Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Visiting The S.E.A Aquarium, Resorts World Sentosa Singapore

Photo By: Elin Chow

Continuing from my journey at the Maritime Experiential Museum at the Resorts World Sentosa Singapore, my husband and I proceeded to visit the S.E.A Aquarium next. So, as promised, be prepared to dive deep and uncover the mysteries and beauty of the oceans with us now!

S.E.A Aquarium

The S.E.A Aquarium is the second largest aquarium in the world featuring more than 100,000 marine animals of over 800 species, across 10 different zones in 49 different habitats.

Straits of Karimata & Java Sea

The first exhibit zone of the S.E,A Aquarium features a shipwreck habitat from the waters of Java Sea. Shipwrecks are pretty common in these waters as seafarers used to transport spices and silk from Southeast Asia to trade them around the world. While shipwrecks are said to destroy coral reefs, it can also be home to a wide array of marine species. 

Shark Seas

Looking through a viewing window is a large shark exhibit showcasing several species of  the ocean's top and endangered predators, including the Scalloped Hammered Head Shark, Silvertip Shark and Sandbar Shark.

Silvertip Shark is a large species of requiem shark that is widely distributed across the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans. As an aggressive and powerful apex predator, the Silvertip shark has been regarded as potentially dangerous to humans, especially in the presence of food.

The Panther Grouper, Humpback Grouper or Australian Barramundi Cod is a rare species of grouper commonly found throughout the tropical waters of the Central-Indo-West Pacific regions. Its distinctive white body with beautiful black polka dots makes the Panther Grouper impossible to mix up with other fishes.

Coral Garden

Next, get ready to be transported into the colorful world of corals and reef fishes in the Andaman region. 

Often called the "rainforests of the sea", coral reels form some of the most diverse underwater ecosystem on Earth where it is home to a large variety of marine life. 

Posing for a picture in front of the Coral Garden is definitely not an easy task for us. We were basically surrounded by dozen and dozen of excited visitors who were fighting for their turn to pose and have their pictures taken at every spot. When we finally have a chance, I rushed to have my picture taken. But sadly, I could not find myself smiling.

One of Coral Reef inhabitant is the Bluestripe Snapper. Bluestripe Snapper or Blue-line Snapper is a widespread species of snapper native to the Indian and Pacific Ocean.

Bay of Bengal 

Located just beside the Coral Garden is the Bay of Bengal - home to the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest. The Sundarbans, covering 10,000 square kilometers, is the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world and home to many different species of birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and fishes.

Laccadive Sea

Further in, we came upon a patch reef displaying beautiful and colorful brain corals formation, similar to those found in the Laccadive Sea. 

I was deeply captivated by the brain Coral . Again, it is not a surprise to find the reef teeming with marine life.

With a bold blue body covered with bright yellow horizontal stripes, the Imperator Angelfish is undoubtedly some of the most beautiful fish species found living amongst the colorful coral reefs. Imperator Angelfish, also known as Emperor Angelfish are widely distributed in the waters of Indian and Pacific Oceans, spanning across the Red Sea to Hawaii and Austral Islands. 

Fishes swimming in schools at impressive speed! 

 I am glad that I managed to pose and get a better picture this time round.

Ocean Journey

Next, we journey deeper down into the ocean to discover and meet some of the most wondrous and unusual species on the Planet.

The Japanese Giant Spider Crab is a species of marine crab native to the waters of the Southern Coast of Honshu. Known to be one of the largest living arthropods, the Japanese Giant Spider Crab can grow to around 3.8 metres (12ft) from claw to claw and weight as much as 19 kilograms (42 Ibs).

As you walked further down the dimly lit hallway, be mesmerized by various sea jellies species, one of the most graceful dancers of the sea. Amazingly, it seems that jellyfish have the ability to glow beautifully in the dark waters too!

Moon Sea Jellies, also known as Moon Jelly, Saucer Jelly or Common Jellyfish are distributed all across the world's oceans and are easily recognizable by its 4 petals-like reproductive organs, easily seen from the top of its translucent, saucer-shaped bell.

