Singapore, my very first foot step in this country made me realize its highly impossible to find another one as well organized as it, and one will be able to sense the same right from within the airport premises. It is extremely safe for Solo travelers including women. We were two girls who set out on a self planned trip from Chennai (India). I am a person who generally sets aside a budget before I head out for a trip. We had allocated budget of Rs 40000/- for a 4D/3N holiday in Singapore and ensured we had all our bookings done before taking off and my surprise we had covered it in 35 Grand all inclusive.
Always ensure to book your tickets one month in advance, and prefer taking scoot airlines, they are economical, have large leg room and a promising comfortable flight journey. So as I mentioned earlier we booked our stay at foot prints hostel, Perak road, Rocher. I prefer hostels over hotels, especially when I am travelling solo or in smaller groups as we get an opportunity of meeting new people from across the globe and you never know you might just end up finding some interesting company ;). While booking your stay in Singapore, one must always ensure to book it at a walking distance from any MRT (Metro) Station, as the connectivity through metro across the city is highly commendable. Cabs are always an option, Uber and Grab are the choices from which one may choose from, but yes they are on the expensive side.
We booked are tickets for all the tourist attractions using www.govoyagin.com, one may also try the local agents if you have the contacts, as these options will give you a benefit of selecting combo packages at a fair price. Thus we chose combo packages in which we could cover most of our planned itinerary, which I shall describe in detail going forward.
One tricky thing about a trip to Singapore is the Visa, as their visa process is highly scrutinized, ensure you choose a reliable Visa service agency like Thomas Cook and not some random travel agent, as they will help in arranging all the required documents in order and will also fortify that we get the VISA much before the travel date, in order to avoid the last minute hassle
There is a time difference of two and a half hours between India and Singapore so day 1 is generally going to be a little slow and tiring after a 3 hours and 30 minutes’ flight, so we decided to plan the first day on a lighter note. Now, if one may read the Singapore map carefully they will find that the tourist attractions are centered around 3 regions, north being the center of the large reserve forest, called the Mandai lake, the home for around 315 animal species, South East region that includes the Bayfront which again encloses a number of signature attractions that are a bliss to the eye, especially with lights spicing up the ambience even more, while South Region of Singapore is the most famous tourist destination which is Sentosa – Harbour front, where one might feel that even two days is not enough to cover it by every inch.
Always ensure to convert your currency to the Singapore Dollar (SGD) at your local city itself and avoid exchanging at the airports for a better exchange airport. One can also try www.doorstepforex.com , for amazing service quality and same day delivery. As soon as we landed at the airport we took the easy link MRT Card. It costs 10$, 5 $ for the card 5$ for re-charge, you can keep topping it up at any MRT stations as and when required. This card can be used anywhere to make any kind of payments; it’s also used for taking the local buses. Ensure to return the card at the airport while leaving in order to receive the deposit and if any money is left in the card.
Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) trains is the most feasible choice of intercity transports available. It has six colored lines and covers every major corner of the city. The station numbers and the MRT lines colors will help any first time traveler to reach their destination easily. Also note that an MRT train runs between 5: 30 am until 1:00 am daily with exception of festive holidays like Chinese new year. So we first headed off towards our footprints hostel in Rocher via a Green (East-West) line MRT that takes us from Changi airport to Expo, and blue (Down town) line that takes us from Expo to Bukit Panjang with a stop at Rocher.
While booking an accommodation always take a note of check-in time, it’s generally 2 PM. One will find numerous small Indian restaurants and other local hawkers selling local Singaporean cuisines, a meal shall cost around 6 to 10SGD per person depending on the place. You can find food courts at the MRT stations too. Do not eat or drink within the station or in the trains, you would be fined for the same. We started our day 1 by exploring the north region. We took the Blue (downtown) line to newton and Red (North – south) line to Khatib from there bus number 138 to Mandai lake that takes directly to the Singapore Zoo. As I have already been to the zoos in the past I decided to tick it off and explore river safari and night safari instead, but I would still suggest not to miss zoo as one might have more chances to witness more animal species along with some interesting concepts like zoo-rasic park.
River safari will include a ticket for the Amazon river quest, that would take us in boat passing through small rapids that line quite some interesting species like Giant anteater, jaguar, spider monkey etc. Post the boat ride, we can walk up the trailing path checking out the famous Giant Panda, anaconda, Indian Gharial crocodile i.e. 22 feet and lot many spread across 12 hectares, also note that venue is open until 6:30 PM with gates closing for the last batch at 5:30 PM. Night Safari starts at 7 PM, best option would be to take the 40-minute tram safari first, but also take care of the waiting time, in case the waiting time is too long consider watching the shows first. Tram safari would pass through numerous species like hippopotamus, elephants, jaguar, lion, and others. Flash photography is strictly a punishable offense. Post the tram safari once can choose the walking trail to get a closer look at the animals that include fishing cat trail, leopard trail, east lodge trail and wallaby trail. They also have a 20 minutes show time called creatures of the night show, try not to skip this, and this brings us to the end of day 1. There are a number of indoor restaurants that serve really good delicacies within the zoo itself but the price of which is slightly on the higher side.
