It is December which is usually the holiday peak travel season for Singapore, except that there’s no overseas vacations this year due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, this should not discourage us from heading out to travel and explore more about our little island while aiding by social distancing measures. There is even more reason to do so given that the government has issued $100 SingapoRediscover vouchers (‘SRV’) to all Singaporeans aged 18 and above in 2020. When this $320 million initiative was announced, it wasn’t met with the great enthusiasm by some. Most would feel that they have already ticked the checkboxes of the usual tourist attractions. I admit that I shared similar sentiments until I went on a Red Light District walking tour in November that opened up my eyes to the myriad of possibilities.
Red Light District Walking Tour by Footworks
Last month, my wife and I attended a local tour that was featured on The Sunday Times -The Red Light District Walking Tour by FootWorks. Chris (the guide and owner of the company) was generous in his sharing as he regaled the participants with seedy stories of Singapore’s past. Much to the missus horror, she finally realised that they have been living 1 MRT stop away from one of Singapore’s red light districts. Ever since that tour, she has been keeping him on a tight leash.
Jokes aside, it is a real pity that Footworks is not on the list of eligible merchants for the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers campaign. However, I believe that this should not stop you from spending half a day on this highly intriguing and exciting walking tour! Reinvigorated after the tour (pun intended), I pored through the list of approved merchants (Source: STB) and this is how my family plans to spend our SingapoRediscover vouchers.
How I Plan To Use My SingapoRediscover Vouchers
Firstly, I have a rather controversial plea to make – do consider NOT going on a staycation. The reason is that they are already getting a big slice of the pie, with or without the SingapoRediscover vouchers. Instead, consider the myriad of options available for attractions as well as local tours which is where I plan to spend my SRV vouchers on.
a) Attractions for families with young kids
With a young toddler in tow, here are some exciting itineraries that I am eyeing or have already done so:
- Taking the Singapore Cable Car to get into Sentosa before making our way to the S.E.A. Aquarium. We delayed this trip till now as our daughter is finally old enough to better appreciate the diverse sea creatures on display
- ArtScience Museum with its interactive exhibitions would surely keep my active toddler busy all day (located at Marina Bay Sands)
- The various attractions at Gardens By The Bay, followed by 1-1 Dim Sum buffet at Majestic Restaurant or 1-1 Main Course at Fennel Café (Using the Entertainer courtesy of HSBC Credit Card)
- Finally, one last visit to Jurong Bird Park before it moves to its new home in Mandai. Pretty amazing that the last time I was there was probably 20 odd years ago!
By the way, I am skipping the Zoo and River Safari as I have already done them this year! SnowCity looks incredibly exciting but it’s unfortunate that Olympia is too young for the bumper car ride.
B) Attractions for families with Seniors
- Jewel Changi Airport Canopy Park Attractions
My parents must be one of those rare breeds who have yet to visit Jewel Changi Airport. Therefore, this seems like an easy checklist to tick off as I am sure that they will marvel in awe at this architectural icon as much as I did when I first set my eyes on it. Moreover, the year-end period is really a good time to bring them there as there will be hourly snowfalls at Canopy Park and Shiseido Forest Valley. This is probably the first time that they will witness anything remotely close to snow and surely there’s no better way than to share this memory with their beloved grandchild!
- Singapore Flyer
Being hawkers for the most part of their lives, they hardly had the time to visit Singapore. Therefore, I thought the Singapore Flyer is the perfect solution for them to take in much of Singapore skyline while being friendly on their ageing knees.
C) Tours for Adults
I have a penchant for walking tours and will be looking to join some walking tours that will increase my knowledge of Singapore.
This tour is top of my list as it combines the topics of real estate and history. Colonial bungalows, also known as the black & white houses, have always been an enigma to me and I hope to gain a better appreciation of it after this tour. Starting from $60 per person, one can choose between the neighbourhoods of Alexandra Park Estate, Adam Park Estate and Goodwill Hill Estate. Other very interesting tours by the same company that caught my eye include “Joo Chiat & The Peranakans: Pastel Shophouses & Rainbow Tiles” as well as “Orchard Road Stories: Emerald Hill & Other Hidden Gems Walk”
- Chinatown Murders Game Tour
This tour comes a close second on my list as I love anything that involves a good workout and challenges my intellectual thinking. After attending the tour, I was highly impressed at how challenging the puzzles were. It was well worth every penny spent! We had so much fun, gained a good workout as well as deepened our knowledge of Chinatown. For those who love indoor escape rooms, this is a must-try!
This is run by Tribe, an award-winning tour operator that is also listing this Tour experience exclusively on the Klook platform. Which means you can only book it via Klook! Hurry as I heard that weekend slots sell out fast!
- Trishaw Uncle Guided Tours
If I prefer something relaxing on the day, I will consider the Trishaw Uncle guided tours. This tour consists of 4 vastly distinct routes: Singapore River, Little India, Kampong Glam and Chinatown. Starting from $20, this is a good alternative for those looking to spend the last of their remaining SRV. If the trishaw uncle permits, I would love to bring my daughter along for this guided tour. Who knows whether when she would have the opportunity to ride on a trishaw since this is a dying trade?
Additionally, Seedly did a compilation of the best local tours that cost less than $60, so do check it out if you are looking out for inspiration.
How To Redeem Your SingapoRediscover Vouchers
The SingapoRediscover vouchers, meant for personal use, are distributed via SingPass and will be valid till June 2021. I will be redeeming my vouchers via Klook because I am already an existing user of this wonderful platform. During the 11.11 Singles Sale, I managed to snag some amazing deals such as a $100 House of Seafood voucher at only $31. For my bookings on Klook, I will be using a combination of the SRV vouchers and my HSBC Advance Card to get 10% cashback (capped at S$25).
The redemption process on Klook is also relatively straightforward as the SRV (in denominations of $10) will be redeemed by applying them like you usually would for promo code on the platform as shown in Diagram 5.
For those who are dead set on having a year-end staycation, Klook is also highly recommended as it offers 100% coverage of all the eligible hotels (with ongoing UOB credit card promotion) and has a dedicated website just for this campaign. If you want to sign up for Klook, do use my referral link to receive $5 once you sign up!
The SingapoRediscover vouchers is a $320 million initiative to boost our tourism sector during a year that have seen them bore the full brunt of the effects of the coronavirus. For those who are able to afford, it is time that we support our local tourism heroes and domestic tourism. Most importantly, there’s no need to rush as vouchers will be valid till 30 June 2021.
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