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Money at Changi Airport?

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Dec 3rd, 2007, 07:03 PM
  #1
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Money at Changi Airport?

This will be the first of several questions on Singapore, as my daughter leaves for her semester abroad in January.

Are there plenty of ATMs or moneychangers in the arrivals area? DD will be arriving at late in the evening, and will need cash to take a cab to NUS- Nat Univ of Singapore.

Are taxis pretty safe and easy there? Any tips to taking them from the airport?

Does anyone have any idea where the NUS is located in relation to Changi? We've ordered guidebooks, but delivered to DD, not me, so I won't see them till Christmas week.

The university has been worse than lame in providing info, so we're more or less on our own.
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Dec 3rd, 2007, 07:14 PM
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so when is DM going to visit DD??
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Dec 3rd, 2007, 07:37 PM
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There are money changers and ATMs, open when we got there at 1:00 AM...seem open 24 hrs as they were also open when we left SIN very early, arriving at the airport at 4:00 AM.

Taxis are safe and easy. An alternative would be a set price taxi service, which would be about the same cost when you add in the late night surcharge for regular taxi.

http://www.nus.edu.sg/ might be helpful.
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Dec 3rd, 2007, 07:42 PM
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There are ATMs in the arrivals hall as well as moneychangers. Take a look at the website for Changi at I:\LEGAL\Forms\Mou & IASA\A-P - Forms\2007\Interim-TSA.doc, it may show locations of ATMs and money changers. I would also suggest that she simply get some Singapore Dollars in the US before she leaves, having like US$100 worth of local money is always helpful in case the ATMs are all not working or something. The small extra you will pay in exchange rate for doing the money exchange in the US is more than worth the peace of mind of having some ready cash in IMO.

Taxis are metered and extremely safe and reliable. Virtually all of Singapore is without crime, it's not totally crime free of course, but is has far less of a petty crime rate than any US city of its size, and far less violent crime than any similar size US city. I would not have any concerns on that point.

NUS is almost at the other end of the island from Changi, it is on the southwest coast and Changi is on the far north east coast. A basic map is at http://www.sg/explore/map.htm, the university it near Clementi. It will be about at 30-40 minute ride. There is a taxi line at the airport, just follow signs after Immigration and baggage claim/Customs, she will tell the dispatcher where she wants to go. I could not estimate the price, but see if there is anything on the airport website on this. Drivers speak English. There will be a surcharge for late-night travel. Many taxis take credit cards, if she wants to use a credit card, she should tell the dispatcher and they can arrange to get her one. There is a surcharge for using a credit card.
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Dec 3rd, 2007, 07:44 PM
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As others have said, lots of ATMs and money changers in Changi, open 24 hours a day.

Taxis are easy and safe - I can't think of a safer place in the world. As with any airport, go to teh taxi line, don't follow touts acosting you after you leave baggage claim. There is a 50% surcharge between something like midnight and 5 am, but the fares are still quite reasonable.

Singapore itself is small, area-wise, so nothing is terribly far from the airport.
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Dec 3rd, 2007, 07:48 PM
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Sorry, the website for Changi airport is http://www.changiairport.com/changi
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Dec 3rd, 2007, 07:56 PM
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Lcuy...Money is no problem... exchange it at the airport. Taxis are safe. I've been arriving into Singapore around midnight for nearly a decade and have had no problems with taxis. And the whole country is only 254 square miles big...half the size of L.A.county so nothing is too far away. Happy Travels!
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Dec 3rd, 2007, 10:18 PM
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Thanks everyone! I figured it would be like BKK, but cleaner. Sounds like it is!

I've been trying for two weeks to get some Singapore Dollars at the bank....You'd think they'd never had a singaporean tourist here! Anyone in Honolulu want to sell me a fee S$s?

And yes, Bob, this DM is angling for a visit to DD! I thought I had my DH convinced that she needs an escort to Singapore in January, but I felt sort of guilty(knowing she no more needs an escort than I do!!) and backed off. I think at the end of her semester in May will be the best!
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Dec 3rd, 2007, 10:51 PM
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You should be able to purchase currency from TravelEx, they are a large and reputable foreign exchange dealer who are in most airports in Asia and elsewhere in the world, see http://www.travelex.com/us/. They have two outlets in Honolulu, one in the Hyatt and one in the Ala Moana Shopping Center, see their website for contact details. If you canít purchase Sing Dollars in their retail outlets, you can purchase currency on line from them. I have not purchased from them on-line, but would say that they are generally quite reputable.

Also, I believe some American Express offices will exchange foreign currency if you are a card member, you might check this. If you have a MasterCard or visa, they may have similar programs or sell you currency on-line. There are plenty of other on-line places where you can buy currency, I just donít know anything about their reputation other than TravelEx which I do know.

