Sunday, February 20, 2011


Currently my favorite city, Singapore boasts of travelling convenience but at the same time not falling short of its commitment to provide a cultural experience that is indeed unique and amazing. Where else can you find such a dynamic array of culture - from Chinese, Indian, Malay to Western. For us Pinoys, Singapore is one of the most popular budget destinations especially when local airlines offer their crazy low fare promos. For first-timers, here's a comprehensive guide on how to fully enjoy this wonderful city.

The thing I love most about Singapore is their MRT. You almost never have to ride a cab to get to where you want to go because the entire city is interconnected by the MRT-LRT system. Upon arriving at the airport, you may opt to ride the MRT instead of taking a cab. It can be accessed via Terminal 2 or 3 (If you're coming from the Budget Terminal, ride the shuttle to Terminal 2 or 3). You just need to know which station is the nearest to your destination. The routes are color-coded (see map) so it's very easy to transfer from one line to the other. Directions on how to get to the other line are all over the station.

For example, you're at the Clarke Quay station (Purple Line or North East Line. BTW, Quay is pronounced as Key) and you want to go to Orchard Station (Red Line). Go to the platform that says "To Punggol" not Harbour Front because that's the opposite way (take note of the last stations of each line so you know which is northbound or southbound, etc) and alight at Dhoby Ghaut station (pronounced Dowby Goht). Follow the direction towards the Red Line or the North South Line, the one that says "To Jurong East" and alight at Orchard Station.

If you're planning to explore the city in a DIY style, I highly recommend you get this pass. It functions just like an EZ link card (a re-loadable card everyone use to access the MRT). The Singapore Tourist Pass costs SGD 8.00 per day and gives you unlimited rides on the MRT AND regular buses. It comes in 3 options: 1-day, 2-day, 3-day pass (all still SGD 8 per day). Note that you will have to pay a SGD10.00 deposit which you can get back when you return the card at the end of your trip.

Where To Get It
You can buy the STP at these stations at these times:

Ticketing OfficeOperational Hours
Changi Airport*12:00 pm - 03:45 pm
& 04:45 pm - 07:30 pm Daily
Orchard10:00 am - 09:00 pm Daily
Chinatown*12:00 pm - 03:45 pm
& 04:45 pm - 07:30 pm Daily
City Hall09:00 am - 09:00 pm Daily
Raffles Place08:00 am - 09:00 pm on Weekdays
08:00 am - 05:00 pm on Saturday
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays
Ang Mo Kio08:00 am - 09:00 pm Daily
HarbourFront*10:00 am - 09:00 pm Daily
Bugis10:00 am - 09:00 pm Daily

There are sooo many hotels that you can choose from, ranging from budget to luxury. You have to set your own criteria in choosing the best hotel that serves your needs. For me, the top consideration is proximity to an MRT station.

For backpackers, I definitely recommend The Rucksack Inn, which is conveniently located walking distance from Clarke Quay Station. There are now 2 Rucksack Inns located on the same street. Net Rates are: Dormitory SGD 26, Private Double Rm SGD 79, Triple Rm SGD 99, Quad Rm SGD 128. Baths are shared but based on photos and reviews, facilities are really clean.

For people like me who does not want to share a bathroom, there are still a lot of budget hotels to choose from and here are some (Note: Rates are based on either the hotel's page or booking sites):
Value Hotel Balestier - SGD 99-109 Standard/Twin Rm
Fort Canning Lodge - SGD 125 per night
Hotel 81 Bencoolen - SGD 119-139 Standard/Twin Rm (very near Bras Basah station and there's a Kopitiam across the street, didn't like the bed though)

For the not so budget hotels..
Ibis Singapore Hotel Bencoolen - SGD 188
Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay - SGD 257
Parke Hotel Clarke Quay - SGD 210-450
Marina Bay Sands - SGD 419 up (bad reviews, though)

For first-timers, here's a sample itinerary that covers the mandatories:

Getting There
Ride the MRT to Harbour Front Station (Purple Line), find the exit to Vivo City Mall, go to the 3rd level and ride the Sentosa Express train to Sentosa.

Must DOs in Sentosa:
Songs of The Sea  (It's a spectacular musical fountain show)

Skyline Luge (LOTS of fun!)

There are loads more of stuff to do at Sentosa so be sure to allot a full day here.

Getting There: Same with Sentosa, Ride the MRT to Harbour Front Station (Purple Line), find the exit to Vivo City Mall, go to the 3rd level and ride the Sentosa Express train to Sentosa then alight at WATERFRONT STATION.

Ticket: It's better to purchase your tickets online. You don't want to go there and find out that they're all sold out and the earliest ticket available is on the day of your departure!

Ticket Type
(Ages 13 to 64)
(Ages 4 to 12)
(Age 65 and above)
One Day Weekday1 Pass
One Day Weekend2 Pass
Two Day Pass
Annual Pass-
Fun Pass
Annual Pass-
Superstar Pass

You can buy your tickets HERE. BTW, during the time we were there, our ticket is inclusive of a SGD10 meal stub, which you can use at any Resto or food stall and SGD5 shopping coupon which you can use at the USS Souvenir Store (better leave the shopping at the end of your visit, the store will stay open as long as there are people in the park).

