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Owen's Travel Notes - Things to do in Singapore

Owen W O'Sullivan

Essentials

Comfortable non-slip shoes, lightweight (layered) clothing and your "SECURITY" wallet. A lightweight waterproof / windproof jacket is always a must anywhere you go. Do not leave home without some foreign currency (Singapore Dollars etc).

"Expect to do plenty of 'walking' around the various shopping centers in Orchard Road, along the Singapore River Promenades, around the Botanic Gardens and National Orchid Centre".

Singapore is a hot and humid island city situated very close to the Equator. It has basically two seasons wet and dry. If you are planning to spent many hours per day in the great outdoors you should take the following in a daypack :-  camera, mini towel, sun cream, sun glasses, sun hat, and water bottle.

Things To Do & Information

Airport

Singapore's Changi International Airport (SIN) is located in the North East of the Island. It is a very large complex with two Terminals T1 and T2. Terminals T3 and T4 are at various stages of construction.

Airport Shuttle

The Maxi Cab Airport Shuttle Service is an excellent service to most of the hotels in the city district. The adult fare is S$7.0. A return service is available from a number of hotels in different city locations. The booking counter is located in the arrivals hall opposite the exit from baggage claim & customs.

Taxi fares from the airport to the city costs around S$11-S$19 depending  on traffic conditions.

These are the two best options unless prior transfer arrangements have been made. First time visitors and/or novice travelers should use one or other to get to your hotel etc.

ATM (Automatic Teller Machine)

Easy to use and in English etc. A 4 digit numeric PIN works best  anytime anywhere in the world. Never use a "zero" as the first digit in a PIN number. It causes problems in the most unlikely cities. ATM's in many countries only display numbers on their keypads.

Always verify that a new credit card and/or any other new cash withdrawal (ATM) plastic card(s) PIN is working before you leave home.

Boat & Clarke Quay's

Many options for dining along the picturesque historical river-front.

Botanical Gardens

These gardens should be a must see for every visitor.

Buses

There are two main bus services - SBS (Singapore Bus Service) and TIBS (Trans-Island Bus Service). It is easy to travel around using your EZ-Link (stored value) card.
Info = www.transitlink.com.sg

Chair Lift

It operates from Mount Faber to the Harbourside (formerly called the World Trade) Centre and across to the Sentosa Island Cable Car station.

Currency

The currency is the Singapore Dollar ($, S$, SID). It is divided into 100cents.
Coins are in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50cents and 1dollar.
Paper Money (Notes) comes in S$1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100. (More rarely 500, 1000 & 10,000).

Cruise Ship & Ferry Terminal

This is part of the Harbour Side complex. Star Cruises operate SuperStar Virgo etc out of Singapore to various ports in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and other destinations.

A number of fast boats provide frequent ferry services to the main islands etc in the Indonesian and Malaysia Archipelago. It reminds you of a small busy domestic airport with arrival and departure boards. Security and  Identification control is in force.

Day & Night Tours

The following are some of the tours on offer:-
City Experience; Singapore Discovery Centre; Eastern Heartlands; Jurong Birdpark & Ming Village; Night Adventure; Night Safari; Morning Zoo; Afternoon Zoo; Sentosa Glitter with Night Ocean; Sentosa Extravangaza; Sentosa Special; Kukup Cum Orchid Valley; Malacca; Johor Bahru and Culinary Tours.   
S H  = www.asiatours.com.sg
San's = www.sanstours.com

Eastern & Oriental Express

Enjoy a train journey through the heart of Asia. It takes you to destinations in Malaysia and Thailand.

Jurong Birdpark

A spectacular display of 8000 birds, 600 species.  A very large collection of Southeast Asian Birds. Escorted tours are available or just make your own way there by the subway. Nearest MRT: Boon Lay.
Bird = www.birdpark.com.sg

Kuala Lumpur Excursions

Luxury Tours & Travel provide a 2Day/1Night Easy Package by luxury coach from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur on a daily basis.  It is an excellent way to see some of the Malaysian scenic countryside.

Little India

It is a colorful and lively ethnic area.

Marina Cove

This is a themed alcove of eateries, cafes, retail and amusement areas. It is located at East Coast Park near the beaches. Taxi is the easiest option for visitors.

