Singapore has always been an ideal first international trip for Filipinos and for the right reason. Singapore boasts of its beautiful man-made attractions such as unique museums, modern botanical gardens, and luxurious entertainment centers. It has got everything from vibrant nightlife to delicious food. On top of it all, the environment is generally safe and clean. Cultural diversity is also very evident in the city.
If you have already explored Singapore before, there’s another way to enjoy Singapore without breaking your budget. How, you might ask? Well, you can make a quick layover at the most beautiful airport in the world! It has everything you need and more! As a matter of fact, you can spend an entire day or night at the airport without running out of things to do!
WHERE TO BOOK FLIGHTS:
For my Europe trip, one affordable hack I did to book flights is through a Singapore layover. And some of the most affordable fares are offered by Value Alliance. Value Alliance is an airline alliance that consists of low-cost carriers including Cebu Pacific and Scoot, among others. The alliance allows passengers to book flights with all of its eight carriers and enables passengers to create itineraries across the region through a single booking. It definitely makes booking flights so easy and efficient! Value Alliance is the fourth largest airline alliance in terms of passengers, flights, destinations, combined fleet, and members. The combined carriers collectively serve more than 160 destinations, primarily in the Asia-Pacific region.
SINGAPORE LAYOVER AIRPORT GUIDE:
What terminal is the arrival?
- From Manila: If you’re coming from Manila, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia operate at Terminal 4 while Philippine Airlines flight usually lands at Terminal 1.
- From other destinations:
- Depending on which flight you are traveling on into Singapore, you may arrive in one of three terminals. Getting through customs normally should not take you more than 15 minutes and baggage claim typically takes approximately 10 minutes. If you are a holder of a passport that participates in the enhanced-Immigration Automated Clearance System (eIACS), you may take an even shorter time to clear customs.
Regardless of terminals, Arrivals are all located on level one.
Where to leave luggage?
You can leave your luggage at the airport. All terminals in Singapore Changi Airport have baggage storage and counters and they are even available 24 hours daily. Prices for this typically start at 4 USD. It’s really ideal if you have a Singapore layover since you can leave your huge bags behind while you go and explore the airport or even head outside for a quick day tour. For more information, see here.
Should I get a visa to visit Singapore?
It depends on where you’re from but most nationalities can enter Singapore without a visa. You just fill in a landing card on arrival, they stamp your passport and you’re good to leave the airport and explore Singapore. Check the official Singapore immigration website to find out what the visa requirements for you are. If you’re a Filipino, you don’t have to secure a visa beforehand. Philippine passport holders can be issued visas upon arrival in Singapore. This is applicable up to 30 days. Your passport should at least have six months validity after the date of the intended departure from Singapore.
Where to stay in Singapore overnight?
- We stayed at Value Hotel Thomson. I must say, it is such an ideal hotel for travelers. It is also budget-friendly but it does not sacrifice convenience or comfort. It features clean and complete amenities and facilities including a large outdoor swimming pool. Value Hotel Thomson also has a restaurant that offers local and Western cuisines. There are also work stations equipped with Internet connection in the lobby. Although there is also high-speed Internet that is accessible all throughout the hotel.
- Aside from Value Hotel Thomson, you may also choose from a variety of accommodations affiliated with Value Alliance. It is so convenient for passengers who book flights through the Value Alliance website. They will have the added benefit of re-accommodation in the event of missed flight connections. In case there are schedule disruptions, customers may go to the site for hotel accommodation and other essentials.
- If you’re like me who opts to have a stopover in Singapore, I highly recommend booking the Changi Stopover Package. It’s a great way to save time and money efficiently. It’s very convenient as you don’t have to worry about anything else anymore. The package includes accommodation, transportation, and even a sim card for you to utilize during your stay! On the other hand, you may also just book your accommodation through the site if you won’t be needing transportation or a sim card.
How can I go around Singapore?
