If you are going to Singapore check out this quick guide. I had the opportunity to spend a short but amazing three days in Singapore (wish it were longer) and was able to do a lot of things. I fell in love with the beauty of the city, the friendly people and the worldly cuisine. This city is great to explore since there are amazing shopping malls, cheap shopping areas and diverse neighbourhoods!
Population: 5,470,000 million
Known as: The Garden City
Currency: Singapore Dollars (SGD)
Official Language(s): Tamil, Malay, Chinese, English
Before you Arrive
Luckily to visit Singapore citizens from 80% of the world's countries are not required to obtain a visa; making travelling to Singapore more desirable.
But there are a list of things you must have:
1. A passport valid for 6 months at the time of departure
2. An onward or return ticket
3. Sufficient funds
4. Proof of where you will be staying
There is only one airport, Changi Airport, is located 33 km from the City Centre. The best way to reach the city is by MRT which takes you to the city in about 30 mins. During peak hours the train runs every 7-15 mins. You can buy tickets for a single trip which costs about $2.80 SGD ( $2.75 CAD) or you can get a Singapore Tourist Pass which allowed unlimited travel. For one day it is $10 (SGD), two days $16 SGD or three days $20 SGD. The last train leaves the airport at 11:18 pm. The MRT is located between terminal 2 and terminal 3. If you are at terminal 1 take the free Skytrain to either terminal 2 or 3.
Another option is to take a bus to the city centre. The first bus arrives at the airport at 6 am and the last bus leaves just before midnight. The bus ride will only cost you $2.50 SGD but the ride takes about an hour. To get to the city you would take bus 36/36A. The bus stops are located at the basement bus bays of Terminal 1, 2 and 3.
For comfort and ease you could also just take a taxi. The taxi stands are at the arrival levels of each terminal. The taxi ride takes about 30 mins and costs around $20-40 SGD. Fares are metered but there is an airport surcharge of $5 from 5pm to midnight (Fri-Sun) and $3 at all other times.
While I was in Singapore I did a lot of walking in the city centre because they were close enough to walk. But public transportation like the buses and MRT are very convenient and cheap. There are also hop-on-hop-off buses that take you to the most popular areas and even the further areas like Harbourfront. Most public spaces in Singapore have free wifi so you are able to stay connected.
In Singapore English is widely spoken although it is a melting pot of four main races- Chinese, Malay, Eurasian and Indian. They also speak what is called 'Singlish,' which is a mix of the different languages spoken in Singapore with English.
But here are a few phrases you should know:
What to See
Although Singapore is a pretty small Island, it is filled with attractions. There are beautiful shopping malls, markets, neighbourhoods and local attractions to do so you can never be bored!
Marina Bay and The Singapore Flyer are the most popular attractions for tourists. From The Singapore Flyer on a good day you can see Malaysia. Although Clarke Quay is also popular among travelers for their picturesque river and laid back but fun atmosphere. There are also neighbourhoods like Little India, Harbourfront, Kampong Glam and Chinatown to get lost in.
What to Eat & Drink
Since Singapore is multiethnic country they have a plethora of unique dishes that represent the melting pot of ethnicities. There are so many local foods to try. You can find a lot of cheap eats at hawkers centres (aka food centre) but be sure to try the national dish 'Chicken Rice'.
Must try Dishes:
Chili crab, Laksa, Nasi Lemak, Hokkien Prawn Mee, Roti Prata and more!
Other things to try:
Durian, Coconut ice cream, Kuih, Ais Kacang
Where to Stay
Singapore has countless luxury hotels at the 5 star prices. If you are like me you probably want to stay at a hostel, but not the cheapest kind. I stayed at the Five Stones Hostel, which I loved. It was in a great location, which is why I did a lot of walking around. There is also a hop-on-hop-off bus stop right at the front door. You can also book tours right at the front desk. The staff is very knowledgeable and can help you with almost anything.
Here are some other great places to visit in Singapore!
Sentosa Island-- Located on a small island just off the mainland, Sentosa Island is a popular resort visited by 20 million people each year. It is also home to Universal Studios Singapore and has three beaches.
Pulau Ubin-- As one of the last rural areas in Singapore, Ubin Island has an abundance of natural flora and fauna. It is located north east of Singapore on a tiny island. Most people visit here for outdoor activities including kayaking and cycling.