Fu Lo Shou Complex in Singapore for Thai (and other) amulets and repair services too!

Hey guys, and gals! If you’ve been following my Thailand shenanigans, you’ll know that I’ve purchased a few more Thai amulets whilst I was in Bangkok. I’m now back in Singapore. So interestingly enough, having been living in Singapore for 14 years, I’ve never had the urge to go in this particular building. I had an idea/thought that they had a few Buddhism/Feng Shui related stuff in there but I never went in. This day, however, while on my way to get some computer parts, I walked past this building as usual but this time the shop with the outdoor tables, right in front caught my attention, in a big way. I “had” to go and get a closer look. If I had a “mind blown” emoticon, I’d insert that right here! Not only did I find amulets but also repair services being offered in this shop. More on this further down, but first:

If you’re interested in getting here via public transport, here’s the details. The stop you’ll need to alight at Bugis Station on the green line. If you’re on the Red Line, you’ll need to change trains at City Hall Station. Here’s a map of Singapore’s MRT system (it’s very easy to navigate).

Once you alight at Bugis Station, you head up the escalators and exit the gantries. Once you’re out of the station you want to turn right. As you reach the end of the hall, turn right again and go up the escalators. Once you’re at the top of the escalators, look to straight and a bit to the right (1 o’clock position) and you’ll see a crossing to cross the road. Once you’ve crossed that road, go straight through Bugis Street Market (entrance under the “Happy Hour” sign), you’ll know when you’re through because you’ll have to cross another street. Be careful as you near the end (when you see a fresh fruit drink stall or a table selling fruits on the left) because the market literally ends at the curb, meaning you’ll walk right into traffic if you’re not paying attention. Which is easy to do because Bugis Street Market is quite an interesting visit if you’re wanting to get souvenirs and stuff. HERE’S my post on it (there’s more directional photos in there, if you need).

Once you exit Bugis Street Market and cross the street, you’ll see some street vendors on the right, the main entrance to Fu Lo Shou complex is on the right, just after the last blue tent roof in the photo below.

As you walk into the building, the first shop on the left, I think is the largest of the stores in the mall, not only that but while walking around the area, I found they had another outlet but with more statues and figures rather than amulets. What’s unique about this shop, versus the others in the mall, is that there are large statues of Buddha inside which you can offer your prayers, flowers and donations to. Also, there is a monk inside who (I think) will add “a blessing” to your amulet if you buy one (just like at Wat Arun in Bangkok). When I was there he was chanting but I didn’t see any recipient of the chant. This shop felt “legit” to me if that is any reassurance to anyone, haha. Anyways, aside from that as mentioned above, this shop also offers amulet repair services (there are other shops in the mall that has this too) but unlike in Bangkok when I inquired about changing the casing on a couple of my amulets, the general consensus was that it will take at least a week. The shops in this mall, depending on how busy they are, will change your casing on the spot. I witnessed people at two different shops waiting and watching while someone swapped cases for them. One was a glass case with metal trim and the other was the clear plastic bubble type. I can’t believe I only just now found this!

Looking around this 6 story mall there were plenty of other shops offering a variety of services and products such as Chinese Astrology, Feng Shui “fortune telling”, Chinese Massages, Daoist and Buddhist paraphernalia, Thai amulets, jewellery shops (mainly religious themed items), Feng Shui paraphernalia and some food outlets. There’s even an amulet authentication service!

If you’re even just slightly interested in Buddhist/Daoist related paraphernalia and or amulets, you’ll want to come check out this mall. Personally, I’m a bit wary of buying amulets from shops, I’d much prefer buying them from a temple, but maybe that one shop with the “resident” monk is close enough? I must say though that the amulet styles I saw in Fu Lo Shou are noticeably different than the ones I see in Bangkok, not that I’ve seen that many but enough to notice. I guess more specifically when in Thailand I never had to look and wonder what the carving of the amulet was but a lot of the amulets I saw in Fu Lo Shou I had no idea what or who the carving was of. Then again, I’m not in the slightest, versed in this subject matter, so it’s better if you visit this compex and have a look see, if you get a chance. Having said that, I didn’t see any amulet that piqued my interest nor any that I felt gravitated towards so I didn’t buy anything. I will go back to Fu Lo Shou to at least get a quote on repair services.

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Bugis Street Market in Singapore for all your souvenir shopping needs

If you’re needing to buy a boat load or just a handful of souvenirs while in Singapore, you’ll want to check out Bugis Street Market which is located within a 5 min walk from Bugis MRT Station on the green line. Here’s an MRT map (as of Dec 2019). One of my favorite things about Singapore is the ease of use and navigation (lots of signage everywhere) of their train system (if you’re ok with English).

