Use this Singapore Sequel travel guide for free transport tips, where to sleep and great cheap places to eat, which will save you money, when travelling to this bustling multicultural metropolis.
If you missed last week’s post on what you must see on a four-day fabulous trip to Singapore, click this link for Returning to Singapore?
Getting to Singapore
From the Brisbane International Airport Terminal 1, the direct Qantas flight to Singapore takes around eight hours, so in Australian terms, this is not really a long-haul flight. The flight left around 45 minutes late although a reason wasn’t provided.
Pleasantly surprised at the service and food during the Qantas flight, as heard that post-COVID conditions have diminished across many airlines.
Arriving at Changi Airport around 45 minutes late, customs and immigration were a breeze maybe as it was evening and officers are ready to go home.
Transport at Changi Airport
Use the frequent and free unmanned airport train shuttle to move between terminals and also to find the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2.
Just before you enter the MRT gates at Changi’s Terminal 2, there is a small booth with a guy that will only sell you a ticket for S$10 to get through the gates to the trains. He was very unhelpful and not interested, so not sure whether this was a day pass or other.
If your hotel is in the Geylang district (cheaper accommodation and food), take the Green East-West line and change at Tanna Merah, just across the platform.
Payment is using contactless Mastercard/Visa/NETS bank cards, mobile wallets, stored-value EZ-Link/NETS FlashPay cards, and Singapore Tourist Pass.
The train journey takes just under an hour before you stop at Aljunied for the walk of one kilometre to Hotel 81-Princess in Geylang.
If you prefer to take a public bus from Changi, then head to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 for buses 24, 27, 34, 36, 53, 110 and 858 to all 3 Terminals. Or, at Terminal 4: buses 24, 34, 36 and 110 will also bring you to Terminal 4. A taxi is a little pricey if you’re on a budget.
Travelling around Singapore
Singapore’s MRT makes it super easy to get around the island and trains are always on time, frequent, and not expensive. If you’re planning on hopping on and off public buses and trains during your Singapore stay, then definitely use one of the cards below.
The 3-day Singapore Tourist Pass worked best and as long as you return the card at a designated train station, then you receive the S$10 refund. Time on all passes starts ticking when you first tap the card at the gate.
Of course, the cheapest way is always on foot but sometimes, you need to rest your weary feet or the distance is just too far. You do see much more on foot providing you have time, but trains are your next best option in Singapore, especially as payment is by tapping a credit card if you don’t have a tourist pass – fast and easy.
Singapore and food
Rustic portable stoves and mobile hawkers selling traditional street food were Singapore’s reputation until the 1960s when hawkers moved into fixed permanent dwellings, creating unique hawker centres. Featuring a wonderful plethora of delicious street food, the government of the 1990s decided to establish centres with a licensing policy whilst also enforcing hygienic practices.
Today, over 6,000 hawkers operate in Singapore, so scrumptious cheap street food is never too far and always just around the corner. Irresistible lingering spicy aromas fused by centuries of nomadic migration from nearby countries, beckon any famished traveller.
Where to eat
Singapore offers an abundant variety of delicious and exotic food, which you can relish on the cheap without breaking your purse and sticking to a daily budget – especially important for long-term travellers. The Geylang District offers the best value I’ve found so far and the diversity of food is amazing as this area boasts many hawker centres.
ABC Bistro Restaurant
Your go-to for excellent and inexpensive Indian food (and surrounding regions) is the ABC Bistro restaurant in Geylang. Western food is also available. Enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the ABC on most mornings while in Singapore. Credit cards accepted.
The staff are fast and efficient. The food is scrumptiously mouthwatering. The fried rice and Mertabak are exceptionally good. Don’t expect a romantic quiet ambience as this restaurant is open to street noise and very busy inside, so noise from inside and outside.
Anna Lim Thai Cafe
The Anna Lim Thai Cafe husband and wife team serve up wonderful traditional Thai dishes at hawker prices in an undercover outdoor no-frills seating area. No bells and whistles but excellent authentic food.
Hi Banh Mi!
Another go-to small cafe-style space with undercover outdoor seating, the Hi Banh Mi! is great for Vietnamese Banh Mi (yummy stuffed bread rolls), providing good service and delectable food. The spring rolls are wonderful.
Geylang Drip City
By far, the best coffee in Singapore I’ve ever tried is from the Geylang Drip City. A favourite for its lovingly and fastidiously prepared excellent coffee (S$5+). If you’re in a hurry, go to McDonald’s or Starbucks for a fast sub-standard takeaway.
The amazing staff are really passionate about making coffee and take time – almost like a ritual, which says it all. The ambience is groovy and the modern decor is funky. A pleasure to relax while sipping excellent coffee. Definitely the continual haunt during the four days in Singapore.
Ice Cream Bar @ 313
For a “boozy handcrafted ice cream”, visit the Ice Cream Bar @ 313 across the road from the Somerset MRT station. Great staff and wonderful unusual flavoured ice cream.
Where to stay
Singapore is bursting with accommodations to fit any budget, but a fancy Ritz Hotel is not in the two-year plan so booked a hotel in the favourite Geylang District, which has now also become a Chinatown.
Geylang is renowned as Singapore’s red-light district but also for its cheap food and accommodation. It’s raw with some areas a little seedy, but after staying here on several occasions, I’ve never had any problems.
Hotel 81 – Princess
From the Aljaneed or Kallang MRT stations, walk the easy 1.5-kilometres to Hotel 81 – Princess.
Very impressed with this hotel as the room is a good size for Singapore (15m2) with a private bathroom, very clean, and great service from the staff.
Arriving at the hotel around 8pm, it’s a great time as any for a walk to find a bite to eat. Geylang’s streets are alive, noisy, and busy with restaurants overflowing with locals on this cool, rainy evening.
Leaving Singapore bound for Japan
The next awesome destination on this two-year sojourn is visiting Japan for a stay of seven weeks. As travel through Japan is in March and April, hopefully, the countryside will be graced with a few iconic stunning cherry blossoms.
Getting to Changi Airport
Depending on the train station, Singapore’s trains start operating between 5:30am, to 6am, so take a taxi to Changi Airport as there is not enough tough for a train.
Staff at the Princess 81- Hotel phoned a taxi for the airport, which arrived almost immediately at 5:30 am. Taking around 25 minutes to drive from the Geylang District to Changi Airport Terminal 1 for the low-cost Scoot flight to Osaka, Singapore’s roads are quiet at this time of the morning and the S$28.
Incredibly, check-in is finished by 06:30 am for the 8:30 am flight. Although the flight is late by 20 minutes, so indulge in a Kopi (Indonesian coffee) at the terminal, but the hot liquid is more like a 3-in-1 not-so-great instant coffee – a little caffeine nonetheless.
Note: All photos by Nilla’s Photography unless otherwise mentioned. No part of this post was composed with the help of ChatGPT or AI.