White Spotted Jelly, also known as the Floating Bell or Australian Spotted Jellyfish is a species of jellyfish widely found in the waters of the West Pacific region. It is easily recognizable by its large, semi-transparent rounded bell covered with regularly spaced white spots.

White Spotted Jelly has very mild venom but does not pose a threat to humans.

Japanese Sea Nettles, also known as the Northern Sea Nettle or Brown Jellyfish is a jellyfish species native to the waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. 

Open Ocean

The centerpiece of the S.E.A Aquarium is the world's biggest Open Ocean tank offering a panoramic view of ocean. Containing more than 18,000,000 liter (4,000,000 imperial gallons) of water, the Open Ocean tank is home to over 50,000 marine creatures.

Manta Rays are large eagle rays found in both tropical and sub-tropical in all major oceans and seas around the world. Often known for its enormous size, Manta Rays are rarely kept in captivity. In fact, there are actually very few aquariums in the world that are large enough to house these gigantic creatures. Thus, I am really glad that the S.E.A Aquarium is actually one of the very few aquarium capable of housing the Manta Rays. 

Thanks to the S.E.A Aquarium, I was able to observe the Manta Rays at such a close range. 

The depth of field is so deep that I feel as if I was on the cavernous ocean floor. I believe I could just sit in front of the enormous spotless glass panel, staring at the stunning ocean scenery for hours. 

It was such a delightful sight to see hundreds of colorful and playful fishes happily swimming all around us!

A blue lobster! I was really surprised and amazed to see a blue lobster in the S.E.A Aquarium! 

South China Sea

The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean. Covering an area of 3,500,000 square kilometers, the South China Sea is the home to over 3,300 species of fishes.

Pterois, commonly known as Lionfish, is a venomous marine fish native to the Indo-Pacific. Lionfish are known for its venomous fin rays which can cause systemic effects such as extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, breathing difficulties, convulsions, dizziness, headache, numbness, heartburn and diarrhea to humans. Fatalities are common among young children and elderly. particularly those who are known to have a weaker immune system. 

Moray Eel is a large species of eel found in both deep and shallow waters in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Despite its snake-like appearance, Moray eels are actually not reptile but are fish.

Being extremely shy and secretive in nature, Moray eels are known to have spend most of its time hiding in burrows and crevices amongst the rocks and corals deep down on the ocean floor. It is a carnivorous animal, subsisting on a diet consisting of only meat. 

Although Moray eels are not aggressive in nature, I was still intimidated by its fearsome appearance. 

Final Thoughts

The S.E.A Aquarium offers a great opportunity for people of all ages to get an up close experience with some of the most majestic and unusual creatures of the sea. This is undoubtedly one of the best aquarium I have visited in my life and I would definitely recommend this attraction to anyone who love marine life!

Would I ever visit the S.E.A Aquarium again in the future? Well, probably yes, if someone is kind enough to sponsor my entire trip from Malaysia to Singapore. As much as I wanted to, Singapore is just way too expensive for me to visit again.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Visiting The Maritime Experiential Museum, Resorts World Sentosa Singapore

Photo By: Elin Chow

My husband and I visited the S.E.A Aquarium in back in 2013. Our visit began at the adjoining Maritime Experiential Museum where we spent an hour exploring and learning about the maritime history of Asia. To be frank, I must admit that we are not a huge fan of museum. In fact, I would never have visited if the admission to the museum is not included in the S.E.A Aquarium's ticket which we had purchased.

Maritime Experiential Museum

The Maritime Experiential Museum is the first and only museum to showcase the maritime history of Asia. The centerpiece of the Museum revolves around the story of the legendary Admiral Zheng He as well as the maritime Silk Route Known to be the greatest explorer and navigator in Chinese history, he had built a total of 1622 ships and commanded seven major ocean voyages around the world, each with a fleet of 300 ships and a troop of 27,000 sailors.

