Singapore for Dummies
You’re probably thinking: Singapore is just a smaller version of Malaysia; how could I even get lost? That’s the exact same thing I thought before I went there for the first time. I made a trip there for an event, but mostly to visit my friends I’ve met through games. This Facebook status from my friend pretty much sums out my first day there:
Unless you’re willing to spend above RM30 each time to take a Grab somewhere, you’ll want to continue reading.
The first thing you’ll want to do upon arrival (besides going to the loo), is to get data roaming or a local SIM card. If you’re travelling alone, Malaysia’s service providers do offer good values. I went for Digi’s 72-hour roaming pass, where for RM25, I get 2GB and 30 minutes call, more than sufficient for my 3 days there.
You can also get local SIM cards or portable Wi-Fi dongles, but unless you’re travelling in a group, they are more expensive ($15 for the cheapest SIM card).
The reason you’d want data is to be able to instantly update your social media use Google Maps to see which train or bus you’ll have to take to your destination. Google Maps will give you the exact stop, route, and bus number. If your location is on, it even updates the number of stops left.
If you will be going to a specific place and won’t be traveling around much, getting a ticket could be cheaper. You can buy a ticket to a specified place at any station, and you can reload that ticket itself. But it might be inconvenient if you’re taking the bus, because you’ll have to pay cash.
If you’re going to be travelling a lot, I’d recommend getting the EZ link card, available in any terminal and train stations. It costs $10 for a card pre-loaded with $5, but the $5 will be worth it, because when you use the EZ link card, you get 30% off all travels compared to buying a ticket. The best part is that it works on any public transportation, buses included.
The prices for public transportation is bundled, so it’s cheaper if you travel using one medium (i.e. train) to get to your location compared to using two (i.e. train, and then bus). Most of my trips there (Sengkang West to Orchard Road) did not cost more than $2 (one way) with the card.
Of course, if you’re travelling in a group of 4, it could be more convenient to take Uber or Grab. You’ll save a lot of time for just a slight extra in spending.
Everything is number and colour coded, so as long as you have the right number and colour, you won’t get lost. Let’s talk about getting out of the airport first. Whichever terminal you land in, you’ll have to take a bus to Terminal 2 (or T2) to change to other public transportation. The bus ride is free from terminal to terminal.
The MRT is separated into four main routes, namely East West Line (Green), North South Line (Red), North East Line (Purple) and Circle Line (Orange), with interchanges at intersecting stations.
The smaller dark green ones are the LRT routes, which basically goes in small circles to increase accessibility to these areas, but most of these areas are also accessible by bus. Taking the trains are really easy, because each train has an indicator of which stop you’re at, so you won’t miss your stop.
Taking the buses are slightly trickier, because buses going multiple routes stop at the same stop or station, but as long as you get the number and direction right, you’re all good. The buses, similarly, also travel in circles.
For example, I stayed at Sengkang West, so I took Bus 50 which goes from Bishan to Punggol, passing by Ang Mo Kio, Yio Chu Kang, Sengkang West, and Sengkang East. In general, as long as you stop at any stops within the town, most buildings are within walking distance, but it would be advisable to find out the exact stop so you have to walk less.
I mostly relied on Google Maps, or this website: https://busrouter.sg/ to go around.
When getting back to the airport to head home, similarly, just take any train to Changi Airport, and you’ll be dropped at Terminal 2, and from there, you’ll have to take a bus to your respective terminals.
I hope this article helps first-timers to Singapore~ Have fun!