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Singapore Travel Guide – Lengthy Travel

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Basic Observations

  1. Singapore is a clear, inexperienced and trendy city. I had already anticipated that, however it was still impressive to witness in individual.
  2. Good skyscraper structure
  3. In contrast to most of SE Asia—and most nonetheless creating nations—faucet water in Singapore is perfectly protected to drink.
  4. The electrical retailers are of the UK variety so you will in all probability want an adapter. My hostel had some available to lend but you need to in all probability plan to convey your personal.
  5. Singapore has a status for strictly implementing legal guidelines like jaywalking consuming on public transportation, littering, chewing gum, and so on. and fines might be substantial.

How Lengthy Do You Need in Singapore?

As a single city destination, you may guess the number of things to see and do in Singapore can be somewhat restricted, however that isn’t true. You possibly can simply spend a few weeks exploring the town, particularly when you’ve got the price range for a number of the many costlier activities. I spent 5 nights there however as I arrived and departed in the afternoon I ended up with 4 full days to explore. I used to be capable of see every part on my record however I had to really hustle to take action and my record didn’t even embrace a few of the more fashionable points of interest (e.g., Universal Studios, zoo) and I might have most popular to take a more relaxed strategy. So, for my itinerary a full week would have been better and I feel that may be a good period of time for a go to, though in case you have the time and price range, ten days or even two weeks can be great.

Cash and Finances

In case you are a backpacker touring SE Asia, you may be unpleasantly stunned by how expensive Singapore is. In case you are visiting from a costlier country in the West, anticipate comparable costs. I traveled cheaply, staying in a hostel, consuming at hawker centers, and avoiding a lot of the paid points of interest (not so much because I was overly concerned about my price range but as a result of there were free options I needed to do). Provided that, for 5 nights I spent S$200 for the whole lot. I also walked rather a lot as a result of that’s my most popular method to explore a spot and get some exercise not because I needed to economize. So, I feel my expenses should in all probability serve as a decrease baseline (~S$40 per day).

Most ticket and tour costs are pretty costly, so in case you plan to do lots of those you must anticipate to spend rather more. I didn’t see many reductions marketed but some can be found. My hostel didn’t promote any (and I uncared for to ask) however as I walked by another hostel in Chinatown I saw an indication advertising reductions and was capable of buy entry to the cloud forest dome at Gardens by the Bay for 25% off (S$12 vs. the traditional $S16) although they informed me the OCBC Skywalk doesn’t supply any low cost.

I am not a drinker alcohol in Singapore is dear because of excessive taxes. If tying one on is an enormous a part of your journey fashion and even should you just need to attempt the famous Singapore Sling, prepare to increase your finances.

I read that bank cards are extensively accepted by eating places, supermarkets, and buying facilities, however a minimum buy of $20 typically applies. I used solely cash so I can’t converse from private experience. Tipping can also be not widespread in Singapore, however typically a service charge is routinely added to your invoice, although not on the hawker facilities.

Weather

Being very close to the equator, the weather is pretty comparable all yr, although some months are rainier than others. I visited in February, which is claimed to be the driest month and certainly I only experienced about 10 minutes of sunshine rain, although I have read elsewhere that you must plan for rain all yr so maybe I just had good luck. I carried a small umbrella always to be protected. While it is indeed scorching and humid, it wasn’t quite as dangerous as I anticipated and I discovered the evenings to be snug, though I am used to warm climate dwelling so your experience might differ. Additionally notice that another results of its geographical location is that sunrise and sunset are about the identical time (07:30/19:30) all yr. I by no means saw a great sundown throughout my trip however I don’t know if that was distinctive to my keep, widespread for February or on account of some other circumstances. Maybe it was because I didn’t get any rain.

