One day stopover in Singapore

Old Feb 5th, 2007, 09:00 AM
  #1  
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One day stopover in Singapore

We will be flying in and out of Singapore on the way to India in a few weeks. We will have 12 hours (from 7 AM to 7 PM) in one direction, and 16 hours (from 7 AM to Midnight) in the other direction.

Has anyone taken any of the free 2 hour tours from the airport? If so, do you think they are worthwhile, and which one would you recommend? Do you know if it is possible to get left off in the city and make your own way back to the airport?

Any idea what time I would need to leave the city to comfortably get on our flights (luggage will be checked through already)?

I have been digesting all of the great ideas on this board, but any particular recommendations for 2 lunches and 1 dinner, given that those will be our only meals in Singapore? Any particular suggestions re itineraries for such brief visits? Very tough decisions....

Thanks very much!

Len

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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 09:26 AM
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Hi Len,

Would recommend that you explore Singapore city. There is a train station which you can catch from the airport (terminal 1). The journey is probably around 30 min to the city.

As for time to be back at the airport, do check with the information counter on the timing.

For recommendation of food, must try the local food since it would be an exposure for your visit. There are food courts in the shopping mall (Scotts Shopping Centre, Takashimaya at Ngee Ann City), both are located at the basement one level.

For 12 hours duration, you can consider take a train to City Hall, and you can explore the area around there (Chimjes, Padang, Raffles Hotel, Equinox for a view of the city,).

For the 16 hours duration, you can try Orchard Rd, or Vivo City, which overlook Sentosa island.

You can check out these places thru the internet.

Hope these would be helpful.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 09:28 AM
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I wouldn't take the free tour from the airport, as you have time to do much more. Transport in and out of the city is relatively inexpensive and the area is small, so you should be able to get to the airport from the city (and the reverse) 30 minutes or so.

Some of my favorite things: Plan a lunch at Raffles one day, I recommend Doc Cheng's. You'll have time to wander the area a bit, stop in at the small museum in Raffles. There is an MRT stop closeby, so before or after you can take the MRT to visit the Museum of Asian Civilizations.

One morning, go to the Botanical Gardens. They are lovely, but best seen early as it is very hot. Do visit the Orchid Garden there - the largest in the world.

Many people recommend the night safari at the zoo, and you would have time to fo that the day your flight leaves at midnight.

There are lots of other things to do - what are your interests?
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 09:34 AM
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you might be quite tired on your arrival day so you might just like to take the free tour that day and have a nice meal or two, either in the airport or in town...

on the way home you will probably be less jet lagued so i should think this would be a day for more aggressive touring...

would you consider hiring a driver to drive you around for either of the days?? or a guide??
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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Bob, I can't imagine any reason to hire a driver in Singapore or a guide. Public transport (the MRT) is clean, efficient and air-conditioned and is easy to find your way around. Everything is marked in English, and the Singapore Tourist Board has the best publications of any tourist board in the world. (Make sure to pick up one of their guidebooks - free and lots of good info.) It would actually take longer to get from place to place with a car and driver. Since everyone speaks English, I also don't see any reason for a guide.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 11:49 AM
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Thanks so much for all of the good suggestions so quickly.

Re Kathie's question regarding what we like to do, we have pretty broad interests, including wandering around neighborhoods, museums, parks and gardens (so the Botanical Garden and zoo sound great), and of course eating. Would we need reservations at Doc Cheng's, for example?

Thanks again,

Len
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 12:54 PM
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Hire a guide or driver...and in Singapore? Absolutely no reason for such. Get on the MRT. Happy Travels!
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 12:55 PM
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Do a search on this board for Singapore. I've written a lot on the place. Happy Travels!
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 02:13 PM
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If you go at lunch time you shouldn't need a reservation at Doc Cheng's. For dinner, you should make a reservation. On the other hand, it never hurts to have a reservation. I lke the romantic curtained booths they have.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 06:14 PM
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Someone else asked this question a while ago....here is what I wrote for them....this would work for you on the second stopover.

I would head for the Botanical Garden first, as early in the morning as you can, so you can enjoy it during the coolest part of the day. The BG is free but there is a small charge to get into the Orchid Garden, which is totally worth it. They just opened a new "Cool House" section and it's wonderful.
Head from there straight down to the Sir Stamford Raffles statue by the river. That's where you can pick up the bumboat ride up and down the river. (10 min by taxi....no traffic on Sun.) Ask for the 45 min boat ride, instead of the 30. It costs a bit more, but you see more. Great overview of the city, from the water, and it goes all the way out into the harbor, so you can see the Merlion statue. There is a recorded message that explains what you are seeing. I've taken many guests on this boat ride and they all love it.

