Asia,  Singapore,  TDM,  Travel Journal

Singapore (part 1/2): one of the four dragons of Asia

Singapore strangely reminds us of Hong Kong, for its very western side with half-Asian half-European rates. Hong Kong and Singapore are nicknamed “Asian dragons”, as well as South Korea and Taiwan. But unlike Hong Kong, our first impressions are 10 times more positive: the people are super nice and smiling, and the country is remarkably clean

Part 1: Travel Diaries
Part 2: Practical Tips

Part 1: Travel Diaries

We take the last flight in Asia except round-the-world ticket from Ho Chi Minh City to land in Singapore. From Singapore, our next 5 flights (long haul) will be covered by our round the world ticket. This is the technique that many travelers advise us. It is much more profitable to take low cost airlines in Asia instead of integrating all the trips in the round the world ticket

As hotels and hostels are far too expensive in Singapore, we opt for Airbnb. Public transport is excellent here, we go by metro & bus (3$SG/person). We are lucky to be upgraded to a huge room for 30€/night


Singapore seems to be Airbnb’s paradise. The apartment where we are is dedicated only to Airbnb’s customers, and one person we are in contact with manages 150 such rooms. She gives us 2 codes: the code of the entrance door, and the code of our room. At our arrival, everything is already ready, our name isn’ted on the door by the cleaning lady. All this lacks a little charm since we will not cross at any time the owner but it is very practical: no stress to fix an appointment

Day 1: Merlion Park & Marina Bay Sands

Despite the fatigue, we are very motivated to go and see the sea lion, THE symbol of Singapore. It is bigger than I thought (I thought it was as small as the Copenhagen mermaid hehe)


We walk along the promenade to Marina Bay Sands to watch the water and light show at 8pm. We cross a lot of people who came to jog, there are even small groups who came to train with their coach. In spite of the heat, the air is quite breathable, it makes you want to live here




Let’s talk about Marina Bay Sands, it’s a luxury hotel, very well known for its rooftop swimming pool at 150m long, but it’s also the ideal place to go shopping (upscale), to go to the casino or simply to eat. Their short food is cheap and you have a lot of choice (between Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Chinese, Hong Kong…). I wanted us to stay here one night to enjoy the swimming pool reserved only for the customers, but the rates are much too expensive (380€ per night) for us to allow ourselves this madness, a friend suggested us to go take a Coke on the rooftop and enjoy the view on the swimming pool, for less money. We will do it when it will be daylight

Day 2: Universal Studios Singapore

We bought the tickets for this amusement park at the airport (60$SG/person) without really knowing what to expect. It rains, but we go there anyway, hoping that the park will be empty

To get to Universal Studio, you must stop at the MRT Harbour City station or the Vivo City bus station. We have lunch at the Vivo City foodcourt (7$SG/person) to save some money


From VivoCity, we take a Santosa Express monorail (the entrance to the island costs 4$SG but then we take this monorail as much as we want as long as we stay on the island) until the Waterfront stop.

And then the fun begins. It’s the equivalent of a Disneyland Studio, but without the line. We do a maximum of 10 minutes of queue, while it hardly rains (it’s even nice, it’s more refreshing that way). My two favorite attractions are Transformers in 4D and Revenge of the Mummy (I screamed from the beginning to the end – it’s like we’re in a pyramid and we’re going to die). The rest is good as well, the great decos, especially the Jurassic Park and Shrek universe (which also features Pussycat and Kitty Soft Paws)

JB liked the Cyclon roller coaster, an Osiris equivalent of the Asterix park with loops while you have your feet in the air








I am delighted with this visit, and going there without knowing what to expect makes the visit much more pleasant and surprising. In one day we did almost everything, attended the shows. On the other hand, it’s quite tiring, we didn’t have the courage to take the Santosa Express to go to the beach or see another “Merlion” (sea lion) on this island

In the evening, we eat in a local restaurant/canteen. We just have to show the dishes we want to eat (there are about twenty dishes to choose from). Our meal cost us 18$SG for two (drinks included). Next door, a fruit store offers pre-cut fruit for 2$SG per tub


That’s it, that’s the end of our 1st part in Singapore. We take the boat to Batam (Indonesia) and will continue our visit in Singapore in a few days

Part 2: Practical Tips

How to get there

By plane, Singapore is the transportation hub of Asia, that’s partly why we included it in our round-the-world ticket


  • No one asked us for our exit ticket at the Singapore airport, but in Vietnam, we were asked for our exit ticket
  • There are no fees when you withdraw money with a foreign card, so just withdraw just what you need (unlike the Philippines or Vietnam where I have to withdraw as much as I can to make the fixed fees pay off). Many places accept credit card payment at no extra charge
  • I find that StarHub SIM cards are the cheapest: 15$SG for 3.7GB to be used in 6 days + roaming in Indonesia, Malaysia…
  • Singapore bans a lot of things including chewing gum and pepper sprays (I was asked if I brought one, at customs). Make sure you find out well beforehand, otherwise you risk paying big fines
  • Buy the transportation card(Ez-Link or refundable MRT card), not in Changi stores but just in front of the airport MRT: It costs 12$SG of which 5$SG for the card and 7$SG for the trip. You can add some money (“top up”) of 10$SG or 20$SG. When you leave Singapore, you will be able to get a refund of the balance of the card
  • Eat in the food courts of shopping malls or hawker centers to pay less
  • Check out the schedule for the free show in front of Marina Bay Sands (Wonder Full) here









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