River Wonders Singapore Review: 5 Rare Creatures to Spot!

Having been to Singapore Zoo when I was a kid, I nevertheless decided to give another visit. The zoo tickets are costly compared to most attractions in Singapore. But taking the River Safari combo ticket, I saved up a little. Thus bringing to this River Wonders Singapore review.

Not to mention, it was the best decision! I loved the Singapore Zoo as well as Jurong Bird Park. But never did I expect to find the Giant Panda at the River Wonders! Lying on the outskirts of Singapore, you’ll see that the River Wonders is actually built around a natural reservoir (Upper Seletar Reservoir).

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River Wonders Singapore review

River Wonders Singapore Review: Is it worth it?

I found River Wonders a bit similar to S.E.A Aquarium in Sentosa, only larger. However, I thought like Singapore Zoo, the tour would take a day. But it took around 3 hours on a non-peak period. Anyway, here’s all about my River Wonders Singapore Review.

It costs S$40 if you get the River Wonders ticket individually. I’d recommend getting the multi-attraction pass where you opt two attractions for S$78 to S$88. You save around $2. What I loved about the multi-attraction passes are that they’re valid for 7 days.

Keep in mind this does not include the additional S$5 per person for Amazon River Quest boat ride inside.

I visited the SG Zoo on my first day in Singapore. Then I took a break to visit other parts of Singapore and came back to the River Wonders after 2 days. So yes, the River Wonders/Safari at Mandai Zoo is absolutely worth it!

Key Takeaway

  1. River Wonders/Safari Ticket cost: It’s S$40 for non-SG residents.
  2. Amazon River Quest boat ride cost: S$5 via the official Mandai site.

Get your tickets from Klook below. Though there isn’t much price difference, you’ll avail for better discounts on other attractions all on the same site. Moreover, being a partner of Klook, our readers get discounted rates.

Klook.com

How to Get to River Wonders/Safari?

Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore, 729826

Mind the River Wonders called River Safari earlier. Thus the mentioning of both names on most articles. Getting to River Wonders is via the same route to the Singapore Zoo. The Zoo, River Wonders, and Night Safari all fall at the same area.

Thanks to Singapore’s reliable transport for solo travelers, the cheapest way to get to River Wonders is with the Khatib Mandai Shuttle. This bus takes you straight from the Khatib MRT Station NS14 (the Red Line) to the Mandai Zoo. Unlike other public buses, expect the Mandai bus to look colorful something like this.

singapore zoo mandai shuttle
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River Wonders Singapore review: How to get there?

It costs S$1 for the 20-minute drive (9.9 km approx.) to the zoo from the MRT Station. Pay with your EZ-link or NETS Flashpay card for your ride. Upon alighting the bus, the signboards will guide you straight to River Wonders or SG Zoo – whichever you’re visiting.

River Wonders Singapore Review: Best Time to Visit Mandai Zoo

It takes 3-4 hours at max to walk around the River Wonders in Mandai Zoo, including the additional boat ride (Amazon River Quest). I recommend visiting on a weekday before noon. Usually, with such large theme sets at the zoo, there’s no long waiting queues or crowd as such.

But it’ll be a lot emptier on the weekdays – letting you move faster. I visited on a weekday and took no more than 3 hours to get back to the River Wonders entrance.

As for the Singapore Zoo, it’s open between 8:30am – 6pm. Again, no particular peak period whatsoever. Afterall, it’s the Singapore Zoo. It’s always got people. But start early in the morning as it takes a good 5-6 hours to get around the SG Zoo.

Key Takeaway

  1. Best time to visit River Wonders : Weekdays before noon (3-4 hours tour along with 10-15 minutes boat ride)
  2. Best time to visit Singapore Zoo: Any day is fine (5-6 hours tour)
electric eel river safari
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River Wonders Singapore review

Shows and Rides at River Wonders

Water Safari Singapore: The Mandai Zoo is evergreen with shows, tours, and feeding sessions. River Wonders has a few add-ons as well. If you’re looking forward to it, keep the event timings in mind and plan your Singapore itinerary beforehand.

Timings change often, so look out on Mandai’s site for updated information. I’ve provided the necessary links below.

River Wonders Singapore River: River Amazon Quest

River safari amazon river quest review: Walking over the viewing bridge to the other side of upper seletar reservoir, is the Amazon River Quest. It’s a 10-minute boat ride through a number of animal exhibits. It costs S$5 per head.

It’s another key feature (and a large part) of River Wonders, so don’t miss it out. You’ve come this far afterall!

For kids, it’s highly recommended as the boat splashes through its dedicated pathway past the wild Amazon river’s family. I suggest visiting early morning or evenings to get a better look at animals in their active state. The afternoons are lazy hours where you’ll find them laying around.