Transportation

Everyone says Singapore’s public transportation is superb and I agree. You’ll be able to go most locations you need to visit by way of the MRT, and I had no drawback catching a bus to and from MacRitchie Reservoir for the character path. Both MRT and buses are clear, snug and air-conditioned and through my go to I by no means did not get a seat nor did I ever have to wait various minutes.

Practice and Bus Choices

To make use of Singapore’s public transportation, there are four choices:

  1. Money. You possibly can only pay money to journey the bus, although doing so is just not really helpful because of the inconvenience involved (the driving force should make change and calculate your fare based mostly on distance to your destination).
  2. Commonplace ticket. A normal ticket can only be used on MRT and LRT but it can be used as much as six occasions within 30 days. The purchase worth includes a deposit of 10 cents and that is mechanically refunded on the journey fare of the third trip. A consumer additionally enjoys a 10-cent low cost on the sixth trip. Notice that at some common stations throughout high visitors occasions shopping for a single ticket can mean an extended wait to use the automated machines.
  3. EZ-Hyperlink Card. This can be a rechargeable card that allows you to simply swipe to entry and pay for MRT, Bus, and LRT. There’s a non-refundable S$5 charge to purchase that card, though you’ll be able to return it at the finish of your visit and get your stability refunded. You additionally get cheaper per-ride fares utilizing the card, so in the event you use it enough (I take into consideration a dozen occasions or so) it finally ends up saving you at the very least the price of purchase. Observe that the minimal top-up is S$10 and also you want a minimal stability of S$3.50 to use the card.
  4. Singapore Vacationer Move. You should purchase a 1-day (S$10), 2-day ($16) or Three-day ($20) cross that provides you unlimited journey on MRT, Bus and LRT. There is a S$10 deposit as properly, which you get back if you return the card, though you have to achieve this within six days from the date it was first issued. The tourist cross is usually a great choice, but observe that a day ends at midnight relatively than 24 hours after activating so when you fly in late in the afternoon or evening, it may be better to buy a single journey ticket to your lodge and then begin utilizing the vacationer cross the subsequent day. Additionally word that you would be able to either buy another move utilizing the identical card should you want greater than three days or you possibly can choose to make use of it as an EZ-Link card after your days have expired by topping up.

Nevertheless you pay on your journeys, having a cellular app that will help you get from one place to a different is a good idea. The perfect app obtainable is Gothere, though it gained’t work offline and is just obtainable on iOS or on the Net. Singapore MRT LRT Offline (iOS) is an alternative choice, however it doesn’t work with GPS so you’ll need to know starting and ending stations. Google Maps is all the time a very good choice, but although you’ll be able to obtain the Singapore map for offline use, you can’t use the directions function offline. Other common objective public transport apps value making an attempt embrace Citymapper, Moovit, or MétrO (solely the latter works offline for route creation).

Walking

Depending on how a lot you wish to stroll and your tolerance of the heat and humidity, walking is a good way to see the sights and structure of the town. You’ll be able to simply hop on the MRT when there are just a few belongings you need to see, however typically the space between things is such that strolling is about as convenient as the space to and from the relevant MRT stations. There are also some nice walks/hikes value doing in case you are up for the additional punishment in your ft.

Cycling

One factor I observed in all places I went have been the bicycle sharing bikes. I never used one myself and this is in all probability the one thing I might do in a different way and advocate to you since zipping around on a bicycle can be a good way not to miss something whereas being quicker and more handy than strolling or utilizing the MRT. Apparently, I didn’t see many individuals driving their very own bicycles but moderately it seems a lot of the locals use the bicycle sharing choices as an alternative. This seems to me more spectacular considering the bicycle sharing providers have been only launched in 2017.

