Getting across Singapore is simple: the public transit system is well-organized, and taxis are inexpensive if you can find one. Only a small percentage of tourists hire automobiles. Gothere.sg performs an excellent job at calculating the quickest MRT and bus routes, as well as predicting taxi prices between any two places.
The EZ-link contactless RFID farecard or a Nets Flash Paycard may be a good investment if you are staying in Singapore for an extended period of time or intend to return to Singapore many times in the future. The EZ-link and Nets Flash Pay cards are recognizable to anyone who have used Hong Kong’s Octopus card, London Underground’s Oyster card, Washington DC’s SmarTrip card, Melbourne’s myki card, Vancouver’s Compass card, or Japan Railways’ IC cards. You may put money on it and use it to get a 15% discount on MRT trains and all city buses. The card costs $12, which includes $7 in stored value, and it can be “filled up” in $10 increments at any ticketing machine or 7-Eleven (the latter will allow a top-up for a service fee). The same card may be used for a period of five years. The card technology was updated in 2009, however if you have any old cards hanging around, they may be swapped for free at TransitLink ticket offices at all MRT stations with their value intact. The $5 card fee will not be reimbursed and will be forfeited. If you’re leaving Singapore and have money on your card, you may get a refund at any TransitLink ticket office, but your card will be invalidated, and the $5 will be lost once again.
The Singapore Tourist Pass, which is available at certain TransitLink ticket offices (including Changi Airport and Orchard MRT stations) and incorporates ez-link card capabilities as well as a range of attraction discounts, is another option. The pass, which covers unlimited MRT and non-premium bus travel, costs $10 for one day, $16 for two days, or $20 for three days (with a $10 rental fee that will be reimbursed if the card is returned within five days of purchase). On the day they expire, the passes are good until the conclusion of operation hours.
Single tickets are available for MRT and buses, however they are inconvenient and, in the case of buses, they create delays for others since the driver must count fee stages to inform you how much you must pay. Furthermore, the bus does not provide change, and you will need to purchase a second ticket if you want to transfer to another bus later in your trip.
In July 2010, distance-based tariffs were implemented to better unify Singapore’s public transportation pricing system. On the bus, LRT, and MRT, all passengers are paid a ticket based on the entire distance traveled, and they may make transfers without incurring extra charges. Fares are now calculated on a journey-by-journey basis, with no boarding fee applied to each transfer trip that makes up the route. Although the tariffs seem to be complex, fare look-up tables can be found at every bus stop and MRT station.
If you have a single-trip ticket that has been used, you may use it up to five additional times. Go to the ticket machine, insert your ticket into the reading area, choose your destination, and pay your price. You may now tap in and out for your next journey using the same piece of ticket. You will get a modest reduction on your ticket after the sixth visit.
The biggest denomination that may be used to purchase a single-trip ticket from a ticketing system is $5.
The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and LRT (Light Rail Transit) are the major arteries of Singapore’s public transportation system. They are a low-cost and dependable form of transportation, and the network covers the majority of the visitor’s places of interest. Contactless RFID tickets are used on all railway lines. When entering and leaving paid sections of stations, just touch the reader to verify your train ticket at the ticket gate. Single-trip tickets have been phased out since 2012, in favor of new standard tickets that may be used up to six times in 30 days. A journey costs between $0.80 and $2, with a deposit of $0.10 required at the time of purchasing. On the third top-up of the ticket, the deposit is returned, and on the sixth top-up, a $0.10 discount is automatically applied. After then, the ticket may be tossed or preserved as a memento. The simplest and most common methods to utilize the MRT are the EZ-Link or NETS FlashPay farecards (explained above). You don’t need to purchase a new ticket or travel through numerous gates to move between various operators’ lines since all lines are fully linked, even if they are run by different transport firms.
The MRT stations are clean and provide free restrooms. There is no danger of falling into the tracks since all stations have screen doors. Without a driver, the North-East Line, Circle Line, Downtown Line, LRT, and all future lines run autonomously.
Buses link different parts of Singapore, although they are slower and more difficult to use than the MRT. Their benefit is that instead of a gloomy subterranean tube, you get to view the attractions for a cheap fee. When traveling by bus over a long distance, keep in mind that numerous pauses and sluggish speeds may cause your trip to take two to three times as long as the same trip by MRT. In buses, you can pay with cash (coins), but the fare stage system is complicated (it’s best to ask the driver for the price to your destination), you’ll be charged somewhat extra, and there’s no way to receive change. The simplest form of payment is to touch your EZ-Link or NETS Flashpay card against the reader at the front door of the bus upon boarding, and a maximum fare is taken from the card. When you get off, touch your card again at the exit to get your money back. If you don’t tap out, you’ll be charged the maximum fee. Inspectors patrol buses from time to time to ensure that everyone has paid or tapped, therefore individuals with tourist day tickets should tap before taking a seat. Bus riders who are dishonest risk being fined $20 for not paying or underpaying fares (due to early tapping-out) and $50 for using concession cards improperly. Another benefit of using ez-link or Nets Flashpay cards is that you may get distance-based rates without having to pay a boarding charge.
