Once again, it was the time of the year our family visited River Hongbao religiously. River Hongbao is an annual event in Singapore to celebrate Chinese New Year. As always, after our reunion dinner, we headed to the floating platform to check out this year’s lanterns and carnival.
Like previous years, there were two parts to this event: One part was the lighting and lanterns display, the other part was the carnival. Since I’m Bumble Bee MUM, I shall start with the carnival.
J Kids Amusement Funland
WHAT HAPPENED TO UNCLE RINGO??? For the past not sure how many years, Uncle Ringo has been running the carnival during River Hongbao. And there would usually be a Groupon deal for the carnival coupons. This year, we were waiting for the Groupon deal to appear – but it never did. Turns out, the carnival had been taken over by J Kids Amusement Funland.
Carnival Games & Rides Pricing
Doesn’t matter. Uncle Ringo or J Kids, they offered pretty much the same tacky games and rides. We brought our Uncle Ringo card from last year, hoping to save a few dollars on card deposit, but too bad. You can leave that Uncle Ringo card at home.
J-Kids uses a ticket system. The tickets cost $2.50 each. You can also purchase a package to 10 tickets and get 1 free. i.e. $25 for 11 tickets.
Now, attention to what I have to say next. The card you need to bring with you this year is your PASSION card. BEFORE you buy your tickets, look for the counter that says PAssion Card Redemption Counter.
Flash your PAssion card and you will receive a discount coupon.
With this, you can get $2 off the package ticket, bringing the price down to $23 for 11 tickets. Note that each PAssion card can only redeem one sheet of discount coupons each day. They will scan your card, so don’t even think of cheating.
With the PAssion card discount, each ticket would cost ROUGHLY $2. So we took a look at the pricing list for the games and rides.
In the past, Uncle Ringo charged about $5 for the rides. This time, the rides generally cost about 2 tickets, which was roughly $4. So in a way, the rides were generally cheaper. And stuff like H20 Walker cost 3 tickets which was roughly $6 – significantly cheaper than Uncle Ringo’s $10 charge last year.
One new thing we had this year was the Dinosaur Tour. It used a different ticket system from the earlier rides.
You could do either the Dinosaur Tour or the Walking Dinosaurs. If I’m not mistaken, Dinosaur Tour was just for you to walk around the dinosaur exhibits. And Walking Dinosaurs referred to these ride-on dinosaurs that could move.
The Dinosaur Tour worked out to be $6 per pax and the Walking Dinosaurs worked out to be $12 per pax.
But remember the PAssion Card coupons earlier? You can get $2 discount off Dinosaur Tour or Walking Dinosaur with the coupons, bringing the price down to $4 per pax for the Dinosaur Tour and $10 per pax for Walking Dinosaur.
Another thing that was different in this year’s carnival was the addition of arcade games. I didn’t check out the pricing.. Sorry. We are Timezone gold card members and if we wanted to play arcade games, we would just go to Timezone downstairs.
It was nice to see something new, like the Dinosaur Tour, even if I wasn’t too convinced to part with my money for it. In fact, this year we didn’t let the kids play anything because there wasn’t the Groupon deal to entice us. If there had been a Groupon deal, we would probably have bought it since we knew we would go to River Hongbao, and we would have just anyhow spent the tickets on random rides and games. We are such suckers for Groupon deals! Hey J Kids, consider having Groupon deal next time okay?
But anyway… If you are going to the carnival, remember to bring your PAssion card and redeem the discount coupon!
Moving on to the other half of River Hongbao – the lightings and lanterns! As always, the entrance arch and tunnel were impressive.
It was Year of the Monkey, so this year’s lanterns revolved around the story of Journey to the West. You know.. Monkey God?
So yeah.. Let me spam you with some photos so that you get the idea. It was all Monkey God and friends.
MF felt somewhat inspired to strike a Monkey God pose. Not bad huh.
Believe it or not, I have never read the story of Journey to the West or watched any drama or cartoon or movie about it before. They show it on TV all the time, but I am just not a fan. Ever year at River Hongbao, there is a section in the middle with a bridge for people to walk across to take photos. This year, it was filled with characters I couldn’t recognise.
I was so sick of looking at Monkey God and friends after a while, I decided to just admire the city skyline surround the floating platform.
How do you think our skyline looks with an orh biang (Singlish for… unfashionable?) pagoda?
Okay, so before I got bored to death, I looked for the zodiac sign lanterns to take the mandatory photos with our zodiac signs. There’s me and the rooster. Yup, I’m 23 this year.
MF and the Tiger. With MY photobombing him as usual.
And MY with the Dragon.
There was the usual shoot-tiger-stage, but my Chinese was too lousy to guess the lantern riddles.
We passed by the performance stage, but there was nothing on when we were there. You can click here for the programme.
There was a peach blossom where you could throw coins to try to strike the bells – supposedly if you hit one, you would get good fortune. The coins thrown will be donated to charity, so if you believe in good karma, throw as much as you like and may good fortune come your way.
And FINALLY, we came to a display that had less to do with Monkey God and more to do with Singapore. Obviously this was my favourite display on the whole floating platform.
With that, we were done with the floating platform and headed up to the area in front of the stands.
There was the Food Street, but we skipped it since we just had our reunion dinner.
We did, however, grab Mr Bean soya bean milk for the kids. I’m so happy Mr Bean made an appearance at River Hongbao to spare me from drinking overpriced canned / bottled drinks.
We also spotted a SG50 logo on the floor!
Of course, SG50 was last year. So that was pretty out of point. The highlight this time round was, nope not the Monkey God. I mean, yes, it’s supposed to be the Monkey God but my feelings for Monkey God had gone from nonchalant to repulsion due to overexposure. So the highlight for me was… Fortune God!
Obviously I am not the only person who idolizes Fortune God. Check out the crowd around him! Actually, we were all waiting for the 9pm Fortune Shower.
However, 9pm came and there was no Fortune shower. We waited 5 minutes and people slowly started to disperse – still no Fortune shower.
I can’t remember exactly how long I hung around before I decided the Fortune Shower was not going to happen and gave up waiting. How anti-climax!!! I wanted to curse and swear, but the monkeys next to me reminded me to ‘Speak no Evil’.
Fine, we found a chibi Fortune God nearby and touched it, hoping it would bring us good fortune since the giant Fortune God decided to play us out.
Next, we decided to climb up the stands to check out the view from above.
Right after we reached the very top of the stands, the boys decided they needed to use the toilet! So I grabbed a quick panorama shot because I think our skyline is just awesome. And we dashed back down to the toilets.
And that marked the end of another year of our River Hongbao visit. As I was writing this post, the New Year Eve variety program was showing on TV with endless appearances by Monkey God. ENOUGH OF MONKEY GOD ALREADY! So to end off, here’s a photo with absolutely NOTHING to do with Monkey God. Chinese New Year is the arrival of Spring 春, not the arrival of Monkey God. Okay??
Information on River Hongbao 2016:
Date: 6 Feb – 14 Feb 2016
Time: 2pm – 11pm
Venue: The Float @ Marina Bay
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