There appears to be three major bicycle sharing outfits:

  1. oBike is predicated in Singapore and has grown to 14,000 bicycles with more than one million lively users in Singapore and has since expanded to 20 nations. A experience prices $0.50 per 15 minutes but might range in accordance with your credit score factors. Users who exhibit poor driving habits (together with breaking oBike rules) could also be subjected to greater rental charges while users with greater credit factors might take pleasure in discounted charges on their rides.
  2. Mobike at present has eight million bikes in additional than 200 cities and it seemed to me that their bikes have been the ones I noticed most often in Singapore. A single journey value $zero.50 for 30 minutes and fees start as soon as the bike has been unlocked. The timer will reset every time the bike has been locked. There are additionally credit provided for topping up, referring customers, reporting damaged bikes, parking correctly, and so forth.
  3. Ofo has 10 million bikes in additional than 250 cities. I had read that a experience is $0.50 and that was for a limiteless amount of time, but the website now says the worth is $1 per hour so perhaps the service was being abused and issues have modified.

All three outfits have an identical operating model. You download the related app, add a deposit and usage credit score, use the app to find a nearby bicycle, and scan the QR code on the bicycle to unlock and journey it (Ofo requires you to manually enter a code discovered on the bicycle and then sends you a mixture code to unlock it). When finished, park and lock the bicycle to complete your experience transaction. There are imagined to be some designated parking areas or rules however it seemed to me that folks kind of left them wherever they felt like so I don’t understand how much that is or might be a problem for the town going forward.

Based mostly on what I noticed, Mobike seems to have probably the most functioning bicycles adopted by oBike with Ofo being few and much between. Since I didn’t use any of them I can’t advocate one over the opposite however The New Paper and TODAYonline both have a comparative evaluate of the three providers that is perhaps of use, particularly since I feel all three require a big deposit to register.

The large drawback I see with these providers is you will have to have a cellular connection. Truly, I’m just assuming that based mostly on the best way the apps work however I can’t discover something on any of the sites or the app pages that says definitively that is true or not. There are clearly app options that might require a web-based connection to perform, but I also can think about a more limited offline mode for these with a minimum wallet stability. If in case you have any insight into this, please share in the comments.

Getting Online

I made a decision to rely only on WiFi for my stay in Singapore since I usually use offline maps and was traveling solo with no must be in touch with anybody. The excellent news is that it didn’t kill me to be offline all day whereas sightseeing. The dangerous information is that WiFi was just about not an choice aside from in my hostel since all free WiFi seems to require a one-time password which is shipped by way of SMS. Since I had no local SIM card or cellular roaming there was no option to receive the SMS messages.

In addition to free WiFi from restaurants and cafés, there’s an in depth free service offered as a partnership between the government and the varied native telecom corporations referred to as [email protected]. There’s even an app to make using it simpler. But again, it’s essential to have the power to receive SMS messages to sign up so without that it’s useless. What’s really annoying is that in case you are in Singapore, you’ll be able to register with a overseas telephone number but for those who try to register outdoors Singapore by way of the app (there isn’t a on-line registration choice), you need to use a Singapore phone number.

The primary cellular carriers are SingTel, StarHub and MobileOne (M1). I feel most sell one-week prepaid packages for round S$20. I met a fellow traveler who stated he bought a vast knowledge package deal that he was advised works across SE Asia (he hoped to make use of it in his next vacation spot, Vietnam) however I don’t know which service that was.

Lodging

Because of the great public transportation I feel most locations you may select to stay will in all probability be pretty handy, though it looks like the hostels and lower priced inns are concentrated in a number of areas. I stayed at Footprints Hostel. It’s a reasonably typical hostel expertise, better than many, however nothing special. It’s properly situated only a short walk from two Downtown Line MRT stations (Jalan Besar and Rochor). The primary vacationer areas are all on the same line and just a few MRT stops away.

Meals

I am not a foodie so I’m not a great source of recommendations on your Singapore journey. I can say that the hawker facilities are a handy source of delicious and cheap meals and you may typically find discounted prices at restaurants for lunch. A number of good assets for exploring food options are Migrationology’s Singapore Food Guide: 25 Should-Eat Dishes (& The place to Attempt Them), Eat Your World and Prime 10 low cost eats in Singapore.

