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Do I need to buy Singapore Dollars for One Day?

Do I need to buy Singapore Dollars for One Day?

Old Aug 30th, 2017, 04:25 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 312
Do I need to buy Singapore Dollars for One Day?

On the first Friday in May of 2018 our cruise ship will be docked at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. We are an energetic married couple in our early 80s and I have some mobility issues. To assist with those issues I use a walking stick or a walking stick with a built-in seat depending on circumstances. This will be our second visit to Singapore and we have decided to spend this entire visit at the Marina Bay Complex. That is because we believe that between visiting Gardens by the Bay and going to the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark for lunch and viewing that should be about the right amount of time and energy to expend.

As we have not visited the Marina Bay complex before we would appreciate some help in how best to get there both to and from the Cruise Centre. It is my assumption that some form of public transport is available either in the form of a shuttle service, either fee or free, between the Cruise Centre and the Marina Bay Sands or is accommodated by the Singapore Metro System (MRT).

So, my first question is whether or not my assumpton is correct? If it is not, comments and suggestions as to how we would get between the ship and the Marina Bay Sands would be greatly appreciated.

Now we come to the real question which is: If we take a public transportation system of some kind between the two venues can we pay for those trips using credit cards? Following that question, would we not be able to pay for admission to the Gardens by the Bay and to the SkyPark with credit cards? And, more to the point, do I really need to buy any Singapore Dollars (SGD) at all for this one-day visit.

If I were to encounter a situation wherein tipping were appropriate and could not be added to my charge card could I tip in either euros or USD? After all, the places we’d be visiting in Singapore are primarily tourist in nature and, therefore, for the recipients to change money should likely be an easy task.

Ideas and suggestions, please.

BigBlue is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2017, 06:22 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,426
No need to tip in Singapore. And please remember that a tip in USD is not generally of much use to people using a different currency -- they would have to pay a fee to convert USD to SGD. If it's inconvenient and costly for you, it is almost certainly inconvenient and costly for them.

Personally, I'd want to have a few SGD on hand, in case needed -- I'd find it more stressful to try traveling without the local currency than to simply find an ATM once on ground. I'll let others speak to whether they believe the need is likely.

IIRC, you can use a CC to purchase your entry to the Gardens by the Bay and can pay for your meal at the Sky Park restaurant with CC. And IIRC, there are ATMs around both if you encounter a problem.

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Old Aug 31st, 2017, 01:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 476
Come on mate. Marina Bay Sands hotel will charge you US$300 for one night, the casino on site will take even more of your cash...and you ask about a few Sing dollars for your pocket. Ask at the casino desk, they can surely help.
jobin is offline  
Old Aug 31st, 2017, 10:06 AM
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Posts: 312
Some input re my assumptions with regard to transportation would be appreciated.
BigBlue is offline  
Old Aug 31st, 2017, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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As many metro tickets as i've purchased in Singapore, I cannot remember purchasing the tickets with a credit card...I've always used cash. That said, I expect you could buy the tickets with a credit card.

There are ATMs "everywhere" in Singapore, so if you want/need some cash, you can get it quickly and easily.
Kathie is online now  
Old Aug 31st, 2017, 11:31 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,781
Here is a link to the hotels guidance on how to get there.


The link provides details of car/taxi and MRT transport.

I haven't been to Marina Sands and so have no first hand experience, but looking at the map, it would seem it is a couple of stops on the red north-south line. As long as your debit or credit card is set up to work in Asia you will almost certainly be able to be able to buy tickets or a pass using your card. To be on the safe side, email the hotel to confirm.

Tipping is not expected in Asia. The Marina Bay may be an exception but, watching a tv doscumentary about the place recently, it seems the clientele is mainly Chinese who are not known for their tipping.

Have a great time!
crellston is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2017, 04:41 PM
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Today I sent an email to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and asked them some key questions. Here are parts of the two replies I got:

"Thank you for your email. With regards to your query, I would recommend taking a taxi.

Taxis offer various modes of cashless payments, including contactless credit and smart cards, on board our taxis for the convenience of our commuters. All major credit/charge cards, NETS, NETS Flashpay and ez-link (excluding concession cards) are accepted for fare payment on board all our taxis.

A 10% administrative charge on top of total taxi fare is applicable for credit and charge card payments. The prevailing GST is chargeable on top of the 10% administrative charge.

I suggest that you advise the driver first that you will be paying by VISA card before boarding just in case their machine is not working. Some drivers will ask to pay by cash in times that the machine is not working.

If you will take train, it’s still quite a long walking distance for changing train lines."

When I thanked the first person for such useful information I then wrote back and asked the approximate costs for a taxi from the Marina Bay Cruise terminal to Gardens by the Bay and from the hotel complex back to the cruise terminal. Here is that response:

"Thank you for your email. With regards to your query, from Marina Bay Cruise Centre to Gardens By The Bay by taxi, it will cost approximately SGD$15 to SGD$17 depending on the traffic conditions and you could reach the destination within 15 to 20 minutes."

We are taking their advice particularly in view of the fact that they have warned us about long walks involved in changing trains. We are going to buy SGD50 before leaving home and that should cover us completely even in the event of taxi costs being understated.

We don't object to buying foreign currencies, just to the time and hassle which can be involved when doing so in a foreign country. We have made similar day trips to ports of call and have not had to change any money and we wanted to learn what we could about SIN. I'm very willing to pay the bank's charges for such conversions. They often can be cheaper than the costs of doing so from an offshore teller machine.

Thanks to all for your help. I hope this posting helps someone else.
BigBlue is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2017, 06:04 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I'm surprised by your experience with ATMs. Although it depends on one's bank and the specific ATM, I have always find it less expensive (sometimes substantially less expensive) to get local currency from an ATM than by exchanging currency in advance. But you should, of course, do what makes you feel most comfortable.

Enjoy your time in Singapore!
kja is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2017, 04:46 PM
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kja, I have been using ATMs for withdrawing cash in the local currency from the beginning of such availability. In this case I've calculated that I need only SGD50 and Bank of America has no members of its ATM Global Alliance in Singapore it will be cheaper for us to buy such a small amount ahead of our arrival. That also means we'll have SGD when we step off the ship and not have to find an ATM as our first stop. Trade dollars for time and it's just smarter and simpler this way.

Your input is appreciated.
BigBlue is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2017, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Thanks for clarifying your rationale!
Enjoy Singapore.
kja is offline  
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