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)

The MRT is an excellent 'Metro' style railway system that covers many parts of the island state.

National Orchid Garden

These gardens should be on the "To Do" list of every visitor.

Night Safari - A Nocturnal Experience

The world's first and only Night Safari. Over 1200 animals from 100 nocturnal species, roaming freely in over 40 hectares of lush tropical rainforest. It is located at the Zoo. Nearest MRT: Choa Chu Kang.
Night Safari = www.nightsafari.com.sg

Observation Decks

Changi Airport Observation levels (public access). Meritus Mandarin Hotel 39th  Floor  &  Swissotel The Stamford Hotel  69th  floor. A special entry fee is charged after 9pm usually. Beware of the 'fashion police'.

Orchard Road

The prime shopping district in Singapore. It contains a host of department stores/shopping malls, food outlets and some of the city's nightspots.

Parks & Gardens

The island is covered with a lush green vegetation. The warm humid climate and a regular rainfall keep the island

Pictorial Books

Some excellent picture books available about Singapore. Browse any or all of them.

Port

This is one of the busiest ports in the world. You can expect to view anything up to 800 ships at anchor most weeks.

Public Housing Estates

Visit one of the many housing estates for a glimpse of another side to Singapore life. Use the MRT for a journey to Jurong East or Tampines.

Raffles Hotel

This famous hotel complex is well worth a visit. Stop by the Long Bar for a Gin Sling or just take some photos.

Research

Please do some research. Many excellent websites providing access to plenty of tourist information.

River Boat Tours

River = www.singaporeexplorer.com.sg

Sentosa Island

This is a great holiday location for all the family. Many fine beaches, museums, aquarium and resorts with a variety of accommodation.
Visit = www.sentosa.com.sg

Shopping / Ethnic Districts

Numerous shopping centres/malls along Orchard Road / Marina Centre / Suntec City. Arab Street, Chinatown & Little India are three famous "market" area that can be explored by day or night. The Great World City complex is located close to the Singapore River area  hotels.

SIA Hop-on Bus

This Singapore Airlines sponsored tram style bus is one of the best ways of discovering the main highlights of the Central part of Singapore. It has 19 stops on a full circuit and it takes about 120 minutes if you stay on board for a full trip.

Singapore Airlines

This website has plenty of information about schedules and special promotions in various countries / regions of the world.
SIA = www.singaporeair.com

Snow City

Winter fun all year round. Lots of snow and various rides down the snow slopes. Nearest MRT: Jurong

Suntec City Mall

It is a complex of over 200 shops & 70 restaurants. It includes the Fountain of Wealth.

Transport

EZ-link (stored value) card is a very convenient method of getting around using buses and the MRT. The minimum price is S$15. This is made up of the S$5 card (refundable) plus S$10 travel. It is very easy to add value to the card at the numerous MRT stations etc.

"Three Perfect Days"

This is one of a series of articles published on 45+ destination cities around the world. It is published by Hemispheres magazine and is available on their website. Hemispheres is the inflight magazine of United Airlines.
Visit = www.hemispheresmagazine.com

Time and Date (World Clock)

To get the time & date for many International cities including Singapore. Please visit this website.
Time = www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/city.html?n=236

Tourist Information

Visit this website for info = www.visitsingapore.com

Travel Guides

Please browse the Dorling Kindersley (DK) Eyewitness Guide; the Insight Guide and the National Geographic Guide to Singapore. All have lots of information and numerous excellent photographs. Many other excellent travel guides available but with less photography.

Trolley Day Pass

Do NOT confuse with the SIA Hop On bus.
www.singaporeexplorer.com.sg

Visitor Information Centers

Brochures and maps available at the airport and the majority of hotels etc. There are four main visitor centre locations at Liang Court, Plaza Singapura, Suntec City and Tourism Court.

Weather - Singapore

This is a good source of information.
Weather = www.worldweather.org/081/c00234.htm

Wheelock Place

Huge Border's Book & Music store. Marks & Spencer are to be found in the same complex.

Zoo

It contains an underwater viewing gallery and 28 hectares of Lush Jungle;
Visit = www.zoo.com.sg


© Owen W O'Sullivan, 2004

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