Singapore welcomes many visitors each year. Some choose to visit for just a few days while some uses Singapore to transit to other cities in South East Asia like Bangkok. Nevertheless, Singapore is worth a stop and for the first time visitor, this is a list of top five must visit places in Singapore.
Esplanade: Performances and Much More
Located close to the iconic Merlion, the Esplanade is the place to go to for performances. The design of the building is also unique and the locals have quickly nicknamed it the “Durian” due to its similarity to the spikes of the King of Fruits. Visitors to the Esplanade can choose to purchase tickets for musicals, ballets, orchestra performances and so on. At certain times, free performances are also made available.
Orchard Road: The Shopping Haven
Shopaholics who travel to Singapore must visit this famous shopping street. Here, they will find high-end shopping centres like Paragon and Ngee Ann City. For those who are on a tighter budget, shopping can be done at Far East Plaza which is a complicated shopping centre with many small shops which sell a variety of hip and fashionable clothes, particularly suited for the younger crowd. During festive seasons such as Christmas, Orchard Road is also well decorated and brightly lit at night.
Jurong Bird Park, The Zoo and the Night Safari: Animal Shows and Exhibits
These attractions are located close to one another and would make a perfect day out. The Bird Park or Zoo is well landscaped and offers an interesting opportunity to get close to the animals. The Night Safari is also a renowned attraction and provides each tourist with the opportunity to witness nocturnal animals from the comfort of a tram.
Geylang: Singapore’s Red-Light District
Singapore is generally thought of as a strict and a follow-the-rules country. However, there is an area in Singapore which is designated as a red-light district. Here, tourists have the opportunity to see a different and more chaotic Singapore. Besides that, this area is also well known for its delicious street food. Examples include Frog’s Leg Porridge and Beef Kway Teow (flat, rice noodles).
Sentosa: Watersports, Nightlife and More to Come
With the recent opening of the Resorts World managed by Genting Singapore, more and more visitors are expected. As of now, the casino and the Universal Studios theme park is yet to open and meanwhile online casinos in Singapore can be enjoyed. However, even without these two attractions, Sentosa offers more than enough tourist attractions to keep visitors excited for an entire day. Those who love the beach can swim or visit the Wave House. Those who prefer to stay dry can visit The Luge and the Underwater World. After the sun has set, there will be the Songs of the Sea, a laser and music performance, and also beach bars to hang out at. A popular bar there would be Cafe del Mar.
Singapore’s tourist attractions are of course not restricted to the five listed above. Nevertheless, for travellers who are only here on a short holiday, these five recommendations are a great start to “Uniquely Singapore”. And with an efficient public transportation system, travelling around Singapore is cheap and convenient.
Travelling Around Singapore
In Singapore, the public transportation system can be broadly divided into three. There are public buses, trains and the taxis. Using these options, travellers and locals can reach most destinations in Singapore easily and cheaply.
Public Buses: Connects Suburban Areas
Locals frequently use public buses to travel within Singapore. This is because not everyone lives next to a MRT station. Moreover, popular tourist attractions such as the Jurong Bird Park and Zoo cannot be reached by MRT. Off the beaten path attractions such as Pulau Ubin are also only reachable by bus.
Fares for a single bus ride start from S$0.64 onwards for non-airconditioned buses and S$0.67 onwards for airconditioned buses. When planning to take buses, it is important to pay attention to the waiting times. During non-peak periods, the wait could be as long as 15 minutes.
The MRT: Convenient and Easy to Navigate
Local trains include both the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT). Most MRT stations are linked to bus interchanges. This allows visitors to change from one form of public transport to another conveniently. At the interchanges, there are also some food stalls where one can stop for breakfast or even lunch or dinner before heading to another destination.
Currently, there are four different MRT lines in operation in Singapore. They include the East West, North South, North East and Circle Line. This network covers a large portion of the city. For places which cannot be reached by MRT, travellers can switch to public buses or flag down a cab. However, in future, the need to take other transport options will be reduced as the MRT network will be further expanded when construction of other Lines such as the Downtown Line is completed.
Taxis: The Fastest but Most Expensive Option
Among these three options, taking a taxi is definitely the most expensive. However, if travelling in a group, this may be more comfortable. Furthermore, if visitors have loads of shopping bags to carry after shopping at Orchard Road or Bugis, it would be a good choice to flag down a taxi. Besides that, for those who are travelling from the west of the island to the eastern side, or vice versa, it could take almost two hours by MRT or bus. Thus, a taxi ride is definitely a good choice.
When taking taxi rides, do take note that during peak periods there are Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) charges if entering areas such as the Central Business District area. The ERP was installed to discourage driving during busy hours and thus reduce traffic jams.
Online Guides to Travelling Within Singapore
There are various websites which enable travellers to plan trips and determine travelling time and costs. The TransitLink website allows visitors to check which buses to take and MRT stations to stop at to reach specific places of interest.
For people who have a better idea of where to head to, the gothere website is easier to use. Users are only required to type in their destination address and current location to obtain directions. Other information such as duration of the trips and the costs are also provided.
It is common for tourists to plan extensively for travel to another country. However, if Singapore is part of one’s travel itinerary, then there will be no problems with local travel as the public transportation system in Singapore is reliable and easy to use.