I thought it would be useful to share some of the other non-food things we did on our trip to Singapore and other tips in a travel guide. It’s by no means meant to be comprehensive, but I hope it might help someone who is visiting Singapore.
Singapore only has two types of weather – hot, or hot and raining! Add to that the very high humidity, and it doesn’t make it very pleasant to spend too much time outdoors. We had a mix of extremely hot weather and somewhat milder weather (low 30C) in the short week we there. We even got treated to a massive thunder storm that kept us awake one night!
Local SIM card & 3G Data
Tourists can purchase a Starhub Preferred Tourist SIM card, costing SGD$15, for SGD$18 worth of credit. You can use that credit towards purchasing a data pack for 3G data. I got a micro sim card for my iPhone without any hassle, and if you purchase a data pack, the sim card also works in the iPad. Starhub allows tethering through the iPhone.
You can pick up a Starhub Preferred Tourist SIM card from the UOB Foreign Exchange counter in the baggage claim area, just before you exit out the gates through Customs. All they require is your passport.
Getting to and from the Airport
There is a MRT (train) at Changi Airport which easily connects to the rest of the network, however the trains can get very crowded and unless your hotel is close by to a MRT station, you don’t want to be stuck walking outside in the heat carrying your luggage. Taxis are cheap and convenient and the taxi drivers speak English.
Singapore has a very convenient public transport system called the MRT. You never have to wait longer than 10 minutes for the next MRT. The network is easy to navigate and there are clear announcements in English before you arrive at every station.
The MRT fares are based on individual trips. There is a $10 unlimited day pass for tourists, but I personally don’t think that it’s worth it unless you will moving around a lot. You can purchase individual trip tickets at the station. Depending on how long you will be in Singapore, you might find it more worthwhile and convenient to get an Ez-Link card. An Ez-Link card stores value so you can touch on and off at your departing and arriving station.
The Ez-Link card costs SGD$12, with a $5 non-refundable card fee and $7 stored value. The fares are slightly cheaper using the Ez-Link card compared to purchasing individual trip tickets.
We stayed with friends so I can’t offer any help here. I would stay somewhere not too far from a MRT station, but as mentioned earlier, you can always catch a taxi.
Things to Do
We’ve been to Singapore quite a few times so we have already done most of the tourist stuff like go to Sentosa, the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari. They are definitely worth checking out if you are a first time visitor to Singapore.
Singapore Night Safari – seeing animals in their element at night
If you fly into Singapore via Singapore Airlines, you can go on the SIA Hop on Hop off bus for only SGD $6 per person (as opposed to $12 – just show your boarding pass). This bus will take you past most of the attractions around the city and give you a nice air conditioned city tour. As the name suggests, you can hop off at any of the 22 stops and hop back on again as you please for the day. The bus comes every 30 minutes and the full loop takes around 2 hours. We spent a day seeing the sights on the SIA Hop on Bus.
Singapore Airlines SIA Hop on Bus
Singapore’s Chinatown is worth visiting. The streets still maintain the old style Singaporean shophouses. Make sure you time your visit to Chinatown so you can stop by for a meal at Maxwell Road Hawker Centre.
Temple in Chinatown
If you have a Singapore Airlines boarding pass, you can get a 20% discount off a ride on the Singapore Flyer. It gives a great view of Singapore from above. Just don’t be losers like hubby and I and not realise there is a commentary you can listen to!
If gambling is your thing, drop by the casino Marina Bay Sands and if you win lots of money, a whole host of designer stores are waiting for you just outside. Singapore tries to bring a touch of Venice to Marina Bay Sands with gondola rides through the complex.
Marina Bay Sands by night
Lastly, if you get sick of the heat, you can always go shopping in the air conditioned shopping centres. There are shopping malls galore in Singapore and there is normally a shopping mall connected to the major MRT stations. If you visit Singapore at the end of May, you can grab yourself a bargain at the Great Singapore Sale.
All Things Food
Local food is cheap in Singapore and there is food everywhere. You will never go hungry in Singapore! Around every corner is a tasty snack waiting for you. You must try eating at a hawker centre while you are in Singapore. You can check out my visits to hawker centres here and here.
One of my favourite snacks is bak kwa, a thin sheet of dried & grilled pork, sort of like pork jerky
Singapore Chilli Crab is another local dish all seafood lovers should try. Don’t forget to order a side of deep fried mantou to mop up all the delicious sauce.
If you like your sweets, you have to try out some of the Nonya kuehs (cakes). One well known brand of shops is Bengawan Solo.
If you don’t have a Din Tai Fung where you live and having a craving for dumplings, specifically xiao long baos, there are 12 branches in Singapore!
Over & Out, April xx