Our Guide To A Quick Trip To Singapore
Our visa in Bali was coming to an end, but we decided to stay for one more month. And to do so, we need to go out from the island. One of the places was Singapore.
We always wanted to go there and Bali was just two and a half hours away. So that's was our chance.
A Story With Our Flight From Bali To Singapore
We flew to Singapore through Jakarta and our flight from Bali to Jakarta delayed for an hour and until the last minute, we did not realize what is happening. Our gate has 2 or 3 flights and our flight just disappeared from the display. The guy said that our flight will be after one of those on the display. It was true, but still, we lost time and late for our next flight from Jakarta to Singapore, because we had to go to international terminal and it's possible only on the bus which departs every 20 minutes.
The airport in Jakarta is not obvious at all. The navigation is poor, no displays, no info for foreigners. People almost do not speak English.
We were 5 minutes late to check in to our next flight and we had to change our tickets in the office. They did it without any problems, but the whole experience felt weird and difficult.
I recommend avoiding Lion Air Indonesia. We used Air Asia on the way back and the service felt effortless if compare it to Lion Air.
General Thoughts on Singapore
Singapore is the city of the future and a lot of things prove this. We were so impressed with the city. The vibe, how everything is built and organized, people make a great impression on the city. It doesn't feel like Asia. More like a European city, but much more developed.
The awesome thing about Singapore is that you do not have to deal with Taxi drivers at all. We used MRT (local metro/skytrain) all the time we have been there. It goes straight from the airport to the city center and spreads in major areas of the city. It is similar to BTS in Bangkok, but much more organized, clean and comfortable. Also, the price is reasonable if compare it with taxi services pretty much everywhere in Asia. It's definitely cheaper than using a taxi from the Bali airport to Canggu, which is really close.
There are many alternative ways if you don't like trains and metro. You can use Uber, the Asian version of it is Grab or buses.
Prices for hotels and Airbnb are high in Singapore and you can easily find something normal for $100-$200 per night, but we didn't know that at the beginning and we thought that $50-$60 is expensive enough for a hotel, basically, just to sleep there and don't spend much daytime there. Since we were planning to be in the city all the time.
Our hotel was 81 Dickson in Little India area and it's the dirtiest street in Singapore. Well, India is India. We haven't been to India yet, but we already understand how to be in that country. The area is small, dirty and poor. Similar to what we observed in Penang.
We did not realize that it will be an issue in Singapore, but as usual, try to next expect anything when you go in new places. Anyway, this area has an advantage that it's really close to the city center, Marina Bay and skytrain link. A huge minus was that we did't have a window in our room. I don't know how people live like this. It's so uncomfortable. You don't understand what's happening outside and it's hard to wake up in the morning unless you use an alarm clock.
The city is multinational, and it's a place where different cultures meet each other.
We found different areas like Little India, Chinese town, Arab Street, brand Marina Bay, Sentosa island.
Is the newest area in Singapore. Basically, it was built from nothing and less than a decade ago there wasn't even a ground.
This is the area where you can feel the classic Asian vibe. Old and similar to each other buildings with many floors. Chinese markets with food, electronics, and cloth. Lots of Chinese people obviously. This area felt less attractive for us, but at least it's cleaner than Little India, and it was interesting to compare different cultures in one city in a short time.
This is the street that located close to Little India, and it's much cleaner. We found there a good place for breakfast with a right price.
It’s the place where Singaporeans go to have some rest from the city. They have beaches there, parks, zoo, skywalk with an amazing view of the city skyscrapers.
The majority of the time we ate in food courts. They have street market areas, but that's actually the place where you can observe real Asian culture. Despite the fact that if you've got food poisoning or noticed something the place can be closed instantly by police we haven't felt confident eating there. It felt dirty and eating cheap not always the highest priority for us. Especially in places that we don't know good enough.
Food courts aren't the cheapest option in Singapore, but at least they are clean, and you can find many options there. You can buy Chinese, Thai, Balinese, Malay, Japanese food. The price is actually reasonable if compare it to European prices, but definitely more expensive than in other places in Asia. You can have a bowl of rice with vegetables and other vegetarian toppings for $7, or you can get noodles with seafood and sauce for $10.
We liked the fact that we could find a good food selection even in the airport on the basement floor and prices are the same as in the city center. Which is surprising to us. Because usually you're getting ripped off in the airport if you want to buy some quick bite or even a bottle of water is 3-4 times more expensive than in any convenience store or minimart outside an airport. Singapore is different, and everything is accessible in the airport as well as in the city. That's why it's so convenient to have a long layover at this airport.
Things To Do
Our friend from Bali said that there is not much to do and it's just a place to go shopping.
But it's not true if you like to stick around, visit different hoods and observe something new for yourself. It's good to visit it and see things in your own eyes. See the scale, details, ideas, how's everything is developing.
Have a walk in the Downtown
The city is very walkable and doesn't have crazy Asian traffic. Having a walk in the downtown area is delightful. Lots of buildings mixed with greens. They have a law that if you build something, then you must make sure that the destroyed green area will be recovered on the roof or somewhere else in the area where you build something. You can notice greens everywhere. A roof is the most obvious way, but they also managed to have it on walls and mini gardens inside and near buildings. Which is look modern, eco-friendly and just right for your eyes.
Light and water show in the evening is fantastic. I recommend you to go to Marina Bay in the evening and check it out. We went at 8 pm and watched it twice. One at 8 pm and another one at 9 pm. The show, fountains, lights, music and the city in the background feel consistent and inspiring. So definitely worth visiting it. I liked the message of this show. If I'm not mistaken it's about joining different nations and cultures to create something great and progressive.
Gardens By The Bay
Gardens by the bay is a part of Marina Bay, and basically, it's a symbol of Singapore. It's like one of the most popular parks in the city. The most popular attraction is to go up on Skyway and have a walk between giant trees. You can observe the most beautiful part of the city from there.
You can spend a whole day and a lot of money. Attractions in the Domes are pricey and to go up to skywalk coasted us $16 for 2.
Art and Science Museum
The museum was more for kids. You can draw an animal, scan it and see the animation on the floor.
Also, they have different exhibitions in there, and this perhaps was the most exciting part. We visited the exhibition about people of the future. There were interesting ideas and devices.
In general, it's fun and educational and doesn't take too much of time.
There are a bunch of malls, and they are located in a way you can't pass them through without noticing. Almost every entrance to MRT station is located in the mall or close to it. It's very smart concerning marketplaces.
Sometimes you can even get lost in a mall searching for the way out to MRT link. I believe it was made on purpose to increase sales. I noticed this in one of the malls on Orchard Road. And actually, this street is Singapore’s retail heart where everything related to shopping is happening.
They have a great Apple Store on this street. It's new, and they said that it's the first official Apple Store in Southeast Asia. I liked the buying process and how friendly sales consultants there. The woman who worked there even recommended us to visit a couple of places in Singapore.
This was a great time in Singapore, and we definitely will go there again. Since 3 days is such a small amount of time. We haven't seen everything. So we have a reason to go there again.
Who knows, maybe this city will be different in a year, and it will be even more to see there for us.