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Trip to the Lion City, Singapore

The Miles & Beyond team traveled to Singapore in December for a week long vacation. Presenting a 1-Stop guide if you are planning to visit Singapore

5 reasons Singapore should be on your travel list

  1. Multiculturalism and diversity: Singapore is a melting pot of different cultures, with a mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Eurasian communities. This diversity is reflected in the food, festivals, and cultural attractions the country has to offer.

  2. World-class attractions: Singapore is home to some of the world's most iconic landmarks and attractions, including the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Flyer, and the Marina Bay Sands resort.

  3. Food paradise: Singapore is a food lover's paradise, with a wide variety of cuisines available, including Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Indonesian. The country is also home to some of the best street food in the world, with stalls serving up delicious dishes at affordable prices.

  4. Shopping and nightlife: Singapore is a shopper's paradise, with world-class malls and boutiques selling everything from designer brands to local crafts and souvenirs. The country also has a thriving nightlife scene, with a variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues to choose from.

  5. Family-friendly: Singapore is a great destination for families, with a range of kid-friendly attractions, including the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park, and Universal Studios Singapore. The country is also known for its safe and clean streets, making it a convenient and enjoyable place to visit with children.

Planning for Singapore

  1. Flights - We flew from Bangalore to Singapore and back to New Delhi. To get the best rates, we looked up Skyscanner, MMT, CT, and Smartbuy for the flight tickets. After all the research, we ended up booking the tickets using HDFC Smartbuy portal. This allowed us to burn the accumulated RPs and and also earn a good amount of 10x RP on the cash spending. The Onward flight was a direct Indigo from Bangalore to Singapore. The return flight was a Vietjet from Singapore to Delhi with a 1-hour layover at Hanoi

  2. Hotels - The 7 night stay was split across 2 hotels. For the first 2N, we stayed at the Days Hotels in Zhongshan Park. This was a revenue booking done via Agoda for 18.5K INR. For the remaining 5N, we booked the Courtyard By Marriott, Novena. This was a points booking, 120K points for 5Nights. The revenue rate for 5N was 144K INR. Both properties were good for their worth. Days, a budget property, had a tiny room with almost no decent view. Meanwhile, Courtyard had a spacious room on the 24th floor with spectacular city views. The Courtyard is situated right next to Novena MRT station; super convenient. There were some other hotels as well which we had shortlisted - Four Points by Sheraton, Riverside(views overlooking the Singapore river; but a smaller room and older property); Mercure Singapore on Stevens(Black Friday rates were crazy, but missed out), Ibis select selegie(was the cheapest budget hotel with included breakfast)

  3. Visa - Singapore e-VISA can be applied only within 30 days of the travel date and usually takes 4-5 working days. Travel agents like Akbar, Musafir, Thomas cook, etc., help with the Visa application. Each of them specifies a list of document which needs to be submitted along with a request letter. Since they asked us to courier the documents to their respective offices, we chose to go ahead with Blink Visa, a local travel agent in Bangalore. The visa guy came to our house, collected all the documents, filled out the form himself, and provided the Visa in 4 days. Super smooth process. We submitted Salary Slip for three months, a Bank account statement, a Leave letter from our organization, and a visa cover letter addressed to the embassy. It cost us Rs3500 per pax.

  4. Forex - We took 150 SGD in cash, purchased it from Oriental Exchange in Bangalore. They had the best rate ( even better than BookMyForex). Apart from Cash, we took our FiMoney Debit Card and a Credit Card for remaining spends. Of all places, we were required to pay in Cash only in Bugis for street shopping

  5. Activities - I booked a majority of my activities through Klook. They were running a good 20% off during Diwali time. Most activities in Singapore have open-dated tickets. Some activities like Universal Studio, Skyline luge, etc. have Fixed dated tickets. If there are no discounts, booking the tickets a day before you plan to do the activity is best. Since Singapore has unpredictable weather with a 50% chance of rain on any given day, I tried to defer the booking of outdoor activities. I booked skyline luge tickets at the venue itself

  6. Food - Since we are vegetarians, we packed ourselves good amount of Ready to Eats and other munchies to cover for our breakfast. Lunch and Dinner were done in restaurants itself. Will share the list next

  7. Sim - Purchased Singtel 2-in-1 tourist Sim from Klook Website. In Rs700, I got 100GB of 4G data and SGD3 worth of EZLink balance, which you can use for bus/MRT travel. Singtel sims are available for pickup on Travelex Counters at Terminal 3. If you can’t pick it up from Terminal 3, there are designated Singtel stores in the city from where you can pick up the Sim. Sims which are sold at airports directly are costlier, averaging around 35-50SGD. Hence, it is better to book Sim via Klook

What all to Visit?

