SINGAPORE LAYOVER: THINGS TO DO IN & OUT OF THE AIRPORT IN 24 HOURS OR LESS

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Should I get a visa to visit Singapore?
Most nationalities can enter Singapore without a visa. But if you’re from the Philippines like me, we are issued visas on arrival for stays of up to 30 days, whether it’s for touristic or business purposes. 

Meanwhile, passengers of eligible nationalities may also qualify for VFTF (Visa Free Transit Facility) if the prevailing entry requirements are met. Assessment for this entry is determined by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the point of entry.

What is the currency in Singapore?
Singapore dollar (sign: S$; code: SGD) wherein USD$1 is equal to about SGD 1.30~ or Php 54~ (this is as of September 2018). In the event that you want to exchange your money to SGD, I highly advice that you do NOT exchange your money at the airport since the rates there are not competitive.

So what should you rather do? Either exchange your money at a bank or at a money exchanger in your home country or in Singapore’s city center. Better yet, just withdraw from an ATM with your debit/credit card (do one big withdrawal to minimize fees with your bank). Speaking of cards, a lot of Singapore’s establishments accept credit cards but it’s always advisable to have cash on hand, just in case.

What is the weather/climate like in Singapore? Or when is the best time to visit Singapore?
Much like most of the rest of Southeast Asia, Singapore is customarily hot and humid all year long but with the following months having pronounced differences:

  • October to January: Wettest months
  • February to April: A bit more pleasant
  • May to June: Hottest months
  • July to September: Most festive season and typically the best months

Can I leave my luggage at Singapore Changi Airport?
Yes you can! All terminals in Singapore Changi Airport have baggage storage and counters and they are even available 24 hours daily. Prices for this typically start at USD$4, so it’s great when you have a Singapore layover.

How can I go around Singapore?
From the airport, you can choose from the following options:

  • Airport Shuttle: (around $9) takes you to designated downtown hotels
  • Taxi: Around $20 to $30 including $3 to $5 airport surcharge
  • Private car
  • Subway: MRT trains run from between Terminal 2 and 3, but take note that you need to change trains at Tanah Merah to a city-bound train by exiting the left hand side door to cross the platform (costs around $2.30 and runs from 5:30AM to 11PM)
  • Bus: The terminals are found in basements of Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Fares are about $2 and exact cash is required if you pay cash (otherwise, your change will not be given back).

Once you’re in the city, since it’s a small metropolis, you can either walk (depending on the locations you’re going to) or take the following options:

  • Rail: MRT and LRT trains are cheap and reliable modes of transportation. It’s best to get an EZ-link or Nets FlashPay farecards (can be bought either from the station or at convenience stores), and fares usually cost from $.80 to $2.20.
  • Bus: These are a bit slower but still great for shorter distances. You can pay in cash or coins but it’s best to pay with your Ez-link or Nets FlashPay card, just don’t forget to tap out or you’ll end up paying the maxium fare.
  • Taxi: Flag down rate starts at $3, anyhow you also opt for an Uber-like service by download the Grab ride-hailing app (you can pay by cash or credit card through this platform).

How is the internet connection in Singapore?
Singapore has one of the fastest internet connections in the world so you’ll be assured of great connection wherever you go. To add, most places even offer FREE WiFi — but in order to consistently stay connected online during your Singapore trip, get your own pocket WiFi (use IAMAILEEN code to get 15% off) or SIM Card.

What is the language used in Singapore?
English is widely spoken and it is one of the 4 official languages (the other three being Mandarin, Malay and Tamil). That being said, you won’t have difficulty going around Singapore because everyone speaks English. Nevertheless, below are some helpful Mandarin and Malay phrases.

MANDARIN
Hello: Nǐ hǎo (Nee how)
Thank you: Xièxiè (shièh shièh)
You’re welcome: Bú kèqi
Goodbye: Zàijiàn (dsaì jiàn)
Excuse me (getting attention): Qǐng wèn
I’m sorry: Duìbùqǐ (dweì bú chi)
Is there someone here who speaks English?: Zhèlĭ yǒu rén hùi shuō Yīngyǔ ma?
Help!: Jiùmìng!
Cheers!: Gānbēi! (gon bay)

MALAY
Hello (formal): Hello
Hello (informal): Hai (Hi)
Thank you: Terima kasih (TREE-muh KAH-seh)
Yes: Ya (YUH)
No: Tidak (tee-DAH)
Goodbye: Selamat tinggal (SLAH-maht tin-GAHL) [“Safe stay!”] or Selamat jalan (SLAH-maht JAH-lahn) [“Safe trip!”]
Excuse me / I’m sorry: Maaf (mah’AHF) or Maafkan saya (mah’AHF-kahn SAH-yuh)
Is there someone here who speaks English?: Adakah orang yang cakap Bahasa Inggeris di sini? (AH-duh-kah OH-rahng yahng CHAH-kahp bah-HAH-suh ING-grees dee SEE-nee)
Help!: Tolong! (TOH-lohng)
Cheers!: Sorakan!

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