With 13 lines operating every 20 to 30 minutes after midnight on Fridays, Saturdays, and the eve of public holidays, the NightRider and Nite Owl bus services are a pretty handy way to get about. Before splintering off, all services pass via the main nightlife city areas of Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, Mohamed Sultan, and Orchard. The price ranges from $4.00 to $4.40, and both the EZ-link and Nets Flashpay cards are accepted; however, the Singapore Tourist Pass is not valid on this line.
As previously said, Gothere.sg will provide you with choices for which buses will transport you from your starting point to your final destination.
Taxicabs utilize meters and are cost-effective and trustworthy. Trips inside the city centre should not cost more than $10 outside of weekday peak hours, and even a journey across the island from Changi to Jurong should not cost more than $35. It can often cheaper and quicker to take a cab than to use the MRT if you are in a party of three or four. However, demand frequently exceeds supply during peak hours and when it rains, so if there’s a lengthy line at a taxi stand, contact a cab through the unified booking system at +65 6342 5222 (6-DIAL-CAB) or use the MRT instead.
The flag down fee for a taxi is $3.00-3.90 (depending on the kind of vehicle used), which lasts for 1 km before increments of $0.22 every 400 m (for the first 10 km) or $0.22 per 350 m are added (after the first 10 km). (SMRT’s huge black Chryslers, which charge $5 and then $0.30 every 385 m, are the only exception.) There are a variety of fees, including peak hour (25 percent), late night (50 percent), central business district ($3), airport or casino excursions ($3–5 during peak hours), phone booking ($3.00 and higher), and Electronic Road Pricing levies, which may add a significant amount to your taxi price. All such costs are shown on the meter’s bottom right-hard corner, documented on the printed receipt, and explained in painstaking detail on a window sticker; if you think the taxi is attempting to deceive you, contact the business and ask for an explanation. Trips to the airport are not subject to a fee. While all cabs are able to take credit cards (and are obliged to do so), many cabbies refuse to accept electronic payment. Always inquire before entering. A 17 percent fee will be added if you pay by credit card. Tips are not required in Singapore, as is customary.
Taxis may only pick up customers in the Central Business District at taxi stops (located outside any shopping center) or buildings with their own driveways (including virtually all hotels). Outside of the city center, you may hail cabs on the street or have one delivered to your door. Touts may approach you in nighttime hotspots with lengthy lines, such as Clarke Quay, offering a fast flat rate to your destination. This is illegal and very costly, but it is rather safe for you. (On the other side, if discovered, drivers are likely to lose their jobs.)
Some taxi drivers in Singapore have little geographical knowledge and may assume you to know where you want to go, so it’s a good idea to carry a map of your target region or instructions on how to get there. Some cabbies may additionally inquire as to whatever route you want; most are content with “either way is quicker.”
The area surrounding the Singapore River and Chinatown is crawling with trishaws, three-wheeled bicycle taxis. They are designed only for visitors and should not be used for real travel since they are not used by locals. There’s hardly much opportunity for haggling: small trips cost $10–20, and a one-hour tour charter costs about $50 per person.
Tourist-oriented bumboats ply the Singapore River, with point-to-point trips beginning at $3 and excursions with spectacular views of the CBD cityscape starting at $13.
Bumboats also transport people from Changi Village to Pulau Ubin ($2.50 one-way), a tiny island off Singapore’s northeast coast that is as near to leisurely country life as the city-state gets.
Visitors to Singapore seldom hire cars since public transportation covers almost the whole island and it is usually cheaper to ride taxis all day than to rent. The smallest car from the big rental firms would typically set you back upwards of $100 per day, but smaller businesses may be less expensive, and there are sometimes excellent weekend deals available. This does not include the cost of gasoline, which is approximately $2 per litre, or electronic road pricing (ERP) taxes, which are typically additional costs while driving to Malaysia. If you’re intending on visiting Malaysia by vehicle, it’s far more cost-effective to drive over the border to Johor Bahru, where car rentals and gasoline are both half-price, and you may drop your car off anywhere in the nation. This also avoids the unwanted attention that Singapore vehicles often get from criminals and greedy police.
Foreign licenses issued in English or from other ASEAN member nations are valid in Singapore for one year from the date of arrival, after which you must convert your foreign license to a Singapore version. To be valid, other foreign licenses need an International Driving Permit (IDP) or an official English translation (typically obtainable from your embassy).
