Singapore, or commonly called as the “Lion City”, is situated south of Malaysia and north of Indonesia. Singapore is the only Asian country which uses English as its first language so foreigners won’t be having a hard time communicating with the locals there, in fact, 36% of the population in Singapore are foreigners. Ironically, although Singapore is dubbed as the “Lion City”, there is actually no Lion in the country. Singapore’s history says that what the people saw before might actually be a Tiger and not Lion.
Singapore’s currency is Singapore Dollars. S$ 1.00 is roughly equivalent to Php32.00 or $ .71.
If you only have few days to spare but wants to experience the Lion City, then read on and find out what Singapore, the Garden City of Asia, has to offer to both thrill seekers and shopaholics alike.
There are various local and international airlines that can take you to Singapore. However, if you are on a tight budget, there’s always Cebu Pacific, PAL and Air Asia.
Tel no: (02) 855-888
Cebu Pacific Air
Tel no: (02) 720-888
Facebook: Cebu Pacific Air
Tel no: (02) 722-2742
Facebook: Air Asia Philippines
SOME FRIENDLY AND IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
– This is an international travel so it is only necessary for you to have a valid passport. You can secure one from the Department of Foreign Affairs
– If you already have a passport, make sure it is still valid for 6 months from the time of travel. Meaning, if your passport will expire on October 21, 2010, then you can still travel and return back before April 21, 2010. Any date beyond April 21, you’ll no longer be allowed to leave the country. If in doubt, you can always call Singapore Embassy in Manila, or Pilipinas Teleserve (24-hour Passport Assistance) 737-1000.
Note: This 6 months validity period only applies in certain countries, including Singapore. If you plan to go to other countries, specifically in European countries, check with their respective embassies here in Manila.
– No need to apply for Visa when you’ll only travel as a tourist in SG.
– From the time of entry to Singapore, you are only allowed to stay there for a maximum of 30 days without visa or as a tourist.
– Always bring with you 2 valid IDs in case the immigration asks for it.
– Always bring your passport with you wherever you go in Singapore. That’s also an SOP when traveling to other countries.
– Be wary in taking photos anywhere, especially in front of the police stations in Singapore. This is a BIG NO, NO!
– Lastly, everyone knows how clean Singapore is, so STRICTLY NO LITTERING.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Accommodation: There are very good hotels to choose from in Singapore. If you are looking into a major shopping
spree, best to book yourself near the Orchard Road, although you must bear in mind that hotels near Orchard Rd. are little bit pricey compared to others so it is still best to hunt for nice but affordable place around the city.
Here’s a website of hotels in Singapore: www.hotels.online.com.sg
Meal: Food is not that affordable in Singapore. Surprisingly, even their bottled waters are expensive, so it is still wise to bring your own bottled water when taking a trip to the town. A must try though, even it’ll cost you an arm, is their Chili Crab. It costs about S$ 40.00 or around Php 1,280 for a kilo of crab. This 1 kilo is usually just one HUGE crab. Also a must try is their Black Pepper Crab, same price with the Chili Crab.
Tour: No tour guides required since it’s very easy to move around Singapore as long as you know how to read and follow signs. However, if you really want a professional tour guide, you can ask for one as soon as you arrive at the airport or better inquire in some hotels.
One can also opt to ride in the Hop On Hop Off Tour that offers a day tour in the major ethnic, cultural and historical places of Singapore like the China Town, Kampong Glam, Little India, religious monuments and more, The Hop On Hop Off or the Hippo Bus has an open-top sightseeing that is just perfect for tourists who love taking photos. The Hippo Tour departs daily at 25 to 60-minute intervals from 9:00AM. Aside from the Hippo Tour, there’s also the Duck Tour. Whichever way is perfect.
Another hop-on bus that can tour you around the city is the SIA Hop-on.
Take your pick or better yet, travel on your own for more adventure!
Transportation: The major means of public transportation in Singapore is the SMRT. This train connects all the major cities in Singapore. All stations are connected with malls so it’s very convenient for commuters to transfer from one station to another.
