Singapore: The Mechanics of the city of the Merlion

The previous post of mine (read here) suggested some of the uncliche as well as a few highly cliched places to visit in Singapore. This is partly in line with the Need for the Uncliche as to why one must explore the roads less traveled to extract the maximum benefit and pleasure from his / her trip. The same may be read here.

This post goes a little bit in depth about the nitty-gritty of managing your trip in Singapore. It covers bits about the costs involved, stay, food and navigation through Singapore.

Let me start off with a disclaimer. The figures in this post are quite dynamic and may change with the course of time. Hence, additional research becomes necessary prior to embarking on such a trip.


Stay


Where


Bunc Hostel, Upper Weld Road, Singapore

Cost


Approx. SG$ 30 – SG$ 40 (US$ 22 – US$ 29) per day (1 bed in an 8 sharing room)

Outside view of the Bunc Hostel

The location where we stayed offered excellent connectivity to the following important places:

  • Metro (MRT) Stations: Bugis, Rochor and Farrer Park (within 1 km walking distance)
  • Shopping / Dining: City Square Mall, Mustafa Market

Mustafa Market offers a good one-stop shop option for daily use FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) products. One might also find a significant number of restaurants serving Indian food in that area.


Food


What


Mostly Singapore / Malay street food, alongwith occassional Japanese food

Some Japanese specialty dishes I tried at Watami Restaurant in Singapore. On hindsight, I found it quite flabbergasting to reckon that the macarons I tasted in Singapore surpassed the ones in Paris in terms of taste.

Where


Serangoon / City Square Mall / Palawan Beach / Basically, any major road of Singapore has stalls selling a variety of local street food. Also tried rice bowls from KFC

Cost


Local Street food costs approx. SG$ 4 – SG$ 6 (US$ 3 to US$ 4.5) per meal. In my opinion, that is quite enough for 1 person.

KFC rice bowl meals can be another good option at approx. SG$ 5 – SG$ 7 (US$ 3.5 – US$ 5)

I also had the opportunity to try Japanese food over there in Singapore. I had them at Watami (City Square Mall) and Changi Business Park. The cost can be between SG$ 15 – SG$ 20 (US$ 10 – US$ 15) depending on the selection of the dish.

My personal preference, however, is to try and have as much local food as possible.

A word of caution though, especially for the people who are vegetarian or don’t like some particular meat variants (like beef or pork). Always ask the chef or server before placing the order, than regret the wastage of your money and food at a later stage.


Getting around


A great way to travel throughout Singapore is through the Singapore Metro (MRT). With the system length of approximately 200km (expanding), a punctual service of less than 2 minutes waiting time, complemented by the local bus system, Singapore is quite well equipped to handle large volumes of crowd.

For a tourist staying for less than 3 days, there are MRT passes available, usually from the Changi Airport itself.

I however had to purchase a regular EZ Link Metro Card since I was in Singapore for a longer haul.

What


EZ Link Metro Card is a contactless Multi Transport Card, which can be seamlessly used for Metro, Light Rail, Buses and even some taxis within Singapore. It CANNOT however, be used to travel in the Sentosa Island Monorail.

Many retail shops in Singapore also accept payments via EZ Link Card.

Where (to buy)


The EZ Card is usually available in most of the Metro stations in Singapore. One should however, try to buy it from Changi Airport itself upon landing to reduce unnecessary hassles at a later stage.

Cost


The card can be purchased for SG$ 15 (US$ 10.8), out of which SG$ 5 (US$ 3.6) is non-refundable and SG$ 10 (US$ 7.2) is the balance available on the card. The balance is deducted upon availing any Metro, bus, taxi ride or payment at retail shop. The balance needs to be topped up (can be done at any metro station or select retail shops). The card doesn’t work for balance below SG$ 3 (US$ 2.2), indicating the need for a top-up.

Oh! by the way, some metros in Singapore are Driverless. Enjoy the “driver seat” views from the metro as it cruises along its route.


Sentosa Island


What


Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove Water Park, Palawan Beach

(Though there is a lot more to Sentosa Island, I will currently stick to describing these three places which I visited)

Cost


Monorail: SG$ 4 (US$ 2.9) flat fee. Multiple rides can be availed. Valid for 24 hours or exit from Harbour Front Monorail / MRT station, whichever is earlier.

Universal Studios: SG$ 76 (US$ 55) entry fee. The Premium fee (helps skip the queue for usually all the rides) is higher.

Water Park: SG$ 40 (US$ 29) entry fee.

