore Zoo and River Safari!
And we arrived almost lunch time of May 25, 2013, Saturday

We effortlessly bypassed the long queue and walked our way directly to the counter to collect our tickets. How did we do that? We just presented our iVenture cards; et voila!

Cost-saving, convenient and lots of choices with iVenture Card!

What’s iVenture card?

iVenture card operates in theme parks in Singapore, Macau, Australia, Hong Kong & South Africa. We found iVenture card very tourist-friendly as it gives you so many options of theme parks to choose from while maximizing budget and enjoying convenience. We were provided See-Singapore-2-Day-Pass (2 Adults & 1 Child). It’s an UNLIMITED PASS that will NOT require you to pay admission rates at any of the attractions included in the pass; so the more sights you see, the more money you save! Tourists could opt for 1, 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days. It also comes with FREE guidebook containing maps, directions and tips that may be collected when you claim the iVenture card itself.

The possiblities of fun are infinite!

Here’s the list of attractions included in iVenture Card See Singapore 2 Day-Pass; everything’s FREE unless the discount is indicated :

  • West (Jurong) : Jurong Bird Park, Snow City, Science Center Singapore
  • Sentosa : Underwater World Singapore & Dolphin Lagoon, Skyline Luge Sentosa, Fish Reflexology at Underwater World Singapore
  • North (Woodlands) : River Safari, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo
  • Orchard Road : National Orchid Garden
  • Marina Bay : Singapore Flyer, Flight Experience (25% off), Singapore River Cruise, Ultimate Drive (1o% off), Riverview Tandoor (15% off)
  • Bugis | Little India : The Original Singapore Walks, Trishaw Uncle (30% off)
  • Chinatown : The Original Singapore Walks, Bath Culture Foot Therapy (10% off)
  • East Coast : Changi Museum, Forest Adventure, Changi Museum War Trail (20% off)
  • Riverside | Civic District : Mint Museum of Toys, The Original Singapore Walks, Singapore Pub Crawl (5% off)

Gabby was surprised and apparently happy when he learned we need not to queue with iVenture card

The smiles say it all. We’re very pleased with iVenture Card! We saved time, efforts and money of course! Thank you!

Regular admission rates in SGD as of May 25, 2013. You’ll be able to save more when you purchase iVenture card instead of availing tickets with its regular cost

Photos, photos and more photos at the facade of River Safari

And we’re ready and excited to explore the only river-themed park in Asia! Let’s go!

While some people have developed an aversion to zoo, theme parks, wildlife conservatories, aquariums and aviaries, my family and I are otherwise. More than the thought that it provides learning beyond books and experience outside classrooms, Tina and I were delighted to see Gabby’s wide eyes and ear-to-ear-smile, before the sight of those river-dwelling-animals, that he only sees when he watches his favorite, Nat Geo Wild on cable TV. Those moments spent in River Safari were certainly priceless!

I hope this humble blog post will make its readers more aware of preservation of rivers and other bodies of water.

It was a pleasure to explore Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park. With its 2 zones namely, Rivers of the World and Wild Amazonia, River Safari puts spotlight over 5,000 land and water animals representing 300 species!

Here’s a few of what we appreciated inside River Safari, starting with Mississippi River :
Alligator Gar | Atractosteus spatula | Ikan Buaya Gar.

“The largest of of all gars, growing up to 3 meters and over 100 kg. The wide alligator-like snout is lined with razor-sharp teeth. Its flesh is edible (No, thank you!), but the eggs are toxic to humans.” -as per label, River Safari

Alligator Snapping Turtle | Macrochelys temminckii | Penyu sentap

“One of the largest fresh water turtles in the world. Males can weigh over 100 kg. Their massive jaws are so powerful, they can easily snap off one’s finger.” -as per label, River Safari

Mississippi Paddlefish | Polyodon spathula | Ikan Dayung Mississippi

“The flat snout detects electric impulses to navigate and locate food. Paddlefish eggs are sold as caviar. Its cousin, the Chinese Paddlefish, is critically endagered.” -as per label, River Safari

Pong Pagong, is that you, dude? hehehe!

Congo River :

Can someone identify this yellow fishie fishie for me, please? Pufferfish. Cute!