Once you alight at Bugis Station, you head up the escalators and exit the gantries. Once you’re out of the station you want to turn right. As you reach the end of the hall, turn right again and go up the escalators. Here’s some pictures for visual reference.

Once you’re at the top of the escalators, look straight and a bit to the right (one o’clock position) and you’ll see a crossing to cross the road. Try not to get too distracted by the shopping mall on the left, haha.

Once you’ve crossed the road, you’ll be at the back entrance to Bugis Street Market. I call it the back entrance because there isn’t any signage, that I’ve noticed, to let you know that you’re entering Bugis Street Market. Entrance is below the ‘Happy Hour’ sign. Much to my disappointment, the shop displaying that sign is a watch / time piece shop and not an alcohol vendor. Just in case you’re wondering, the image at the top of this post is what I’d say is the front because there is a Bugis Street (Market) sign, although in my opinion, it’s way too high to be noticeable.

At first glance it may look a bit shady because (other than the lack of signage) it just looks like a narrow and crowded lane with souvenir / gift shops, snack / drink shops on either side but if you go in a little ways, there are lanes/paths on either side that lead you deeper into what is Bugis Street Market. You’ll be amazed at how much stuff is crammed in there. Some of these lanes open up to a bigger section of shops. You’ll even find escalators up to even more shops, lots and lots of tiny cubicles of stuff! I didn’t get a chance to go exploring this time around as I was on a mission for computer parts and had to walk through Bugis Street Market to get to the Sim Lim Square, which is the place to go for IT parts and such. I’ll post about that in the coming days.

Prices at Bugis Street Market is comparable to prices you’ll find at the other touristy places like Chinatown but I’d say you can find better deals here. You can bargain here, a bit, in the shops that are deeper in the side lanes, not so much in the main lane that you entered from. Some vendors can get quite rude and or pushy though, so take that into consideration. Bulk is pretty much the name of game here, you’ll find a lot of 3 for $10 Sgd t-shirt deals in here as well as handful of keychains / magnets for cheap too. It’s generally easier to bargain if you buy a lot, the vendors seem to get nicer in attitude too. Aside from souvenir shops, I’ve seen tattoo parlours in there, gadget shops, gadget accessory shops, and of course lots of clothes. Here’s some pics.

Well worth a look see if you need to buy a bunch of souvenirs or relatively cheaper, trendy, young people clothes. It should take about an hour or two if you’re just window shopping, to see everything provided you don’t get lost in there. I’d say just kidding, but I’ve been lost in there and had to ask for directions to get out, TWICE!

I take everyone who visits me and needs to get souvenirs to Bugis Street Market and none of them regret coming and some request to come again on subsequent visits. Although it can get really crowded in the main lane, once you branch off to the sides, there are less people but the walkways are narrower, so be careful not to knock anything over with your bags and bags of loot! Happy shopping, everyone!

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Wat Saket is something special. I can’t explain it, only feel it.

Wat Saket dates back to the 1700’s and has an iconic structure named Golden Mount. This man made mountain has a winding staircase up to the prayer hall where followers can offer prayers, flowers and ask for divine guidance. Climbing up the very narrow and steep stair case to the roof is where you’ll find the golden stupa. The views and statues are really soothing to look at and when the breeze blows through, it feels refreshing and the dinging of all the wind chimes, adds to the ambiance nicely. Although it’s quite spectacular, the rest of the complex is really peaceful and serene too. If you want to see more photos of Golden Mount, you can check out my post HERE. If you need directions on how to get to Wat Saket / Golden Mount via public transport, I posted about that HERE. If you need a break on the way up, there’s a coffee shop on the way up I didn’t have time so I passed, it looks nice though!

I visited Wat Saket 2 days in a row because there was so much going on. It was Loy Krathong, the yearly week long festival (my post about it HERE). With all the festivities going on, I didn’t get any opportunities to get any pictures of the serene feeling premises. Maybe next time. Navigating was somewhat difficult as well because crowds got really big at times and not only were some entrances concealed by the crowds but once you’re in the mass, you really can’t go anywhere except with the flow of the mass. I actually had no idea where I was going and walked around the complex twice before actually getting to see any of the religious statues and things. Some buildings were closed when I got around to them and some I found totally by accident. Meaning I saw a bunch of people moving into something so I just went too. That’s how I found the starting stair case to get up to Golden Mount as well as a cave.

The man made cave houses a giant standing Buddha statue, that looks like it’s carved into the cave and smaller, free standing Terracotta like Buddha statues. Also within the cave are some pieces of really old looking paper with writing on it, but I couldn’t read it, looks important, though.

