We arrived in Singapore at Changi Airport at 11:50pm on a Friday night. We immediately appreciated the level of cleanliness and development of the country: free massage chairs, free WiFi and water fountains!
Considering the price of hotels in Singapore, we hoped we could sleep through the night at the airport and head over to a hotel (and pray for an early check-in) the next morning.
It did not go as planned. We fell asleep close to our arrival gate only to be awoken (as well as other sleepers) by two policemen at 2am. Apparently, you have to go through immigration after landing. The policemen escorted us there and we resumed our night of sleep in the departure area, two floors up. After an uncomfortable night, we left the next morning on the MRT.
Getting Around in Singapore: Local Transport
The MRT in Singapore is extremely easy to use. Fares depend on the distance traveled, starting at SGD$1.50 and up. You can buy your one way ticket in the machines provided at each MRT station, your fare will be calculated based on the distance.
The transit system also offers one, two or three-day Tourist Passes for unlimited rides around the city-state with a SGD$10 refundable deposit. This may or may not be worth it depending on your activities.
There are many maps for grabs around the city for free, very useful.
Where to Stay: Hotels in Singapore
Hotels in Singapore are more expensive than the ones in South-East Asia (as expected) so we booked a dorm bed for the first two nights starting Saturday at the Gracelodge by Tai Seng metro station.
Description: We were overall happy with the ten-bed mixed dorm and to be able to share stories with fellow travellers. Facilities were clean, modern, quiet and comfortable. . The owner was very nice and accommodating, he let us sleep in the common area couch for a discounted $12 for the two of us when the dorm was full.
It takes about 15 mins on the MRT to get to Marina Bay.
Price: USD$12 per person per bed
Amenities: A/C, free WiFi, outside hot shower and toilet, free breakfast– toasts, jam, peanut butter, chocolate spread, juice and hot drinks and a fridge.
There were other hostels available in Little India and Chinatown, though none offered the same value for our budget.
What to do: Activities and Sights in Singapore
Bayfront: view of the Singapore Skyline, walk through the double helix pedestrian bridge (perfect for a photo of the skyline), promenade along Marina Bay Sands, visit the ArtScience Museum (lotus shaped museum) for SGD$28. MRT Station: Bayfront, Marina Bay
Singapore Flyer – The Wheel: about SGD$30. MRT Station: Promenade.
Singapore Art Museum SGD$10, half price for students MRT Station: Bras Basah.
Shopping at the endless malls on Orchard Road. MRT Stations: Orchard, Somerset, Dhoby Ghaut and City Hall.
Gardens by the Bay : supertrees which incorporate vertical greenery and sustainable function for a Green Singapore. MRT Stations: Gardens by the Bay, Bayfront.
Little India: Indian market, and many hostels available. MRT Station: Little India.
Chinatown: night market, food market and hostels. MRT Station: Chinatown.
Holland Village: hip dinner area, nice stroll MRT Station: Holland Village
Sentosa, island resort in Singapore with beach, Universal Studios theme park, golf and five-star hotels. Good for shopping, Vivo City Park, nice outdoor SkyPark for children/nice promenade after dinner. MRT Station: Harbour Front
Food and Eating in Singapore
Singapore is filled with food courts and tons of restaurants where you can find amazing meals. You can pick between hawkers and five-star restaurants. A memorable meal is the best Char Siu we’ve ever had at Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint (125 Upper Paya Lebar Rd) at Tai Seng MRT station, close to the Gracelodge hotel. For SGD$21, we had our char siu dish and two rices.
Medical and Health
Tan Toc Seng Hospital for our traveling shots and a prescription for doxycycline at the hospital’s excellent Traveller’s Health and Vaccination Clinic. If you are traveling in Asia and failed to get your travel shots up to date, Singapore might be your best chance to get it done.
We went in without an appointment and were out of the hospital within a couple of hours.
SGD$15 for consultation + 15% surcharge of total invoice for foreigners
MRT Station: Novena
Getting There and Away: Singapore to Melaka
Our next destination was Melaka, Malaysia. We decided to reach Melaka by bus. Online booking is possible at Easibook.com : Golden coach Express Service from City Plaza Singapore to Melaka for SGD$49.50 for two people (USD$38) departing at 6:45pm or book directly from the operator.. We reached City Plaza by MRT and shared the voyage to Malaysia with four other travellers in a big bus.
Thank you Singapore for an amazing time!