Must DOs:
First, GET A LOCKER so you can leave your bulky SLRs before you crash/throw/get them wet while doing the rides. Well they won't allow you to carry them on some of the rides anyway. Lockers are available for rent just outside the entrance to the park.

Have your picture taken at the iconic Universal Studios Globe - very important

Go to the Ancient Egypt section and have fun at The Revenge of The Mummy Ride. This is an indoor Roller Coaster ride in the dark. Lots of scary special effects, very exhilarating. Note that bags or things that might come off you are not allowed so leave them at the free lockers located just outside the entrance to this ride. Since there are so many people using these lockers and we couldn't get a free slot, we used the lockers we rented outside the park entrance.

Battlestar Galactica Human & Cyclon Roller Coaster Ride, one of the main attractions of USS is located at the Sci Fi section

Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure is located at The Lost World section. As with most "Rapids" rides, this one WILL get you wet. So you better have your disposable plastic ponchos (which are available at The Lost World store) on hand. Tip: You may sold these ponchos after using them. Protect the environment.

The Waterworld Stuntshow is also located at The Lost World Section.

At the Far Far Away Land, You will see the Duloc Castle of Lord Farquaad, inside is where the Shrek 4D Adventure is located. You will exit at The Fairy Godmother Famous Potions Store.You might also want to try Enchanted Airways, which is a short roller coaster ride.

Recharge at the Halal Certified Oasis Spice Cafe, which has wonderful Mediterranean food (located at Ancient Egypt) or dine at Mel's Drive-In, a classic 50's diner.

Singapore maybe a small city but boy there are lots of exciting places you can go. Here's some of the city's gems that you MUST visit.


Getting There: 
Take the MRT to the Raffles Place Station (along the Red or Green line), follow the exit towards United Overseas Bank Plaza where you will see Fullerton Hotel. The Merlion is behind Fullerton.

Tip: The Merlion Park also offers a spectacular view of Marina Bay Sands and the Helix Bridge.

Getting There:
Go to the Promenade MRT Station (Yellow dotted line) and walk towards the Bayfront Avenue (10 mins). You may also go to the Marina Bay MRT Station (Red Line) and ride the public bus ((SBS 133, SBS 97, SBS 97e, SMRT 106).


Getting There:
Go to the Promenade MRT Station and walk towards the Helix Bridge. It's about a 10-min walk from there.

Tip: Go there at night! You can also view the Marina Bay Sands from there.

Getting There:
Alight at either the City Hall MRT Station (Red/Green Line) or Esplanade Station (Yellow Line) and exit towards the The Esplanade, which passes thru the City Link Mall.

One of my personal favorites. The nightlife here is insane! There's a long row of bars and restaurants to choose from, Hooters, The Clinic, etc. This is the premiere party place in SG.

Getting There: Alight at Clarke Quay Station.

Tip: The G-Max Reverse Bungee and Extreme Swing is here. Be sure you're not drunk when you ride these or you'll be "Merlioning" your way home.

Check out the wheelchairs and hospital bed seats at The Clinic!

No Singapore trip is complete without going to Orchard Road and buying something.

Getting There:
Go to the Promenade MRT Station, take Exit A and follow directions to the Singapore Flyer. It's about a 5-min walk from there.

Getting There:
Follow the directions to the Helix Bridge above. The museum is at the end of the bridge.

There are hundreds of good restaurants in Singapore... Where do we start?!

One of the most popular Hawker Food Centres in Singapore that offers a very varied array of authentic cuisine. It's a 5-min walk from Raffles Place Station.

Dining in Singapore need not be expensive. There are several Kopitiams located around the city. Having breakfast here is actually my personal favorite. I would order a set of Kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs and Kopi C (Nanyang coffee with condensed milk). Yum!!! All of these for less than SGD 3.00!

Food Republic

This is a mega food court located at several malls like Vivo City and Suntec. I particularly like the ambiance, it makes you feel you're in an old Kung Fu movie.

Black Pepper Crab Restaurants:

Hainanese Chicken Rice Restaurants:

That's it for now. Of course, there are a lot more places to see and more shopping and dining options. Every year there's something new. For a city this progressive, the possibilities are endless! Feel free to share you're own experiences. =)


  1. wow thnx! very helpful, kelangan ko to! :) pero baka 1 day ko lng xa libutin mejo expensive kase. hehe

  2. thanks for sharing! we'll be there by June!

  3. nice blog!!! Thanks for this!

  4. Very informative, will surely use your suggestion for our trip with my wife, thanks alot

  5. Thanks guys! Feel free to share your own Singapore experience. =D

  6. taking down notes for my SG trip on april!

  7. Thanks heyahsint, do doublecheck on details as 2 yrs have passed already and some changes might have been made. =) Enjoy your trip!