The boat will let you off back at the Raffles statue, where you can wander the historic district a bit more (Padang, Parliament House, St. Andrew's church etc) and then head to Chinatown (6-7 min by taxi)to see some great temples, have lunch at Maxwell Rd. hawker stalls if you are adventurous, or a restaurant if you want air con, and then a bit of shopping in the stores.
Towards the late afternoon, jump in a taxi and head for Raffles Hotel, for a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar....corny, but ya gotta do it. Then walk all around Raffles, enjoying the many shops and beautiful architecture.

For a romantic and uniquely Singaporean experience at dinner, book a table at Flutes at the Fort. It's located in an old "black and white," the colonial homes that have now been historically preserved. This one sits on top of Ft. Canning and it used to be the Fire Chief's house. You can eat on the verandah, and see glimpses of city lights through the trees. Excellent food....sort of modern Australian, with Asian influence.

That's a full day, but you will have covered some of the best that Singapore has to offer.

I would avoid Orchard Rd.....really just a lot of flashy shopping malls.
Other unique cultural areas include Little India (Serangoon Rd) and Arab St. If you go to Little India, be sure to walk through Tekka Market....it's the largest wet market in Singapore and full of interesting sights (and smells.) If you want some great Indian vegetarian food, cheap and local style, look for Komalas Vilas restaurants....there are 3 of them in that area.
If you go to Arab St., look for a very local style restaurant called Zam Zam....everyone in the neighborhood knows it. Go upstairs to the air con area and order the chicken murtabak. It's the best in town.

Enjoy Singapore!




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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 06:24 PM
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Yes, I would avoid Orchard Road,too. I would do Arab Street, the Indian area, Fort Canning area, and the Asian Civilization Museum and eat next door at Indochine...for dinner. It's right on the Boat Quay. You can always take taxis in Singapore. There are over 15,000 of them in a country that's around 254 square miles big. Plus, they are quite inexpensive and the distances are quite short. So, MRT combined with taxis. Have fun. Happy Travels!
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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With your timing, you'll be in and out around Chinese New Year, so you'll be able to see all the great decorations around town. Having just been in/ or on your way to India, you might enjoy a trip through Chinatown more. A cab can get you into town to one of the main destinations. Guen and Kathie are right, the MRT in town is easy to use and understand, we were just there.

For your trip back you definitely have time for dinner. The area around Boat Quay is more traditional (very close to the Asian Museum too, which stays open quite late most nights and has a very good SE Asian exhibit, intro to Singapore history section -- very interesting to see how they went about cleaning up the river area, and right now a special exhibit of huge bronze masks just excavated in China). Very close by (a walk along the river) is Clark Quay, which is very lively with a younger crowd and a great many restaurant choices, depending on what you like.

I guess everyone just has to see Raffles -- but I could have easily given the whole overpriced Singapore Sling Long Bar experience a miss. The Palm Court/Writers Bar area is more open and enjoyable for a drink, imho.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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jenskar, I agree with you about the Singapore Sling/Long Bar. There are lovely things about Raffles, and that isn't one of them.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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Also, if you buy an MRT pass...which can be bought at the MRT stations, then when you're at the end of your stay in Singapore, all you have to do is take it to an MRT station and tell them that you're leaving Singapore and they will refund you the unused portion. Or you can keep it, because it's good for 5(?) years. I vacation in Singapore annually so I usually just keep my MRT pass for the next year. Have fun. Singapore and Singaporeans are great. Happy Travels!
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 04:24 PM
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The only authentic thing about Boat Quay are the shophouse fronts. The restaurants and bars themselves are completely touristy, as is evidenced by the fact that nearly every single one of them has a tout out front, trying to lure people in to dine (not exactly the hallmark of a fine restaurant.)

Clarke Quay used to have charming shophouse fronts like Boat Quay, but a few years ago they remodeled the whole area and turned it into some kind of futuristic George Jetson looking nightmare, with silly orange "pods" covering the dining area adjacent to the river. There are a few good restaurants on Clarke Quay, sprinkled among the tourist traps, but you need to pick and choose carefully. Personally I think there are many other better places to eat around town.

If you are here during Chinese New Year, look for restaurants (especially around Chinatown) featuring the "tossing of yu sheng." It's a CNY custom unique to Singapore and ensures good luck for the "tossers" for the whole year.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 06:06 PM
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Indochine restaurant is excellent although I've never eaten at the Boat Quay one, but Laurieco did and posted that she liked it. I've been eating at the Club Street one for years. So, I would go to Boat Quay just to eat dinner at Indochine. Happy Travels!
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 02:17 AM
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Indochine IS excellent, in fact one of our favorite places to take out of town visitors, but it is NOT on Boat Quay. It's on the other side of the river, facing the quaint shophouse fronts on Boat Quay, with the modern high rise city behind. It's this fabulous contrasting view of old and new Singapore that makes dining on the outdoor terrace of Indochine (attached to the back of the Asian Civ Museum) so unique.
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 07:56 AM
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Right, it's almost next to the Asian Civilization Museum. I refer to that area as Boat Quay. I thought that's what it was referred to on one of my Singapore maps. Happy Travels!
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