A visit to Singapore’s River Wonders

Worth it if you want to meet the “animal stars”

Shawn Seah
2 min readMar 6, 2022


Kai Kai the panda. Photograph taken by writer.

I loved my recent visit to River Wonders.

There were many attractions, like otters, sea cows, and piranhas, but to me there were really two major highlights, personally.

The first was the Giant Panda Forest to see the giant panda Kai Kai and the giant panda cub Le Le (although Le Le was asleep in the nursery when I was there).

The second was the animal show “Once Upon A River” at the Boat Plaza.

I came up and personal with the “animal stars” in this show, such as otters, pelicans, capybaras, and even several reptiles.

It was “edutaining”, especially when the animal trainers reminded audiences to “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” and other messages relating to conservation and protecting beautiful creatures.

Was seated maybe a metre or two from this nice, friendly lizard. It was quite harrowing! Photograph taken by writer.
A capybara, apparently the biggest rodent on earth, begs for food. Photo by writer.

Well, other than the pandas and “Once Upon A River”, I was actually also looking forward to a third personal highlight, the Reservoir Cruise.

However, probably due to pandemic restrictions or a competing event held that particular day, I didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the boat ride.

The 15-minute cruise on the Upper Seletar Reservoir would have travelled along the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari, which border the reservoir, providing a faraway glimpse.

This was a nice photo and I simply had to take it. But it made me dizzy. The sight of the otters swimming above me did make the dizziness worthwhile, though. Photo by writer.
Ending photo of fish, since this is River Wonders. Photo by writer.

Currently, Mandai Wildlife Reserve is undergoing a massive rejuvenation.

Five zoological parks — the Singapore Zoo, the Night Safari, River Wonders, Bird Paradise (originally it was Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park), and Rainforest Wild park — will be integrated with reportedly distinctive nature-based experiences, green public spaces, and an eco-friendly resort.

Construction is underway.

When the entire integrated resort is up and running, I have every confidence that Mandai will be as exciting and iconic as Changi — definitely worth visiting.

Thank you for reading.




Shawn Seah

Singaporean writer and public speaker, passionate about education, social issues, and local history and community stories.