Aside from SMRT, one can also roam around the city using their public buses. Their buses are not crowded so riding the bus to go around the city is a major breeze. Also a must try are their double-decker buses. Buses in Singapore does not have signage, rather you’ll know if the bus will pass by your destination through their corresponding numbers. There’s a route map in every bus station/stop for more information.One cool feature of the bus transportation in SG is the GPS system in every buses. It allows commuters to find out more accurately the estimated time of arrival of the buses at the next bus stop. However, your phone needs to be connected to the net to be able to access the SBS Transit website.
Riding the SMRT and bus will be smoother if you have an EZ-Link Pass which can be bought at any SMRT station. This costs S$ 12.00 and already good for a 3days and 2nights stay in Singapore. But that actually depends how heavy SMRT and Bus user you are, anyway, the EZ-Link Pass is reloadable.
Don’t feel like having long walks? One can actually take cabs anywhere in Singapore. The flat rate is a bit steep at S$3.00 and taxis there also have peak hours. An additional 30%-35% of metered fare applies during peak hours, which is in the evening.
IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED:
* Sunblock (Singapore, like Philippines, has a tropical climate. Their summer tends to be really scorching hot)
* Shades (protect your eyes)
* Money (No brainer. Bring extra for shopping. ^_^)
* Camera (capture memories and take a 360 degrees shot of Singapore when you ride the Singapore Flyer)
Better bring Peso and US Dollar first then exchange them with Singapore Dollars at the Airport upon arrival, or at Lucky Plaza at the Orchard Road.
* For 2 persons already
Breaking down the costs for a trip to Singapore is highly complicated because it actually depends on the season. But Air Fare usually costs more or less 15k-20k for a roundtrip. Again, this depends on the season and if there’s a promo. Sometimes, Cebu Pacific’s roundtrip fare for two people can cost for as low as Php 8,000 only.
You need to have: Php50,000-60,000/for two persons. This only includes the hotel, food, tour and shopping spree. This is already a conservative price for two people. Again, this depends how shopaholic you are. If you don’t intend to shop till you drop, then definitely, you’ll save a lot. But if you plan to spend a whole day in Orchard Road, then bring extra extra and extra moolah.
Choose a morning flight so you will have more time to explore the city. Travel time from Manila to Singapore is approximately 3 hours and Changi Airport is about 20 minutes from the city where most of the hotels are located.
Upon checking in at the hotel, fix your things and schedule your tour if you plan to join the Roll On Roll Off Tour. Otherwise, go on your own and schedule the rest of the day in Sentosa. A half day trip is already enough to explore what Sentosa Island has to offer.
How to get there: Take the cable car or Sentosa Express from Vivo City
Sentosa, which means peace and tranquility in Malay, is a popular resort and theme park in Singapore. Below are some of the must see attractions to check out and try.
MegaZip (S$29.00). Asia’s most extreme zip line takes adrenaline junkies from the jungle canopy of Imbiah Hill to
the white sands of Fox Finish Island. 75m high, 450m long and a heart-pounding speed of 50km/h.
Luge and Skyride Combo (S$12.00). Sentosa brings you the first ever luge in Southeast Asia. Part go-cart, part-toboggan, pure excitement – the luge is a fun-filled gravity ride that’s safe for all ages. With a unique steering and braking system that allows you to make the ride as leisurely or as exciting as you want.
Tiger Sky Tower- (S$12.00). Singapore’s tallest observatory tower offers a panoramic view at 131 metres above sea level across Singapore, Sentosa, Southern Islands, right up to neighboring Malaysia and the Indonesian islands.
The Merlion and Merlion Walk (S$8.00). Get a glimpse of the Merlion view
where you will be rewarded with a 360° view of Sentosa and Singapore’s southern shores. From the Mouth Gallery Viewing Deck on level 9, you can even spot Singapore’s impressive skyline.
Songs of the Sea (S$10.00). Get ready to fall under the spell of a new nightly extravaganza set in the sea. Songs of the Sea brings you a mesmerizing show with a live cast and dramatic effects pyrotechnics, water jets, brilliant lasers, special computer imaging, captivating music and stunning flame bursts.
