Going ashore in Singapore

Singapore

More than 8 years have passed since my first visit to Singapore. It was December 2010 when I arrived in the Brani Terminal of Singapore Port, on board HS Bruckner. That was my first voyage to Asia and the beginning of my never ending love and admiration towards this part of the world (with a few exceptions, of course).

My first visit into the city lasted only 3 hours, but it introduced me to this beautiful country, opening my eyes towards its endless beauties and offering me many reasons to return.

And so I did during the following years. Many times. During other voyages at sea, on board other vessels, but during holidays as well, I returned to Singapore together with my husband and we will keep on returning to it. Singapore became one of our favorite places in the entire world – a country as big as a city (and a city as big as a country) – which never ceases to amaze us, regardless the outside temperatures, the humidity, the rains, the restrictions of different kind, the high prices for accommodation or the crowds of people who are sometimes taking over the streets.

There are two ports in Singapore – PSA and Jurong Port – including five terminals – Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, Brani, Pasir Panjang, Sembawang and Jurong. There is a cruise terminal as well, close to Marina South Pier Metro Station.

If your vessel takes you to any of these terminals, you have to take this opportunity and venture yourself into the city of Singapore, even if this visit will be short and brief. You will be amazed by this beautiful, clean and colourful city which has become – especially in the last 20 years – one of the safest cities/countries in the world and a very popular tourist destination, as well.

Going out of the port is usually a simple task, requiring only a little time. Walking inside the port is not permitted, so you have to rely on the shuttle bus service, which carries seafarers – to and from the vessels – on a fixed schedule.

In some terminals, the shuttle bus takes seafarers to the gate in less than 10 minutes, in others more than half an hour is needed for that (for example, in Brani Terminal).

Once you reached the gate, the formalities will take only a few minutes and you will find yourself in the city.

Depending on your available time, you can choose your itinerary and start exploring the city. You do not need much to do this, but be sure you won’t lack a city map, a metro map and a camera (phone).

Getting into the city is easy and cheap as taxis are cheap and very reliable. Public transportation is also very cheap and convenient, although moving from one place to another by metro can require a longer time (comparing with the taxi), due to the fact that most of the metro lines go in circles, in order to cover all the city. There is a metro station (MRT) close to every important tourist attractions and a single metro ticket costs between 0.80 SG$ and 2.06 SG$, depending on the distance. The most convenient type of ticket is Singapore Tourist Pass (EZ- Link) card which will allow you unlimited travel for one day (10SG$), two days (16SG$) or 3 days (20SG$). This card is available only in some metro stations and can be bought only from the Ticket Counter, not from the vending machines. You will have to pay a 10SG$ deposit for the card, but you will receive the deposit back when you give back the card (cashing the deposit is available only in some metro stations).

Tourist Attractions:

Most of the popular tourist attractions are located around Marina Bay Sands and on Sentosa island :

Marina Bay Sands

  • Marina Bay Sands Sky Park – Observation Deck – offering a panoramic view over the city, from the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands 3rd Tower (MRT Bay Front).

Singapore

Singapore

Ticket Price – 23SG$, offering unlimited time on the roof, between 9:30 am and 10 pm (open until 11 pm during the week-ends).

**Entry to the Infinity Pool is reserved exclusively for the hotel guests.

  • Marina Bay Harbour – offering a wonderful view towards the Marina Bay Sands Hotel (MRT – Raffles Place)

Singapore

Singapore

  • Esplanade – Concert Hall

Singapore

  • The Merlion – the Singapore’s most popular landmark

Singapore

  • Gardens by the Bay – which includes the Super Trees, The Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest (MRT Bay Front)

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Gardens by the Bay is one of the most beautiful garden in the world and it can be visited for free, every day between 5 am and 2 am. Cloud Forest and Flower Dome are two big flower conservatories which can be visited everyday, between 9 am and 9 pm (ticket 28SG$ for access to both conservatories).

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

  • The Flyer – the giant wheel – the second highest wheel in the world (165m) Admission ticket costs – 33SG$

Singapore

Sentosa Island

  • SEA Aquarium  – one of the biggest aquariums in the world ( open every day between 10 and 19, ticket price 32SG$ for each)

Singapore

Singapore

  • Universal Studios

Singapore

  • Palawan Beach

Singapore

Other attractions:

Singapore Zoo

In Singapore, there are three zoological gardens – River Safari, Singapore Zoo and Night Safari – hosting lots of animals belonging to different environments, climates and altitudes.

