- Vivian Teo
(UPDATED) 10 things we love about the 2D1N 'Chio' Camping Experience at Singapore Discovery Centre
Fun, unique and memorable, the 2D1N 'Chio' Camping Experience at Singapore Discovery Centre is a must-try for families this school holiday!
UPDATED: 8 June 2022
Add complimentary parking available, last day of XD Theatre's Dino Safari movie on 26 June and photo of sprouting microgreens from eco-sustainability tour.
Original post: 4 June 2022
We just came back from the 2D1N 'Chio' Camping Experience at Singapore Discovery Centre and my goodness, we had such a wonderful time I couldn't wait to share this with all of you! Staying at cool glamping tents aside, the many kid-friendly activities at the camp - which were also good fun for adults - made this glamping experience very unique and memorable.
BTW there is now a 50% discount for the 'Chio' Camping Experience when you book at KKDay, which means it only costs around S$400 for a family of four (original price at $799)! So if you're finding air tickets too expensive or that hotels here are fully booked this June school holiday, here's one fantastic option. The last day of the camp is 23 June and is really too good to be missed! Read till end for the promo code!
Here's 10 things we love and our review of the 2D1N Chio Camping Experience at Singapore Discovery Centre (SDC):
1) Cool glamping tents
SDC has organised this camp the past school holidays and we have seen many pictures of the camp on social media, so we were really looking forward to seeing our glamping tent. When we checked in at 2pm, I must say we weren't disappointed at all! Here's a first look of our tent when we arrived!
Each tent can fit up to 4 people and comes equipped with two queen-sized foam beds, six pillows, 2 blankets, a portable air conditioner, a fan and power sockets. The bed and appliances take up most of the space in the tent but it's not a big deal as we spent a lot of time outside the tent for various activities. I'm also glad that there were beds and they were just right for two adults and two kids (our girls are 9 and 11 years old) - I'm really at the age where I can't take the 'hardships' of camping trips!
Camp tees and tidbits were waiting for us at our tent.
Here's a pic of our campsite at night. There are only five tents at the campsite, so it is quite exclusive and doesn't get too crowded or noisy.
The campsite is also right next to the Discovery Lake - talk about glamping with a view!
2) The glimpse into army life
Included in the camp is the hour-and-a-half Army Days Experience where you get a glimpse into the lives of a soldier in the Singapore army. We were introduced to the items our soldiers carry in their field packs, got to heat up and sample ration packs (the chicken pasta was actually very yummy!)...
and learned how to pitch a Basha tent!
Hubs had actually thought he wouldn't find this session interesting as like most Singaporean men, he had already been through army life but during the session he reminisced his army life with us and showed interest in the difference between the items in the field pack compared to the olden days! As I wasn't very familiar with army life, I actually found it very interesting. So this experience is one for adults too! My girls particularly enjoyed pitching the tent and sampling the food.
3) Eco-sustainability tour and workshop
The camp also includes a half-hour eco-sustainability tour where we learned about eco-sustainability while we toured SDC's surroundings to see its solar panel installation, hydroponics systems and urban garden which has a variety of herbs and greens.
This was followed by a half-hour workshop where we planted our own microgreens which we took home thereafter.
The girls had so much fun designing their 'pots' and planting their kale and arugula seeds!
We also got to sample lemongrass blue pea tea!
I like that the tour and workshop are conducted in small groups (just the five families from our campsite), so we really had space and time to see the plants in the garden and ask our guide questions.
Here's an updated pic of the microgreens we took home. We're supposed to be able to harvest them on the seventh day!
4) Laser tag game at Black Lake Laser Battlefield
The camp also includes a laser tag session at the SDC's Black Lake Laser Battlefield. Your session would be pre-booked and you'd play with another camping group, so don't worry about not having enough people to play with!
Our 30-minute laser tag session included a briefing, and two rounds of laser tag. One round was an individual game where you can shoot anyone in the game to earn the highest points while the other was a team game where we were pitted against another family. If you prefer to play them all as individual games, you can opt for that as well.
The laser tag game is recommended for those 7 years and up but I understand from our camp host, if you have kids who are younger, they'd be allowed to play if they are able to fit into the vest, carry the gun and have their parents there with them. BTW covered shoes are required for laser tag.
5) Black Lake Facility escape room
A one-hour escape room session is also included. Black Lake Facility at SDC has 4 different stories and a total of 13 rooms. We were assigned the basement where we had to escape from four rooms (sorry, no pics of our escape rooms as phones were not allowed).
