Sunday, December 19, 2010

0 How to survive in Singapore: Part 2

This is Part two of the blog post on how to spend and enjoy your vacation in Singapore without spending all your money.

In case you missed reading Part one, here it is.

Going around Singapore

On Foot
Definitely, the cheapest way around Singapore is on foot, since it's free. You will be walking around most of the time, if you want to go sight-seeing and checking out the shops. You will need to prepare your legs and feet for a "walk-athon". Before flying in to the city-state, you should have at least exercised for a week or two walking or jogging so that you will have no problems while wandering here. A good example is Orchard Road. If you are planning to visit this famous shopping street, the length alone is well over 3 MRT stations. That is only the length. You didn't even start to check out the shopping centers like Tangs Plaza, Plaza Singapura and Ngee Ann City. So better be prepared.

Bicycle Ride
This is good only if you own a bike. Or your friend owns a bike. Going around by bike is a fairly safe way to go places around Singapore. The streets and main roads have pathways specially made for pedestrians and bicycle riders. Be sure to equip your bike with a bike ringer, so you can warn pedestrians that you will pass by. Crossing the street is also safe since there are traffic lights in almost every crossing and corner of your way. If your going to bike your way to somewhere else during the night, be sure that your bike has a warning light in front and back of the bicycle for safety.

Going around by bus will be your main choice here, if you are tight on the budget. You can either gather plenty of coins for your fares, or get an EZ Link card. EZ Link card is a prepaid card that can be used to pay when riding the bus and MRT. You load it(top-up is the term), just tap in and tap out. That easy and convenient. If you're planning to spend several weeks here(or staying here), then getting an EZ Link card is highly recommended. You can buy an EZ Link card at different TransitLink Ticket Offices located at different MRT stations or bus interchanges. The cost will be around $12, in which $7 can be used in your fares. $5 is the cost for the card. You can also buy this at 7-11 stores for $10, $5 can be used.

Bus stops and bus interchanges are everywhere. You can find these in all places, especially near or around shopping malls or tourist attractions.You can ride the bus to go anywhere from Sentosa, Orchard Road, Bugis street or Funan.You can cover the whole Singapore riding the bus, but using different routes, since every bus number has a different route. Even going to neighboring Johor Bahru in Malaysia is possible by bus.

Trains go by
Travelling by MRT is the most efficient way to get around the city. The trains covers almost the whole city-state. The Purple MRT line from North to East, the Green MRT line from East to West, the Red MRT line from North to South and the Yellow MRT line which circles the city. MRT stations are built within the vicinity of a shopping mall at the very least. Especially on the MRT interchanges, where you can change to a different MRT line. One example is the Dhoby Gaut MRT station, which is a station for Purple, Red and Yellow line is on Orchard Road, near Plaza Singapura and Grand Cathay Cinema.

Taxi turvy
Going around by taxi is a bit expensive compared to buses and trains, but the most comfortable. You don't have to wriggle yourself in when using MRT during rush hour. You don't have to stand inside the bus when no one's offering you a seat(sometimes, even if you're an oldie, you will not be offered a seat). Same goes with the trains. Normally, you'll spend around $10-$15 if you will be going a long way. On normal days, you can get a cab almost immediately. But during rainy days, it is abnormally hard to get one. I'm not sure why. If you're in a hurry, you can book a cab by calling their hotline, but that comes with an additional fare.

By Own/Rented Car
Going around the city by your own or rented car (haven't done this as I don't have a car or haven't rented one yet because I can't even drive in this right-hand driving environment) I can say is the most expensive way to travel around. This is only good for those who have lots of money so I won't discuss this any further. Just think about the gas, the parking, the rental. No, I said I won't discuss this any further.

As for my recommendation, I would suggest that you use the combination of MRT and bus. You can use the speed of commuting by trains and the convenience of buses. Before heading out, especially those who have laptops with them or smartphone, you can browse here for the maps and fastest way to a place by train,bus or own car and here for fares calculation on buses and trains.

So.. have you decided on what places to visit in Singapore and what mode you're going to choose? You can always choose to travel the most convenient way for yourself.

Any questions, just hit the comments.

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