Singaporeans (like their Indonesian, Malaysian, and Thai neighbors) drive on the left side of the road, and the legal driving age is 18. Singapore’s roads are in great condition, and driving behaviors are usually decent in comparison to other nations in the area, with most individuals adhering to traffic laws due to strict enforcement, but road politeness is missing. On expressways, the speed limit is 90 km/h, while on other highways, it is 60 km/h. The Pan Island Expressway is “PIE,” the East Coast Parkway is “ECP,” and so on. While signage are generally excellent, expressways are nearly always referred to solely by acronyms. Parking is surprisingly simple to come by, although it is seldom free, with prices ranging from approximately $3/hour in private CBD carparks to $1/hour in public carparks, all of which are typically paid with the CashCard.
ERP payments need a stored-value CashCard, which is typically provided by the rental agency; nevertheless, it is your duty to ensure that it has sufficient value. ERP gantries are triggered at various times, typically in the direction that most vehicles are traveling. As a general rule, gantries on roads coming into the CBD are triggered during morning rush hour, while gantries on highways leaving the CBD are activated during evening rush hour. An alert will be sent to your registered address if you pass through an active ERP gantry with insufficient value. In addition to the difference between the remaining amount and the actual charge, you will be charged an administrative fee. You only have a certain amount of time to resolve this, otherwise the punishment will grow more severe.
All passengers must wear seat belts, and driving while using a phone is prohibited. Drunk driving is not tolerated: the legal limit is 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration, with roadblocks put up at night to capture violators, who are punished severely and potentially imprisoned. Even if your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit, you may be charged with drunk driving if the authorities believe that the presence of alcohol has impaired your ability to operate the car (e.g., if you are involved in a collision). The police set up roadblocks on a regular basis, and speed cameras are everywhere. Fines will be sent to you or your rental agency, who will then charge you a fee to cover the expense. If you’re stopped for a traffic violation, don’t even consider bribing your way out.
Bicycles may be used as an alternative to public transportation. Because the city is tiny and the terrain is flat, predicting how rideable a route will be without previously scouting it out may be tricky. Buses, taxis, and vehicles stopping to drop off or pick up passengers seldom look for bicycles before merging back into the road, making certain routes particularly hazardous. When temporary road surfaces are not kept safe for biking, portable traffic barriers make it difficult for vehicles to see cyclists, and construction teams directing traffic are unsure of how to deal with cyclists on the roadway, the ubiquitous road works around Singapore can make cycling more dangerous.
The quality of the air may also be an issue. Singapore has around 178,000 diesel-powered vehicles, taxis, buses, and lorries, according to the LTA, which may make riding on Singapore’s congested roads extremely uncomfortable. When heavy smoke from Indonesian forest fires reaches Singapore, air quality deteriorates much further. “1.5m Matters,” a 2010 campaign, seemed to have had no impact on Singaporeans’ driving behavior, since they often pass bicycles too closely. However, this may be due to the absence of a bicycle lane on the roadways, which forces cars to veer into the next lane to avoid striking a cyclist. In 2008, 22 cyclists were murdered on Singapore roads, while 19 were killed in 2009. Every day in Singapore, two bicycles are struck by motor cars, according to the “Ride of Silence” campaign. In most parts of Singapore, cycling on the pavement is theoretically prohibited, although enforcement is virtually non-existent except in high-traffic locations like the CBD or town centers.
Singapore is developing a network of segregated bike lanes known as “park connectors” (PCN) since they are mainly used for recreation rather than commuting. The Park Connector Network website has an up-to-date cycling route map, however keep in mind that not all of the routes are segregated bicycle lanes; some are just suggested routes. In the CBD, there are no PCNs.
During certain times of the day, small folding bicycles are permitted on the MRT, while big bicycles are prohibited. Bicycles are permitted to traverse the Malaysian causeway (on motorcycle lanes), but not on expressways.
Singapore is a rather ‘pedestrian-friendly’ city. Pavements and pedestrian crossings are in excellent condition and abundant in the central business area and along major thoroughfares. Even though every accident involving a pedestrian and a vehicle is considered to be the driver’s responsibility by law, drivers are less likely to be aware or courteous of pedestrians crossing at street corners on less busy streets where crossings are not marked. Jaywalking is a crime that carries a fine of up to $25 and a sentence of up to three months in prison.
Walking along the river from the Merlion via the Quays, hiking over the Southern Ridges Walk, or just meandering through Chinatown, Little India, or Bugis are all popular walks in Singapore.
The tropical heat and humidity, however, are inevitable drawbacks that leave many tourists sticky and weary, so do as the natives do and carry a small towel and a bottle of water with you. It’s better to get a head start, cool down in air-conditioned stores, cafés, and museums, then return to the shopping center or hotel pool before midday. Evenings, on the other hand, may be quite chilly after sunset. On the other side, since the sun is often obscured by clouds, you won’t get sunburned as readily as you would at higher latitudes.