There is also cemetery that is part of the base of Golden Mount which doesn’t look creepy or anything and you’d probably pass it by not knowing it was a cemetery but look closely and you’ll see. What’s creepy, I think, is that I’m sure I took multiple pictures with my camera’s yet I can’t find any of the cemetery photos on any of them. What do you make of that? Anyways, there’s also a museum on the premises, with some more Buddha statues and history, if you’re interested in that. It was closed by the time I found it.

Then there’s the vultures. If I had not strayed off the path leading down from Golden Mount, I would have totally missed the scene commemorating those that perished from the cholera outbreak. This scene is known as the vulture scene. I took a picture of the commemorative plaque so you can have a read if you’re so inclined.

There’s also a few Buddha statues in enclaves that you can offer prayers too around this area. The main prayer hall isn’t that large but the plaza in front is quite spacious, providing plenty of space for worshipers to pray in front of the Buddha statue that is outside the hall. There’s an even bigger Buddha statue inside the hall. I didn’t get to see everything even though I went twice. I think, during non festive times, you could see it all in 3-4 hours if you’re just walking through. I’ll include a premises map so you can plan your trip ๐Ÿ˜Ž

I missed this whole section behind the building in the above photo, it may not even be part of Wat Saket (I think because it’s named a bit different) but it’s accessible from Wat Saket until closing time when the close the entry/exit gates. I think the people having a picnic beside red sign hopped the fence to get in because I didn’t see a way to get in there, lol.

Out of all the wats I’ve visited in Bangkok, Wat Saket is the one that resonated most with me. I “felt” something there, neither good nor bad, just something and for me that’s special. I later learned that there are Buddha relics (Buddha’s Teeth) at Golden Mount, enshrined in the golden stupa and enshrined in the 4 gold leafed statues in the circular shrine. If you need to satisfy your spiritual hunger and only have time to visit one wat in Bangkok, I would highly suggest Wat Saket over the more “touristy” wats. That’s my opinion, don’t roast me for it. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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Wat Arun an experience to remember

Wat Arun is easily amongst the top 3 of must visit wats in Bangkok, Thailand. Is it worth the hype? Depends on what you’re going there for, in my opinion. Let me explain in more detail in this post but first if you fancy getting here via public transport (as opposed to taking a taxi, Grab or tuk tuk) check out my post HERE.

Wat Arun has arguably one of the most iconic Thai structures and the complex dates back to the 1800’S. The cost for admission to Wat Arun was $50 Baht. Relatively inexpensive, right? Well, it’s probably because you’re only paying to get access to the Prangs, which are the spire/pyramid looking structures, the rest of the wat complex is free . At first, I thought the main spire was a chedi/stupa. I’m not entirely sure what the difference between a prang, chedi or stupa is, only that a chedi or stupa usually houses and a relic/artifact. So I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t a relic on the premises (that I could find or was aware of). Once you pay the entrance fee, you can choose to walk around the spire platform or you can head up the 5 or 6 steps to get onto the platform that the spires are built on. I then took a walk around the platform in between the central spire and the four smaller ones before heading up onto the central spire’s platform using the really steep stairs that have no hand rails. While walking around the central spire, you’ll find more really steep stairs going even further up, but sadly they are closed to the public.

All the spires are covered in mosaic type decorations. You will also find sea shells and small sauce dish type ceramics used in the dรฉcor. On each side of the spire, on the first platform are gated structures housing different Buddhist themed statues. For a centuries old complex, the complex is well upkept, you can some cracked sculptures and even find piles of broken off ceramic, that I’m guessing will be put back. Must be a huge challenge even for jigsaw puzzle lovers, haha. That’s about it, but having said that it was still a sight to behold for being centuries old, worth the $50 Baht entrance fee, once.

The rest of Wat Arun’s complex is free and in front of the spires is where you will find two viharns. One of which is where you can find monks to offer prayers and blessings. One of which has Thai amulets and a very knowledgeable attendant. This attendant spoke English and Cantonese better than I can. He told me he can speak Mandarin and 2 other Chinese dialects and his mother tongue is Thai. Quite impressive. What I found even more impressive was his understanding of Thai amulets, he was able to recognize the two I was wearing and offer me a variety of amulets that would complement my existing pair, in various styles, sizes, material and cost. In addition, we spoke of current affairs in various S.E. Asian countries as well as their economics. Very, very insightful chap!

The only other wat that I’ve seen amulets for sale (in Bangkok) is in Wat Pho. The selection at Wat Arun is by far larger and of higher material quality. My amulet from Wat Pho has tarnished very badly but my amulet from Wat Arun is almost as shiny as when I purchased it. Also, when I purchased my amulet from Wat Arun, they brought me and the amulet over to the monk “on duty” and he “blessed” it, performed a “renewal” chant on my existing amulets and said a prayer for me as well! An experience I’ve never had when purchasing amulets. I quite enjoyed it, I haven’t had a prayer session with a monk in ages.

