Trekking through Singapore’s River Safari

Towards the end of 2012, the Wildlife Reserve Singapore opened the River Safari, which highlights the Giant Panda Forest, the new home of Kai Kai and Jia Jia, two exotic Giant Pandas.  Recently, I was fortunate enough to get a chance to visit the River Safari and it was truly a spectacular experience.

Interestingly, just like Capella Singapore, the River Safari is set on 30 acres of tropical rainforest.  It is a river-themed zoo located right in between the Singapore Zoological Gardens and Night Safari.  As its name suggests, the River Safari is inspired by eight of the world’s most famous rivers, like the Nile, Congo, Ganges, Yangtze just to name a few.

River Safari 1

My favorite part of the experience was learning about the different rivers and their unique eco systems.  At the Yangtze River, you can find exotic Chinese Giant Salamanders, while the Mekong River housed the endangered and rare Giant Catfish and Giant Stingrays.  Over at the Congo River and Mississippi River, you can find the world’s smallest crocodile, the African Dwarf Crocodile, a mesmerizing Jewel Cichlid and North America’s largest fresh water fish, the impressive Alligator Gar.

In addition to the exotic marine species, the River Safari also features an array of adorable mammals like the famed Giant Pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia as wells as the sedentary Red Pandas.

River Safari 2

At the Giant Panda Forest, there is also a quaint restaurant called Mama Panda Kitchen, which is a must-try. True to its namesake, the restaurant is Panda themed and features traditional Chinese dishes with a modern twist—like the steamed Tau Sa Pau (Red Bean Paste Bun) in shape and with the face of a panda.

River Safari 3

While the River Safari is still not fully open, the completed park is expected to be ready later this year. The new section will feature the Amazon River quest where you will find other interesting creatures like the White-Faced Saki Monkey, a Two-Toed Sloth, Brazilian Tapir and many others.

If you are planning a holiday to Singapore, be sure to save a day to visit the River Safari. What is perfect is that the Singapore Zoological Gardens, River Safari and Night Safari are all connected and the Personal Assistants at Capella Singapore are more than happy to arrange for you to visit all three attractions.

Giant Pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia Come to Singapore

Thursday, September 6th, was a day of much excitement for many of us here in Singapore.  It was the day we welcomed Kai Kai and Jia Jia, the two Giant Panda’s from China to their new home at the River Safari at the Singapore Zoo, Asia’s first river-themed park.

Giant Pandas are among the most endangered species in the world and their population in the wild continues to decline due to the loss and destruction of their natural habitats.  Moreover, Singapore has never been home to any pandas, not event at the zoo, so you can imagine the anticipation and excitement to finally be able to welcome these two beauties to our country.

Names play an important role in Chinese culture, because it is believed that a name signifies the kind of person you want your child to be when he or she grows up.  Often for boys, strong names that signify dignity, power and wisdom are popular and for girls, it is names that reflect beauty, grace and joy.

Clearly these naming traditions were also applied when it came to these pandas.  The male panda is named Kai Kai (凯凯), which means “victorious.”  Meanwhile, Jia Jia (嘉嘉), the name of his female companion, has multiple meanings of both beauty and fortune.

Interestingly these names are equally meaningful here at Capella Singapore.  I realized the names Kai Kai and Jia Jia also made up the name of Cassia, the Chinese fine dining restaurant here at the hotel.  Cassia or – Kai Jia (凯嘉) even shares the characters used in the panda names!  What a happy coincidence!

Hopefully you will have the opportunity to see these pandas in person.  But even If not you can still enjoy getting to know these two pandas in the video below.



Image via Wildlife Reserve Singapore.