Thursday, May 8, 2014

Visiting The River Safari Singapore

Photo By: Elin Chow

The River Safari Singapore. This is actually one of the newest attraction in Singapore.

Officially opened on the 28th February 2014, I was actually really excited to visit the River Safari even before its completion. However, never have I expected that I will ever end my trip with disappointment.

Visiting The River Safari

My husband and I actually visited the River Safari back in April 2013, before the completion of the Amazon River Quest, which only officially opened to the public in December 2013. You might ask me why we did not choose to wait. It is simply because we could not afford to wait since we have already planned to relocate to Kuala Lumpur in September 2013.

It was a rainy Sunday, which undeniably, was a dampener. We arrived around 10am in the morning and proceeded to purchase our tickets at the counter. The ticket price is as shown below:

At the time when we visited, the River Safari does have the 5% off offer for online booking. We actually paid SGD 25 for each person, which I personally feel that this is a little bit way too expensive. 

The River Safari

The River Safari Singapore, is the first and only river-themed wildlife park in Asia. At the River Safari, visitors would be able to explore river and rainforest habitats from eight of the famous rivers around the world. The following are the eight rivers featured at the River Safari:

1. Mississippi River, North America

The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America and the 4th longest in the world.

The Alligator Snapping Turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in the North America. However, do not be fooled by its shy nature. This creature is entirely canivorous and is said to have the second strongest jaw and bite in the animal kingdom.

The Alligator Gar is a ray-finned fish and also the largest in the Gar family. I found this creature the most intriguing one in this river zone.

However, the most disappointing part was we did not get to see the Beavers as it was still under construction at that time when we visited.

2. Congo River, Africa

Congo River is the deepest river in the world, going beyond 220 metres. It is the second largest river by volume of water discharged and the ninth longest river in the world.

As we moved on to the Congo River, this is where we saw this little adorable creature! The African Drawf Crocodile, which is known to be the smallest extant crocodile species in the world.

The Giant Freshwater Pufferfish, also known as the Mbu Pufferfish, is the largest canivorous freshwater pufferfish in the world.

3. River Nile, Northeastern Africa

The River Nile, flowing through a total of 10 African countries, is the world's longest river. It is 6,853 km long. 

At the River Nile zone, it was disappointing to discover only three different species of fish and none of them has managed to attract my attention. 

The African Arowana is a gray, brown or bronze long-bodied fish with large scale.  Nothing special to me as my aunt has used to keep four of these at home aquarium a few years back.

Apart from the African Arowana, visitors would also be able to catch a glimpse of the Tigerfish and Giraffe Catfish, which I failed to capture photos of.

4. Ganges River, Western Himalayas

The Ganges River, which flows through India and Bangladesh, is the third largest river in the world. The 2,525 km long Ganges is the most sacred river to the Hindus, it is worshipped as a goddess known as Mother Ganges. The Ganges River is not only the lifeline to the millions of Indians who live along the coast, but also the home to hundreds of fish and amphibian species.

At the Ganges River zone, we saw two gigantic Indian Gharials, a rare crocodile species that is critically endangered today. 

Being the longest among the crocodilians, I can swear that the Indian Gharial is really huge! However, it's a pity that I could not show its massiveness in the photo which I have captured.

I could not remember the name of these weird looking fish. 

5. Murray River, Australia

Rises in the Australian Alps, the 2,508 km long Murray River is the longest river in Australia. I did not get to capture any photo while touring through the Murray River zone as there was nothing really interesting to see. The highlight in this zone would probably be the Red Clawed Crayfish, which looks really beautiful!

6. Mekong River, Southeast Asia

The Mekong River is the 12th longest river in the world and the 7th in Asia. With an estimated length of 4,350 km, it runs through a total of 6 countries, starting from Tibetan Plateau and ending in Vietnam before flowing out to the South China Sea.

The highlight of the Mekong River will be probably be the large aquarium filled with the Giant Siamese Carp and Mekong Giant Catfish. 