Anyways, in front of the viharns and off to the right side, is the market place, all the usual souvenir shops such as food, clothes, trinkets, costume rental (for photos) etc. A few more steps forward is the river and the piers. Heading left there is the way to the ubosot where there is a larger prayer area and a large golden Buddha statue. Oh, I’m not entirely sure if what I’ve called the viharn and the ubosot is actually what they are, it’s just my best guess from seeing them and what’s inside.

Around the ubosot are other structures including more spires/chedi/stupa/prang shaped structures, not sure what exactly they are but they look interesting. As did the bells you can ring by hitting them with a stick (as opposed to the usual clanging them with the stick that dangles inside each bell. Other works of art on the premises are statues and wall murals all are really quite nice, some look dated too.

Overall, my personal feeling is that Wat Arun, as a temple, is how it should be, the religious parts are free for the people, supported by donations and having a ticket able venue (the prangs). I very much enjoyed the temple complex, not so much the prangs. Having said that, I think the prangs are best seen either at sunrise or dusk. A monk told me to come back at night when the lights are on, “it’s much more beautiful,” he said. Having seen Wat Arun close to sunset, I would tend to agree, but as usual, I didn’t have time to stay plus I think the view of the whole complex would be better from across the river.

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Mega Plaza, 6 floors of awesomeness! Perhaps the largest toy mall in Bangkok?

Ok so whilst wandering around the vicinity around Wat Saket/Golden Mount, I found a mall named Mega Plaza. Six floors of AWESOMENESS ! ! !ย  Yes, I’m a kid and I ain’t afraid to show it, wiggle wiggle….uh ok never mind lol.ย  If you’re even remotely interested in anime, toys, collectibles and or camera gear you have to check this place out!ย  Plus it’s nearing Christmas time, so why not?

I would love to give you precise directions on how to get there but i can’t because i found the place by accident. I can tell you, though, that the closest train station is Sam Yot MRT (blue line) and that Google Maps sucked. It was actually much closer than the path it led me on (I had to find Sam Yot, MRT). Also if you’re into gold jewellery and firearms the vicinity is loaded with those types of shops but around 6:30 pm a lot were closing if not closed already.

The first four floors of Mega Plaza are filled with toy shops like baby toys, remote control stuff, lego, anime figurines (racks and racks full), Gundam models and mini drive able vehicles. I saw a figure that I really wanted to get (DBZ FiguArts Android 21)but I tried to bargain it down from $1800 Baht but was unsuccessful so I went to try to find a cheaper shop. I did find it in two other shops but one had it on sale for $2200 Baht and the other $2400 Baht so I tried to go back to the first shop but either they were closed or I couldn’t find it. Too bad for me.

There are a few console game shops which offer repair services as well. Comparing prices I found Nintendo Switch games to be slightly cheaper than in Singapore but you’ll have to shop around because prices differ, sometimes by a lot from shop to shop. I didn’t buy any because most of the games are from the European region and that eshop is the most expensive (that I’ve encountered so far from buying DLC’s). It looks to me that the Nintendo Switch games here are cheaper than the 3 shops I found at MBK mall. Anime figures are slightly cheaper too and I found an acrylic display box shop had really good prices but shipping is the deal breaker. If you’re into air guns (BB guns) I saw a couple of shops with a wide variety of guns, they were really quite impressive and realistic looking.

Half of the 5th floor is all camera shops unfortunately not all were open, some of the ones open at the time I was there were the ones offering repair services, used (older stuff) and vintage gear. Quite cool, I enjoy looking at vintage stuff!ย  If you’re looking for camera gear I highly recommend checking out Mega Plaza before you go to MBK mall (where there are a handful of shops as well, mostly all the new gear though). The other 1/2 of the floor is occupied by TCG shops (trading card games) like Magic The Gathering. I still play every now and then with my daughter and she was upset she didn’t get to check out Mega Plaza with me, haha.

On the top floor there is a food court and shops with the bigger models and diorama’s. Man oh man, were there some awesome looking diorama’s up there. I think there was a shop that takes custom orders meaning they custom make one to your design/liking. These shops makes the couple of shops in Singapore (that I’ve seen) look amateurish.

If I ever make it out to Bangkok again, I’d definitely make time to check out this mall again but this time earlier and with a list of stuff I wanna get this would be better than following my girls around Pratunam market looking at clothes. Oh, if you intend to go, keep in mind that shops start closing around 6 pm even though the mall doors says the mall is open until 7:30 pm so go early if you want the best selection.

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other (usually travel) bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, ๐Ÿ˜ƒ please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

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