Singapore is an island country in Southeast Asia. The country is small and its formation recent, but its history and culture are rich. Singapore is a multi-racial country with diverse cultures from Asia. This island nation became a British trading colony in the 18th century.
Since its independence, Singapore has boomed as one of the world’s most prosperous countries and now has one of the world’s busiest ports. Even though the country is densely populated, over half of its land area is filled with greenery.
The state has over 50 major parks and 4 nature reserves. Hence, it also has the name of “the garden city.”
Things To Do In Singapore
According to general consensus, Singapore is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the world. If you are a tourist on a budget, it may be difficult for you to stay in it. However, there are a lot of interesting things to do in Singapore for free. Here are some of them:
VISIT THE SISTERS ISLANDS MARINE PARK
The water at the Sisters Islands is warm and blue. It is the perfect place for snorkeling, especially because some of Singapore’s richest coral reefs are here.
You can also swim in clean deep waters, have a picnic in the shade of palm trees or go on a free guided tour of the park. If you are lucky, you can even see wild dolphins swimming in those blue waters!
GET SOMETHING FROM THE FREE MARKET
It’s not just a flea market, where everything is cheap. It really is a free market! You can leave your wallet at home when you go there. You can grab anything you like in a free market, and pay nothing for it. But keep in mind, it is good sense to give something out in exchange.
STROLL DOWN THE TREETOP WALK
If you want to enjoy the greenery of Singapore, go to MacRitchie Reservoir and walk along the Treetop Walk. It is 250 meters long and 50 meters high. Check out the animals and plants of this fascinating place at the canopy level, from the suspension bridge. It is not recommended, however, to go there in stormy, rainy weather.
WANDER THROUGH THE GARDENS BY THE BAY
The Gardens by the Bay are one of the best attractions in Singapore, and they are free to enter. They offer a wide variety of exotic flowers and plants, along with waterfront views. They showcase a mixture of human creativity and science. They are open from 5 am to 2 am. You should definitely go at dark to see the 50 giant trees being spectacularly lit up during the Garden Rhapsody light show, which starts at 7.45 pm and 8.45 pm daily.
WATCH THE LIGHT SHOW AT MARINA BAY SANDS
Every night, Marina Bay Sands turns into a world of light, water, and music. Without a doubt, you should come and watch fountains dancing and lights blazing, in sync with the soundtrack.
The show starts at 8 pm and 9.30 pm daily, with an additional show at 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
WALKTHROUGH THE SOUTHERN RIDGES
It is a 10 km long trail, stretching from Mount Faber to the National University of Singapore. Breathtaking views make this place very popular among tourists and locals of all ages.
The Ridges contain both foot trails and fascinating connection bridges, including the most famous of them, the Henderson Waves. This bridge looks most spectacular at night when it is lit up and creates a perfect atmosphere for a picnic.
ENJOY FREE CONCERTS AT THE ESPLANADE
In addition to significant ticket-only events, The Esplanade, Singapore’s most famous art center and concert hall, also offers a broad range of free concerts and shows.
They can be held indoor or outdoor and suit every artistic taste, satisfying the hunger for cultural events of the budget travelers. You can catch a dance show, a theater performance, an acoustic set, live bands playing and much more.
HIKE AT MOUNT FABER
If you want to admire the stunning views of flora and fauna, along with the cityscape of Singapore, go hiking at Mount Faber. Surely, it is going to be the one of a kind experience for you. And the breathtaking bird eye’s view of Singapore is something you will never forget!
The official languages here are Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil. However, the majority of the population is bilingual and speaks English as the main language for everyday communication.
Singapore is a concoction of people from different parts of Asia. The country is known for having a fusion of cultures and people with different ethnic backgrounds.
Singapore is popular for shopping, lively nightlife, fancy hotels with rooftop pools, beaches, resorts, islands, nature, wildlife at the zoo, night safaris, bird parks and more. At one end you can see Skyscrapers and shopping malls clustered around the Singapore River. On the other hand, you can experience Chinese culture at Chinatown.