Issues to See and Do

Under is an inventory of things I did during my visit, in no specific order.

Gardens by the Bay

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Walking round Gardens by the Bay is free and quite good. Apart from the tremendous timber grove, there are also other gardens to see. In case you have time, visiting once through the day and again at night time can be very best, though if I have been pressed for time I might try to visit in the night to see one of the two super timber mild and music exhibits (19:45 and 20:45 every evening).

There are two outstanding domes, the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome. Both are stated to be wonderful however I only had time for one and selected the Cloud Forest dome, which I assumed was wonderful. On-line I only noticed references to tickets for both (S$26) so at first I assumed you can not buy them individually, but you’ll be able to. Should you solely want to go to one it is S$16, though I was capable of get a discounted ticket for S$12.

The OCBC Skywalk (S$8) is the other paid attraction. It’s an elevated walkway between a few of the tremendous timber which supplies a unique perspective. A well-liked suggestion is to do the skywalk around nightfall and keep for sundown and the 19:45 mild present. That’s what I did, however observe that you might have an extended wait so be sure you be there prematurely and inquire concerning the ready time before you buy your ticket. As soon as on the skywalk, there really isn’t any handy place to only anticipate sundown and the show to begin, so I principally simply stood there.

Singapore Harbor loop

Singapore - Olympic Walk

From the Merlion statue you’ll be able to stroll in both course across the harbor and doing so is an effective option to catch numerous sites and views.

Sentosa Island

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Sentosa Island seems to be the tourist playground of Singapore and is house to common points of interest together with Common Studios, S.E.A. Aquarium, Journey Cove Waterpark, Madame Tussauds, Trick Eye Museum, a casino, bungy leaping, indoor skydiving (iFly), a luge monitor, Wave Home (a man-made surfing wave), and even a couple of pretty good seashores. I spent most of my time at Palawan seashore, which is related by a rope suspension bridge to the southernmost level of continental Asia, and at Fort Siloso, which has a pleasant elevated walkway entry and some fascinating reveals highlighting the historical past of the place, particularly its position in World Struggle II.

There are four methods to access Sentosa Island: a cable automotive, mild rail, bus, or walking/biking by way of the Sentosa boardwalk. I used the boardwalk, which is a nice, pretty brief walk. It is at present free, although I saw cost turnstiles and I read on-line that sooner or later you will have to pay S$1.

As soon as on the island, there are two free shuttle buses that run in loops across the island so it is fairly straightforward to get to the varied points of interest.

Fort Canning

This can be a nice park very close to downtown and the most important tourist areas. It’s value a go to when you’ve got the time, perhaps to take a break from sightseeing. You can even tour the Battlebox, which is where the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese in WWII. The 75 minute tour prices S$18 however once I went the subsequent tour was already absolutely booked so I ended up skipping this. A pal of mine did the tour and says it was good so if it interests you, attempt to e-book ahead.

Mountaineering

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Singapore is a surprisingly inexperienced metropolis with several parks and nature preserves so for those who wish to hike and get outdoor, there are some good choices. I did two of the primary hikes on supply.

The first was the Southern Ridges Stroll. This trail stretches from Kent Ridge Park to Mount Faber Park (or vice versa), with an non-compulsory spur that features Labrador Nature Reserve. I walked the complete size from Kent Ridge to Mount Faber (about 9 km I consider), but skipped Labrador Nature Reserve. That isn’t my suggestion to you, nevertheless. The most effective a part of Kent Ridge is the treetop cover stroll, however it’s at present closed for renovation. It does look worthwhile when it reopens, but it is near HortPark so I might truly advocate starting there, doing the canopy walk and then returning for the primary trail from HortPark to Mount Faber (or begin at Mount Faber as an alternative). Then, in case you have the time and power, perhaps embrace the Labrador Nature Reserve spur. If in case you have much more time, HortPark itself is sort of nice and can be a superb place for a picnic and a few rest time.

