Is the Singapore Zoo really worth a visit, or can it only be recommended to student psychologists researching the deeper dungeons of human behavior?
In a common zoo, one is used to endure crying babies, monkey behavior of noisy teenagers and bickering parents before having the privilege to experience uninterested wards pointing to the smelly cages of nameless, unhappy and mostly sleeping animals.
But no, as I found out, Asian families really do enjoy a visit to the Singapore zoo and the kids behaved a lot more civilised than their Western counterparts (yes, I am a parent too).
The zoo staff is also really enthusiast about their work, and the animals … Well, the animals don’t smell that bad and there are not that many cages.
What might get smelly though is you. After all, this zoo is in a tropical forest, and you will be sweating even more than in the city area of Singapore, where temperatures are always around 32° and humidity is sky-high.
Watch your steps though, since this zoo really is in a tropical forest, and some of the creepy crawlers roaming freely are even more fun and interesting than your fellow visitors or the zoo animals.
Most of the cages are cleverly hidden from sight, giving you the impression to walk around unprotected in the jungle. And the lush green plants make the picture perfect.
All the ingredients for a nice day exploring the great outdoors and hanging out with family or friends!
Opening hours and tickets.
The Zoo is open every day from 8.30am to 6.00pm. The last ticket sale is at 05.30pm.
Tickets cost S$20.00 for an adult and S$13.00****for a child (3 to 12 years old).
Prices correct at the time of writing this blog, but please check online.
I would suggest to pay a bit more to include a tram-ride and the River Safari. In that case, the prices are S$27.00 and $17.00 respectively.
There are also combination tickets (for the Night Safari and Jurong Bird park) available. These combination tickets are valid for 30 days.
Tickets can be purchased online but usually one does not have to queue a long time to purchase the tickets on site. This is Singapore at its best!
How to get there?
The address is (but don’t worry, every taxi driver knows how to find it): 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826.
Hop on the first plane to Singapore (Ok, Malaysians could also do it by bus/bike and Indonesians by boat). You’ll probably end up in a hotel in central Singapore.
There is no MRT station nearby the Zoo, so travel will include MRT and bus, or simply take a bus in the neighbourhood of your hotel. Prices are pretty low, but first check with the hotel, there are many free buses available to the zoo (ask for he Singapore Attractions Express). The bus-ride however takes nearly an hour and has many stops.
The pricing structure of taxi rides is probably on purpose overly complex, on every point of time that one would want to take a taxi there are surcharges. And half an hour before a higher surcharge can be applied, no taxis are to be found, they will all be hiding.
You’ll also have to pay the government tax (Electronic Road Pricing) which varies by time of day and location. All in all, it will be near impossible to really go for the cheapest moment of time since it would take an Einstein to calculate this. However, the taxi ride should not cost you more than SGD 30,- and is more comfortable than taking a bus.
What to watch out for?
This is a zoo, right? Plenty of animals to see…
Do not, I repeat, do not do visit the zoo during a public holiday. It will be extremely crowded.
First of all, take your time. This is a huge zoo, and running around like headless chickens is not recommended in the tropical heat. Use the tram-ride to go from the centre area to the corners, and slowly walk back to the central area. Drink plenty of water. Enjoy some food, repeat.
A visit to the Zoo will take at least half a day and more. It can be combined with a visit to the nearby Night Safari and the River Safari, but I would not recommend to try and combine it with a visit to Jurong Bird Park: that would take too much of the even experienced jungle explorer. But a visit to Jurong Bird park is well worth it, just do not try to combine this with a visit to the zoo.
There are plenty of decent food outlets at the entrance of the zoo.
But since Singapore is the food capital of the world, I would suggest to have your breakfast in town in a nice hawker centre, save some dollars and go to the zoo with a full stomach.
The Singapore Zoo is well worth the visit. Plan to visit it on a week-day however, and not on a national holiday.
Oh yeah, I nearly forgot: Relax, my Singaporean friends. I did not mean to offend you by telling that the Singapore Zoo was going to the dogs.
No, the title was all about me, literally, going to the dogs, as the picture proves.