Unfortunately, paying with cash wasn’t an option. Having only cash, I hadn’t a choice but to miss out.

You can book your boat seats only from the official site. Klook only offers entry tickets to River Wonders. Get your Klook tickets and get your add-on later!

Klook.com

Once Upon a River Show at River Wonders

River Wonders Singapore review: The animal show is held at the Boat Plaza – the Once Upon a River show. Though the page doesn’t explain much on what to expect, this show is similar to the birds show at SG Zoo.

You get a closer look at large green iguana, the python, friendly capybaras, and otters. As the name suggests, you get an entertaining explanation about their habitat, nature, and their story.

Reserve 25-30 minutes for the show. You can only book within two hours prior to the show on the site.

Another post for you to read on Singapore: Best Things to Do in Marina Bay Singapore on a Budget

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River Wonders Singapore review: Travel tips

River Wonders Singapore Guide: Don’t miss out on these experiences!

First things first, get a copy of the River Wonders map on your phone. You’ll find a map posted all over, but keep a copy to avoid missing out on anything.

Unlike Singapore Zoo, River Wonders is a single path with almost no diversions to take. It’s a one-round route till you’re back to the start point. The route themes begin with the Congo River, River Nile, Ganges River, Mekong River, and Yangtze River.

The key feature of the place is the pandas! Somehow, I didn’t expect Giant Pandas to be at River Wonders. I guess the Singapore Zoo had enough main features to attract tourists. So they put Pandas exclusively on River Wonders. Why’d people hesitate to pay for a look at pandas?!

river wonders giant panda
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River Wonders Singapore review: The Giant Pandas!

After the Giant pandas, is a long bridge to the other side of the water to Amazon river quest, snake (anacondas) exhibits, and monkey enclosure. Towards the end of the tour is the Amazon Flooded forest.

There were large aquariums and cool quit passageway through the giant river otters, electric eel, piranhas, and life-sized manatees here.

River Gems – River Wonders Singapore Review

Zigzagging through the large aquariums of River Gems makes for the beginning. Some had open tops and some were super-clean for pictures. I didn’t stop much here as I’d been through SG Zoo last time and realized later I had spent way too much time observing each species.

So I quickly walked through the zig-zag path. Like the main zoo, there are varieties of fish as well as birds put together in enclosures here – thus making it more pleasing to look at.

To those curious, some aquatic life to look for are Reed Fish, Atlantic Tarpons, Elephantnose fish, Eastern Bottlenose, and Zebra Tilopia. You’ll also find the Trumpeter Hornbill here.

Though not keen on fish species, I found ducks to be most amusing as they paddled through. Have you seen ducks paddling under that water? It’s pretty fascinating!

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River Wonders Singapore review: Beginning with River Gems

Another post for you to read on Singapore: Singapore River Cruise Review: An Honest One

Congo River and Nile River

As the name suggests, most aquatic species here belong to rivers, not seas. And every theme’s entrance begin with posters and decorations of the specific river’s nature and species.

However, I put the Congo River and Nile river themes together. I walked past them and didn’t even realize I’d crossed it! The map highlights more on the species it has rather than accurate size of the exhibits. Afterall, it’s the creatures that matter!

Ganges River and Mary River

When the obvious theme of Ganges River (and more familiar to someone who comes from India), I realized the themes. There was the Indian Gharial and Goonch Catfish here. I wasn’t lucky enough to get a close look at the Gharial.

I got to see a lot of turtles and fish swimming along though. I also found one of the staff members cleaning the aquarium inside with a diving suit!

The Mary River ends the first set of themes with slimy-appearing mudskippers, Australian lungfish, and the hard-to-resist horseshoe crabs. It ends with curious small and mid-sized range fish.

horseshoe crab mary river
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River Wonders Singapore review: The peculiar horseshoe crab

Another post for you to read on Singapore: My National Gallery Singapore Blog: Solo Tour

Mekong River

Passing the lion-tailed Macaque, the following theme is the Mekong River. Living in Indonesia for long, I’d heard of this river a lot in my school days. But here I was to witness the giant freshwater stingray and Mekong’s infamous giant catfish.

With the species so large, the large blue aquarium filled with life itself was a sight. The giant stingray appeared wider than both my hands spread out.

I thought the Mekong Catfish to be a shark species until I read the word ‘catfish‘. It turns out, it does belong to the shark catfish family!

Yangtze River

The last of the themes is the Yantze River. Boasting Asia’s longest river, it makes a perfect end to the freshwater species themes. Some aquatic life found here are the False Gharial and Chinese Giant Salamander.

As majestic as the name sounds, it’s quite an off-putting sight to see a long slimy fish with legs. But there are again, a lot of animals that I find creepy (like snakes!).