Below is the list of places visited by us over the 6 day trip. Since Singapore is a very small nation, so most of the places are near to each other and hence can be visited in any order

  1. Gardens by the Bay - Cloud Forest, FlowerDome, Flower Fantasy, Super Tree Grove, OCBC skywalk

  2. Art Science Museum, Floating Apple Store, Spectra Fountain Show

  3. Merlion, Boat Quay, Clarke Quay

  4. Fort Caning, Old Hill Police Station, Panang Deck @ National Gallery

  5. Cafe Monochrome

  6. Universal Studios, Wings of Time

  7. Skyline Luge

  8. Beaches @ Sentosa

  9. Peranakan Houses

  10. Sultan Mosque, Haji Lane, Arab street

  11. Bugis

  12. Chinatown, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

  13. Friends Cafe (Shutting Down)

  14. Museum of Ice Cream

  15. Orchard Road

  16. Jewel @changi

  17. Little India

Where to eat?

Being vegetarians though we couldn't try out the authentic local Singaporean Cuisine or Hawker Centers, the below places helped us keep our bellies full

1. Kailash Parbat - Regular North Indian Restaurant. Average Priced. Paneer~ 20SGD, Roti ~ 4SGD

2. Copper Chimney - Same as above

3. Tandoori Zaika - This is in Boat Quay and has good seating next to Singapore river and nice views and vibe. 10-20% expensive than above 2

4. Komal Vilas - Must visit if you like South Indian Food. Light on the pocket and good taste. Masala Dosa ~ 5SGD, Paneer ~9SGD, Roti ~3SGD

5. Hans I'm Gluck - Good Burgers. Vegan option also available

How to reach from Airport to City/Vice Versa

1. The airport is well connected to the city via MRT, BUS, Taxi/Cab

2. Though MRT is the cheapest option, it is also the most tiring. Easily around 50mins to center of the city. Plus most likely you would have to change lines with all that heavy luggage. Hence we gave MRT a skip

3. We downloaded Grab and GoJek on our phones. There is a special airport code - AIRPORTNEW which gives good discount Usually I have found Grab to be cheapest of all. (Another app is CDG Zig) I was able to hail a Grab from Airport to Zhongshang park in 15SGD at 5:30am

How to pay for public transport?

For MRT the only way to pay which i encountered was through either your VISA/MC NFC based card. You can also use the EZ Link preloaded card. On buses, one can also pay through cash. But they don't return any change. So you would have to furnish the exact amount (or forget the change :p)

All about Universal Singapore - Tips

1. How to reach?

a. Take a bus or MRT to harbour front station/vivocity mall. From there board the sentosa express (monorail). Get down at first station

b. Or, one can also take a Bus from Vivocity Mall to Sentosa. There are dedicated buses operating

c. There is no ticket for Sentosa Express. It has been announced free till December'2022

2. If possible, make sure you go on a weekday. Weekdays have mad rush. Even express pass holders have to get in the queue 3. If you are going on a weekend, purchase the express pass. 1 time express pass is sufficient. The unlimited one is overkill 4. If you are going on a weekday, do not purchase the express pass online. Express pass is also available at the venue right at the entry gate & also near some of the rides. So examine the crowd, and if you think there is need, purchase express pass then and there 5. How to complete all the rides in the park without express pass?

a. Reach the park 30mins before opening time, click photos in front of the rotating universal logo and get in the queue

b. As soon as the gates open, run to the Transformers Ride. This ride has highest waiting time and if you do it as first ride, you can get done in 15mins tops

c. Post this head to the RollerCoaster - Human and Cylon. Get in the queue of whichever is open. With this you would have done top 2-3 rides of the park

d. Then you can head to The Mummy Ride or Jurassic Park and cover rest of the rides in desired order

e. During lunch time, waiting time at rides reduces drastically; so you can sneak in a ride or 2 super quick around lunch

From where to see the Spectra - Light & Sound Show?

Spectra, which takes place at MBS(at 8pm and 9pm) can be viewed from 2 places - MBS(Next to the Floating Apple Store) - Merlion I would advise to view it from MBS itself. The light and sound effects are best experienced from here itself. At Merlion you would hardly hear any sound. Though you can see lit up MBS from here

How to commute between Terminal 4 and other terminals?

This can be easily done using the Shuttle Bus Service which starts right outside each of the terminals. At Terminal 1 this shuttle is available at 10mins frequency



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