There’s another treetop stroll that starts at HortPark and is pretty lengthy. I actually enjoyed that section of the stroll. Ultimately you will hit probably the most famous a part of the hike, the Henderson Waves Bridge, which connects Mount Faber and Telok Blangah Hill Park. This too is good and for those who would like a shorter hike, you can do both it or the HortPark treetop stroll alone (or together). Transportation options will rely upon which route you select. Kent Ridge, Labrador and Mount Faber all have MRT access (although Kent Ridge includes a little bit of walking between the station and the park) whereas HortPark is greatest accessed by way of bus.

The second hike I did was at the MacRitchie Reservoir Park, which is residence to a nature trail common with residents of Singapore but appears to get a skip by most vacationers. All the hike is 11 km long and includes a brief treetop walk section. You may as well cut up the path in two and do exactly the nature path (5 km) or simply the part with the treetop stroll (6 km). Accessing MacRitchie is greatest finished by way of bus.

Botanic Gardens

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In addition to the 2 climbing trails I did, it’s also possible to do a fair quantity of walking in nature on the very good Botanic Gardens. I walked the whole of the gardens, took a quick nap on one of the lawns and did some reading on my Kindle, making for a very good half day. If I had more time in Singapore I might in all probability go to the Botanic Gardens greater than as soon as to decompress and chill out.

Little India and Chinatown

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Little India and Chinatown are culturally wealthy neighborhoods value time exploring. You possibly can simply do your personal walking tour of Chinatown or Little India, hitting up the fascinating streets and outlets, heritage institutes or museums, and native temples. You also needs to make sure that to attempt one of the hawker centers for some delicious and inexpensive meals.

Haji Lane & Arab Road

Singapore - Haji Lane and Arab Street

Haji Lane and Arab Road symbolize a mix of Muslim Mosque, Middle-Japanese eating places and hip bars. There’s fascinating road artwork to be found as nicely.

Haw Par Villa

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Haw Par Villa is a wierd place that gained’t attraction to everyone, however I favored it. The park accommodates over 1,000 statues and 150 big dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese language mythology, folklore, legends, historical past, and illustrations of varied elements of Confucianism. Entrance is free and it’s right next to the Haw Par Villa MRT station. For those who like barely weird and kitschy issues, give it a attempt.

Orchard Street and Emerald Hill

Singapore - Emerald Hill

I’m not a client however I nonetheless took a stroll along Orchard Street, the purchasing nerve middle of Singapore. There are normal outlets along the street but in addition all the well-known high-end manufacturers. An fascinating aspect road value visiting is Emerald Hill. It’s a dead-end combined business and residential road featuring Peranakan structure, vintage outlets, and some fashionable bars.

Viewpoints

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With the multitude of tall buildings across the city there are some options for getting good panoramic views, although one of the best would require you to pay for access. Listed here are the viewpoints I am conscious of:

