We have visited Singapore a few times over the years but the last time was 10 years ago. So when we decided to have a few days here as a stop over I thought we had seen it all and was having trouble thinking what new to do.
I expected little to excite me, however, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In the 10 years since I was last here they had built the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore flyer and Gardens by the Bay just to name a few and now the city looked unrecognisable.
Getting To Singapore
Quite a few cruise ships use Singapore as a start or finish port.
The cruise terminal is at Singapore Cruise Centre SCC@HarbourFront . The International Passenger Terminal (IPT) from the cruise ships opens into a shopping mall. So after you clear customs/immigration you then walk through a large shopping centre bustling with activity.
To get outside to a taxi Bus or the MRT station you must go through the HarbourFront Centre shopping centre.
You can leave your suitcases at the left baggage services to explore for the day. There are ATM's and money changers and restrooms. Here is a Map
You can catch the cable car to Sentosa Island in the same building.
Changi Airport would be one of my favourite airports in the world. It certainly has a lot to teach its Asian neighbours.
In most airports you wait around restlessly, wandering and wondering how to kill time.
Not at Changi Airport. There are 350 retail outlets and services, so you can buy all your tax free duty free items. You can even order your items on ishopChangi before your arrival to Changi Airport and pick them up while in transit.
With 120 food and drink outlets you’ll find most type of cuisine, but mostly Singaporean favourites and Asian and chains (yep Mcdonalds). About 30 eateries are open 24 hours a day.
Keep in touch with the Airports free WIFI networks ( WIFI@changi in the transit area and Wireless@Sg elsewhere) or use their computers as it has 500 internet kiosks. It even has 800 free charging points to charge your electronics before you fly. ,
If you leave from Changi Airport
Then reach your departure gate at least 30 minutes before the departure time and get your luggage checked. Instead of having a security screening system centralised at the Departure Check-in Hall, which causes lengthy queues, at Changi Airport each gate is equipped with its own security point ensuring a faster inspection of your hand luggage.
A hint for the budget airline fans: If you transfer to and from the budget airlines Tigerair and Scoot, apply to the Changi Connects programme. For no more than SGD20 you can skip on the hassle of clearing arrival immigration, retrieving your luggage and even getting a visa to enter Singapore.
Besides the usual sight of shops and eateries lining the airport, Changi Airport has many beautiful relaxing gardens: Enchanted Garden (T2), Orchid Garden (T2), Butterfly Garden (T3) and two outdoor ones, the Cactus Garden (T1) and Sunflower Garden (T2), where you can soak up the sun and enjoy some fresh air while gazing at the aircrafts taking off.
Catching public buses and the MRT (subway/metro train system) you can get around the whole of the island of Singapore very easily and relatively cheaply. The trains are clean and efficient and signs are in English with a light up LED board tracking your progress in the train.
The MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) is well signed so you can find the stations easily and every station I travelled had escalators and lifts.
There are even apps you can download to your phone to help getting around Singapore Public Transport
Free app - SG NextBus, which gives estimated arrival times of public buses in Singapore.
Free app - SG Buses is gives estimated arrival times, details of bus stops, routes
Free app - SMRT Connect details of railway routes
Free app - Singapore MRT details of railway routes
All fares are charged according to the total distance travelled on the bus, MRT and LRT. With the distance fares, you can make transfers without having to pay a boarding charge for every transfer that makes up your journey.
Bugis to HarbourFront (cruise terminal station) 5 stations in about 12 mins, 1 transfer ADULT $1.31 SENIORS $0.88
Raffles Place to Ang Mo Kio (to catch the bus to the zoo) 10 stations in about 19 mins, 0 transfers ADULT $1.41 SENIORS $0.90
Changi Airport to Marina Bay 13 stations in about 38 mins, 3 transfers ADULT $1.75 SENIORS $0.90
Walking around Singapore is safe and comfortable, the streets and footpaths are well maintained. An added bonus is never having to step on gum as it is banned in Singapore.
We never felt unsafe or wary of our surroundings in Singapore, though as always, we are always aware and diligent.
The Restroom Association of Singapore , yes there is an association, runs The Happy Toilet Programme which 'aims to encourage and give recognition to toilet owners or operators for maintaining public toilets to standards expected by the public.'
They have a web site with public toilets rated. Here
We never had a problem in Singapore with restrooms at all.
Common products like TENA & Poise® are readily available from Supermarkets like Giant
There are several large chain stores that call themselves pharmacies. However, you should be aware not every pharmacy sells all kinds of medication.
There are three classes of medicine, according to official regulations:
- prescription-only medication
- pharmacy-only medication
- general sales or over-the-counter medication.
If you need to fill a prescription
Pharmacies in Singapore’s hospitals dispense prescription drugs to outpatients and retail customers.
All seven public hospitals have their own pharmacy, and so do some of the city’s private medical facilities, like Mount Elizabeth Hospital or Parkway East Hospital. Most public polyclinics (like those run by SingHealth, in Bukit Merah, Geylang, Tampines, and Pasir Ris) and private medical clinics have an attached pharmacy.
Hospital pharmacies may not be open after hours, unless they are part of the A&E department. To get urgently needed medication, it’s easiest to go to a 24/7 medical clinic plus pharmacy. The private Raffles Clinic at Changi Airport is popular for this purpose.
Where to Stay.
As with any country or city, where you stay is governed by two things, price and location.
You can stay near the cruise port, near the airport, In the city or on Sentosa Island
Raffles Hotel Singapore
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia
Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Capella Singapore on Sentosa
Resorts World Sentosa
Singapore has hotels and hostels for all budgets.
As we were on a tight budget we stayed near Arab St, Bugis Junction area as it was somewhere we had stayed before and found it cheap enough, nice neighbourhoods and central.
What to see
Continued Destinations - Singapore 2