Opening Hours 

The Museum opens daily from 10am to 7pm but might closed earlier at 6.30 pm on certain days. You might want to check out their official website for more details on their operating hours.

Admission Price

Admission to the Maritime Experiential Museum is included in the S.E.A Aquarium One Day Pass. Prices of the ticket are as shown below:

$38 per adult, This is so much more expensive as compared to the $29 (includes admission to Maritime Experiential Museum and the Typhoon Theatre) which we had paid two years back. Furthermore, the $38 ticket does not even include the admission to the 4D Typhoon Theatre. Visitors are now required to pay an additional price in order to enjoy the 4D multimedia experience. 

The maritime journey starts with the Souk, a lively gallery recreating the market places along the Maritime Silk Route for each of Zheng He's major port of calls, namely Quanzhou, China, Qui Nhon, Vietnam, Palembang, Indonesia, Melaka, Malaysia, Galle, Sri Lanka, Calicut, India, Muscat and Malindi, kenya. As you walked down the gallery, have fun learning about the different cultures and interesting stories about these ports along the Maritime Silk Route.

Traditionally hand-woven bamboo baskets from Vietnam.

The Vietnamese Water Puppetry show - an unique and traditional folk art that originated a thousand years ago during the Ly Dynasty.

We also came upon a life-sized status of the Ming Dynasty Admiral, Zheng He. A very remarkable person indeed.

Hundreds of miniature junks 'sailing' along the steel wire, which depicts Zheng He's fleet of ships. It was such a majestic scene!

Coffe bean, grains and spices being traded along the Maritime Silk Route.

A snake charmer playing on his gourd flute as he tries to charm the venomous cobra in his basket. It would be absolutely amazing if I could watch the entire live performance right in front of my eyes! 

Oh, did anyone noticed that something was missing from the snake charmer's hands? Yes, the gourd flute! It must have been stolen by one of the visitor much before we had visited the museum. Now, the snake charmer looks really awkward without his gourd flute.

Be awed and fascinated by the Jewel of Muscat, a full-sized replica of a 9th century Arab dhow ship gifted by the Sultanate of Oman to the government of Singapore. The ship, built based on the design of Belitung shipwreck, is about 21 feet (6.4 m) wide and 58 feet (18 m) long. Construction of the Jewel began in October 2008 and set sail for Singapore on 16 February 2010, finally arriving on 3 July 2010.

Undeniably, the Jewel of Muscat is pretty impressive. However, disappointingly, visitors are not allowed on board, thus it is totally impossible for us to explore the ship further. 

A cross-section of the vessel where it showcases some of the exotic treasures which Admiral Zheng He brought back from his voyages. Among which were a number of amazing wild animals such as lions, leopards, dromedary camels, ostriches, zebras, rhinoceros, antelopes and giraffes which he had brought back from his fifth voyage to Africa.

I really wonder how he had managed to tame and get those wild animals on board his ship. 

The main highlight of the Maritime Experiential Museum is 4D Typhoon Theater, a 150-seats, 360-degree multimedia theater where visitors can 'board' on an Arabia bound sailing ship, experience a perilous voyage on the sea. Be prepared to get a little wet as the ship encounters a typhoon and eventually sinks to the bottom of the sea.

While waiting for entry into the Typhoon Theatre, we took the opportunity to snap some photos with the exhibits around.

The experience begins with a pre-show set on the pier in China's Guangzhou habour where a sailor is entrusted with a mission to deliver a golden cup to Oman via sea. Despite being warned by other sailors about the bad weather, he insisted to set sail anyway.

The entire 4D experience lasts about 4.5 minutes, ending with the ship sinking to the bottom of sea. Right after the film ends, we were ushered through an exit door, leading us into a wide and dark hallway. In the middle of the hallway is a gigantic aquarium tank featuring the sunken ship from the 4D film which we had just watched in the Typhoon Theatre.

This is basically where our adventure through the S.E.A Aquarium begins. Stay tuned for more excitement as we travel deep into the ocean with me!

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