Giant Panda Forest

I hadn’t checked on pandas being at River Wonders before. Nor did I expect it when I saw posters and even a panda photo stand-in. Entering the cooled green enclosure, the first thing I came across was the Red Panda.

I’ve heard of red pandas being incredibly adorable when moving. But this one slept before us. Slept peacefully as ever in its tiny cradle!

Being unaware of Giant Pandas was probably the best thing. Having a glance at the large giant panda iconically chewing on its bamboo sticks, everything seemed unreal. I couldn’t believe it. It was a giant panda!

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River Wonders Singapore review: Kai Kai munching on bamboo!

Another post for you to read on Singapore: SpacePod Lavender Review (A budget hostel)

Kai Kai, Jia Jia, and Le Le

Fun fact: All pandas around the world are owned by China. Singapore is the 9th country to get a 10-year loan of the Giant Pandas from China. Kai Kai and Jia were brought in on loan and Le Le is their first child together… born in Singapore! Read their story on the Mandai site.

I never realized how much effort had been put into for its intense care here – it was something to experience. I got a chance to see Kai Kai and Jia Jia but missed seeing Le Le (the baby cub).

River Amazon Quest

Walking over the viewing bridge to the other side of upper seletar reservoir, is the Amazon River Quest. It’s a 10-minute boat ride through a number of animal exhibits. It costs S$5 per head.

It’s another key feature (and a large part) of River Wonders, so don’t miss it out. You’ve come this far afterall!

For kids, it’s highly recommended as the boat splashes through its dedicated pathway past the wild Amazon river’s family. Unfortunately, paying with cash wasn’t an option. Having only cash, I hadn’t a choice but to miss out.

You can book your boat seats only from the official site. Klook only offers entry tickets to River Wonders. Get your Klook tickets and get your add-on later!

Anacondas and Small Crocodiles

Being on the other side of River Wonders, I found myself heading back to the start. On one side was a viewing deck looking over the upper seletar reservoir. The other side still had plenty of animals!

There was the large green anaconda camouflaged in its greenish aquarium. It felt like a game with the animal name posted before an exhibit and we had to find the creature camouflaged ourselves.

There were the Bare-faced Curassow, Cuvier Dwarf Caiman (small crocodiles), and the Golden Headed Lion Tamarins.

Squirrel Monkey Forest and Kids

Another gated enclosure was the Squirrel Monkey Forest. By the time I made it here, I was exhausted walking around the place.

But entering the Monkey Forest, a lady with two kids followed up behind. She cheerfully led the kids and showed the same enthusiasm in finding the hidden monkeys. She’s more energetic than me, I thought.

So I joining her along with the kids and I helped spot some monkeys too! The squirrel monkey and Azara Agouti. A white-faced Saki Monkey came to sit on the railing before us and the kids couldn’t stop from jumping around.

It was quite a fun part of my River Wonders visit. I bid goodbye and left as they continued photographing pictures with the monkeys.

Amazon Flooded Forest

River Wonders Singapore review: The last bit of River Wonders was one of my favorite parts – the Amazon Flooded Forest. Like the S.E.A Aquarium in Sentosa, the aquariums were larger than us. In fact, we were walking through the aquariums (like that infamous underwater tunnel).

The theme began with two Giant River otters playing over our heads oblivious to people watching them. Following it was a darker walkthrough with a long electric eel and red bellied piranhas.

giant otters singapore zoo
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River Wonders Singapore Review: Giant Otters playing.

Majestic Manatees

The largest aquarium belonged to the Manatees. Majestic manatees were an awe to look at. Being mammals, they surface every 5-10 minutes to breathe!

With manatee grass of sorts floating, most manatees remained at the top to eat and breathe. The bottom part of the aquarium had other fish like the red-tailed catfish and giant arapaima.

I climbed up the curved ramp to level 2 and found freshwater stingrays. Though average-sized, these were more colorful in nature and moved in shallow waters!

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River Wonders Singapore review: Manatees Aquarium

River Wonders Singapore Review: TailPiece

In conclusion, River Wonders is absolutely worth visiting for any visitor. For children, it’s a must. Why do you think there are so many children on the guide maps itself?

The Giant Panda is hard to find today, and it’s available right here! It makes it all worth it, no matter the price. The Once Upon a River and Manatees tour are no doubt great. But don’t miss out on the Amazon River Quest – it makes a big part of the zoo.

So once again, plan your itinerary, keep the show timings in mind, and book your River Wonders tickets today! Here are some deals I handpicked for you offered at the Mandai Zoo:

Klook.com

*This post contains affiliate link(s)

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Manas Patil

Hi there! I'm a 20-year-old dude all the way from India, I love traveling and building itineraries! Sign up and get your FREE COPY of my travel checklist to get the best of your next vacation!

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