On Trams, Owls and Ulu Ulu

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by SeenThat on March 11, 2009

Located next to the Zoological Gardens, the Singapore Night Safari was inaugurated more than twenty years after the first, in 1994. Occupying forty hectares, it displays 120 animal species, of which 29% are threatened.

Forty-one exhibits can be seen on foot, while the remaining eighteen demand the use of the tram. The park is divided into the East and West Loops and into eight geographical zones with a total length of 3.2km; the walkway length is 2.8km long and divided into three walking trails. A useful map featuring the different trails is giving with the entrance ticket.


The park opens from 7:30 PM to midnight daily; the show times in the amphitheatre are 7:30 PM, 8:30 PM, and 9:30 PM. Last admission is at 11 PM. The entrance fee is S$22.00 for adults and half that for children (the same applies for the other fees mentioned here).

The restaurants and souvenir shop open from 6 PM. I strongly recommend combining the visit with the one to the Zoological Gardens. The last closes at 6 PM, and thus a natural early-dinner break is created in between the visits. Otherwise traveling to the area twice is cumbersome.


By Car

Take the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) towards Jurong, and leave it at Exit 7 of the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE), afterward, follow the brown signs to the Singapore Zoo.

By Bus

Take bus 171 from the City to Mandai Road, alight there at the first stop and transfer to bus 927.


Alight at Ang Mo Kio station (NS16) and take bus 138 or at Choa Chu Kang station (BP1/NS4) and take bus 927.

On Sundays and Public Holidays it is possible to take bus 926 from the MRT Woodlands (NS9) or Marsiling (NS8) stations.

By Special Service

BusHub Services offers a daily bus service from pick-up points below to Singapore Zoo, and back. A one-way trip costs $4 for adults and half that for children. Buses depart twice a day, roughly at 9 AM and 1 PM, and on holidays also at 10 AM. The detailed list of stops and times appears at www.bushub.com.sg. A similar service is offered by them for Jurong Park.

City Tours offers a similar service on a door to door hotel basis for $11.90 per person, reservations can be done at www.citytours.sg

Combined Tickets

Since Wildlife Reserves Singapore is the parent company of the zoo, the Night Safari and the Jurong Bird Park (all of them reviewed in this journal), special tickets valid for one month and combining the attractions exist:

3-in-1: S$40.00 for adults.
2-in-1: Any two of the three parks, S$30.00 for adults.

Night Safari Tour

The park can be toured with no specific order, though probably most visitors would pass through all the attractions mentioned below:

Thumbuakar Tribe

A Thumbuakar Tribe performance takes place at the Photomound at 7, 8 and 9 PM, and at the Ulu Ulu at 6:30 and 7:30 PM. Coming from Borneo, the display includes tribal dances, blowpipe demonstrations and fire eating displays.

Fishing Cat Trail

One of the most important features of this park is that the visitors have the illusion of sharing the same open space with the animals. Fences, moats and other separating devices are tastefully disguised. Nowhere is this more worrying than on the Fishing Cat Trail, where leopard cats, small-clawed otters, Indian Gharials and the largest bat in the world - the Malayan flying fox – can be enjoyed and feared.

Forest Giants Trail

This trail is a botanical display of rainforest giants, including over a hundred native plants; some of the trees are well over a hundred-years old. The last being living eco-systems, the display also offers sights of nocturnal animals like toads, frogs, bats, flying lemurs, nightjars, owls, squirrels, tree shrews and of many insects.

Creatures of the Night Show

The show demonstrates the behavior of some local residents: Puma, Barn Owls, Python, Raccoons and others.

Tram Journey I

The tram ride covers 3.2km, offers 18 displays and takes about 45 minutes to complete. It includes a live commentary and one stopover at the East Lodge. It begins from 7:30 PM. Tickets cost S$10.00.

The tram ride begins At the Himalayan Foothills display, where Himalayan Tahr, Bharal, and vultures can be seen, and then continues into the Nepalese River Valley which is home to the otter, wolf, Greater Asian Rhino, jackal and Sambar Deer. The Indian Subcontinent hosts the Striped Hyena, Gir Lion and the Sloth Bear. Due to the special lighting used, the animals are oblivious to the visitors (and most cameras to the animals!).

Leopard Trail

The Leopard Trail is near the East Lodge and is best seen during the tram stopover there. It features the clouded leopard, the binturong and the Malayan civet. Next to it is a dome featuring the giant flying squirrels; sized like house cats, the squirrels glide among the treetops in the dome. A similar display takes place at the Bat Mangrove Walk where Malayan Bats hunt for food amidst the visitors heads.

Tram Journey II

The second part of the tram trip is dedicated to Equatorial Africa and features giraffes, servals, spotted hyenas, bongos and hippos. Then the tram enters the Indo Malayan Region, which is home to the hog deer, the bearded pig and the Malayan tiger.

Tapirs, Red Dholes, Asian Elephants and Bantengs occupy the Asian Riverine Forest and are followed by the South American Pampas where the maned wolf, the capybara and the giant anteater compete for the visitors’ attention. The tour ends with the Burmese Hillside, which features guars and thamins.

A Worthy Adventure

By far, the Night Safari display is the most interesting one among the parks reviewed in this journal. None of the others compares in its richness or in the sense of reality created here; the fear of being attacked by a tiger while walking along the trails is almost valid.

Unfortunately, I found two difficulties with photographing. The first was unavoidable: it is dark and taking pictures demand a tripod and long exposure times. The second was unnecessary. I had spent the afternoon at the zoo and took a few hundred pictures, supposing that I would be able to recharge the camera’s battery at one of the restaurants while dining and waiting for the Night Safari to open; unluckily, there were no electricity outlets available for the customers.
Singapore Zoo
80 Mandai Lake Road
Singapore, Singapore, 729826
(65) 6269 3411


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