6 Hours in Singapore

Created by Colleen Sims * 26 January 2023 * Updated 15 August 2023

We flew from Paris Charles de Gaulle, it was 11pm for us and only 6am in Singapore! Arrival was easy; Gerry had pre-sorted our Entry Notification before we arrived.

Gerry on the Skyway, Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

Night Flight Meant Singapore at Dawn

All travellers are required to submit their SG Arrival Card before arriving in Singapore, except those transiting/transferring through Singapore without seeking immigration clearance. The website is https://www.ica.gov.sg/enter-transit-depart/entering-singapore/sg-arrival-card. You can only complete this 48 hours (or less) before your arrival.

SIM Card and Currency

We usually get a SIM card at the airport when we arrive but we’d read that it was a lot cheaper to wait and buy in town, so we took advantage of the free airport wifi instead. We found an ATM and withdrew some Singapore dollars; have I mentioned before how much we love travelling with a Revolut Card?

So after completing our chores our first stop was breakfast (or dinner or supper?) We had read that Changi Airport is THE BEST in the world but for some reason we wandered off in the wrong direction and ended up in a carpark. A passing chap asked if we needed some help and we explained we were looking for breakfast. He directed us to a canteen and it soon became obvious that this wasn’t the tourist eatery and felt a little like the staff canteen. However what it lacked in pazzazz it made up for in the food! Hawker style kitchens offered a choice of tasty local cuisine and better still at local prices. For just a few dollars we ate a pretty spicy breakfast curry and drank fabulously strong black coffee to keep us going.

staff canteen at changi airport in singapore

Singapore Metro – The MRT

Next we needed to find the Metro. We retraced our steps back to the arrivals hall and followed the signs for Singapore’s MRT(Mass Rapid Transport). There are options for taxis and buses if you prefer but the Metro is excellent. It’s super efficient, super clean and the trains are so frequent that it was the only form of transport we needed. We travel with rucksacks but if you are travelling with cases there are lifts at every station too. Keep following the signs and you’ll end up in the Changi Airport MRT station. Towards the rear of the station, behind the escalators if you like, is a small ticket booth. We purchased a 3-day pass for for 30$ each; you get 10$ back when you return the card.

From there we hopped on the train, found a seat and headed off Downtown in search of our hotel. I cannot recommend the metro highly enough. If you are in Singapore then pick up a pass and take advantage of this!

Our stop was just a few minutes walk to the hotel. We’d prebooked Ibis Bencoolen; it was a good choice. It’s inexpensive, simple but very comfortable, and in a great location. We checked in and dropped our bags and headed off to explore. First we stooped at a Seven-Eleven and bought a SIM card for just 14$; it would have been 40$ at the airport! Next we headed off in the direction of the Bay Area.

stalls in chinatown market in singapore

We could have taken the MRT but we’ve had a long flight and we opted to walk. Our hotel is on the edge of Chinatown, but we didn’t linger because we have a walking tour booked. Instead we meandered and window shopped our way downtown and enjoyed plant naming along the really lush flower beds that lined the streets. We surprised ourselves by meandering off course and following our noses and ended up walking close to 6 kilometres… I think our legs needed it after 12 hours on the plane.

Don’t be fooled by the grey skies in the photos, it’s really warm and humid at the moment but we had expected rain so we were happy. One chap I spoke to said it felt cool to him and this was winter weather for locals!

walking through Downtown Singapore

Gardens By the Bay

We reached the Gardens by the Bay and walked through this incredible urban garden, opened in 2012 and planned to improve the lives of people living in Singapore, and to create a city within a Garden. It has became a major tourist destination and by 2015 it had welcomed more than 50 million visitors. It’s stunning and it really doesn’t disappoint. We walked and meandered our way through the garden. We took the interior route because we know we’ll come back and we can walk along the bay next time.

Today we wanted to walk the OCBC Skyway. We bought our tickets and some cold drinks and headed off to test our head for heights. The first few steps out of the lift were interesting but once I’d became accustomed to the bouncy feel of the floor it was fine. And it’s only 22 metres up but felt much higher. The walkway offers fantastic up close views of the Supertrees and the gardens below. There was a nice breeze too which was very welcome! I’m probably guilty of taking too many photos and they really don’t do justice to the amazing skyline views but wow what a fabulous place! If you have a head for heights I really recommend the Skyway; you can buy tickets in the park of you can buy them online.

Skyway though the Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

After admiring the views we decided that we’d hit the tiredness wall and it was time to head back to the hotel; this time we took the Metro. Do pick up your pass at the airport, they are so easy to use and we now have unlimited travel for 3 days. At every stop a voice says ‘Happy Happy on the platform’… well that’s what we hear, it actually says Please mind the Gap in Malay but it made us smile and makes us feel very welcome.

We stopped for lunch at Food Dynasty, which reminded us very much of a similar eatery in Seattle. A big hall, busy with diners and lined with several different catering options. We opted for a shop called Chicken and Rice and as this is my staple diet when travelling it was perfect for me. For 4$ each we ate spicy chicken and coconut rice and a bowl of hot soup. The hall is really busy with locals and it’s excellent value.

It was only 2pm but oh we were soooo tired; we’d been up for nearly 26 hours. We checked in, had a quick shower and I’m pretty sure I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. What a wonderful first day in Singapore. We only have a few days here but our appetite is whetted for the wonders yet to come and I can’t wait to see those Supertrees at night!

View from Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay in Singapore
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