Singapore Tour for Japanese Exchange Students

by Kathleen Lim Terado
(Kuhonbutsu, Tokyo, Japan )

Hi, I'm a Singapore Citizen, promoting Singapore and I am gathering 17 Japanese students Primary 4 - high school, 5 Japanese adults for this trip between Aug 3 to Aug 11th.

Everyday, they will be going to a Singapore primary school and secondary school. After lunch, I will fetch them and would like to bring them around on a study tour.

I want them to learn and also have fun at the same time. Where would you suggest for a Singapore tour? I am chartering a coach that will be driving us to school and outings. From 7th to 9th, the public holidays, we would want to go to Universal Studios. Would appreciate your assistance.

Kathleen


Hi Kathleen


Here are some "learn + fun" suggestions for your Japanese guests. I've basically arranged the activities in 3 half days and 4 full days, based on 3 themes: culture, history and fun for pre-teens and teens.


DAY 1 - HALF DAY AT LITTLE INDIA

Theme: Culture

Take your guests to Tekka Centre. Introduce them to Indian cuisines at the Food Centre and let them check out the fresh produce and spices at the adjacent wet market.

The next stop could be the Sri Veerama Kaliamman Temple just down the road on Serangoon Road.

Send them out to explore the side streets, browse the bargain shops on Serangoon Road and culminate with

a) some shopping at Mustafa Centre, or

b) a visit to the Museum of Shanghai Toys on Rowell Road.

It would be good if you could arm yourself with some interesting facts and figures about these places in Singapore's Little India.


DAY 2 - HALF DAY AT GEYLANG SERAI & JOO CHIAT

Get the bus to stop your group at the Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre along Changi Road.

Take your guests to enjoy the Malay food at the Food Centre on Level 2. This could be a lunch stop or a tea break stop. Check out the wide array of Malay food, such as satay, nasi padang, kuih muih and such like.

Cross the overhead bridge to Joo Chiat Road - which is an opportunity to marvel at the intricacies of pre-war shophouse architecture and to sample Nonya food - otak otak, nonya dumplings, pineapple tarts and more kuih muihs.

At the end of Joo Chiat Road turn onto East Coast Road. At least 2 shops are worth checking out:

1) Rumah Bebe (beaded shoes and Nonya confectionery)

2) Katong Antique House

It would be great if you could persuade the owners of these shops to give a short talk of the 'Peranakan Culture 101' type.

To end the day, take them to the junction of Ceylon Road and East Coast Road, the battleground for the 'War of Katong Laksa'. Order bowls of laksa from the 4 competing stalls and ask them which ones they think are the tastiest.


DAY 3 - HALF DAY @ WILD WILD WET & HEARTLAND TOWN CENTRE

Remind your group to bring their swim wear to Singapore.

On Day 3, take them to Wild Wild Wet @ Downtown East in Pasir Ris. There are enough rides to thrill the kids and adults, and it's a good way for your Japanese group to beat the Singapore heat.

For dinner, you could:

1) give them a treat at Sakura International Buffet Restaurant @ Downtown East, or

2) take them to Bedok Town Centre or Tampines Town Centre and let them sample local food, and follow up with a little walkabout of the town centre.


DAY 4 - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS & OTHER SENTOSA ISLAND HIGHLIGHTS

Enjoy Universal Studios in the earlier part of the day and leave time in the late afternoon / evening for one or two of the following:

1) MegaZip

2) Luge & Skyride

3) The Flying Trapeze

4) Songs of the Sea (pyrotechnics show)


DAY 5 - FARM TOUR TO KRANJI COUNTRYSIDE

I recommend a Singapore farm tour @ Kranji Countryside - it's good fun and highlights the more rustic side of Singapore.

Try to contact the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in advance and see if one of their staff could take the group around and show them the mangrove ecosystem and the wildlife that lives there.

Or you could time this visit on a Saturday, when the Reserve often have free guided tours for visitors. (Admission fee applies on weekends.)


DAY 6 - SINGAPORE RIVER, CITY CENTRE & MARINA BAY

In the morning, explore the Singapore River, either on a walking tour or on a river cruise.

In the afternoon, check out the heritage sites in the city centre (what is commonly called the Civic District).

Depending on your group, you could either blend in some shopping along the way, or go strong on the historical significance of historic places such as:

1) The Padang

2) Saint Andrew's Cathedral

3) The former Supreme Court

4) City Hall

Next, take them on a walk around the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade.

Note:
I suggest you plan this day's itinerary - and particularly this stop at Marina Bay - for National Day. From 6pm onwards, the visitors could watch the flypast, marchpast and fireworks.


I hope these ideas will prove useful for planning your Singapore tour for the Japanese guests.


May you have a great time with the visitors.


Gabriel Tan

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