Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) - Singapore’s main international airport is located on the east end of the island. It is widely acclaimed as one of, if not the best, airport in the world due to its efficient facilities and beautifully modern design. Changi Airport has four terminals. Terminal 1 is the oldest, yet still maintains a modern look with recent upgrades. There are art installations and even a pool to take a dip in (for a fee) if you have some time in between flights. Terminal 2 has more art installations and a garden to keep you entertained. Terminal 3 has a spacious and interesting-looking roof, giving the entire terminal an open-air feeling. There is a free movie theatre here, and even a butterfly garden holding 1,000 butterflies. Terminal 4 is Changi Airport’s new addition, opened in 2017. Use the Skytrain to get around between terminals, or take the free shuttle bus service.
MRT (Subway) - The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is the best and most cost-effective way to get around. Tickets vary by length of travel, but generally cost around 4 SGD (approx $3). Fast and reliable, but best to avoid during rush hour if possible.
Singapore MRT map
Bus - The bus network covers a large area of Singapore and is reliable and cheap. An EZ-Link card (stored-value card) is a smart way to pay for your bus travels. Simply tap in on the card reader located next to the driver when you board then tap out on the reader located at the rear when you exit. Just note if you have to get somewhere, allow plenty of time for the notorious traffic.
Taxi - Taxis are a slightly more comfortable form of travel compared to the MRT or bus and is the more economical choice if you're travelling in a small party. Of course you'll be at the mercy of the traffic which can be horrendous, especially at rush hour. Taxis can be flagged down on the street or by queuing at taxi stands found in most major areas of the city. Download the Grab app if you'd rather use a ride hailing service.
Singapore Tourist Pass - A cost effective way to move around the city, especially if you plan on travelling about lot is the Singapore Tourist Pass - the pass offers unlimited travel on buses and MRT and LRT trains to be used within a set period of time. A 1 day (10 SGD, approx $7), 2 day (16 SGD, approx $12) and 3 day (20 SGD, approx $14) pass are available.
Since it is located just 85 miles north of the equator, Singapore experiences a tropical climate with little distinction between seasons. In fact, the average temperature hovers year round at about 32°C (90°F) during the day and drops to about 26°C (79°F) at night. Regardless of time of year, occasional bouts of rain in the evenings are common - though sudden they are short lived. Singapore generally has two seasons: dry (March - August) and wet (September - February). While tourists visit throughout the year, the high season for travel here is June through September. Humidity is always a factor. For many visitors, especially those from colder climates, the humidity can be energy sapping. The vast majority of buildings and even the MRT are air conditioned so it can be useful to occasionally dive into a nearby cafe or shopping mall to escape the heat and humidity.
The standard voltage in Singapore is 230V/50Hz. If you are coming from the U.S. you will need to bring a power converter, and a Type G plug adapter. You can use any appliance that is 220-240V. Anything higher or lower than that and you will need a voltage converter.
Singapore is its own city-country, and they have their own currency, the Singapore Dollar (SGD), sometimes called a "Sing" or abbreviated to $ or S$. Credit card usage is very common in Singapore and you can use it for most purchases. Taxis also accept card but apply a 10% surcharge. Carrying cash is not a bad idea as sometimes their card machines do not work, plus carrying cash is useful at smaller shops and Hawker Centre's (street food stalls). The best places to exchange your currency for Singapore Dollars is to use one of the major banks or an ATM which are abundant across the city. Some recommended places to do this is at Parkway Parade Shopping Center, People’s Park Complex in Chinatown or Lucky Plaza. Singapore is generally considered a very safe city so do not be afraid of carrying cash with you in case of emergency. Some vendors require a 20 SGD (approx $20) minimum to use a credit card.
A true cosmopolitan melting pot, Singapore is a mixture of different cultures, and has four listed official languages: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. The latter is recognised as the universal language in schools and in business. Given that, there is something called Singlish, "Singapore English", which has developed as a local vernacular to be used in informal settings. Here are some common phrases you may encounter.
The Marina Bay Skyline - Just over 10 years ago this was an empty plot of reclaimed land and sea water. Now it is one of the more spectacular skylines on the planet. The Marina Bay Sands, the Helix Bridge, the Esplanade - these are just a few of the attractions at the city’s Central Business District, and a lovely way to take an evening stroll.
The Singapore Sling - This famous alcoholic drink dates back to the early 1900’s and was invented by a bartender who created it with a mixture of angostura bitters, grenadine and gin.
The beaches - As this is an island nation, beach going is a must. The best beaches are Tanjong Beach, Siloso Beach and Lazarus Island, to name but a few.
Formula 1 Grand Prix - Every year in September, the streets of Singapore transform into a racing circuit for the fastest race cars in the world. The race is a dazzling night time spectacle with much noise and excitement around the Marina Bay area.
Bon voyage 👋