Friday, October 24, 2014

Universal Studios, Singapore (USS): Getting There from Malacca + Tips & Tricks!

A lot of you may not know this, but, there's a shuttle bus service from Melaka straight to Universal Studios, Singapore!
I found out about this just a few days before going to USS myself.
The shuttle bus service is under 707 Travel & Tours Sdn. Bhd. that provides transportation services to Singapore from Melaka at a very low price of RM23.

Find out more about 707 Travel & Tours:
or you can locate them at:
G-31, Jalan PM 5, Plaza Mahkota, Bandar Hilir, 75000 Melaka.

But, when I was planning the trip, I didn't go to 707 straight away.
I contacted Kirana Holidays Sdn. Bhd. and got into contact with En. Najad.
I heard from a friend that I can contact him to arrange a trip to USS using the 707 bus service which entitle me to an all-day entrance ticket to USS + $5 food voucher + $5 retail voucher + shuttle service from Melaka straight to Sentosa Singapore (where USS is located along with other attractions such as a casino and hotels nearby the USS theme park). The bus took off at 6.30 a.m. (standby time 6 a.m. at Petron Melaka Sentral) and reached USS just before 11 a.m. (depending on traffic). Knock yourself out all day long and go back to where the bus dropped you off by 5 p.m., which is around the Sentosa parking lot itself so no worries, it's pretty convenient. Since USS opens its gates from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the timing is pretty nice. It was a Saturday, October 4th. We reached Melaka at around 10.30 p.m. the same day. The bus stopped at Yong Peng for breakfast and dinner during the back-and-forth travel.
How much did I spend on these? Only RM188 (all-day entrance ticket to USS + $5 food voucher + $5 retail voucher + shuttle service from Melaka straight to Sentosa Singapore).

G-31, Jalan PM 4, Plaza Mahkota, Bandar hilir, 75000, Melaka, 75000 Malaysia
+60 6-286 8900
Kirana Holidays Sdn. Bhd.

Here are some tips and tricks!

Remember to convert some RMs to Singapore dollars beforehand, tho. We did the exchange in USS and the service charge was pretty high. I changed RM150 to dollars only to receive about 60$. But, it was worth having some dollars in your hand coz you'll be very tempted to buy some souvenirs AND you don't want to waste the $10 vouchers you get along with the entrance pass. You definitely need some cash to use those vouchers. A couple of corndogs worth $4 each will definitely keep you full the whole time. So, do get your dollars!!
Personally, I think spending RM150 is nice enough for a single person. With the dollars I got, I bought a mug, a nice key-chain, USS T-shirt + cap, and two corndogs for the rumbling tummy (making full use of the $5 retail and $5 food vouchers). Not bad at all.

Having a small backpack will help. Bring one or two bottled water bought beforehand to save some cash. Since the bus will take off from a petrol station with a convenient store, it's good to stock up on H2O and small snacks/buns. Plus, you will be bringing stuff like power bank and cameras so a handy backpack will definitely make your life easier.

Since you will be doing a lot of cardio by walking through the theme park, wear comfy shoes or even better, a pair of sneakers! Going to USS on weekends means you will also need to queue a lot (we queued for almost 3 hours for the Transformers ride) so wear comfy outfits. Some rides are splashy, so you might get wet. Do bring along an extra T-shirt or something, in case the day is hot and sunny which will drench you in sweat.

You need to scan your belongings before and after entering the border. So, no alcohols or weapons or harmful stuff. You can only bring in some cigarettes tho. Half a pack of cigarettes are okay in our experience.

As for the rides, the Transformers ride (they call it EVACs) is A MUST. We queued for hours to get in and it was totally worth it. I don't even want to tell you the details coz I think the suspense is worth it. We didn't even knew what it's all about while wasting 3 hours of our life but apparently, it wasn't a waste after all, enough said.
We managed to get into the Steven Spielberg's Special Effects studio, Transformers and Madagascar's rides. The rest of the day was spent on taking pictures, shopping and eating. It was a long weekend, so, most of the rides were packed with people. We spent quite a long time with shopping tho. If we didn't, we might get onto another ride.

If you're looking for a specific kind of merchandise, you can go to the various souvenir shops (Shrek's, Madagascar, Minions Mart, etc.) but do take a good look around the Universal Studio Store as they have more options there. The mistake I made was I bought the T-shirt and cap combo in Shrek's Fairy Godmother Potion Shop in Faraway Land, where they only offer two colors, each for men and women. Little did I know that on our way back to exit the theme park, Universal Studio Store has a wider variety of the same T-shirt and cap combo in so many different colors. I was pretty bummed out. You will find more exciting offers at the shops and kiosks nearby the entrance/exit doors, for example 3 key-chains for $15.
*I think the T-shirt and cap combo is the best grab, it costs $35 which is, to me, a value buy*

Take lots of pictures and keep an eye on the random movie characters coming out to take pictures with visitors! Characters like Marilyn Monroe will be ready for the camera flashes.

