I am sure you have done your online research on “places to see and things to do in Singapore”, so I won’t go into that area. I’ll share with you some tips on how to navigate the city and get the best out of your time & money in this fantastic heaven on earth:
1. Don’t be in a hurry to get out of the airport. Visit the tourism counters and gather all the information and brochures you can get your hands on, especially on special packages. There are some excellent deals on combined entry tickets for several tourist attractions. Buy them right there if you feel confident or just keep the brochures for reading and making better decision later on.
2. Check out the airport duty free & buy some duty free alcohol & cigarettes for yourself & friends as these two commodities are very expensive in the local market. Sneak in an extra bottle if you can handle the risk (sorry …..oops).
3. Singapore taxis are excellent value for money. Public transportation- the local bus and train services are super efficient and economical but sometimes take a very long time from one destination to another. If you have less time and you are a couple or more people travelling together, taxis are the best bet. You take half or less the time from one point to another and you save energy for enjoying the other pleasures, rather than shuttling from one train/bus to another and reaching your destination exhausted. The taxis are damn economical and drop you at the nose of what you want to see or do.
4. The intracity public transport tourist pass is a great service and is valid on almost all trains and bus services within the city. A three day pass, if I remember correctly , costs only 5$. Buy them especially if you are travelling alone or prefer the flavour of public transport in a destination.
5. Vegetarian & budget food options in Singapore. Outside most bus & train terminals are food courts which are the best value for money in the world. For under 5$ per person you can have a full meal with a drink. Great food, clean and served by friendly moms/pops & sometimes pretty ladies or…….
Vegetarians please don’t get disheartened. At the above mentioned food courts look closely and you see special vegetarian joints . These places serve wonderful malay and Chinese dishes made with soya options & with varied choices. The famous Malay Kachang, bakeries, juice counters & beverage only shops add to the choices for vegetarians. For the meat eaters…..I am sorry but you still beat us(the vegrtarians). The choices for non vegetarians is dizzying and to die for.
6. Safety on the streets. I was staying with a family and their 14 year old daughter sometimes came home alone after evening tuitions at 10 PM after spending an 1 hour on the public transport & 20 mnts walking from the bus stop to her home through deserted by lanes. Tears rolled down my eyes as I have daughters of my own & I was amazed at the safety levels felt by citizens of this country. God bless Singapore JUST FOR THIS experience of mine.
7. Shopping. It is all over the city. The Singapore sale festival months are times when the sales are really genuine especially for branded goods. I thought it would be more expensive compared to Hong Kong, but my experience is that it costs almost the same.
8. Little India & Teeka center. Fantastic place to get great Indian food with predominance of south Indian cuisine & a heavy dose of Malay cuisine. And the prices are unbelievably reasonable.
9. Research the net thoroughly and make out a a very strict daily plan otherwise time will just fly and you’ll feel that you haven’t been able to see all that you wanted to.
10. Singapore is one of those places where you would genuinely want to return. And believe me because I am not getting a dime to say this.