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Looking for tips for a Singapore layover - City & Jewel

Looking for tips for a Singapore layover - City & Jewel

Old Apr 22nd, 2019, 06:55 PM
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Looking for tips for a Singapore layover - City & Jewel


My wife and I have a layover in Changi Airport early October this year via air Singapore at 2:35pm and leaving through Swiss Air at 11:10pm.

Iíve aware of the free city tours, but thereís too many uncertainties with bookings, plus Iíve heard mixed reviews. Also, there is a single Singapore immigration entry limit - the tour would count as one as weíre required to be with the tour the entire time, and we want to visit Jewel which would also be considered an additional entry.


3:15 deplane, immigration/customes, getting cash

3:45pm-6pm in the city centre (marina Bay Area?)

6pm-8:30pm Cab back to airport and explore Jewel

8:30pm Leave Jewel for terminal/gate/security for Swiss Air flight at 11:10pm


- Does timing look ok?

- Recommendations on how to make the most of 2h15m in the city? Weíd like to see Marina Bay and definitely eat at a hawker centre. Suggestions on additional sites? Chinatown? ideal Hawker centre?

- Recommendations on making the most of our ~2h at Jewel?

- Are there guides that could support us either direct from the airport or in the city centre that could customize our time together within our specific travel window?

- Would a SIM card for such a short trip be recommended?

Open to any other suggestions or tips or things we should be aware of doing a layover trip through Changi Singapore. Thanks!
lon247 is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 02:00 AM
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For those who donít know what Jewel is..... https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/17/insi...rtainment.html
I saw the building, from the outside, while at Changi Airport in Dec 2018. I can't wait to see it inside when I return in 2019.

ION247: I think 4PM-6PMPM in the Marina Bay area since you want to go to Marina Bay. As for throwing in a Hawker's Center in that short amount of time, I wouldn't plan on that one. There are plenty of eating places inside of The Shoppes at Marina Bay if you want to eat before you get to Jewel or just eat inside of Jewel. Hawker food isn't only found at Hawker Centers. Plus from The Shoppes at Marina Bay, you can go outside and view the Merlion from afar. If you walk into the Shoppes at Marina Bay and then walk straight through it and out the doors at the opposite end, then you'll be outside with a nice view in that direction.

I would suggest being at the taxi stand outside of the Shoppes at Marina Bay area no later than 6:00PM and then head to Jewel. Or better, take the MRT subway back to the airport as it can get difficult to get a taxi during rush hour and there might be a lot of people waiting at the taxi stand.
If you take the MRT, then the station for the Marina Bay Sands Hotel/Shoppes at Marina Bay area is Bayfront MRT station. If you get on there (CE1-yellow line) and travel until you get to the Pay Lebar MRT station and get off there, then you can transfer there and get on the green line (EW8) and head straight for Changi Airport and from there walk to Jewel which is connected to Changi Airport. The MRT station is very easy to figure out as things are very orderly in Singapore.

Below is the MRT map. Just click on it to enlarge.

Looking for tips for a Singapore layover - City & Jewel-singapore-mrt-map.jpg

What I did in Feb 2019, was took the MRT to The Shoppes at Marina Bay as I had something I was looking for there. Then, I went to the area where the Chanel store is and next to it thereís a hidden passage way thatís labeled, Gardens By The Bay. Enter that area and take the escalator up, the only way that it goes, and youíll end up on a roof top-style area and thereís a passage way that one walks out and can look into the Marina Bay Sand Hotelís lobby from above as it's all glass. When one walks past that area, one is outside again and thereís a nice view and further along there are pathways and there is also a tram to take one to the Gardens by The Bay of which you wonít have time to do. But, the view is nice from that area and itís also a nice place to take some photos.

Below you can see the Chanel store and to the left of it is the hidden passage way to the escalator.


Plus, from that outdoor area with the view of Gardens By The Bay in the distance, the suspension bridge and where the trams are below, thereís the Bayfront MRT station right there . I took the MRT back to my side of town from that point and didnít need to go back into the Shoppes at Marina Bay to get to the Bayfront MRT station from its lower level. While on that overpass area, I just looked to my right and could see the Bayfront MRT station entrance right there. Easy.

As for getting a SIM card, I wouldn't waste more time trying to get one. I don't even travel with a cell phone and I'm in the region for 6-7 weeks straight and have navigated just fine whether in Singapore for a few hours, before flying on to Bangkok, or in Singapore for up to 2 weeks straight at the end of my 6-7 week trips to the region.

And as for getting a tour guide, I don't know of any that would take you around for that short period of time. But, maybe there are some out there. I've never had a tour guide in Singapore and I've been going there for 20 years. The MRT, taxis, and buses have gotten me wherever I've needed to go.

Happy Travels!

Last edited by Guenmai; Apr 23rd, 2019 at 02:09 AM.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 06:05 PM
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I must admit that I don't know what you mean when you say that you want to visit Marina Bay -- the area? That could take a day! But FWIW, I agree with Guenmai that you are ambitious to think you can fit a visit to Marina Bay and a stop at a hawker center in the same short interval. While transportation in Singapore is excellent, the distances are large, and I, at least, would end up anxiously watching the clock.

