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Singapore is a highly developed and westernised city-state in Southeast Asia and amongst the world’s leading economic centres in the banking and shipping industry. This cosmopolitan city also offers some incredible tropical parks, beautiful beaches, delicious and inexpensive food, huge shopping events, fun theme parks, and a world-class zoo. Because of its tropical climate, Singapore experiences high humidity levels, year-round rain, and average temperatures of 26 – 30 degrees Celsius. Any time of the year is a good time to visit Singapore, but you are likely to find better deals on travel and accommodation during July – August. From November – June, a large number of winter leisure travellers as well as festivals such as the Chinese New Year and Great Singapore Sale tend to drive prices upwards.
Airlines offering direct international flights from various Australian cities to Singapore include Singapore Airlines, Qantas Airways, Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Asia Airways, British Airways, Emirates and SilkAir. Other flights with layover options are offered by Virgin Australia, ANA, KLM, Cathay Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Japan Airlines, Thai Airways, Air New Zealand, and several others.
Singapore Changi Airport has been named the ‘Best Airport in the World’ for 5 consecutive years from 2013 – 2017 for and has won several other awards over the years for its best-in-class facilities. There are several options to get to the heart of the city from Changi Airport.
From Changi Airport, trains leave every 10 – 12 minutes, heading towards the Tanah Merah Interchange station. From here, you can transfer to a westbound train to reach the central stations like City Hall, Raffles Place or Tanjong Pagar. The fare varies from $1.69 SGD – $1.80 SGD plus $1 SGD for the contactless card on which this fare is loaded. The average travel time to one of the city centre stations is 35 minutes.
Take the public bus service 36 or 36A to the city from the bus stops located at the basement bus bays of Terminals 1, 2, and 3. The fare is approximately $1.78 SGD – $2.50 SGD depending on which city centre stop you alight at, and the ride takes about 1 hour. The Capitol Building bus stop is the closest to the Grand Park City Hall while The Esplanade bus stop is closest to Raffles Place.
Taxis and Limousines
A taxi ride to the city takes approximately 30 minutes and costs between $20 SGD – $40 SGD depending on the type of taxi (regular or premium) and the traffic conditions. Apart from the metered fares, an additional surcharge of $5 SGD is applicable from 5 pm to midnight (Friday – Sunday) and $3 SGD at all other times. For larger groups, you can book a 4-seater limousine or 7-seater large taxi from the 24-hour Ground Transportation Concierge at the arrival halls.
Renting a car could be an interesting way to explore Singapore at your preferred pace and convenience. Look up some great deals on car rentals with momondo.
Singapore’s public transport system consisting of buses and trains, takes you to any part of the city with an impressive speed and efficiency.
Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) is the fastest way to travel across the city and its dense network ensures that all major attractions are within walking distance from an SMRT station. A single trip fare is calculated based on the distance travelled, but you may be able to minimise cost with a Singapore Tourist Pass which allows unlimited travel on trains and buses for $10 SGD for 1 day, $16 SGD for 2 days and $20 SGD for 3 days.
In Singapore, you can hail a taxi by the roadside or queue up at the taxi stands found outside most shopping malls, hotels and tourist attractions. You can book a cab in advance by calling a common booking number 6-DIAL CAB (6342-5222) which directs your call to an available taxi company’s call centre.
With an extensive bus network covering most places within Singapore, buses are the most economical way of travelling around the city. Fares are calculated based on the distance travelled and you can pay using the EZ-Link stored-value card or the Singapore Tourist Pass or by paying exact fare in cash.
Australian citizens do not need a visa to enter Singapore if they have a passport with minimum 6 months’ validity at the time of entry. For foreign nationals, please check the Singapore Government Immigration website.
It is difficult to experience the diverse offerings of Singapore in a short stay; hence you will need to pick a few activities and attractions based on your interests and the length of your stay. Here are a few things you must-see and must-do when in Singapore:
Several inexpensive and delicious food options are available at Little India, Chinatown or at the hawker stalls throughout the city. Smith Street is also an economical option to sample local snacks.
Singapore is indeed a ‘fine’ city (pun intended)! Chewing gum, littering, spitting, smoking in prohibited areas, jaywalking, not flushing toilets, connecting to someone else’s unprotected Wi-Fi, same-sex relations, are just some of the many things that are illegal and can attract huge fines.
Feast your Eyes
Watch the Garden Rhapsody light and sound show at the SuperTree Grove in Gardens by the Bay and the Wander Full Light and Water show (singing fountains and projections on their splashes) at the Marina Bay Sands. Both the shows are an absolute visual treat and are held twice daily, free of cost. All you need to do is reach in time and find the coolest spot to watch the spectacle as it unfolds.
Shop till you drop
Singapore is a shopper’s paradise and the best way to experience it is by visiting Orchard Road, a lively 1-kilometre stretch which has an abundance of music stores, fashion boutiques, department stores and electronic items.
Free Walking Tours
Companies such as Singapore Footprints offer free walking tours around the city and are a great way to explore the culture, history and architecture of Singapore.