Discover Exotic Singapore. Gateway to Australia

Are you traveling to Australia, New Zealand or South East Asia? Many travelers from Europe, North America and other parts of Asia now enjoy a few days’ stopover in Singapore. It’s exotic, unique and clean and you’ll love it! Here are some suggestions to help you with your exploration of The Lion City.

Singapore, situated near the Equator, is warm to hot year round, so being outside for long periods can be tiring. However if you really want to discover the city, walking is the best way. Chinatown is an example. To explore this area with its fascinating back streets and surprises, you need to walk. It is less easy to walk along Orchard Road, with its busy streets, overpasses and underpasses.

Fortunately, shopping and walking is made a little easier in the eastern part of town. Many of the major hotels are connected by shopping malls, some underground. So walking in air conditioned comfort along shopping arcades can be a pleasant experience. An example is Marina Square Mall connected by arcades to Raffles Square and City Hall MRT underground station.

Singapore’s underground trains are fast, clean and efficient. They transport large masses of people in this city of over 4 million citizens and provide easy access to most parts of the city and outlying suburbs.

Using them is easy.

Most one way fares are less than $3 and you use a machine. Just press the standard fare sign on the touch screen followed by your destination name/number. Out comes your computer card (not a ticket) together with your change. Place it on the entrance gate and you’re in.

Remember that there are 2 main lines, north/south and east/west, so look for the train’s destination to work out which line to travel on. When you reach your destination, place your card back in the machine and you receive a dollar refund! How good is that? It saves litter and the card can be used again.

You will also notice that the trains and stations are clean and graffiti free. How refreshing. I wonder how they do it! I made this comment to a Singaporean train traveler and his reply was swift. “They wouldn’t dare!” he said.

Buses are used extensively by Singaporeans, but unless you know exactly where you want to go, they are best avoided. A good option, if you are a first time visitor, is to use tour buses, stopping at places spread around the city.

You also receive a running commentary and the cost is $12. For your day’s ticket, you can hop on and off as often as you choose.

If you have traveled on Singapore Airlines, keep your boarding pass, as this airline also runs a hop on, hop off service around the city (including the Botanical Gardens) and it will cost you just $3. Look for the SIA buses and ask for a route map. Your boarding pass also entitles you to many shopping discounts, so it’s worthwhile keeping!

For convenience, comfort and low cost, taxis are hard to beat, particularly if you are with your partner or family. Most taxi fares within the city are less than $5 and even when we returned to the city from the zoo and night safari, the fare was only $15. Most taxi fares from the city to Changi Airport are around the same price, but check before you travel, as prices can vary.

After a busy day’s shopping and sightseeing, to be dropped off at the front entrance to your hotel is sheer bliss, particularly when you know that the pool and a cold drink are only 5 minutes away!

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