Start your year right, they say.
Last December, I decided to spend Christmas day and greet the new year with some of family and relatives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While I was there, I decided to do a side trip to Singapore.
It’s been more than five years since my last visit to Singapore. My excitement overpowered my fear, after all, this was my first time to travel abroad all alone.
I came to Singapore several years ago with my mom. It was like my usual group travels where I did most of the work – research, bookings, itinerary making, navigating, etc.
This time, I am all on my own.
How to get there
🚌 By Land
There are several bus companies offering rides from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and back. You can book thru this site Bus Online Ticket. Fare ranges between 25 RM – 170 RM.
✈️ By Air
If you’re skeptical about this, you have the option to book return plane rides. There are several airlines offering flights to and from Singapore.
I booked a roundtrip bus ticket thru Bus Online Ticket. You just have to decide from which station you’re going to take the bus.
Going to Singapore, I chose the pickup point in One Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia since it is really close to my cousin’s place. The bus’ Singapore stop is at Kitchener Complex, French Road, Singapore (Lavender MTR). I arrived around six in the morning at the Singapore Immigration Checkpoint.
After arriving at the Kitchener Complex, I grabbed my first meal at Toastbox. This time, it sank into me that I was all on my own. I knew I’ll be paying more because I had nobody to share my meals with. And later, I’d probably ask someone to take a photo of me or just settle with my GoPro three-way monopod (introvert alert!).
After breakfast, I took the train to Chinatown, where my hostel is located. I left my bag, checked in and freshened up. Accommodations in Singapore have become more affordable over the years but one thing I have noticed that hasn’t changed is the fact that most of these budget hotels or hostels are likely to have shared bathrooms even if you get a private room. So if you’re the type of person who is picky when it comes to toilets (like me), prepare to pay more. You can book your accommodations here.
🚊 Going Around
Singapore has one of the best public transportation systems in Asia. I can still remember the last time I visited SG when I told myself that I really wanted to live there because their transportation system is so efficient plus you’re encouraged to exercise more by walking. From my first experience, I recall taxi drivers refusing to take passengers if they think that their destinations are just walkable.
In the Philippines, Filipinos are so “pampered” in the sense that jeepneys, taxis, and buses drop off passengers door-to-door even if they don’t park properly at the right stop. It brings so much hassle to other drivers on the road and adds to the worsening traffic. (May hugot ‘to haha) It’s always been like that in the PH. So the moment I learned how to travel and explore new places, I’ve come to appreciate good transportation systems.
Back to the main point, going around Singapore is easy as one, two, three. You can either go around by bus or by train. I prefer the train/MTR.
My initial plan was to buy a two-day pass at the MTR station but I changed my mind and purchased an EZ Link instead. EZ Link is similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus card and Australia’s Opal Card. It’s a reloadable card you can use for public transport and some retail shopping or dining.
Once you have your pass or a loaded EZ Link card, you’re good to go!
I had two full days in Singapore. What did I do, where did I go?
But of course! Where else should I go? I’m already there. My hostel is situated in close proximity to Chinatown’s street market. There are actually a lot of things to check out but since I just got there, I only checked the shops and restaurants nearby. The market was literally just outside my hostel. I felt that there was no need to spend most of my time there.
Chinatown is a mix of Singapore’s old and new. There are lots of traditional shops, temples, restaurants, and cafes. Contrast to the city, Chinatown has low rise buildings boasting Singapore’s culture and heritage which are very evident just by looking at the alleyways and narrow streets.
There are lots of hawker stalls, goldsmiths, and traditional medicine and tea houses in the area but there are also bars and modern shops for the new generation travelers. Also, if you’re a fan of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Central Perk is just a walking distance from the street market.
Address: 2 Banda Street, Singapore 059962
Nearest MTR: Chinatown
Must Try: Char Kway Teow, Satay
Universal Studios Singapore/Sentosa
A lot have been asking my purpose of visiting Singapore. One of the reasons is that I always wanted to go to a theme park during the Christmas season. The last time I’ve been to Universal Studios Singapore with my mom didn’t turn out as amazing as I expected it to be. When you’re traveling with your parents, most of your time is spent sitting, resting, or eating. So just imagine being inside USS and not being able to try the rides – sad, isn’t it?
Finally, I had the chance to go back, watch all the shows, try the rides that I want, and watch the fireworks display. I had plenty of time to spare. Hooray!
Address: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269
- Check the show schedules so you can manage your time wisely.
- Skip the queue, book your tickets here.
- 10:00am-7:00pm during non-peak seasons
- 10:00am-9:00pm during peak seasons
How to get there:
By Train (Sentosa Express)
Location: Level 3, VivoCity (Exit E, Harbourfront Station)Duration: 4-5 minutes
Duration: 5 minutes
Cost: SGD 4
Location: Boardwalk, Level 1, VivoCity
Duration: 15 minutes
By Cable Car (Singapore Cable Car)
Location: Harbourfront Tower II (Exit B, Harbourfront Station)
Duration: 15 minutes
Cost: SGD 22
Marina Bay Sands/Shoppes at Marina Bay
Singapore’s weather can get pretty harsh. It gets very humid that you’d probably want to spend the entire day inside the mall. And that’s okay.
You can choose to “chill” at Marina Bay. It represents a life of modern luxury. It’s stylish and trendy! You can either chill and marvel at the impressive skyline from Marina Bay Sands SkyPark for a fee or spend some time strolling around Shoppes at Marina Bay. Don’t get intimidated by all the designer brands and high-end boutiques, roaming around the Shoppes is free.