Singapore has a lot to offer. There is so much attractions and food to explore! Each time I have the chance to visit Singapore, I make sure to create new experiences each time. If you have time to explore the city and go around, I highly suggest you plan your day with Changi Stopover Packages. It helps save time and cut expenses efficiently. It’s very convenient and hassle-free since the packages already include accommodation, transportation, and even a sim card for you to utilize during your stay.
From the airport, you can choose from the other following options:
- Airport Shuttle: (around $9) takes you to designated hotels (just book online to reserve your spot)
- Taxi: Around $20 to $30 including $3 to $5 airport surcharge
- Private car: Book a transfer service in advance through this link
- Subway: MRT trains run from between Terminal 2 and 3, but take note that you need to change trains at Tanah Merah to a city-bound train by exiting the left hand side door to cross the platform (costs around $2.30 and runs from 5:30AM to 11PM)
- Bus: The terminals are found in basements of Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Fares are about $2 and exact cash is required if you pay cash (otherwise, your change will not be given back).
Once you’re in the city, since it’s a small metropolis, you can either walk (depending on the locations you’re going to) or take the following options:
- Rail: MRT and LRT trains are cheap and reliable modes of transportation. It’s best to get an EZ-link or Nets FlashPay farecards (can be bought either from the station or at convenience stores or online), and fares usually cost from $.80 to $2.20.
- Bus: These are a bit slower but still great for shorter distances. You can pay in cash or coins but it’s best to pay with your Ez-link or Nets FlashPay card, just don’t forget to tap out or you’ll end up paying the maxium fare.
- Taxi: Flag down rate starts at $3, anyhow you also opt for an Uber-like service by download the Grab ride-hailing app (you can pay by cash or credit card through this platform).
PLACES TO VISIT IN A DAY
Jewel Changi Airport
Changi Airport has just opened a mall that is worth $1.7 billion and true to its name, the Jewel of Changi Airport is already a destination itself. The highlight is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. So make sure to go around Jewel if you’re headed to Singapore soon!
- How to get there? Jewel is liked to Terminal 1’s Arrival Hall and via pedestrian walkway from Terminals 2 and 3.
- What to expect? More than just a shopping destination, the Jewel is a ten-storey hub that offers a mix of dining establishments, shopping outlets, and a beautiful forest valley. Prepare to be in awe of the indoor waterfall. It is truly worth the visit!
Merlion Park is Singapore’s most popular landmark. There are now two Merlion statues located at the park. The original Merlion statue is the one that spouts water from its mouth. A Merlion cub has been added and it is located near the original statue. Don’t forget to drop by Merlion Park to have your photos taken with the iconic Merlion statue!
- How to get there? Click here to see directions from Changi Airport to Merion Park. The nearest MRT to Merlion Park is Raffles Place Station. It is a 6-minute walk via Battery Road. If you’re riding the bus, the nearest bus stop is 2 minutes away at Fullerton Square.
- What to expect? The iconic Merlion statue of Singapore is located here. If you have enough time, you may stay until evening to watch the amazing lights show.
- Esplanade Park is one of the oldest among Singapore’s heritage parks. It is Singapore’s showcase for its historical landmarks.
- How to get there? Click here to refer to the map. The Esplanade Park is just a five-minute walk from the Merlion Park. The nearest MRT to Esplanade is City Hall Station (EWL) or Esplanade Station (Circle Line). It is a 5 to 10-minute underground walk via CityLink or Esplanade Xchange. The nearest bus stop is right outside Esplanade Mall along Raffles Avenue.
- What to expect? If you’re a history buff, the park might get a little more interesting for you. Take a stroll through this iconic park and reflect on the sacrifices made by brave soldiers at the Lim Bo Seng Memorial and the Cenotaph. Also, check out the Victorian style of the Tan Kim Seng Fountain.
- The Helix Bridge is a pedestrian bridge across the opening to Marina Bay. It links the new Marina Center with Marina South. It is located beside the Benjamin Sheares Bridge and the Bayfront Bridge.
