This was the first country we traveled after we started blogging. So, we always had that thought at the back of our minds.
Since this blog is for luxury backpacking couples, we will try to put forward our thoughts on how to get the best of Singapore at a reasonable cost.
Having heard that Singapore is a well-developed country, we arrived with some expectations and were not disappointed.
Transportation, particularly MRT, is very good in Singapore and that does help a lot in traveling in the city.
How many days to see Singapore
We would suggest a minimum of 4 days to cover everything and get a feel of the place. Singapore has a lot to offer for everyone. You can squeeze in and visit all the tourist attractions in 3 days, but having 4 days will help you in not rushing through them and do it at a bit of a relaxed pace.
One should remember that it’s not necessary to see all the attractions in the city. Do the most famous ones and the rest can be done as per your interest and time. Nobody is going to ask you for the complete list of things you did.
How to reach your hotel in Singapore
By Local Train Service
Singapore has a very good public transportation system in the form of local trains (MRT and LRT). The LRT (Light Rail Transit) works as feeders to the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system. There is no noticeable difference between the two, at least I did not notice any, and for all practical purposes can be considered as one.
Using a Bus
Bus traveling is also an option available in Singapore and costs are cheaper than MRT. You can use this if you are staying far from the train station or the distance is very short. Since Singapore MRT is a subway system it takes time to go down to the platforms and also to reach the streets from the platforms.
Taxis in Singapore
In case your hotel is a bit far off from the station and you don’t want to carry your luggage, travel by taxi. They are available aplenty and unlike some other Asian cities, they run by meters. You don’t have to ask about the charges to reach your destination. Just pay by the meter.
A few companies are running taxi services and charges vary. We used the taxi sparingly. Not understanding which taxi service was cheaper, the red or black or white or blue or yellow or maroon and was too much of a work, we took the easier route. Took the first one that came our way.
At the airport, we were suggested an MRT travel to our hotel, 30 Becoolen, which was situated right above the Bencoolen station. First, we had to take MRT to the Expo station and then change to another to reach the hotel. Worked out perfect. This is an excellent option to travel anywhere, especially for longer distances.
Where to Stay in Singapore
As always been our practice, we prefer to stay somewhere near the train station, preferably the central train station. It saves time, money and most importantly, energy. Traveling to and from the hotel, with or without luggage, becomes faster. Generally, numerous modes of transportation become available from here at any time of the day, easing your travel stress.
Try not to be too near the station, especially if its the main train station, which serves inter-city travel. It might get crowded and noisy. A place not more than 200-300 meters away from the train station is ideal for any town/city.
Our Stay at 30 Bencoolen
We stayed at 30 Bencolen Hotel, which was right above the Bencoolen train station, but, the area was not crowded as this was not an inter-city station.
It turned out to be a good choice. Location, modern decor of the rooms and lobby, amenities at the hotel, staff, breakfast, nearby food options, everything was perfect.
How to travel within Singapore
Singapore city is in a comparatively small area and travel options are plenty.
MRT in Singapore
The preferred mode of local travel should be MRT/LRT, the local rail. With a well laid out system and easy to understand signs and maps at stations, one should not shy away from using it. 1, 2 and 3-day passes are available at some of the train stations.
Within the trains, a display system shows the present station and the upcoming ones. Information centers are available at the major stations. The passes do have a deposit amount, which can be refunded only at certain stations, so we avoided that and purchased tickets as we traveled around the city. It worked out a bit costly, but, we did not want to go to particular stations to get a refund.
Taxis for local traveling
Taxi costs are pretty reasonable and the traffic is very disciplined and generally free-flowing. We felt the need to hire a taxi only when we were returning late to our hotel or were too tired to go down to the train station (It’s a subway system).
Hop-on Hop-off bus in Singapore
Hop-on Hop-off buses are running in the city and can be availed if you are not sure of how to go around. Depending on what you want to see and do in Singapore, one can decide to use the hop-on hop-off bus service or go for the train/taxi/city bus option.
How to travel like a Luxury Backpacker in Singapore
Throughout the day use MRT for traveling (Backpacker style). Use taxis at night or if you are tired or if the distance is too short, but, not walkable. (Luxury traveling)
What to see in Singapore
Gardens by the Bay
One of the famous landmarks of Singapore, Gardens by the Bay, has lots of attractions in its 101 hectares of green spread, major one being the supertree grove, a collection of man-made trees. These are huge concrete structures that provide shade by the day and get alive at night with lights. If you are visiting at night, plan according to the light and music night show timing. The visit to these huge man-made structures is free for everyone at all times and is a must-do.
Universal Studio, Sentosa
Our favorite as we love rides, movies and clean fun. This has it all. It makes you feel like a child. At least half a day should be kept aside for this.
WaterWorld, a live show based on the movie, Waterworld, has shows starting at fixed timings and it is an excellent show. There are 28 other rides and shows. Jurassic Park water ride is good, so are the rides based on Mummy and Transformer movies.
Some of the rides are for kids and should be skipped if you are not with children. If not sure, ask at the entry point of the rides.
One ticket for Universal Studios gives access to all the activities.
Check here on how to save on money and time at Universal Studios Singapore.
Another must-see in Singapore. The SEA Aquarium is situated at Sentosa Island and is enjoyable no matter what your age is. Keep at least a couple of hours for this activity. While Universal Studio is more of an open door activity, SEA Aquarium is in a totally enclosed air-conditioned environment.
You may club Universal Studio and SEA Aquarium on the same day, but remember that both take time and are somewhat tiring. Although near to each other, we would suggest not rushing through them and doing them at a leisurely pace.
The mascot of Singapore. There are a few Merlion statues in Singapore, but, the most famous one is located at Merlion Park, near Fullerton. Entry to this is free and you get an amazing view of Marina Bay, Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands Hotel and other high rise buildings.
Singapore is a financial superpower and it shows from here, especially at night. The fully lighted view of the buildings including the Marina Bay Hotel, laser show (which is held at a specific time in the evenings) and of course the Merlion is amazing. We suggest doing this one after sunset.
China Town, Singapore
Another landmark is Singapore’s China Town. Chinese culture is abundantly visible in this section of the town in the form of architecture, temples, streets, restaurants and shops selling souvenirs, clothes and a variety of other items.
A perfect place to get some souvenirs and gifts to take back home, get a feel of the culture and of course get some Chinese food.
After a full day of busy activity, you have the option of lazying around in your hotel or visit Clarke Quay. Do the latter, at least once.
Clarke Quay is a perfect place to have some beer and regenerate your energy. A very lively place and it overflows with energy as a lot of youngsters visit the clubs around this place. Others too visit for a river cruise and/or to enjoy their drinks and food at the restaurants which line both sides of the river. A must-do.
Some other major attractions in Singapore
# Animal Zoo
# Night Jungle Safari
# Water Park at Sentosa Island
All in all, Singapore is a perfect place for everyone to enjoy their holidays.