You might consider:
  • A visit to Marina Bay IF you know what you most want to see and are sure you can do so in the time you have; or
  • A visit to Singapore's Chinatown for a hawker center (maybe some black pepper crab ), a stroll through the area, and a stop in the excellent Chinatown Heritage Centre; or
  • A visit to Singapore's Little India for one of it's many places to taste great food, a stroll through the area, and, depending on your interests, either the Tekka Market or one or more of the area's temples.
Just some ideas for your consideration!
If you haven't already seen it, you might find some other ideas in my trip report; the section on Singapore begins with post # 12: A Memorable Solo Month in Singapore, Java, and Bali
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 08:48 PM
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I would not try to do Marina Bay and hawker center. What is it you want to see at Marina Bay? I'd either go to a Hawker center or someplace like Long Island Dempseys and have a nice meal, then go back to Jewel and spend the rest of my limited time there. Jewel looks like it has everything; adventure, food, shopping and beautiful plants.

Travelling in the city via MRT trains is much faster that cabs, especially during rush hours. Choose a Hawker center or restaurant that is near a station and eat there..

If you really want to be in a car, put the Grab app on your phone. It is easier and cheaper than a taxi (even if the Grab car is often a guy driving in a taxi!) You can't just hail a cab in S'Pore...you have to find a taxi stand and wait in a line. In some spots the taxi stands are far apart and have long lines. Calling the company for a cab will cost extra too!
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Old Apr 25th, 2019, 01:11 AM
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I should clarify that Grab is the Asian version of Uber, but much more widely used.
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Old Apr 25th, 2019, 02:59 AM
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I'd take the MRT and go to Little India. Have a nice hike thru the neighborhood, enjoy an interesting meal, buy a few local items and nip back to the airport.
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Old Apr 25th, 2019, 01:03 PM
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We had a layover earlier in January this year, landing at 1.15pm and next flight at 11.30pm. Since it was a Sunday, traffic was fast moving. We stowed our carryon in the luggage storage and grabbed a taxi and got dropped off at Buddha Tooth Relic. After visiting the temple, we strolled the jam packed Chinatown (we were visiting very close to Chinese New Year). Had a meal at Hawker Chan, the cheapest 1 Michelin star
We took the MRT from Chinatown to Bugis and walked around Haji lane with colorful murals and interesting cafes leading to Sultan Mosque. From there we walked to Helix bridge and onto Gardens by the Bay in time for the Rhapsody light & sound show at 7.45pm (amazing!). Walked around the bay a bit after the show and took a taxi back to the airport a little after 9pm.
We wanted to have a meal at Makansutra Gluttons Bay but we couldn't fit in the schedule. SO much to see and do In Singapore, hope to go back for a longer visit next time. We loved the short time we had there. Hope this helps.

Last edited by laxeash; Apr 25th, 2019 at 01:08 PM.
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Old Apr 27th, 2019, 08:37 PM
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Really appreciate the replies here so far. A few additional questions
- I'd like to simply get a great view of Marina Bay Sands. I don't necessarily need to visit it. Is the promontory the place for that? Or does anyone have strong feelings about visiting the Gardens by the bay?
- I'll likely just focus on visiting the chinatown area thanks to your feedback. My wife and I are foodies and I think we'd have a great time just visiting stalls and eating. Open to specific recommendations there.
- I know people mentioned the MRT. It certainly looks more affordable, however when I google mapped the times it's 45-55 minutes vs. 18-20 minutes by cab. Given my short stay I'm tempted to sticking with the cab plus not getting lost. Unless people feel during my travel times (3pm airport to the city, and 6pm city to Jewel) it will be far slower?
- I'm also trying to maximize my time at Jewel. Is 8:30pm a reasonable time to leave Jewel catch an international flight at 11:10pm? Thoughts on pushing it further to 9pm?

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Old Apr 28th, 2019, 01:38 AM
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Personally, I would take the MRT over a taxi in your pressed-for-time situation unless you can get a taxi fast and not have to wait. You can't just flag one as you need to find a taxi stand and then wait in line with other folks and hope that it isn't raining as then more people will be trying to get one. Who knows...maybe you'll get lucky and get one right away. I've had different taxi experiences, but I have a lot of time and don't need to sweat it. But, on the recent trip I waited in line, on a clear day, for around 30 minutes and then got out of line and went into the MRT station and took the MRT. Plus, taxi drivers can refuse to drive to certain places as I watched that happen when I was in line and both a man and then a woman were refused and then I was also refused. So, I jumped on the MRT and took off back to my hotel.

As for Gardens by the Bay, I still haven't visited it, but will eventually as I'd really like to and have heard from folks who have that it was really great. On my recent trip, I viewed it from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel area that I stated upthread. I can actually see Marina Bay Sands Hotel from my hotel room window way across town on Orchard Blvd.

As for what time to get to your gate and all, Changi Airport is very organized and since Jewel is an addition to the airport, 8:30PM should be plenty of time to start heading back over to the main part of the airport. It's usually fast through the passport control window area and the x-ray machine might be at your gate as I have had lots of flights where it's been at my personal gate.

Happy Travels!
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Old May 21st, 2019, 02:44 AM
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If you're more of an outdoorsy type, you should go have a hike through Bukit Timah reserve. Its probably only a half-hour cab-ride from the airport, and you could immerse yourself in some real-deal tropical southeast asian rainforest. It's a gem!
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