- How to get there? Click here to refer to the map. The Helix Bridge is a 10-minute walk from the Esplanade. The nearest MRT to the Helix Bridge is Bayfront Station, which is a 10-minute walk via The Shoppes. The nearest bus stops are 2 minutes away at The Float Seating Gallery and after the Singapore Flyer.
- What to expect? From the bridge, you can have an amazing view of the iconic Marina Bay Sands. It is also a great spot for Instagram-worthy photos.
Gardens by the Bay
Located by the Marina Bay Waterfront, Gardens by the Bay is a sanctuary for nature lovers and for those who are looking for something new and exciting. Aside from its beautiful attractions and conservatories, Gardens by the Bay is also home to tranquil gardens and unique spaces.
- How to get there? Click here to refer to the map. From the Helix Bridge, Gardens by the Bay is just a 4-minute walk away.
- What to expect? You have a lot to explore in Garfens by the Bay including the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, Floral Fantasy and other attractions such as the Floral Clock, Sun Pavillion, and Heritage Gardens.
Little India (Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple & House of Tan Teng Niah)
- Little India is a vibrant and colorful neighborhood filled with culture, amazing food delights, and South Asian heritage. Don’t miss the Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple which was originally the home of Tan Teng Niah. The building is brighly colorful and it is indeed an awesome spot for your Instagram photos!
- How to get there? Click here to refer to the map. It’s advisable to take a taxi if you want to get there faster. However, if you’re willing to change trains, you may take the MRT. Just take the North South Line (towards Jurong East 4), and alight at Newton NS21 (Red) after 1 stop. Change to Downtown Line DT11 (Blue) towards Expo 12, and arrive at Little India DT21 (Blue) after one stop. If you’re taking the bus, take the SBS Transit but No. 65 from the bus stop at Lucky Plaza and get down at Broadway Hotel.
- What to expect? Explore the century-old temples, art establishments, and bustling streets that resemble that of South East Asian culture.
- Another hidden gem of Singapore, The Gardens is the first and only tropical botanic garden on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It is Singapore’s oldest garden and it is a great place for plant lovers or those who simply want to have a good time outdoors.
- How to get there? Click here to refer to the map. Botanic Gardens MRT Station (CC19/DT9) is an underground interchange station located at the boundaries of the Tyersall and Dunearn planning subzones, connecting the Circle Line (CCL) and the Downtown Line (DTL). There is a direct bus departing from Old Hill St Police Station and arriving at Opp Singapore Botanic Gardens. Buses depart every 15 minutes.
- What to expect? Explore the attractions such as Ethnobotany Garden, National Orchid Garden, and the Children’s Garden. You can also find the Library of Botany and Horticulture and the Heritage Musuem in there.
Japanese Cemetery Park
- Japanese Cemetery Park is the largest Japanese cemetery in Southeast Asia. It serve as the burial ground of Singapore’s early Japanese community. The place holds the ashes of thousands of Japanese soldiers, marines and airmen killed during World War II.
- How to get there? Click here to refer to the map. You can get to Japanese Cemetery Park by Bus or Underground train. These are the lines and routes that have stops nearby. For the bus: take the buses 103, 70, 76. For the Underground, take the NORTH EAST LINE.
- What to expect? It is a quiet residential neighborhood in Hougang. There’s a sprawling 30,000-square-metre cemetery park that contains nearly 1,000 graves of Japanese civilians in Singapore and soldiers mostly from the early 20th century.
Singapore is always a treat! No matter how many times I get to visit Singapore, what I realized is that I can always gain new experiences and create new memories in a place that I have been to before. It’s such a delight to explore Singapore and discover more of what it has to offer. I’m really glad we decided to have a stopover in Singapore and I wouldn’t have it any other way! While my Europe trip has been really magical, our quick getaway to Singapore was a great way to cap the trip off. In conclusion, I believe the Lion City is one of the best stopover cities there is!