Address: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
Nearest MTR: Bayfront, Exit B
Garden’s By The Bay
Want an instant nature fix? Gardens by the Bay is just a walking distance from Marina Bay Sands and Shoppes at Marina Bay. When you’ve cooled down enough and you’re ready to strut on the streets again, check out this place.
Gardens by the Bay is basically a huge park. The Flower Dome and the Supertree Grove are the most notable spots at the Gardens. You can do a number of activities there. You can even go jogging or biking. As for the latter, just make sure you have a traveler’s SIM Card with data connection. You have to use your SIM to access the bikes free of charge.
Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Nearest MTR: Bayfront, Exit B
Operating Hours: 5:00 AM – 2:00 AM (Supertree Grove) 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM (Flower Dome & Cloud Forest)
Helix Bridge Walk
If you’re not the biggest fan of nature and if you get bored just by watching tall buildings, you might want to try walking along the waterfront in Promenade. Be shaded by the Helix bridge as you walk towards the water’s edge of Marina Reservoir.
Observe another ordinary day in Singapore. You’ll probably catch kite flyers or dragon boat races. You might see joggers and cyclists, or just random people going back to work from their lunch out. Find yourself sitting on one of the many alfresco cafes before you make up your mind if you’re going inside the Art Science Museum.
Art Science Museum
As the name suggests, it’s where art meets science. Located just across Shoppes at Marina Bay, the Art Science Museum is an interesting place you should consider visiting. Keep the curiosity as you tour around different exhibitions and collaborations. The museum is known to showcase a variety of world-class creations which pushes the boundaries of science yet remain aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.
Aside from these amazing expos, the Museum’s building design has its meaning. It symbolizes the welcoming hand of Singapore. It has ten fingers, each filters natural light.
Before heading to Art Science Museum, be sure to check the admission schedule and which exhibitions you are planning to go. You may also check this site for more information.
Admission Ticket Rates: (inclusive of booking fees)
Child / Senior / Student S$12
Double Exhibitions Ticket
Child / Senior / Student S$19
Child / Senior / Student S$26
Address: 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974
Nearest MTR: Bayfront, Exit E
Operating Hours: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Mall Hopping in Singapore
You can’t deny it. I know you did this too! There are lots of great malls in SG, ION Orchard, Raffles, Suntec, Vivo, to name a few. Like what I said, you’d probably want to stay inside the mall to avoid the harsh heat outside and that’s perfectly fine. I’m guilty of doing this, aside from the fact that I also love to shop.
While you’re in the mall, try out several food places that you haven’t tried. Expect it to be more expensive but it’s still worth it. Charge it to experience.
The places I mentioned above are just a few of the spots you can visit in Singapore. I only had two full days. I tried to squeeze more spots but you can’t just sacrifice your time or else the experience will be different. I just chose those places because I did not have much time to explore them the last time I’ve been to Singapore.
Below is another list of the other places I’ve been to in Singapore (not on this recent trip). I’m not going to elaborate more on them but I assure you that these places are worthy to be checked out.
Address: 48 Serangoon Road, #02-16, Little India Arcade, Singapore 217959
Nearest MTR: Little India, Exit E
Operating Hours: Open 24 Hours
Nearest MTR: Promenade, Exit B
Operating Hours: 8:30 AM – 10:30 PM
Address: 1 Fullerton Rd, Singapore 049213
Nearest MTR: Raffles Place, Exit A
Operating Hours: Open 24 Hours
Jurong Bird Park
Address: 2 Jurong Hill, Singapore 628925
Nearest MTR: Boon Lay, Exit C then ride Bus 194 or 249 going to the park
Operating Hours: 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Singapore Botanic Gardens (Crazy Rich Asian Feels!!!)
Address: 1 Cluny Rd, Singapore 259569
Nearest MTR: Botanic Gardens
Operating Hours: 5:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Address: 3 River Valley Rd, Singapore 179024
Nearest MTR: Fort Canning, Exit A or Clarke Quay, Exit E
Operating Hours: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
EZ Link Card 12.00 SGD 460.03 PHP
Top-Up Load 10.00 SGD 383.36 PHP
Traveller Sim Card 15.00 SGD 575.04 PHP
Meals for 2 Days 60.00 SGD 2300.15 PHP
Activities via Klook 50.48 USD 2557.57 PHP
Bus KL – SG – KL 166.58 MYR 2128.77 PHP
Hostel 15.00 SGD 575.04 PHP
Total 8,979.96 PHP
I had this urge to travel somewhere solo but for someone who is not quite comfortable eating out alone or talking to strangers all day, this thought gave me a slight panic. I thought traveling solo within the Philippines would be easier simply because it’s familiar and I can easily call for help or coincidentally meet friends at some point.
It challenged me but it also scared me most. I knew I had to conquer this, so my impulsive self booked another ticket. My fear pushed me to make this trip happen and it was worth it. It was a short visit and it wasn’t planned like most of my trips but I went home happy and fulfilled.
Singapore is a beautiful country, like most of the countries I’ve been to. The only thing that makes Singapore stand out is discipline. It’s called “the City of Fines” for a reason. This tag does not make SG look bad. It actually makes and helps maintain peace, order, and cleanliness, above everything else, in Singapore.
I will definitely go back to Singapore and maybe next time I’m bringing some friends along with me or maybe not *wink, wink*.
I hope this write-up will help you plan your visit to Singapore. Feel free to leave comments or message via e-mail if you have any questions. If you like this article and want to see and know more about my trips and tips, follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.