- Vivian Teo
Visiting the Singapore Night Safari? Here are 10 things to know!
Ticket promos, best time to go, entry and show bookings, and other things to know before visiting the Singapore Night Safari!
I actually wasn't intending to write a review about the Night Safari because the Night Safari is like the Singapore Zoo and Bird Park which most of us locals are familiar with it. But then again before we made the trip, I was searching up info and asking people about bookings and ticketing (I haven't been there in years!) and it was then I realised despite Singapore easing COVID restrictions, visiting some local attractions are not still as straightforward as it used to be. The attraction may also have new and improved ways of doing things and what I knew about visiting an attraction a few years back no longer applied.
So here's a blog post on what you REALLY SHOULD KNOW before visiting the Night Safari, especially if you are bringing kids along. I actually tried searching some of these info on the Mandai Wildlife Reserve's website - it's the consolidated website for the Night Safari, Zoo, Bird Park and River Wonders - and I couldn't find the answers to my questions. Personally I do not find their website user-friendly as lots of info are under links that you wouldn't realise would direct you to what you are looking for. In the end, I googled and asked my friends.
So here are 10 things you need to know before visiting the Night Safari and our review (of sorts).
1) Check out ticket promos
If you go to the Mandai Wildlife Reserve's website you'll see that local residents can get up to 30% off standard tickets of $55 for adults, $38 for children 3-12 years old and $20 for senior citizens above 60 years old. (BTW local residents mean Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and ICA-approved or MOM-approved passes with a valid FIN number, including holders of employment pass, student pass, work permit or dependent pass.). But even with the 30% discount, it still works out to be rather expensive at over $100 for a family of 2 adults and 2 children.
There are actually better promotions than the local resident rate. There are bank and merchant card promos that can give you 40-60% discount off standard rates and I only found these promos after I googled "Night Safari ticket promo" - I couldn't find it when I was searching through the Mandai Wildlife Reserve's website. Turned out the bank and merchant card promos are at the "Things to Do", then "Promotions", then "Partner Promos" at the website - who knew right?
There you'll find discounts with bank cards like those of Maybank's, HSBC, POSB and merchant cards like NTUC, Safra and Passion Card and most are offering 40-60% discount depending on whether you're going on a weekday or weekend.
I had also checked Klook and the best discount they have there is the 30% local resident discount. So do make use of the bank and merchant card promos for savings!
2) You need to book a visiting time
OK, hopefully you have one of those cards listed above and if you've booked through the promo card's link, they will ask you to choose a preferred entry time from 715pm onwards.
Choosing a particular timeslot doesn't mean you will only be allowed entry at that time. Staff will still let you enter even if you show up at other timings after its opening time of 630pm. The timeslot booking is to help the park better manage its crowd.
If you are getting the local resident ticket, you'll also need to book an entry time but I am unsure if they would ask you to do so when paying for the tickets as I didn't book through this avenue. But in the website's FAQ, there is a link that will take you to the page to pre-book your entry time and it's under the Jurong Bird Park tab. Now you know what I mean about the website not being very user-friendly?
3) Go after 7pm
You might think, hey might as well arrive when the park opens at 630pm to enjoy the park a bit longer! Well, advice from my friends and Tripadvisor is that the 630-7pm timing is the peak entry time - people visiting the other attractions there would go right after the daytime attractions close, so there tends to be a queue for entry and tram ride if you go early. So I guess it is also reason why the earliest entry time they let you book is 715pm?
When we arrived around 720pm on a weekday night, there weren't queues for entry but we could see a long queue for the tram ride. So, my advice is to go after 7pm. When we took the tram at around 8pm, we were ushered up the tram pretty quickly. The park closes at 12 midnight, so there's ample time to get around (unless you have kids who need to sleep early!). But I can only say this is so for a weekday. I would assume weekend queues would be much longer.
4) If you want to catch the show, you have to book it
If you want to catch the Creatures of the Night main show at the Night Safari, you'll need to book ahead on the website and bookings only open 2 hours before the show. The show, which take about 25 minutes, starts at 730pm, 830pm, 930pm and 1030pm (The 1030pm show is only available on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, eve of public holidays and public holidays.) On successful booking, you'll receive a confirmation email/sms that you'll need to show the staff there before they allow you to enter the amphitheatre.