Palawan Beach: Free..!! (Lockers are however chargeable)

Tips


  1. If you wish to cover all the rides in the Universal Studios, make sure you bring one raincoat with you. Some rides, like a Jurassic Park themed ride, involves splashing of water
  2. As is the custom in several countries of the world, make sure to carry your water bottle with you to avoid shelling out a hefty sum of money buying it when you feel thirsty.
  3. For the Water Park / Palawan Beach:
    • Carry a towel and a change of clothes. Lockers are available for safekeeping for some nominal fee
    • Carry water trunks and appropriate dress to avoid shelling out a hefty sum of money to buy them from near vicinity.

Currency Exchange


It is preferable to get the currency exchanged to Singapore Dollars from authorized Forex dealers or banks prior to boarding the flight. Exchanges at airports can be expensive.

Some select types of currencies can also be exchanged to SG$ in Mustafa Market for quite reasonable rate.


That’s all folks, for the time being, with respect to Singapore.

Singapore can offer a plethora of uncliche options for the inquisitive travelers. Make sure to de-focus on the cliche and put the spotlight towards the uncliche.

To know about some of the uncliche destinations in the City of the Merlion, click here.

To know about the need for uncliche and a glimpse of the menace of over-tourism, click here. Do read about how some places in the world are taking measures (including attracting tourists) to combat over-tourism (click here)

Happy Traveling..!!

© Abirbhav Mukherjee

Posted by

Intrinsically, I am a free-spirited merry person who loves to try out the unconventional in pursuit of “living life to the fullest”, because you only live once. Currently, exploring the intricacies of the Corporate World after my MBA from IIM .. Hope you like my posts (sharing will be appreciated) Feel free to post your comments, or Get in Touch with Me over Social Media (indicated in the appropriate section).. Thank you for paying a visit..!!

36 thoughts on “Singapore: The Mechanics of the city of the Merlion

  1. Una città meravigliosa che mi ha lasciato a bocca aperta. Sapevo fosse bella, ne parlano tutti, ma vederla è un’altra cosa. Con la speranza di tornarci prima o poi. troppo poco tempo. Sentosa per esempio non l’ho vista.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In effetti è una signora spettacolare. Sono contento che desideri tornare a Singapore. Ho scritto un altro articolo su Singapore, che parla di alcuni luoghi suggeriti, che potresti aver visto o perso.
      Sentosa è anche bellissima con belle spiagge e parchi a tema. Sono sicuro che lo troverai bellissimo .. 🙂
      Grazie signora per aver dedicato del tempo a visitare il mio blog e a lasciare i vostri commenti .. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I don’t have any specific recommdation about any particular area or locality where you can stay, because every place in Singapore is pretty well connected.
      We stayed near Little India. The place was close to two metro stations, a market and a mall. Oh yes, breakfast was also available to us.
      If you want a homestay, then I would suggest you to go for AirBnB. Although I am not so sure about that, as unlike Europe having a humongous land area, Singapore has space constraints.
      I unfortunately don’t have any blog on B&B, but can try helping you out. Let’s chat over mail.

      Like

    1. Thank you so much Madam.. ☺️
      Glad that my post could entice the “Viking Girl” to set sail to the Southern shores of Singapore..!!
      Sure.. Do pay a visit.. I am confident that you will love the food and the place.. ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Headed to Singapore this spring and studying up. Interesting advice. For sure we will be eating street food, and we are in a group tour, so we stay where we are told. But 100% going to Disney when there, my choice (Laura) while David would prefer not at all, but it is my Bucket list item. So going.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Madam for taking the time to check my blog post and commenting.. 🙂
      Glad to know that you will be paying a visit to Singapore and are interested in Universal Studios over there (It’s not Disney World.. 😉 )
      Yes. You should try street food. They are available in many major streets of Singapore like Cecil Street, Bugis, Little India, etc.. I believe you will like the local Malay / Singaporean food varieties. You may try their local beer “Tiger”.. I found it reasonably smooth.. 🙂
      Cheers to you..!! Have a wonderful trip in Singapore.. 🙂
      Please check another article I wrote on Singapore. Hope it gives some suggestions.. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Surely..!! Wish you all the Best for your Singapore trip. Hope you pay a visit to Singapore soon and have a fantastic trip.. ☺️
          I have written one more article on Singapore. You can check it if you want to know about some suggestions on the places to visit..

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Surprised prices so reasonable. The pictures of the food were amazing and I could see me and my husband eating four times a day as the food looks so amazingly yummy. I like the hotel you featured as well. Looks like a trip to Singapore would be fabulous done based on your suggestions. Thank you. Love 💕 Joni

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Madam for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.. Glad you liked it.. 😊
      The food is delectable, yes.. I am happy it was able to tempt you.. 😊
      Hope you pay a visit to Singapore and enjoy the food.. Would like to hear your reviews..!!

      Like

    1. Thank you once again.. 🙂 Glad to know that you were in Singapore and could relate to it..!!
      Rightly said. The food is too diverse to be experienced in a matter of a few weeks.. Enjoyed it fully.. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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