Being new to escape rooms, we did quite badly in this! We only made it to the second room when the time was up! I actually found the puzzles rather hard and though we worked as a family, we still had trouble solving the clues to escape on our own. I say on our own because you are allowed to ask staff for clues via a phone that you are given at the start of the game. We ended up calling a number of times!
Despite not escaping, my kids still said this was their favourite activity at the camp and wished they could continue the game. For me, I really enjoyed the setting and atmosphere of the escape rooms; I found the game very immersive and intriguing too.
Parents of younger kids might have some qualms about escape rooms as it may sound scary for younger ones, but the ones at SDC are really more about clue finding and puzzle solving - there are no blood, gore, zombies or scary things jumping out. But I'd think older kids like 9 years and up would be able to better appreciate and contribute to the puzzle-solving.
6) Unlimited XD theatre rides
Campers also get to enjoy unlimited XD theatre rides! Some of the tours and experiences like those above are pre-booked for you and you only get to go for them once. However for the XD theatre rides, you can go unlimited times during your free-and-easy time.
We first tried out the XD Theatre ride when we visited the SDC in March. It is a 4D simulation ride where you wear 3D glasses and the seats move according to the action on screen, kinda like the 4D Transformer Ride at Universal Studios Singapore but on a smaller scale.
There are 3 movies to choose from - Sky Hunt, Pinocchio and Dino Safari 2 (the latter is available only till 26 June). Sky Hunt is about a jewel thief's heist so you have first-person scenes of jumping off skyscrapers and police chase. Pinocchio is a colourful journey about Pinocchio's trip around a fantasy land and Dino Safari is a ride through a dinosaur safari. Each movie is 5 minutes long and as a camper, you can request to watch all three movies consecutively (or 1 or 2 if you don't fancy watching some of them).
Admission for the public is not cheap at $10 per adult and $8 for children for 1 movie so you really should make use of this unlimited ride perk and enjoy the movies a few times! We watched Pinocchio thrice - this is the kids' favourite - Dino Safari twice and Sky Hunt once.
We thought Pinocchio was more suitable for younger children as it is very colourful and has less scary scenes. I liked Dino Safari most as I found it very exciting with scenes of dinosaur chases and dinos trying to chomp on our vehicle. My two kids found this exciting too but I thought younger children who have not been exposed to shows with scary dinosaur might find the dinos a little scary! Sky Hunt was okay too but my girls didn't enjoy the loud gun firing noises so we only went once.
There is a minimum height requirement of 1.2m for XD Theatre but they do allow entry for campers below the height level - seats can be immobilised.
7) Unlimited pedal boat rides
You also get unlimited pedal boat rides at Discovery Lake. We had tried this out in March as well and we really enjoyed the novel experience. They have 2-seater and 4-seater boats and for the public, they cost $5 and $10 per boat respectively for a 15-minute ride. But part of camp perks is that you can go for it unlimited times!
The weather was perfect too when we went for our ride in the morning!
8) Night Trail Mission
Also in the itinerary is a one-hour Night Trail Mission, which is a treasure hunt where you have to locate clues to answer questions in a booklet. The first family or group to complete this or get the most questions correct at the end of the mission wins a prize.
For this mission, we went around the SDC including its permanent exhibits gallery to locate the clues. Some of the questions were quite easy but there were a few we found difficult. Some clues were also not easy to locate as you need to navigate the SDC map and really keep your eyes open as some clues weren't very obvious (actually I suspect some campers returned the clues to less obvious spots so others wouldn't find it easily!).
I think this activity is also more suited for the older kids, like 9 years old and above - in fact, it was my eleven-year-old carrying our team as she navigated the map and figured out most of the clues! But nonetheless, I think it would still be fun for the younger ones to come along as they can still help to look out for the clues in the gallery but daddy and mummy will probably have to be the ones solving the puzzles!
9) BBQ by the lake
We also had a night BBQ by the lake - this is another experience our family really enjoyed! The BBQ started at 930pm after the Night Trail Mission so it was a small supper for us. There is not a lot of food (which is good because we had yet to digest our filling dinner!), just some satay, sausages, otah and most importantly, marshmallows! The girls really enjoyed roasting smores!
We BBQ-ed to a view too!
The food, music and lovely view really made this experience very memorable.
10) Dinner and breakfast are included
Dinner on the first day and breakfast on the second day at the SDC's cafe are included! For dinner, we had roasted chicken with fries and baked beans, seafood sheng mian (crispy noodles) and sweet and sour chicken with rice. There was also another choice of curry chicken which we didn't pick as we can't really take spicy food.