River Safari is the only Zoo in the word which hosts animals living in the rivers, lakes and in the forests around them. But it hosts also 2 Panda Bears which are the most popular inhabitants in the whole garden ( open every day, between 9 am and 6 pm, ticket price 28SG$, Location – MRT Choa Chu Kang and bus 927)

Singapore

  • Jurong Bird Park – one of the biggest bird park in the world, hosting more than 5000 birds, belonging to 400 different species ( Location – MRT Boon Lay and bus 194, ticket price – 18SG$

Singapore

  • Botanical Garden can be visited for free, every day between 5 and 21. It includes one of the biggest collection of Orchids in the world (ticket – 5SG$).

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore offers a wonderful sight by day, but a mesmerizing one during night when it lights up in a rainbow of colours.

There are three light and music shows taking place in Singapore every night – two around Marina Bay and one on Sentosa Island.

  • Spectra Light and Water Show – a beautiful symphony of music, water and light powered by lasers and fountain jets. Known as the ‘Musical Fountains’, the show lasts for ~ 15 minutes and starts at 8 and 9 pm (with a 10 pm show during the weekend and special holidays).

Singapore

Entrance is free.

Location – Event Plaza, along the promenade, at Marina Bay.

  • OCBC – Garden Rhapsody – Light Show at the Garden by the Bay – the giant metal Super Trees are light up every day at 7:45 and at 8:45 pm.

Singapore

Singapore

Location – MRT Bay Front (exit B, across the Dragonfly Bridge)

  • Crane Dancing – a light and sound show on Sentosa Island , performed by two steel cranes measuring over 30 metres tall (Admission – free, show time – 8 pm)

You will need more than a few-hour port stay to enjoy all the attractions this city has to offer, but, at least, you have a start. Make your pick, enjoy the ride and come back for more! As Singapore is one of the busiest ports in Asia, there will be more chances for you to return here and make another pick from the list. You may not be able to fully enjoy the city and admire all its beautiful attractions in one visit, but you may be able to return and pick up from where you left. After 3 or 4 visits, you can be quite satisfied with your accomplishments and only wish to return again when some new attractions are open … and this is happening often in Singapore. So, prepare yourself for more!

Tips and recommendations:

  • Tanjung Pagar Terminal is the closest one to the city, being located near Marina Bay – Tanjung Pagar Metro Station (Green Line) or Marina Bay Metro Station (orange Line). Brani Terminal is located on Brani Island, the closest to Sentosa Island. Keppel Terminal is located opposite Brani Island. Both Brani and Keppel are close to Harbour Front Metro Station (Orange Line and Purple Line).
  • The exchange rate for SG$ is:

1US$ = 1.35SG$

1EUR = 1.54SG$

  • Internet is available in most restaurants in town, but it is not as widely spread as it is in Hong Kong.

A very convenient SIM is StarHub Prepaid Internet SIM – 18SG$ valid for 5 days, with 2GB/daily of usage (you can save the SIM for your next visit and you can top up – via internet or prepaid card).

Another kind of SIM is M1 Tourist Card  – 12SG$, valid for 7 days, including 100GB of data (this SIM is of no use after the 7 days, you cannot top it up).

You can buy these local Sim cards from any 7/11 shop and you will need your passport to register.

  • Eating in Singapore : If you love Asian food, you will find lots of small restaurants where you can have a decent meal for only a few dollars. Food is visibly more expensive in the big malls and close to tourist attractions. European food is quite expensive. China Town is one of the best choices for Asian food. Here you will find lots of small restaurants and street vendors where you can taste and enjoy a Chinese dish for less than 2$

Singapore

  • Shopping in Singapore

Singapore is one of the most vibrant shopping hubs in all Asia, a haven for shopping lovers, a paradise for millions of tourists.

If you are interested in luxury shopping, you should have a walk on Orchard Road where you can find some of the most famous brands. The most luxury shopping malls are: The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Ion Orchard Mall, Mandarin Gallery, Ngee Ann City Mall.

Singapore

If you like shopping, but you do not want to spend too much money on it, you have to know that Singapore is famous for budget shopping, as well.

The cheapest malls in Singapore are: Mustafa Centre (open 24/7, MRT Ferrer Park – purple line), Lucky Plaza (Orchard Road, MRT Orchard – red line), Far East Plaza (MRT Orchard), IMM Outlet Mall (closest MRT – East Jurong), Anchor Point Shopping Centre.

At Lucky Plaza you can find a small Manila Town – Little Manila – which include lots of Filipino stores and restaurants.

For a great shopping experience, you can also visit China Town.

  • To reach Sentosa Island you can choose one of the following options:

Walking the 1000m wooden bridge connecting Vivo City Mall with the island ( Sentosa Broadwalk – free entrance);

Singapore

The Monorail – suspended fast train – from Vivo City Mall (4SG$ return ticket);

 

Singapore Cable Car – connecting Harbour Front MRT with Sentosa Island – Admission Return Ticket – 25SG$

Singapore

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