We had ball parked the very famous Universal Studios for the second day, but it’s advisable to head out early in order to avoid the weekend rush and long waiting queues. We took the Blue (Down town) line from Rocher to Little India, followed by North east line to harbor front, and the Sentosa Express from 3rd Floor of VIVO City Mall. In order to get into Sentosa one should buy a Sentosa adult day pass of 4 $. First stop, being the Resorts world will take us to the universal studios. It is a real thrill to the eyes, I felt like a kid once again running between Elma of Sesame street, to shouting Banana on seeing the minions, hugging the hello kitty and loads of fun. Starting with my first ever roller coaster ride, I was scared to death, while on it I screamed my lungs out because all I could remember before getting on to the ride was the scene from final destination. PHEWW!! :P. One must not miss the world’s tallest dueling roller coasters Human Vs Cylon. Entire USS is divided into regions with rides themed as per the region, we started off with New York that had the famous sesame street spaghetti chase ride. Followed by Sci –Fi city that had the roller coaster rides that I mentioned above. It also has the mind boggling Transformers Ride. One may miss it at their own cost as this one ride is the best thing you would have ever imagined in your entire life time. We then headed towards Madagascar that had an amazing river boat ride that passed through our very own childhood fantasies Gloria, Alex, Marty and Melvin, singing the very famous, “I like to move it, move it!! “: P. Thanks to USS, I also had the best lunch in days’ fish curry and rice.
As a child, I always dreamt of witnessing a parade of characters and that was my day when I saw a 30-minute parade of the sesame street characters, Shrek, puss in the boots, dinosaurs, the Mummy, Madagascar characters and all that ended with Hollywood with the famous Marilyn Monroe. We then followed the trail to Far Far Away, that took us to the enchanted airways roller coaster, the Shrek 4 D adventure and also the world’s first puss in the boots roller coaster. Then we entered the lost world and enjoyed the Jurassic park rapids adventure. Last but not the least we ended it all with the Ancient Egypt that encloses the revenge of the mummy an indoor roller coaster plunging into total darkness. This marks an end of a beautiful exciting journey within Universal studios but not the day. We then moved towards the beach stop, as we had our tickets booked for the famous wings of time night show, that left us all mesmerized and awestruck at the lights and beauty we just saw. It is a multi-sensory presentation of water display, laser show, fire effects and soothing music that soared us through space and time in a magical adventure.
As it was a Saturday night and I being a party animal, I wanted to explore the night life of Singapore and so we decided to head off to Clarke quay that is known for the best spots in Singapore to dance the night away. We took the North east (Purple) line from Harbor front to Clarke Quay, and the night that followed was full of fun, frolic, music and dance. Now this brings an end to day 2.
We are still left with covering Sentosa as a whole and hence we head back to the same place as day 2. Our first pit stop being adventure cove water park. One advice to pay heed to, ensure you carry your swimming costume failing which you will not be allowed in the rides. One could also buy the costumes but the price of it starts from 80$. Adventure water cove park has 16 amazing rides with tidal twister and riptide rocket offering the best of the experiences for thrill seekers. They also have a shark encounter and dophin island that allow coming face to face with the ultimate marine predators, but additional charges shall apply.
Our next stop for the day was under water S.E.A. Aquarium, a symbolic representation of the marine life park, also a home for around 800 marine species, such as jelly fishes, corals, sharks, star fishes, sea horses etc. The feeling of walking along the arc shaped glass tunnels under water was flabbergasting and amazing.
We then took the Sentosa tram to Imbiah station to complete the rest of the itinerary we had planned for our day. At our very first step on Imbiah, we spot the 37 m tall iconic mythical creature the Merlion, a lion’s head and the body of a fish. We then took the thrilling cable car ride at the Imbiah lookout station followed by the crazy luge ride, which is a three wheeled gravity thrill ride with a unique braking and steering system. The luge has two tracks to choose from the dragon trail i.e. 688m and jungle trail i.e. 628m. The ending point of the luge trail would be the start of the 7 minutes skyride which is a 320m chairlift concept that offers a captivating panoramic birds eye view of Sentosa Island.
A few more things that one could explore, which we had to cut off from our itinerary due to shortage of time, include 4D adventure land, Madam Tussads, Zipline. We then wanted to spend the evening by the quiet shores of the beach so we head to the Siloso beach. As the clock struck 9, we decided to go on a hunt for some local Singapore food. Two famous options from which one could choose from, are Lau Pa Sat or Newton food center. We chose Newton, for its proximity from our hostel. This place is a paradise for seafood lovers. There is a line of dishes from which you could choose starting with tiger prawns, fish, lobsters, and crab, they also get good satays. Finally, we end this tiring day on the note of some really good food. (Note- Learn to eat with chopsticks: P)
Alas! Here comes the final day of our best vacation, we decided to go shopping. I believe in retail therapy the best way to loosen out. The best places to pick up souvenirs would be china town, Mustafa mall in little India or the Bugis street. Also don’t forget to get a tax refund on the items you purchased at the airport, you will be surprised to see how much you saved. We were done with shopping by the afternoon but we were still left to explore the south east region, the famous marina sands bay, thus it was our next pit stop. MRT from Little India to Bay front. One piece of advice hit the Bayfront in the late evenings after lights are out, for a mind blowing experience, also check the days when the premises are closed down for Maintenance. We stuck to gardens by the bay which is a nature park and center for world’s greatest horticulture. It enclosed the famous flower dome, which is a world of colorful, perpetual spring and gives an experience of cool conditions of subtropical Mediterranean regions. It also includes the beautiful cloud forest which is a home to thousands of plants from tropical highlands. If you are plant lover and are obsessed with the color green, you might not leave this place. Cloud forest features the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. OCBC Skyway was the experience I would relish for a lifetime, it’s around 22 meters above ground, with super trees perfectly arranged enabling a panoramic skyline view.
We then ran back to our hostel, picked up our bags and said our final goodbyes to the most beautifully managed tourist friendly country, a holiday truly worth it and cheers to memories for a lifetime. Another piece of advice, don’t be late to the airport or you might either end up missing your flight or if you are someone like me you might just get a panic attack. Keep travelling.