There’s the longest, River Nile then the enchanting, Ganges River :

At the Ganges River section of River Safari

You can sue me for being clueless but honestly, I initially thought those 2 Indian Gharial were only cemented statues inside those huge tanks. I disregarded my thoughts when I saw them moved from one corner to another, while the school of small fish went swimming haywire for their precious lives. Hehehe! 😀
Indian Gharial | Gavialis gangeticus | Buaya julung julung

“The gharial got its name from the Hindi word, ghara which means “pot”. This bump at the tip of the male’s snout is believed to amplify buzzing sounds during courtship.” -as per label, River Safari


En route to Mekong River :
Meet the Crab-Eating Macaques between Murray and Mekong River…

Mind Your Monkey Manners. Touch Not. Stare Not. Feed Not

What else can be found in Mekong River? Mekong Giant Catfish!!!

Massive, impressive aquarium of Mekong Giant Catfish

A few steps after the Mekong River section, red and pink Oriental lanterns adorn the ceilings, while bamboo fence lined the walkway. Do you have a hint about the next river?

The walk towards Yangtze River

At this point, we became more excited to see the pandas!

Surprisingly, it’s not only the Giant Pandas on feature at the Giant Panda Forest at River Safari…

Red Pandas or Firefox. There are a couple of playful firefox, running & climbing trees actively at River Safari

Before the sighting of the Giant Pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia, we saw the panda’s menu.

Yes, dear. Pandas eat bamboos. It’s their staple actually. I also learned it late, only after I saw live ones in Chiang Mai last December 2012. Never too late to learn!

Unfortunately, the girl and smaller panda, Jia jia was out of sight as she is being prepared to munch bamboos. Nonetheless, we stared for several minutes at the male and bigger panda, Kai Kai.

Sleeping like a babe. Wake up, Kai Kai! Chow time, baby!

Happy to see Kai Kai, the giant panda!

Panda’s Developmental Milestones. Interesting, isn’t it?


We felt so privileged and happy to experience River Safari through iVenture card! Thank you very much!


Despite River Safari’s soon to open-Wild Amazonia is still a work in progress, this theme park has started to boast a crystal clear awareness campaign to preserve and conserve rivers and other bodies of water.

Let rivers live forever!

It was one special weekend we will never forget! Thank you so much!

Via @teensantos on instagram 🙂

iVenture Card may be purchased via their website : www.iventurecard.com.

To activate iVenture experience package, present the booking receipt that’s emailed upon purchase online, to the customer service staff at any of these locations :

  • 313 @ Somerset Concierge Desk | Basement 1, Orchard Rd
  • HS Travel Hong Kong International Airport Arrival Hall, Counter 88 (Opposite Exit A)
  • Singapore Flyer (where we redeemed our iVenture cards) Guest Services Lounge | 30 Raffles Ave, Sg
  • Singapore River Cruises, Clarke Quay
  • Underwater World Singapore, 80 Siloso Rd, Sentosa

*Special thanks to iVenture Card Singapore and Hotel ibis Singapore on Bencoolen | website : www.ibis.com

*While this is a sponsored blog post, the words are all mine unless quoted, and were never influenced by anyone.

This post is a part of Singapore Blog Series : May 2013.



    1. so my wife was correct. hahaha! i didn’t believe her the first time she uttered the same thing. she’ll kill me for this, hehehe! thanks!

  1. I’ve been to Singapore several times but I’ve never been to the zoo. I hate zoos but I only heard good things about that particular one, especially when you go on a night safari. Great pictures as usual, Gelo. That panda looks adorable!

    1. oh yes, that panda -kai kai looks adorable, indeed!

      i know a lot of people who don’t want going to the zoo for so many reasons, but for parents like us, we’re infected by gabby’s happiness! 🙂 he was the most excited in seeing live animals up close that went beyond his watching nat geo wild on tv. and not because we’re sponsored but river safari is quite different from the other animal-themed park we’ve been to. plus those pandas, ang saya! 🙂

      thanks, aleah!

  2. i like zoos; i don’t like theme parks that much and try to avoid it. when i read the river safari i thought that you’d embark on a river cruise of some sorts. but this is fun too and very educational.

    1. hi maria! i forgot to mention in the post that there will be river boat rides of various sorts soon in river safari. it’s not available yet when we visited. that’s a reason to go back in the future whenever there’ll be a chance.


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