Getting Around - Which is the Best Singapore Transport Option?
"Book a hotel near a train station, and use the MRT as your main Singapore transport..."
Are you going on a do-it-yourself Singapore tour? And considering your Singapore transport options? Don't worry as getting around Singapore is easy. It's after all a compact city. Here are some transport options for you to consider...
The MRT is the reason why Singapore banned chewing gum. The MRT needs to run like clockwork. But it can't when gum prevents its doors from closing properly.
For the majority of DIY travelers to Singapore, the MRT is a probably the most convenient way of getting around Singapore.
This is especially true if your visit is short and you intend to see only the most interesting spots within the city area.
What's Great about the MRT
- Many hotels are located near MRT stations. Just book one of these and it'll save you a lot of hassle.
- The MRT also goes to the Singapore Changi Airport and is very accessible from all 3 terminals.
- Unlike subway networks in many cities, the Singapore MRT network is pretty straightforward. There are only 3 major lines and they take you to most places in a very compact city. So visitors have no problem getting around on their own.
- It runs only from dawn to midnight. So if you are on the night spot circuit, you won't be able to use it to get back to your hotel.
Public Buses (SBS & SMRT routes)
This is the cheapest way of getting around Singapore.
However, using this form of Singapore transport requires a bit of map reading. And you need to know exactly where to take the bus bound for your destination. But the bus drivers are usually very helpful and will tell you about the spots on the bus routes. You may combine a bus ride with the MRT to get outlying attractions like the Jurong Bird Park or Night Safari.
If you must take a public bus from the Airport to your city hotel, the number to remember is 36. Bus No.36 shuttles the Singapore Airport and the main tourist belt of Orchard Road, with numerous stops along the way.
A convenient way to combine MRT and bus travel is to buy an EZ-Link card with cash value stored in it. You may get this card at any MRT or bus station. Each time you take a ride, value is deducted. Whatever remains in the card may be re-claimed when you return the card.
But an even cheaper Singapore transport option could be... the Singapore Tourist Pass.
Singapore Travel Savings - the Singapore Tourist Pass
If your main mode of transport is going to be the MRT and the bus, consider getting the Singapore Tourist Pass. For S$8 a day, you get unlimited MRT and bus rides (pass-midnight buses not included). On top of that, you also get some discounts at several tourist attractions, including the Zoo and Sentosa.
The Singapore Tourist Pass comes in 3 options: 1-day for S$8, 2-day for S$16 and 3-day for S$24. There is a S$10 deposit for the Pass card which is refundable to the buyer, as long as the Pass in returned within 5 days of purchase.
If you are staying longer just top up the value on the card and use it like an EZ-Link card for further rides. In this case, you will not be able to claim a refund on the card deposit.
The most convenient place to buy the Singapore Tourist Pass is at the Airport MRT Station (the city train station). You may also get it at these MRT Stations: Orchard, Raffles Place, Bugis, Chinatown, Harbourfront and Ang Mo Kio.
SIA Hop-on Bus
This is a tourist bus created primarily for SIA and SilkAir passengers, but anyone may catch the ride. It takes in the major tourist sights, such as the Botanic Gardens, Little India and Chinatown, amongst others.
If you are on an Singapore Stopover Tour, you ride for free. If you hold an SIA or SilkAir ticket, you pay only S$3 for a day's unlimited rides. All other travelers pay $12 for the day pass, but it's still a good Singapore transport option. Just hop-on and hop-off at any of the 23 stops along its route. You may buy the SIA Hop-on Pass from the Hop-on Bus driver.
Taking the taxi is probably the most comfortable Singapore transport option. It definitely is the fastest way to get from the Airport to your hotel. However, they may sometimes 'disappear', especially during peak hours and just before (yes, just before!) the midnight/ peak hour/ holiday surcharges kick in.
The taxis in Singapore are regulated and they all run on meters. Starting fares range from $2.80 to $3.20 depending on the company and make of the taxi. The meter rises by $0.20 for every 300m or so. A ride from the city to the Zoo, for example, will likely cost you $15-22. Do note that if you are hailing a taxi in the CBD, you have to do so only at designated taxi stands.
Renting A Car
This is obviously the most expensive Singapore transport option. In my opinion, renting a car in Singapore is good if...
- you want to visit the out-lying spots, e.g. the farms and animal parks,
- you are visiting with very young children, or
- you want to do a self-drive tour to the attractions in Johor, just across the border.
The main city attractions are easily reached using the other Singapore transport options. Be warned that parking charges are not cheap in the city. And car rentals are probably the most expensive in Southeast Asia.
Honestly, this is a very commutable city and getting around Singapore should be the least of any traveller's worries.