I swear they are really gigantic! But it is not really surprising as they are the largest freshwater fish species in the world. However, due to habitats loss and overfishing activities, both of them are also critically endangered, with an estimate of only a few hundred left alive.

The Lesser Adjutant Stork. So difficult to get a nice shot of it!

7. Yangtze River, Asia

The Yangtze River, also known as Chang Jiang in China, is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world. 

At the Yangtze River, we were immediately greeted by a Chinese Alligator, which seemed to be having lots of fun swimming in the water. 

Next, we saw the Giant Salamander. This thing looks really hideous and disgusting! My husband was even scolding and asking why I was taking photo of this ugly creature. 

Some freshwater fish we saw at the Yangtze River zone. But I did not managed to take down their names.

Giant Panda Forest

However, the biggest attraction at the River Safari will be the Giant Panda Forest where a pair of male and female giant panadas - Kai Kai and Jia Jia are housed.

The Red Panda, also called lesser panda or the red-cat bear, is slightly larger than a domestic cat. It is omnivorous and feeds mainly on bamboo like the Giant Panda.

It's sad that camera flash is not allowed to be used in the Giant Panda Forest. The photos came out to be quite dark. Nevertheless, it still show the super adorable side of the Red Panda.

Isn't it cute? In fact, I adore the Red Panda more than the Giant Panda.

Next to the Red Panda, we finally get to meet Kai Kai and Jia Jia, which had created a huge rave in Singapore even before their arrival.

So, if you are unlucky, it's hard for you to even get a clear view of the pandas. And apparently, we were unlucky that day. 

However, this was not the worst part. The worst part of all was the china tourists who were pushing around, fighting for the best spot just to get a nice photo of the Giant Pandas. They were making so much noises but could not bother to care more even after the staffs at the River Safari requested them to quieten down. Totally ruined our mood and perhaps, the Giant Pandas felt annoyed too.

Mama Panda Kitchen is the only restaurant in the River Safari where you could get some food. However, my husband and I did not get to eat here.

Right outside the Mama Panda Kitchen, we get to enjoy the scenery of the Upper Seletar Reservoir.

Amazon Flooded Forest

Lastly, we visited the Amazon Flooded Forest. The Amazon River is the largest river in South America and the second longest in the world. During the rainy season, usually for six months every year, the Amazon River tends to overflow its bank. As a result of the flooding, the Amazon Forest is submerged in over 10 metres underwater.

Here at the Amazon Flooded Forest, we saw the Piranhas, one of the most feared and aggressive fish species in the world. If you have watched the movie "Piranha" before, you will understand why the Piranhas are the most feared fish in history ever. However, please be warned that this is a rated RA21 film due to its gore and sexual content. Be prepared to see lots of blood.

Some other freshwater fish which we saw.

However, the highlight of the Amazon Flooded Forest zone will the giant aquarium which is filled with the Manatees and Arapaimas. A really spectacular view! 

The Arapaima is the largest freshwater fish in South America.

The Manatee, also known as Sea Cow, is a herbivorous marine mammal. Capturing a photo of the Manatee is really not easy as it tends to stay far off from the glass panel.

As the River Safari Tea House came into view, it also signify the end of our River Safari tour. The restaurant does not seem cheap at all, but it does have a nice ambience. However, if all you wanted is just a quick bite, I suggest you to eat over at the Singapore Zoo instead, where you would be able to find affordable fast food chain like the KFC.

As usual, you would able to find some souvenir shop where you could grab and bring one or two souvenirs home. Of course, buying something here will not be cheap.

With this, we ended our trip. The entire River Safari only took us 2 hours to tour. 2 hours for SGD 25. I thought this was really too expensive. We were given the option to re-enter the River Safari any time on the day we visited after we made our exit. But we were not keen about that. It will be too boring as most of the surprises and excitement were gone. 

I really hope there will be more plans to expand the River Safari further. If not, I think I will never re-visit the attraction again.

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