SINGAPURA – THE LION CITY
Singapore, an island country situated below southern Malaysia has a history of different and changing names like “island at the end of a peninsula”, “Sea Town”, etc. Singapura was formed from the Sanskrit words “simha” (lion) and “pura” (city) which was finalized in the 14th century. Legend has it that a Prince named Sang Nila Utama was out on a hunting trip and he sighted an animal (lion) he had never seen before. He considered this a good omen and founded this city on the island where this animal was found.
Modern Singapore is a multi-cultured country smaller than the city of Mumbai! When I found this, I was really happy thinking I can cover it in 4 – 5 days that I am there. But, obviously, I couldn’t.
English is widely spoken here. it is one of the 4 official languages along with Tamil, Malay, and Mandarin.
Best time to visit is between February and April. Although Singapore is for the most part of the year-round destination, the months of February to April experience less rainfall than other times of the year. However, keep a raincoat/umbrella handy when in Singapore.
Singapore Dollors (SGD)
You can find the details of tourist visa here. A bank balance of INR 50,000/- should suffice along with the mentioned documents. Visa for Follow these instructions and you will get an e-visa in 2/3 working days.
All inclusive of INR 40, 000 (everything mentioned in the blog)
I went to Singapore in August 2017
Costs – stay, flights, visa, and internal travel expenses.
I had booked my flights in the month of June 2017 from Goibibo and got a return fare of INR 17, 000/- ( flights with a layover) for August 2017.
Visa cost- INR 2000 /-
I booked Wink hostel in July from Goibibo again. It cost me INR 1000 / night ( Free WiFi, laundry and use of kitchen along with its equipment for breakfast). This hostel is 100 meters from Chinatown MRT and hence making it even better – cheap and easily accessible for sight seeing.
Bus and metro details
See MRT / LRT map here.
See the MRT (metro) and bus pass options here.
Where to buy it from? Read this.
Singapore Flyer & Gardens by the Bay
I landed at 3 pm ( Singapore time) and headed toward the hostel via metro which is inside the airport itself. I changed at Tanah Mera and Bugis to reach Chinatown.
Post lunch I visited the Singapore Flyer. I reached Promenade Station from Chinatown station, from where it is a mere eight-minute walk to Singapore Flyer! Take Exit A and look out for blue pedestrian signs to Singapore Flyer The ride is of 30 minutes, costs SGD 32 and I got lucky to get the entire capsule to myself! I later took a stroll along the way to Marina Bay Sands and headed back home.
I fell short of time for Gardens by the Bay ( SGD 28) and City Sky Park (SGD 25 ). There is a light show at gardens so try to be there around 7-8pm.
Gardens by the Bay, City Sky Park, Marina Bay Sands, and Singapore Flyer are at a walking distance from each other. Keep a day to enjoy all these attractions.
You can buy these attraction tickets on Klook. Some of my friends found cheaper options. Check the link here.
We took MRT from Chinatown to Harbourfront. There are two ways to reach Sentosa from HarbourFront metro station.
i. Sentosa Express – Have a look at the combo offers below. You have to take a train from Harbour Front MRT station – Vivo mall, 3rd Floor.
There is a combo offer on Sentosa + Universal studios for SGD 175. But it has to be used on consecutive days only. See details here.
if you are looking to book only Sentosa(like I did), it costs SGD 115 /- for 19 attractions out of 20 – See details here.
ii. Cable ride – Have a look at the combo offers here. The cable ride is for SGD 33 plus the cost of whatever attractions you select from above 2 links.
I took 19 attractions without the cable ride( 1- to save money and 2-a ride was already a part of Sentosa Islands) reluctantly because we reached Sentosa Express at 11 am. I had heard a lot that there is a long queue for the attractions and doing 19 isn’t possible. However, I managed to complete 14-16 of them! I got lucky because there was no queue in any of the attractions. However, the sooner you reach the better. It opens at 9:30 am and if you don’t trust your luck, better reach there at 9:30.
I loved Segway, Luge, Merlion ( you can go inside its mouth and on its head ) and Wings of Time the most. Have a look at all the attractions beforehand, shortlist the ones you’d want to do for sure – finish those first and then go for others because you don’t know how long the queues will be. You will be given a map. There are shuttles that run inside Sentosa. Take 30 minutes at the entrance to map the attractions you’d want to cover.