  1. Marina Bay Sands Remark Deck. The rooftop of probably the most famous landmark in the metropolis is probably the most well-known spot for nice skyline views and you have in all probability seen a number of footage of the unimaginable infinity pool there (which you can’t use until you are a visitor of the lodge). Admission is S$23.
  2. 1-Altitude Bar is the world’s highest alfresco bar providing great views, including of Marina Bay Sands which you will obviously miss when you solely go to that remark deck. I had beforehand learn that admission is S$18 however that includes a drink. I have additionally read the worth is S$30 with a drink however the web site says the worth is S$25 and the drink have to be non-alcoholic so I am not positive what the actual status is.
  3. The [email protected]. In case you are in the Chinatown space, you can’t assist but discover the towering presence of this 50-story, multi-building housing complicated. It gives a really nice panoramic view, including a view that captures the distinction of the low-rise buildings widespread in Chinatown that ultimately give option to the skyscrapers. At only S$6 additionally it is much cheaper than the opposite choices. To access the rooftop skybridge you could visit the small workplace on the bottom flooring of Constructing G. Cost is money only however you will want an EZ-Hyperlink card as the attendant will scan it into the building’s security system so you possibly can swipe it at the turnstile on the 50th flooring that provides entry to the roof. Every day customer rely is restricted to 200, but apparently that quantity could be very not often reached. Once I went there have been in all probability a half dozen others there.
  4. Orchard Central Mall provides free access to the 12th flooring roof where you will get an OK view of the encompassing area. It’s in all probability the worst of the viewpoints, however it’s free and if you’ll already be within the space anyway, it is value a quick go to.
  5. Also situated on Orchard street is ION Sky at ION Orchard, which gives a a lot greater viewpoint but the hours are limited and you need to make at the very least a S$20 buy.
  6. The rooftop terrace of the Esplanade is open a lot of the day and into late night and provides a pleasant view of the bay and the town area. Better of all, there isn’t any admission charge. There are also places to take a seat and chill out and there’s also a bar which opens from late afternoon.

Things I Didn’t Do That You May Want To

I feel I packed lots into my time in Singapore. I was principally gone after breakfast and back at night time. However, there was so much more I might have completed with more time. Together with things which might be fairly widespread with most vacationers, including:

  1. Singapore Zoo. This is often rated as one of many prime points of interest within the city and is claimed to be one of the nicest on the planet, with more of a pure surroundings for the animals. In fact, it’s still a zoo and whether that may be a socially responsible vacationer attraction or not will depend on your personal perspective. A pal went there and stated it was certainly an amazing zoo, but that they nonetheless had elephant exhibits, so he left with combined emotions.
  2. Singapore Flyer. Singapore Flyer is Asia’s largest big remark wheel (I feel it was the most important on the earth at one time). Standing 165m from the bottom, the Flyer provides you breathtaking, panoramic views of the Marina Bay and past. That is another of the preferred points of interest in the city that I didn’t do.
  3. Museums and heritage establishments. There are fairly a number of museums scattered around the city, some with wonderful reputations. In case you are a museum fan or just need to schedule some hours out of the warmth, a museum or three is perhaps the right addition to your itinerary. I truly did make a quick visit to the Singapore Artwork Museum at 8Q to reap the benefits of its free admission on Friday nights from 6pm-9pm.
  4. Pulau Ubin. Pulau Ubin is an island a short boat journey from Changi Village out near the airport. It is among the final rural areas to be present in Singapore, with an abundance of natural wildlife. It is likely one of the last areas that has been preserved from urban improvement, concrete buildings and tarmac roads. Pulau Ubin’s picket home villages and picket jetties, relaxed inhabitants, rich and preserved wildlife, deserted quarries and plantations, and untouched nature make it the final witness of the previous kampong Singapore that existed before trendy industrial occasions and large-scale city improvement.
  5. Nature walks. The nationwide parks service provides some guided nature walks. I was notably keen on one of the three Jane Goodall Institute Monkey Walks, but each is simply provided once a month (2nd, 3rd, and 4th Saturday of the month).
  6. Take heed to free reside music at Esplanade. Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights the Esplanade presents free outside live shows on the harbor. Live shows primarily showcase local bands and musicians.
  7. Marina Barrage is an eco-friendly building featuring a large spiraling roof of grass that creates an enormous open subject on prime of the constructing. It’s been designed with the nation’s youth in thoughts as a spot to fly kites, have picnics and usually hang out. The rooftop presents phenomenal views of the town, the outer harbor and the instantly surrounding botanical gardens.

Raffles Lodge supposedly presents an fascinating and free museum on the second flooring of their inside courtyard however throughout my visit the whole lodge was closed for renovation (as a consequence of re-open within the second half of 2018). I am not positive if the newly renovated lodge will embrace the museum or not.