Many years ago I did the Boston Duck Tour and it was a lot of fun. Based on this great memory, I decided it was high time I did the Singapore Duck Tour, and while it could do with some improvement on the fun side, I’m glad I finally did it after all these years. The boys were also old enough to sit still for an hour or so and enjoy the ride, although if you want to get maximum benefit, line up early so you get a seat at the side of the boat. We were stuck in the middle at the back.
Based at Suntec, you can get there via the Esplanade SMRT, but if you are driving, I’d recommend parking in the Green Zone under Towers One and Five (I think). Actually if you follow the buses, boats, etc… to the parking area behind Suntec (Nicholson Highway side), you can enter the car park from there and have the confidence you’re parking close to the action. I say this because Suntec is a mega car park – it goes on for miles – and if you’re under the wrong tower, it can be a long way to walk with whining kids.
However, Suntec is in a bit of a mess right now, as it’s going through an extensive make-over. The signs say ‘business as usual,’ but everywhere you look, shops are closed for renovation and the kid’s area on level three is apparently closed as well. There’s also an indoor kids playroom up there, but I am yet to discover its delights – one rainy day I’ll take the boys. I’m not sure if it’s closed or open – sorry! Do check online before you go. With or without construction, you can definitely spend a fair bit of time hanging out at Suntec, shopping, eating, etc… but if you are looking for a picnic option, Suntec has lots of little outdoor green areas (pictured) where you can enjoy a picnic, and it also gives you a little bit of fresh air to boot. I can’t stay in aircon all day that’s for sure.
Another option within the mix of this adventure is the subterranean walk-ways that take you all over the place from Suntec, so to make this a full day out, you can add Raffles City to your day, or Millenia Walk - where there’s lots of waterside dining options as well, and, of course, lots more shopping. This is definitely a shopping-dominated area, so if that’s something you enjoy doing with your kids, a day can definitely be made out of it.
Getting back to the Duck Tour, online it recommends buying tickets in advance, and I’m sure many people do, but I decided to turn up and see how it went. There wasn’t a problem getting tickets – although we had to wait for an hour for the next tour – but that just gave me a chance to shop and get the boys an ice-cream at Andersens – which is just near the Duck Tour hop-on spot. I’m sure during high tourist season it’s probably better to book in advance, but I didn’t even know if the boys would get on the boat, so I didn’t want to take the chance. Jax definitely wasn’t keen initially, but I cajoled him until he agreed to give it a go.
It’s a great experience to do at least once with the kids. The views of the City of Singapore are magnificent and I just think it’s really amazing to see how much this City has changed in the last decade. The whole Marina area is stunning and compared to an experience I had on the water years ago, it’s definitely a super city these days.
However, the trip is REALLY noisy and you can’t hear a thing – especially when you’re sitting down the back near the engine. We had a guided tour – with no headphones on offer – and it was very difficult to hear what was being said. Then again, the commentary was so un-PC it’s probably best you couldn’t hear it. My comparison with the Boston experience starts here, because the tour guides in Boston make a real party out of it, getting everyone excited, we all got free duck whistles, and the whole experience was very silly. The experience this weekend was a lot more subdued and you didn’t get the duck whistles as part of the package, you had to buy them. And yes, of course I HAD to buy them for the boys and then, of course, I HAD to take them away because the noise was doing my head in, as well as the other passengers.
In summary, it’s a good thing to do at least once, and perhaps an activity to save for next time the grandparents come to visit? The boat is covered, so while it was hot this weekend, it was comfortable being out in the vehicle, and you don’t need hats and sunblock. I paid $79 for one adult and two child tickets, so it’s not an everyday adventure to do with your loves, but once in a while, definitely worth giving them the experience, as well as for yourself if you haven’t done it.
You can definitely make a whole day out of this area, with the Duck Tour in the middle, so one to keep on the list when you want to show off the magnificent City we all have the pleasure of living in.
Let me know if you have any other thoughts on this trip, or if you plan on going in the future, tell me what you thought? Please share share share – I love hearing from people in response to the blogs.
PS: I took a full time position a couple of weeks ago, after running my own business for seven years – so a big and awesome change for me. As a result, I’m a bit caught up with work, life, kids, etc… and right now, Steve is away for two weeks – good timing. As such, time is being cut down and while I really want to keep up a weekly blog post and will do my best to achieve it, I think I need to set expectations that I might not be as regular… I’m always happy to include other writers though, so if you want to join the community, come on board!