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Aim, Focus, Shoot - The HyPyC blog
Singapore First Impressions

Singapore - First impressions and advice

In Late August 2018 we embarked on an adventure to Singapore and Bali. We stopped in Singapore for 4 days before heading onto Bali for a week. Bali was all about relaxation and rejuvenating in the sun from work. We wanted to make the most of our time in Singapore however and explore what the city had to offer. In this post I will share my thoughts on Singapore, and some pieces of advice I picked up during our brief stay here.

Our hotel was near Clarke Quay which is popular nightlife area

First impressions - an amazing, modern and safe city

As soon as we arrived in Singapore I knew that this was a city that I would love. My grandparents had told me that I would enjoy Singapore and they were right. The first thing you notice about Singapore aside from the huge skyscrapers is how modern and clean it is. In many renowned European cities you see the streets awash with rubbish and graffiti - this simply isn't the case in Singapore. The streets are ultra clean - no rubbish, no graffiti and no homeless people either.

Bustling traffic and skyscrapers in Singapore

Furthermore, we always felt safe. Even at night time in busy areas - not once did I feel threatened. Many times I left my camera or phone out on a restaurant table and didn't feel the need to keep hold of it. This was a really pleasant feeling and it put us at ease. It can sometimes be daunting exploring a strange new city, but we immediately felt at home in Singapore.

Traffic moving towards the entrance of Chinatown

Our other major first impression of Singapore was the friendliness of its people. The elderly were respected and people went out of their way to help us. For example, the first time we tried to buy an MRT ticket we had no idea what to do. A young gentleman behind us took time to talk us through the process and explained properly how the ticket machine worked - a simple gesture of kindness such as this was really heartwarming.

Skyscrapers in downtown Singapore

For those lacking in confidence or first time travellers, Singapore is a great starting destination.

Advice - prepare you wallet and temperature gauge!

So onto the advice! To be honest, Singapore is quite an easy city to navigate and get to grips with. Nonetheless, I have listed some tips and advice below that we found really useful during our stay here.

Gardens by the Bay - Skytree Park

Coping with the weather in Singapore

The weather in Singapore doesn't alter much. Its pretty much always hot and humid. Sometimes it rains too - that's about it. We found the heat quite oppressive - it hits you like a wall when you first walk outside from an air-conditioned hotel or mall.

Clarke Quay MRT station

If you are used to this type of weather then fine - it won't bother you. If you are not, be prepared. Always carry water with you and drink often. Additionally, wear a sunhat and stop regularly to maintain your energy levels. We found the underground MRT a great place to escape the heat.

Looking across to the port of Singapore

How much money to take to Singapore

The ONLY thing we didn't like about Singapore was how expensive it was. The public transport and attractions were inexpensive, but shopping and food & drink are very expensive. I have listed some examples of prices below:

  • Can of Coke from a vending machine - 2SGD = approx. £1.20
  • Glass of Coke in a restaurant - 7SGD = approx. £5.00
  • Bottle of Tiger beer in a restaurant - 13SGD = approx. £7.20
  • Margehrita Pizza in a moderately priced bar - 24SGD = approx. £13.00

For two travellers hailing from Nottinghamshire in England, £7.20 for a beer is obscene! If you intend to eat out I would allow a minimum of £60 between 2 people per night - and that's only cheap restaurants with maybe 1 drink each. To put prices into perspective - the day before I wrote this, we enjoyed a 2 course meal with 2x drinks each in Sanur, Bali for a total of £16.00!

Shopping mall at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Travelling within Singapore

We used the MRT (mass rapid transport) to get literally everywhere. The MRT system is cheap, easy to navigate and reliable. Moreover it is inexpensive. I think we managed to get to Singapore Zoo and back to our hotel (which is around an hours taxi drive) for around £2.50 each. Download this app for a full map of the Singapore MRT system:

Eating an authentic Chinese meal in Singapore Chinatown

For the airport we used a taxi - the fare was a fixed rate of 35SGD each way which is around £20. Taxis can be found outside the terminals of Changi airport.

General advice for Singapore

Finally I give some parting tips. Firstly, obey the MRT advice and give up your subway seat to the elderly or disabled - it shows respect for the people of Singapore. Secondly, don't litter - the city is immaculate and tourists should do their bit to keep it that way! Thirdly and finally, ensure that you go up to the observation deck of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel - the views from here are simply unrivalled within Singapore!

Beautiful modern skyscraper in Singapore
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