Singapore is known as a big multicultural sovereign city-state with one of the biggest expat communities in the world. Furthermore Changi airport belongs to the most busiest airports with 7200 flights landing and departing every week. It’s a very well developed city-state with very tall skyscrapers and an utterly efficient automated underground train system (called the ‘MRT’) which takes you all around the city. It’s one of the most economically developed countries with a mix of cultures and wealth. On most websites or travel books they say it is an expensive city where you could easily spend a lot of money on shopping, dining, clubbing and sleeping. However we found out that you can easily get by for less than 50 euro a day doing all those ‘expensive’ activities without a little know how and money saving techniques. Read through our detailed itinerary and find out how to get as much as you can out of your stay in Singapore.
First thing to do when you get to the airport is to walk to the MRT station ticket counter. Where you will be proposed with two ways to travel on the MRT. The first one is to get a tourist card with which you can travel for an unlimited amount of rides for between one to three days. The second option is a pay-as-you-go-card which you can put a certain amount of credit on and every time you take a MRT ride it takes off a certain amount of credit depending on the distance traveled. If you are planning to see everything Singapore has to offer and you have planned out your whole day containing a lot of MRT rides then it is probably cheapest to choose the tourist card. But because rides are so cheap (some rides only cost 0.75 SGD) it is actually much cheaper to get the pay-as-you-go-card. Some of you might be saying “but what if I don’t use up all my credit on my card?”. Well the big advantage of using this card is that if you still have credit left over you can get it back at the end of your stay at the MRT ticket booth.
So now for a nice two day itinerary of what you can do:
• Start your day in Little India. You can get a MRT to Little India and wander through the winding little streets. It will take a little effort to find out where everything is but when you see the buses of tourists you know you have hit the right spot. There are several things to see i.e. an indian market with food and a whole array of authentic indian bits and bobs or a couple Hindu temples. You will most certainly get a feeling that you are strolling around through a shrunk-down India when you enter these temples and pass by the market stalls. Be careful though because appropriate clothing is required in some of the temples (e.g. trousers instead of shorts). Walking around all these wonderful sights will take you around two hours.
• Take the MRT to China town where again you will find markets, temples and a lot of authentic Chinese cuisine. By this time you will probably start to get hungry and will be seduced to go and eat at one of the touristy restaurants which seem cheap and authentic. But if you want very good food for less money and the proper Chinese cuisine experience then go to a Chinese hawker center (in google maps it is called Chinatown Complex Food Center). A sea of different food stalls of an believable variety of asian food for only 3-6 euro. It might not look very hygienic, but some of those food stands actually have been awarded Michelin stars. One of these awarded stalls you can eat Laksa (a famous Singaporean dish) for only 7 euro which is a pretty good deal for a Michelin star meal!
• During the heat of the day and after your sating your hunger, you can walk or take the MRT to Fort Canning Park. After you have climbed the stairs to the top of the hill and have gotten tired and sweaty of the humid and hot climate, take a rest on one of the nice benches in the park and perhaps even have a of a snooze listening to the exotic atmospheric sounds. Even though you are in one of the biggest cities in the world, you will mostly hear birds singing, crickets chirping and children playing in between the ancient looking trees.
• From Fort Canning Park walk towards the Singapore flyer by walking over the waterfront promenade. From here you will have the best view on Singapore’s skyscrapers as well as the Marina Sands Bay Hotel.
• Continue your walk around the lake until you get by a beautifully designed walking bridge which will lead you towards the big ‘Shoppes Mall’. This mall is three stories high and contains some surreal features such as a interactive digital fishing pond, a super-hero cafe and even a water channel for gondola rides!
• After you have walked through the mall, you can pick up a (ice) coffee in the ‘711’ and proceed to the marina bay waterfront promenade. Plop yourself down in one of the recliners and have your beverage with a view of the city skyline.
• After this nice little rest, go back to the mall and follow the signs towards the gardens by the bay. It will lead you through the Marina Sands Bay Hotel to an astonishing piece of art and technology named ‘Gardens by the Bay’.
• After walking through the free part of this garden, you can visit the two domes and/or do the treetop walk. It costs 28 SGD (18 euro) to enter both domes and 8 SGD to go on the OCBC Skyway. Budget-wise we highly recommend you to only purchase an entrance ticket for the ‘Cloud Forest’ as it is much bigger and much more impressive than the ‘Flower Dome’ in our opinion. Depending on your pace and if you would like to take photo’s of every flower that has ever blossomed, it will take you around 1,5 hours to do both or 45 min if you only do the ‘Cloud Forest’.
• As you are already in the Gardens by the Bay, it is best to get your seat around the ‘Supertree’ in order to have a good view of the light show. You can lay your weary body down under one of the artificial trees and take a rest as you wait for the show begin. There are two light shows daily, one at 19.45 and one at 20.45.
• Have a wonderfully scrumptious dinner in one of the Asian market places again because remember there are many stalls to choose from and freshen up for a night out.
• The place to be for a night out is Clarke Quay as this is the hub of Singapore nightlife. Just before you head into it, get a drink at ‘sQue’, where you can get 2 for 1 deal for drinks. This means you can get 2 beers for around 14.5 SGD which by Singaporean standards is extremely cheap! If you feel like drinking somewhere else, always take note of the prices and how they advertise it. For example, many bars say they sell drinks for a few Singaporean dollars, but they put a ‘++’ after it. This means they will charge extra service fees where you could end up paying a lot more than you thought.
• If you would like to go out for a dance to the thumping beats of EDM and try some real Singaporean night life experience then try ‘Zouk’. You will pay about 30 SGD for the entrance fee however you will also get vouchers for 30 SGD to spend on drinks. Women have a free ladies night every Wednesday and don’t forget to bring earplugs as the music is deafeningly loud.
• You did a lot yesterday so now is time to recuperate and rest so sleep in , have a nice breakfast at your hostel and have a look at what you want to do. For example, you can go lay on Sentosa beach or do the tree top walk at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
• At around 18.30 you should go up Marina Sands Bay Hotel by entering on the left side of the hotel taking the elevator in ‘tower three’. You can either pay to go up to the Skypark for 25 SGD or you can pay 20 SGD and get 20 SGD of vouchers for a drink in the ‘CÉ LA VI’ bar which is the rooftop bar. From this point you will have pretty much the same views as at the Skypark but while sipping a nice cocktail or beer and if you’re lucky, you will get a nice seat with a view of the city skyline at night.
• Last but not least, go down and sit yourself down right in front of the mall at the waterfront for a spectacular water and light show. The shows start at 20:00 and 21:00 and on Friday and Saturday nights, there is another show at 22:00.
And that’s all the super fun-packed ideas we have for you! If you have anything you want to share with us or tell us about don’t be afraid to leave us a comment! We won’t bite!