We spent one night in Singapore when on our way to Manado (Indonesia). We had intended to take the train from Southern Thailand down through Malaysia, stopping in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, but in the end we were enjoying our time in Thailand too much and needed the extra days to complete some of the “must-do” activities such as Khao Sok National Park. So we flew from Phuket to Singapore and stayed one night in the cheapest hotel that we could find that was within 30 mins MRT ride from the airport (Hotel 81 Classic near Paya Lebar MRT station).
We arrived early afternoon and were impressed from the start by the efficiency, cleanliness, safe environment and ease of travel in Singapore. I’ve never been through immigration and retrieved checked luggage faster than this anywhere in the world – I think we got to our hotel around an hour after we touched down. This was helpful as it gave us some time to go shopping to replenish some supplies of essentials like bio-degradeable bodywash and in particular I needed to replace my cheap Keen-like sandals with some real Keens that wouldn’t ruin my feet. We found these at Novena Square shopping centre where there are a few outdoors/sports shops, but it wasn’t cheap to buy stuff there – I paid 142 SGD/ 112 USD for the Keens.
The relatively high cost of living (compared with other places in SE Asia) is the one major disadvantage and why we will only spend 2 night in total in Singapore. Staying there is, I think, around the same cost as in London – cheapest hotel outside of the centre of the city costs 109 SGD / 71 GBP, and of course the rooms are very small just like they would be in London. Things like beer are very expensive (8-12 SGD), although public transport is relatively cheap (MRT rides cost 1-2 SGD – significantly cheaper than using the tube in London).
We’re looking forward to stopping there again on our return leg from Indonesia, and to explore more in the centre of the city, as we only had time for shopping this time!