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Dec 3rd, 2007, 11:43 PM
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lucy, i've got such a deal for you. i've got a few extra sing dollars that my brohters copier burned, so lets make a deal.

your dd won't need that much to get a taxi, so maybe i can print off an extra sheet. i'll call you next week, and we can discuss rates.

vty, moke, aka singh, your friendly, kamaaina money changer.(no one gives lower than us.)err, i mean no one gives Higher than us.lol.
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Dec 4th, 2007, 06:53 AM
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Lcuy, I really think that it is much more bother than it is worth to get Singapore dollars in advance. There are literally zillions of moneychangers and ATMs readily available in Changi (often voted the best airport in the world). I just took a look at my stash of foreign currency and noted I only have S$4... but if you're in need of Egyptian pounds or Morrocan dirhams or Malaysian ringgit or Indonesian rupiah, have I got a deal for you!
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Dec 4th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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Lcuy...Why in the world would you want to buy Singapore dollars outside of Singapore? It's totally unnecessary. You can exchange money at the airport and the exchange rate is fine at the airport. Happy Travels!
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Dec 4th, 2007, 10:56 AM
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I wouldn't worry about it after hearing from of all you, but this is my 20 yr old we're talking about.

There have been trips where "things happened"; ATM card wouldn't work, power outage in airport, storms, etc, and it would just be comforting for me to know my daughter has money for her cab and a meal or two!

K-suke: You always know the best people! Tell MokeBoy I'd like a sheet or two, but off the color, not black & white printer!!
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Dec 4th, 2007, 03:22 PM
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I am biased as I'm a local. Things work here. To give you peace of mind just change some US$100 is more than enough until your girl has time to change her money at the local money changers. As pointed out cabs here do accept credit cards. There's lots of eating places that accept them too (only thing the meals would be pricier).

Bottom line you don't have to worry too much. Let me know if you need help.

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Dec 8th, 2007, 06:23 AM
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OK I landed at Changi on Friday and took note of the location of money changers and ATMs in the arrival hall. I have given info for both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, as I don't know which terminal she will be arriving into. Terminal 2 is for Singapore Airlines, you can check on the Changi Airport website which terminal her flight will arrive into.

Money changers are inside baggage claim area. They are open 24 hours, Amex is currently buying US Dollars at 1.419. In Terminal 2, the money changers are located on the left side of the hall as you come into the baggage claim area, after the belts numbered 35-38 and before belts 31-34. In Terminal 1, money changers are located opposite Belt 16 and there is one opposite Belt 23.

ATMs are outside after baggage claim area, i.e. after you go through Customs. If in Terminal 2, after you come out through the Customs doors with your bags, go left, past the Polar Cafe and the McDonalds on the left and the Taxi doors/line on the right, the ATMs are at the end of the hall on the right. (There is another set at the opposite end of the hall.) For Terminal 1, the ATMs are in the middle of the hall between the two exit doors from baggage claim/customs, near the information counter on the same side of the hall as the Customs exit doors, this may be to your right or your left, depending on what door you come out of from baggage claim/Customs.

To get a taxi, when coming out of the baggage claim/Customs area, look for signs saying "Taxi". In Terminal 2, you would go left and then look for the doors on the right about 40 feet down. In Terminal 1, the taxi door is in the middle of the hall opposite the information counter, again this may be a left turn or a right turn depending on which door you exit from the baggage claim/Customs area.

If you don't recall or she does not know, luggage carts are free and she should take one assuming she has a good bit of luggage. When exiting baggage claim through Customs, she should go through the green "nothing to declare" channel. There is like a 0.000001% chance she would ever be stopped by a Customs official.

The other thing that has occurred to me is you sure she can get into her dorm room late at night? I would not be sure that there would be anyone to give her a key, and more importantly to even let her in the dorm room. I don't know what you kind of receiption you would find on a US campus rocking up at midnight or later expecting to be given a key to your dorm room, and I don't expect Singapore would be any different. (This assumes that the taxi driver even knows the location of the dorm, but campus security should be around; I have not been on the NUS campus in more than 10 years so really can't say what there presence is.) She will have to find someone to let her in or find a door with a security guard. While there may be an RA on duty, that person may not even know what room your daughter is in and may not have a key (but should be able to at least open the door). The other thing is it that it is likely that there is no lift/elevator, and if you daughter has a good bit of luggage, she will have to struggle with it herself, in the dark, in the quite humid heat and with some pretty overwhelming jet lag. You might want to consider booking a hotel for her first night and maybe her second, esp. if the dorm is not air conditioned. She could crash there the first night and deal with finding the dorm and getting a key etc in daylight the next day. The YMCA at One Orchard Road is a perfectly acceptable place and is walkable to the MRT so she could even take the subway out the campus, sans luggage, the next day to get her bearings and her dorm room first. See http://www.ymca.org.sg/ for info. There is another YMCA on Stevens Road and one in Fort Canning, see http://www.mymca.org.sg/hotel.htm and http://nof.ywca.org.sg, respectively, IMO the Orchard Road location is better. There are of course lots of other hotel choices too if you want to spend more, the Y seems to be running about US$125 a night, which ain't cheap really but Singapore hotels are not cheap either.

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