We spent 3 days in Singapore prior to our cruise on Sapphire Princess. Here are a few tips on getting around the city, especially if you’re visiting Singapore on a budget or embarking on a cruise yourself.
The main methods of transportation around Singapore are by public transport or by car. Although there is a bus network, we stuck to the MRT system and Ubers for our transportation.
The MRT is Singapore’s underground rail network, but don’t start thinking of the cramped, dirty subways and tube stations you may know. As per the rest of the city, the MRT is incredibly clean – not surprising, as there are hefty fines in place for eating, drinking or smoking in the stations or on the trains themselves.
How much does Singapore’s MRT cost?
The reason we stuck to the MRT, as well as it’s cleanliness and efficiency, was that it is a very cheap mode of transport if you are on a budget.
To get a ticket, visit a ticket machine and select the journey you want to take. The machine will issue you with a ticket which can then be topped up and used for up to 6 journeys – you’ll also get a 10 cent discount off your 3rd and 6th journeys – not much but every little helps! Just note that you will need small notes (S$2 and S$5 bills) for the ticket machine as they only seem to take Singaporean bank cards.
The downside to using individual tickets is having to queue for ticket machines, which proved to be a problem when we were leaving the Gardens By The Bay light show on our final night. For a more efficient experience, I’d advise getting the Singapore Tourist Pass, which offers unlimited travel on the public train and bus networks. It really is very reasonable, S$20 for 3 days – that’s only about £11! It also gets you some money off at a few bars and other tourist attractions.
Here’s a link to a map of the MRT system – you’ll be able to pick a physical one up at most MRT stations or information centres.
How to get to Singapore’s Marina Bay Cruise Centre
Although we later discovered the MRT is perfectly doable with cases if you’re willing to spend the time on your journey, we used Uber twice in Singapore – once to get to our hotel after Gardens By The Bay and also to get to the Cruise Centre from our hotel. As per anywhere else in the world, it’s cheaper than taxis and perfectly friendly and efficient. For 2 Ubers to get 5 of us with cases from Little India to the cruise port it cost a total of £14 for a 30 minute journey.
If your group is able to walk and you want to save money, getting to the Cruise Terminal is possible by MRT. All the MRT stops have lifts – a few were out of order when we travelled, however the stations we were going through had escalators so it wasn’t too much of a problem. The station you need to aim for is Marina South Pier, which is on the red North South MRT line.
How to get to and from Changi Airport
On our final day in Singapore we checked out of our hotel at about midday, our flight wasn’t until 2pm the next morning so we actually got the MRT to the airport to drop off our bags. Happily Singapore Airlines let us check in our hold luggage and there is a facility to leave any bags or other bits you don’t want to cart around with you – I believe it was about S$8 per rucksack.
Changi Airport is perfectly accessible by train, although depending where you are staying in the city it might take a while – it took us around an hour to get there from Little India. Aim for either Expo or Tanah Merah and change there for the train to Changi Alternatively, an Uber is probably a pretty safe bet.
If you’re landing and wanting to go into the city and don’t fancy braving the MRT after your long flight, I’d advise either getting an Uber, or using one of the self service kiosks near the doors in arrivals to order yourself a taxi. There are also desks where someone can book a taxi for you or advise on buses to where your hotel is.
I hope this advice helps a little – check out my 72 hours in Singapore blog for what we got up to and how to get to them!