We actually got to order our food before the camp. So when we got to the cafe and showed our camp wrist tags at dinner time, we were very quickly served our food as the cafe already had our orders. Talk about efficiency!
But this is not all for dinner, there is also fruits and ice-cream for dessert (you can pick ch'ng tng too but we are all ice-cream lovers!).
This is our breakfast for the next morning: Sausage, eggs and hashbrown, and kaya toast with soft boiled eggs. We opted for tea, kopi and milo for our drinks!
The sausages were a tad too salty for us but we really liked the kaya toast and soft boiled eggs! Like dinner, you can also order ahead. Breakfast choices also includes fried noodles.
Bonus tips for your trip:
i) Bathroom arrangements
I'm always concerned about bathroom arrangements when I consider if I should go for any camps. Toilets are of course easily available in SDC but you'd be glad to know there are also shower facilities, actually 3 cubicles each in the ladies and gents near the cafe that comes equipped with shampoo and shower gel.
ii) Drinking water
There is a water cooler at the cafe which you can refill your water bottles with. Hot water is also available.
iii) Power sockets for phone charging
Camps come with power sockets so you can bring your phone charger to charge your phones!
iv) Check operating hours of attractions
Campers will be given itineraries so you'd know what time you are to go for your laser tag, escape rooms, tours and experiences. Sharing our itinerary here:
You'll notice that there are some free-and-easy time in the itinerary and that's when you should go for those unlimited XD theatre rides and pedal boats. But do check with the staff on operating hours as the XD theatre rides close at 745pm and the pedal boats start operation at 930am and closes late afternoon when we were there. So it doesn't mean you can go for these anytime you want like late in the evening. So yes, do check the operating hours and plan your free-and-easy time accordingly!
v) Other activities at camp
There is also a Zumba session in the morning on Day 2. We've never tried Zumba but we gamely went for it. Hubs and I joined in enthusiastically hoping to inspire our kids but they'd rather stand at the back, and occasionally complain they were hungry and had to eat breakfast. So we left a little early to get breakfast.
I supposed not all activities would be your or your children's cup of tea (but most were for us!) so feel free to skip an activity or leave early if you want to. I think ultimately it's still a family outing and it's more important that everyone is having a good time!
vi) Visit other attractions
Other than those activities above, there are also other attractions at SDC that are not included in your camp activities, like the iWerks movie theatre, permanent exhibits gallery, free Dino crafting available this June school holidays and a second round of laser tag and escape room. If you want to go for these extra activities, they would be at your own cost - the gallery is free for Singaporeans and PRs of course (read our review!) - but since you're already at the SDC, you might want to visit them. But do so preferably after you have checked out of camp the next day at 1130am as the camp itinerary is really packed!
vi) 50% off promo code for Chio Camp
Now you can get 50% off the Chio Camp experience with promo code 'CHIO50OFF' when you book at KKDay, which means it's only around $400 for a family of four! Compared to a hotel staycation, I think this is really worthwhile - some hotels wouldn't even take four in a room, most hotels' family rooms cost much more and staycations seldom include so many activities.
vi) Complimentary parking
Open-air parking is available right outside the SDC at 510 Upper Jurong Rd, Singapore 638365. You get complimentary parking with the camp!
vii) Shiok Camp
The is another camping option at SDC called the Shiok Camping Experience. Accommodation is in indoor adventure-style tents which can take up to 5 campers per tent - 2 adults and 3 children or 4 adults. You can use promo code ❰SDC25❱ to enjoy a limited 25% off the Shiok Camping Experience at KKDay! I understand Shiok Camp has sleeping bags instead of foam beds but they are all located indoors in air-conditioned comfort. Comparing the price after discount, Chio Camp is still slightly cheaper and seems more comfortable with the foam beds but Shiok Camp is another option if you have a group of 5!
OK, that's all for our review! I just want to add that we had such an awesome time at the camp also in part due to the excellent service by the staff members and camp hosts. The activities were really fun and very well planned in the itinerary. We really felt like we were at an overseas holiday tour!
Full disclosure that we were invited by KKDay to the camp but there is really no faking the fun and enjoyment we had. I really think this is something families can enjoy and is really worthwhile, especially now with the 50% promo code. I heard the camp was actually sold out the past school holidays!
Well, hope you are enjoying the June school holidays! Let us know in the comment box below where you are taking the kids to this holiday?
Disclaimer: We were invited to the camp, and my opinions and reviews here are strictly my and my family’s own.
©Vivian Teo. All content and photos are copyrighted to Vivian Teo unless otherwise specified.