Here’s what it’s like inside Singapore’s Pokemon Go Safari Zone – the first place in the world you can catch shiny Lapras and shiny Shuckle

The Pokemon Company installed a massive, six-metre Lapras inflatable just off Palawan beach for the event.
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Pokemon Go fans across the internet are losing it after early players at Singapore’s first-ever Pokemon Go Safari Zone event discovered that they could catch two extremely rare critters that aren’t available anywhere else in the world.

Read also: SEA’s first Pokemon Go Safari Zone will be held in Sentosa – but you’ll only get to play if you’re lucky

The two Pokemon spawning at Sentosa island – where the ticket-holders-only Safari Zone event is being held from April 18 to 22 – are shiny versions of Lapras and Shuckle.

In the game, a shiny Pokemon has a different colour scheme from the regular one, and is incredibly hard to find (with about 0.2 per cent encounter rate, according to Pokemon Go fan site The Silph Road).

Players’ screenshots of shiny Shuckle went viral on Reddit on April 17 due to a glitch (later remedied) that made the Pokemon available a day before the event, while screenshots of shiny Lapras went viral within the first hour of the event on April 18.

A shiny Shuckle (left) posted by a Reddit user, versus a regular Shuckle we found (right).
Reddit/TornadoJ88, Ronald Chiam/Business Insider

A screenshot of shiny Lapras on Reddit (left) versus the regular one (right).
Reddit/Mereps, Ronald Chiam/Business Insider

Niantic’s APAC senior director of product marketing, Ray Adachi, confirmed that Singapore’s Safari Zone event was the first time the shiny versions of Shuckle and Lapras were available worldwide.

Here’s what else we found at the special Pokemon event, apart from the shiny Pokemon:


On reaching Sentosa island’s Beach Station, we found a large map of the event featuring the rare Pokemon available to attendees.

They included Shuckle and Lapras, as well as Tropius, Dratini, Unown, and Alolan Exeggutor.
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Standees of PokeStops, which are locations players can receive free items, were scattered around the vicinity.

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Various standees of Pokemon lined the route to the check-in point, a spot where players who received a ticket to the event could log in and start catching special Pokemon.

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One walkway had a Pokemon Go display…

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… and cutouts of Pikachu lined another.

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There were flags with the three major Pokemon Go teams: Valour, Mystic and Instinct.

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Another area had standees of the three teams’ leaders, Candela, Blanche, and Spark – alongside Professor Willow, the character that gives players their first Pokemon in the game.

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Although the event only started at 10am on Thursday (April 18), eager fans had already congregated at the check-in spot at 9.30am.

Business Insider understands some were there as early as 7am.

Niantic marketing director Adachi said Singapore has one of the world’s highest percentage of Pokemon Go players by population size.
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A Niantic rep told Business Insider that while many players had balloted for tickets to the event, only 125,000 tickets were eventually issued to ensure crowd control and sufficient mobile bandwidth for players.

About 80 per cent of the tickets were successfully balloted for by Singaporeans, with the remaining 20 per cent going to regional tourists, who flew in to attend the event, the rep said.

Adachi said that due to it being a city with no rural areas, Singapore had an incredibly dense concentration of PokeStops, making the game more fun for players.
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First, we visited a booth handing out paper sun visors with a Pikachu motif.

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The visor on an event attendee.
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There were also resting tents where players of the same team could meet each other.

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Logging into the game, we saw the check-in point prominently displayed over Sentosa.

Due to the enormous number of players, the island’s PokeStops were awash with lures, which are an in-game item used to make Pokemon appear more frequently.

The pink confetti denotes a lure. All of Sentosa’s PokeStops had lures.
Ronald Chiam/Business Insider

We quickly bumped into our first rare Pokemon, a Shuckle. Sadly, this one was not shiny.

We also found a Tropius, which is a Pokemon typically exclusive to players in Africa, and rarely found in Singapore.

Ronald Chiam/Business Insider

Proceeding further along the beach, we found a six-metre tall inflatable Lapras bobbing in the waters off Palawan Beach.

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Fans swarmed the beach to take selfies with the inflatable, which is also one of the three mascots for Singapore’s Pokemon Center at Jewel Changi Airport.

Adachi told Business Insider that Lapras was chosen for the inflatable, as well as to be one of the two shiny Pokemon, as it was a water-type, which fit Sentosa’s island theme.
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We found a Lapras in the game near to its “real-life” counterpart (sadly, not a  shiny either) and an Alolan exeggutor amid coconut palm trees.

Ronald Chiam/Business Insider

We also bumped into the rare Unown – which are Pokemon shaped like letters of the alphabet or punctuation marks.

For this event, the Unown available were the letters in the word “Sentosa”.

An “E” unown and an “S” unown.
Ronald Chiam/Business Insider

Other water Pokemon we saw included Slowpoke, Piplup, Dratini and Luvdisc.

Ronald Chiam/Business Insider

Also on the beach was a photo-taking spot featuring three Pikachu mascots: one in a raincoat, another in Hawaiian garb, and a third in what appeared to be a martial arts outfit.

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Despite the heat, crowds quickly formed to take photos with the Pikachu.

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Back at the check-in point, players picked up souvenirs from two shops selling Pokemon plush toys…

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…as well as a pop up store for Pokemon Shirts, an official line of Pokemon-branded dress shirts sold by Japanese label Original Stitch.

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Several of the the shirts – which feature subtle prints of all 151 Pokemon from the franchise’s original series – were modeled on Pikachu plush dolls.

Sadly, the dolls were not for sale.
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

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