A Ducky Day Out

I think it’s fun to act like tourists in our home city once in a while. It helps me avoid taking in the city’s beauty for granted.

Hubby and I passed by Marina Square the other week and saw a Duck Tour bus drive by. Why not take BB on a little tour of the Singapore sights? we thought. In case you don’t know what a Duck Tour bus is, it’s like any other tour bus except for the vehicle itself — the bus can drive on land and float on water (hence the name “duck”). Apparently these amphibious buses originated in World War II. According to The Atlantic: “The name DUKW derived from military equipment coding: D stood for the year of production (1942); U denoted its amphibious quality; K indicated front-wheel drive capability; W rear-wheel drive. Unsurprisingly, they just became known as ‘ducks.'”

A DUKW tour splashing in the water

We booked our Captain Explorer DUKW tour online through City Tours. Toddlers are charged S$2 (paid in person when you collect your tickets). The collection and meet-up point is at Marina Square Shopping Mall, with some conveniently placed kiddie rides opposite in case your little bub gets bored waiting to board.

The week leading up to our tour, BB couldn’t stop talking about it. “Sakay duck toi” (“Ride duck tour”) he declared at every opportunity — which made it ironic that as soon as we got on the bus, he started agitating to get off. 😅 I thought I had to forgo our S$28/person ticket fee, but he thankfully relaxed when the bus started moving (and the sights started to get interesting).

While the noise of the engine revving up may have had something to do with his initial fear, I think the tour guide’s crappy sound system (the constant microphone feedback was painful to hear!) and insistence on playing the PPAP song on loop was much, much worse. We had to endure her most of the ride. 😒

Thankfully — the sights more than made up for the sounds.

We had seen these landmarks before, but it was ours and BB’s first time to see them from a boat in the bay. (Hubby and I had taken a river cruise on a bum boat a few years ago, but only got as far as the Merlion.)

I had never seen the underside of the Helix Bridge before…

BB also got to see my office from afar…

He was delightfully engaged for most of the ride, pointing out the buildings, the Ferris wheel, the dragon boats, and even the taxis we spotted when we were still a little close to land. He loved the big wet splash the bus made when we entered the water.

We saw the following landmarks on the tour:

1. Marina Bay
2. Marina Barrage
3. Marina Bay Sands
4. Gardens on the Bay
5. Merlion
6. Helix Bridge
7. Floating Stadium
8. Marina Bay Financial Centre
9. Singapore Flyer
10. Fullerton Hotel

I suppose a positive for travelers taking the bus alone is that the noisy tour guide is more than happy to take photos. She also does the tour in both English and Chinese.

Before going back to Marina Square the DUKW tour bus also drove by The National Museum, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, and The Cenotaph, a war memorial honoring the WWI and WWII dead.

While it was an experience riding a DUKW tour bus I’ll probably recommend the Singapore River Cruise bum boats as a better option for cruising with toddlers — it’s quieter too!

That said, we got off at Marina Square hungry for some Wee Nam Kee chicken rice, fully satisfied with the little slice of Singapore we got to see that day.

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