There is also Little India on the island where one can find Indian flavors, spices, and lifestyle. At Kampong Glam you will not fail to get a Malaysian/Arab experience. This island is close to the equator, and consequently, it is hot year round. Prepare yourself with sunblock and an umbrella for unexpected showers.
The climate can be humid, but it is mostly bright and sunny.
How to Get Around in Singapore
Singapore has an excellent public transport system including buses, MRT trains, and taxis. Even if you are on a small budget, you will have no difficulty getting around.
Hiring a car in Singapore is quite expensive. Also, the public transport system is good enough to get around. And keep in mind, that in Singapore, they drive on the left side of the road. So, you might think twice, before renting a car.
Singapore’s MRT (mass rapid transit) system is the most popular and fastest means of transportation to get around the city. It has an extensive network of lines, so all the main tourist attractions are situated within walking distance from an MRT station. Thus, you won’t have to use any other kind of transportation.
Recently, the downtown line was added. This route links the Expo Center, situated close to the airport, with Bukit Panjang and several other popular attractions. Also, the station near the Gardens by the Bay is a recent addition. The MRT system also extends to the suburbs. Consequently, there is a big chance there will be a station near your accommodations.
The MRT operates from 5:15 AM till 12:47 AM daily. Prices vary from 70¢ to S$2 (Singapore Dollar), depending on the distance. However, if you are planning to use public transport several times, it would be wise to get a Singapore Tourist Pass, which allows unlimited use of public transport for a day (S$10), two days (S$16) or three days (S$20).
You can also get an EZ prepaid link card and load it with the necessary amount of money. You can purchase cards at the TransitLink Ticket Office at these MRT stations: Changi Airport, Chinatown, Orchard, City Hall, Ang Mo Kio, Raffles Place, Bugis, Harbour Front, Lavender, and Bayfront.
If you can’t get to your destination with the MRT system (which is rare, but happens sometimes), then Singapore’s extensive bus network is at your service. There are the SBS buses and SMRT buses. Buses will take you almost everywhere on the island. Furthermore, you can use a TransitLink Guide to find your way around.
If you are not sure if you should wait for a bus or take a taxi, SBS Transit’s IRIS service can tell you the estimated time of the next bus arrival. You can check it at the IRIS web page or via SMS messaging. Also, major bus stops have electronic timetables, which can be a great assistance too.
The fare ranges from S80¢ to S$1.80. You can pay with cash (the exact amount) or with the prepaid EZ link card. All you need to do is just tap your card on a sensor pad near the driver. If you pay by cash, put the exact amount into the red box near the driver and announce your fare to him, he will issue a ticket for you. If you are not sure about the exact fare, ask the driver.
GETTING FROM THE AIRPORT
Changi Airport is the easternmost stop of the MRT system. It takes around 30 minutes to get to the city center, and the price is S$1.90, plus an S$1 refundable deposit. This route operates from 5:30 AM until 23:18 PM.
Another affordable way to get to the city is by using a public bus. It costs around S$2, depending on the distance, and operates from 6 AM to 22:50 PM. However, it is the slowest way to get to the city.
If your plane arrives late in the evening and you don’t want to spend the night at the airport, then your only option is the Airport Shuttle Service. The shared vans run every 30 minutes, or when they get filled. Plus, they operate 24 hours a day. However, the cost is S$9 per adult and S$6 per child.
Currency & Money
The official currency is the Singapore Dollar. US$1 is equal to S$1, 45. The exchange is available at most banks and official money changers, which you can find throughout the city. However, US Dollars, Australian Dollars, Yen and Pounds Sterling are acceptable by many shopping facilities. All major credit cards can also be used, and ATMs are widespread.
Electricity & Plug Type
As for electricity, Singapore uses type G sockets. You need to bring a travel adapter to fit the proper socket type. Check out the above-linked page to see the photos and other useful information. The standard voltage is 230 V. Many of your devices may need a step-up transformer to match the electrical voltage.
June 10, 2016 12:00 am 2 Comments
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