Before I let go of any more spoilers, do consider of planning a trip to USS. We had a blast and I hope you will too. ;)

Above: the T-shirt & cap combo

2014: The Ups and Downs

Dear blog,
I'm sorry for neglecting you all this while. I've been writing a lot in my physical diary/journal which I think is more suitable for super personal stuff. But, lately I've been thinking of writing something more general and worth sharing with the world. It might get a bit personal but overall, it's just another update of the many things I've discovered and experienced throughout the year.

I realized I had been going on many fun trips this year. The last update was about my Tioman trip with friends, and that was back in March. After that trip, I went back to the stressful environment of my final semester in college. That story is filled with many breakdowns and self-esteem issue so I won't talk about it no more. One detail though that affected my life up until now, I haven't graduated, yet. I still have a research study to finish so yea, I'm still working on it. Apart from that, life has been great. :D

I moved to Muar to live with my mom and I couldn't say it's a fun thing to live with your mom unless both of you don't argue so much. But, I'm holding on. I wished to live on my own in Shah Alam but since that's not happening, I'm trying to make myself super happy with fun plans, new hobbies and awesome trips with friends; while trying to finish my thesis all at once.

Earlier this month, a good friend of mine proposed an exciting idea of going to Singapore. With only 3 days to plan everything, I managed to put things together quite well and off we went to Singapore on the 4th of October, 2014. We took the bus heading to Universal Studios Singapore from Melaka and we had so much fun. That trip started everything. We booked a guesthouse along Melaka Riverside, spent a night there, went sight-seeing the next day, went back to Muar where I passed out pretty instantly as soon as I hit the bed, and then off to KL the next day. I spent 2 nights in KL, went on two Tinder dates that went, "hmm, meh" (with a straight-face), and then off to Miri for Intan's wedding *Intan is my best friend since we were 11*. The wedding was beautiful, I was reunited with many primary/secondary school friends, had a blast, cried a bit coz I couldn't believe Intan is now a married woman, and went on another Tinder date which was an awesome one with a cool dude and a friend I just met from the wedding (oh, and I made a bunch of new friends from Kuching who came to the wedding, super cool girls), and I went back to KL. The trip didn't stop there, though. Intan's parents invited me to stay in KL where they rented a nice service apartment for two nights and during the day, we went to Bukit Tinggi in Pahang. This trip was actually for Intan's cousins who came from Hatyai who wanted to go sight-seeing around Malaysia. Bukit Tinggi is a good place for that, where you can visit the famous Colmar Tropicale, a classic French-countryside vacation spot made up of beautiful buildings, hotels, restaurants and courtyards. Before we went back to KL, we visited the Animal Park and fed bunnies and deer. Awesome. Back in KL, I went on another Tinder date that went "uhh, meh" (again) and totally shook it off quite easily. Met Weng for lunch the day after before I headed back to Muar.
Hence, the Muar-Melaka-Singapore-Melaka-Muar-KL-Miri-KL-Pahang-KL-Muar trip consumed the first three weeks of October 2014. And now I'm back in Muar, hibernating for a week. This weekend we were supposed to go to Tambun Lost World in Ipoh but we had to scratch off that plan for some reason. Now the post-vacation stress (?) is carefully cured with a shopping trip, PS3 and PC games, while trying to finish off my thesis, of course.

I think there's a high chance for me to do reviews on the trips mentioned above, along with makeup reviews I've been thinking about for a while now and some rants on several issues. Guess it might be helpful for many people out there.

I don't want to talk much about the 'downs' of the year coz I might go teary (hah haa) but I generally refuse to focus on that when I try to recap or remember something. Focusing on the good things seems more appealing, and it sure is.

Plus, I think when you were reading this post, I bet you realize I went on a lot of Tinder dates. Tinder is a cool app where you can get "matched" with cool guys (or girls) and you get to chat with them. I didn't went in to deep with this app but hey, within a month I managed to set up good first meetings with the guys I met on Tinder (4 in total). Although the conversations didn't last long with most of them, but I had fun meeting new people. I had pretty decent outings with those guys. :)

This last bit might not be so important but I'm gonna write about it anyway. Many items from my wishlist are checked/on its way to completion: changed my Samsung Galaxy S5 to iPhone 5S, got myself a polaroid camera, halfway through completing my driver's licence, braces for my teeth on its way, great platform for makeup reviews with free products (yay!) and of course, on my way to graduating.

Wish me luck. Trying my best to live life to the fullest and let things happen naturally. :)