You can purchase tickets online too. But I didn’t see any point since you’ll have to stand in the ticket queue to redeem it and plus there isn’t any more discount online. Hence, might as well get the tickets done from the counter itself because:
i) You can save conversion charges, bank charges, taxes ( all : if any )
ii) It rains ANYTIME in Singapore. Universal outdoor rides will be shut if it rains – you can make a plan once you’re in the city after gauging the climate ( good luck !)
There is only one water refill machine – near the washroom of Wings of Time. Carry water bottles.
JURONG BIRD PARK
I rested in the first half. Later, I left for Jurong bird park and spent 2-3 hours there.
There are combo offers available – Park Hopper Pass – You can check the details here. There is no water refill machine here. Carry water bottle/s.
One route option is getting down at Boon Lay MRT and catching bus number 194 which will drop you right outside the park.
Later I shopped at Daiso -a Japanese $2 shop ( this one was in Vivo mall, there are many across Singapore) and purchased a zillion cute and quirky stationery and home decor items.
I visited the Singapore zoo today. Sooner you go is better because the animals are out and awake. I spent 3-4 hours here. If you’re planning to do Night Safari then it’s advisable to reach the zoo later if you want the first 6 pm slot of Night Safari.
Alternatively, you can do the zoo first around 9 am, then river safari and then night safari.
There is a water refill machine at every 300 meters so you can carry a small bottle. There are a zillion beautiful animals in the zoo to be seen!
One route option is getting down at Choa Chu Kang MRT and catching bus number 927 which drops you right outside the zoo.
Later in the evening, I went to Raffel Place ( DO NOT miss it), Merlion ( Esplanade MRT) and Clark Quay to see the nightlife. There are roads and bridges near the river where you can chill and/or drink with your friends! I wish I could do it! There are cafes and hotels too near the bay if you do not want to sit on the road.
At Clark Kay For people who want adventure can try bungee/swing. Check details here.
DAY 5 – Shopping!
I visited Chinatown, Bugis Street, and Orchard Road today for shopping. I fell short of time and money for these places. Please carry ample amount of money and have more time if you want to shop clothes at Bugis. I never went with the intention of shopping, I just wanted to check the place out and ended up shopping. Go to Bugis first – All those BEAUTIFUL clothes start from SGD 5 and go up to SGD 20 only! You can bargain at some shops too for SGD 2-3.
Shop all souvenirs from Chinatown only! You get the cheapest options here viz. 10 fridge magnets for SGD 10, 42 or 36 keychains for SGD 10, 7 or 10 luggage tags for SGD 10, tote bags, pouches, organizers, tee shirts, etc.
My experience at the World’s best airport – Changi Airport
I had a night flight from Singapore. But I reached the airport a few hours prior because I wanted to explore the airport. This airport has been named the world’s best for the sixth year in a row in the annual World Airport Awards by Skytrax for 2018.
15 (almost) free things to do here in the airport:
- Entertainment deck – An Xbox Kinect room, MTV booth and PlayStation consoles can be found on the Entertainment Deck.
- Sunflower garden
- Butterfly Garden
- Enchanted Gardens – I felt like Tinkerbell while around and in this garden. It is a motion sensor triggers with live fauna.
- Playground – To keep your kids busy during layovers
- Snooze lounge – Go nap by stretching your legs comfortably. while you wait for your flight
- Showers and Spa – Wellness Oasis in T1.
- Swimming pool (paid) – Fancy a swim in a rooftop pool? Carry your swimsuit along! This pool is in The Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel in Terminal 1.
- Cactus garden
- Movie theater – Yes, you read it correctly! They have an adorable 30 seater movie theater. I enjoyed watching a Bourne movie there while getting comfy in those soft seats.
- Slide (paid) – Yes! There is a 4 storey slide!
- Free massage – T1,2&3.
- Bloom sculptor
- Orchid Garden – I LOVED this garden! It had fishes, different and beautiful type of fauna and breathtaking decor!
- Shopping!- What’s an international trip without some duty-free shopping? Isn’t it?
More information about moving around in Singapore
- There are a lot of signboards everywhere. You will not have much difficulty in figuring out how and where to go. In case of confusion, you can always ask the staff and/or locals.
- You’ll be fined if you eat /drink/smoke inside the MRT.
- You can carry food and water everywhere. No park/attraction place will ask you to throw it away.
- Explore more information/places to visit here and here.
Other blogs that might of interest to you:
Why should you travel to Bhutan? Read here
15 surreal photos that will inspire you to visit Bhutan NOW! – Read here
All you need to know about Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) trek. – Read here
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