The park advises being there 25 minutes before the show starts. But honestly, I don't think you need to go that early. The centre blocks of the amphitheatre are mostly taken up when we arrived 10 minutes before the 730pm show but the amphitheatre is not big and I think even if you take the seats at the side or at the back, you'll still be able to enjoy the show.
The seats at the 730pm show were almost all taken up on the Wednesday night we were there. So I assume on weekends, bookings for the shows would be snapped up pretty quickly. So book fast when booking opens!
BTW, the shows would not be available after 31 October 2022 until further notice due to refurbishment at the Night Safari. So if you want your money's worth (the show is included in your ticket!), might want to visit before the date. It's definitely worth watching and completes the experience at Night Safari. My girls (10 and 12 years old) totally enjoyed it and the younger one says she loves the show the most at the park!
5) The earlier it is, the more crowded it is
As explained above, the Night Safari is more crowded close to its opening hours. Some friends were remarking the attraction looked so crowded when I posted a video of the amphitheatre crowd in my Instagram stories. Well, it did look crowded at the tram queue and amphitheatre at 7plus in the evening, but when we were going on the trails around the park, it wasn't crowded at all.
Also note that tourists are returning to Singapore after the easing of COVID restrictions. In fact, when we were there on a Wednesday night, most of the people there looked to be tourists. And given that many countries, including Singapore, have opened up and mask wearing have become optional, most of the visitors we saw then did not wear masks. Actually, only my family and probably less than ten people we saw wore masks.
Honestly, I wasn't quite comfortable with the lack of mask wearing because COVID cases have been rising in Singapore but the good thing is its an outdoor venue and the park - other than at the amphitheatre and tram queues - wasn't crowded on a weekday. We probably wouldn't go on weekends knowing that it would be crowded and most wouldn't be masked up. So if you're concerned about this as well, you might want to avoid going during the weekends too.
6) Budget at least 2 hours
According to the Night Safari website, people spend about 3-4 hours there. We were there for about 2 hours on a Wednesday - this includes the 25-minute show, 20-minute tram ride and the hour-plus of exploring the trails on foot. I'd assume it would take us longer if it was the weekend when you might have to spend time queuing for the tram and some jostling to see the animals?
I would have liked to go for a second tram ride if the girls weren't complaining they were tired after an hour of walking. So if you have young kids, they might not be able to last 3-4 hours at the park. But generally budget at least 2 hours to enjoy the full experience of the park.
7) Bring good walking shoes and umbrella
Wear good walking shoes and bring an umbrella and/or raincoat (most of the park is unsheltered). The tram ride takes you to see many of the animals but to see everything and have a better close-up view, you'll still have to explore the trails on foot. We spy water coolers near the toilets, so you can refill your water bottle at these water coolers.
8) Use of camera flash when taking photos of animals are disallowed
You are not allowed to use camera flash when taking photos of animals at the park. So at most of the trails where lighting is dim, photos don't turn out really nice when you are using a normal phone camera.
But really, don't bother too much about taking photos of the animals when you're at the Night Safari, chances are pictures of the animals wouldn't turn out great because of the lack of lighting. In a way, I actually didn't mind that as it let me focus more on seeing and reading about the animals rather than taking photos and videos like I always do when visiting attractions.
9) Check opening hours before you go
At the time of writing the Night Safari is opened daily from 6.30pm to 12am (last entry at 11.15pm). It is located at 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore 729826.
10) Read the FAQ if you are taking taxi
We drove to the Night Safari so this is not relevant to us but there is a a huge FAQ section on the Mandai Wildlife Reserve website about taxi surcharges at the park which you might want to check out if you're going by taxi.
Okay, and that is all for the blog post/review I had never intended to write but felt obliged to after visiting the Night Safari! All in all, our family enjoyed the visit and my girls found the experience very interesting, especially since it was their first time there. If you have visited the Night Safari and have more tips to share, do let us know in the comments below!
Disclaimer: We paid for our tickets, 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.