* Descriptions taken from Sentosa Website.
Watch our Mega Zipline Adventure and the Songs of The Sea show
* To view more exciting activities in Sentosa Island, please visit its website at www.sentosa.com.sg
Dinner at Boat Quay
Although the famous spot for gimmicks and late night partying is at the Clark Quay, having dinner is most perfect at Boat Quay. Coming from Sentosa and Vivo City, the nearest drop off point is at Clark Quay, so if ever you are already starving and your legs are already aching, take the opportunity to ride the River Express from Clark to Boat Quay for S$4.00.
Almost all the restaurants in Boat Quay offer the famous Singapore Chili Crab so make sure to haggle. Be sure to try the Black Pepper Crab as well.
Wake up early and take your breakfast at IKEA. They serve yummy and easy on the pocket food. Definitely a good way to jumpstart your day for a rather long walkathon around their warehouse. IKEA, by the way, is a furniture company or home products retailer, which holds lots of unique and cute stuff for your home. They actually have lots of showrooms which shows people how to beautifully design their houses or spaces depending how big the areas are.
After feasting and drowning your eyes with lots of ideas and creativity for your home, go back to your hotel for some lunch and rest then prepare for another walkathon at the Orchard Road in the afternoon.
Orchard Road is a road in Singapore that houses at least 22 malls. Malls varies from the tiangge type (like Greenhills)
up to the posh type, which house brands like Prada, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu and a lot more. Truly a heaven for shopaholics out there. Shopping in Singapore, contrary to what others think, is actually very expensive.
There are just lots of SALE in almost every stores so it actually looks a little cheaper compared in Manila.
When shopping for gadgets, visit the Sim-Lim Square, but be very careful in doing transactions there to avoid being hoodwinked. In shopping for souvenirs, Bugis Street offers varieties and affordable Singaporean products. Bear in mind that Sim-Lim and Bugis is not near Orchard Road so you’ll need to travel again from one MRT to another if you plan to go there.
Riding the Singapore Flyer costs S$30.00. It is breath taking to ride the Flyer at sunset as it offers you a 360 degrees view of Singapore. A very lovely sight to behold and take photos. However, taking the Flyer at night, when all the beautiful lights of the cities are all lit up, is also a spectacular view for taking photos. Personally, Singapore Flyer is not what I actually expected it to be because the movement of the wheel is so so slow that you can’t hardly feel it’s moving. It’s not thrilling enough for me. IMO, Singapore Flyer is only perfect for a little de-stressing, emo moments (hehehe), and romantic date with your special someone. In fact Singapore Flyer is now offering a Sky Dining.
Dinner for Two Price: From $249++ per couple
Daily: 7.30pm (Check In: 7pm) or 8.30pm (Check In: 8pm)
3rd and Last Day
Esplanade and Merlion. Take an early walk at the Esplanade or the Theater by the Bay. Take lots of photos as souvenirs and walk to the Merlion which is just few meters away from the theater. Esplanade’s unique architectural design is attributed to SG’s seasonal fruit and also the famous fruit in Davao called “Durian.” The place is great for unwinding both in mornings and evenings.
Bugis Street. This place is a bargain hunter’s haven. Bugis is the go-to place for souvenir, clothes, trinkets and other cheap thrills in Singapore.
UPDATE: We visited Singapore last March 2010 and Universal Studios Singapore was not yet open that time. Thus, a 3 days and 2 nights stay in Singapore won’t probably be enough anymore since visiting USS will already take your one whole day. That being said, you may opt to skip IKEA and Singapore Flyer then go for Universal Studios instead. Don’t forget to experience Transformers The Ride because people say that it’s actually the counterpart of Universal Studios Japan’s Spiderman and Harry Potter.
Singapore, I must say, is a nice place to visit for about 4D and 3N. However, a week stay in Singapore will probably bore you unless you want to cross the border to Malaysia and Indonesia during your whole week stay there. Singapore is a very small country and there aren’t lots of things to do there and places to see. But security and cleanliness wise, hats off to SG, the Lion City.