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Redboost

Singapore trip - planning tips?

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After hitting the GC every year for the last 10 years or so, the family has decided its time for a change (that and the fact that the GC parks are in a shambles at the moment with their offerings). So we are planning on hitting Singapore next year. After doing some research, here are the things/places we'd like to try/visit:

* Universal Studios

* Singapore Zoo/River Safari/Night Zoo

* Gardens by the Bay

* Orchard Road shopping

* Sentosa Island Aquarium/Luge/waterpark

*Pop over to Legoland Malaysia (if time allows)

So just wanting to get some travel advice before I start booking everything.

1. Is there a ideal time of year to visit? Taking into account we want to avoid any major holidays and busy periods and bad weather. Also costs 😂

2. How many days would be considered enough to see all the above and then some? 

3. Are there any websites that you can recommend for themepark/transport/attraction tickets/travel bookings?

4. How much time should we allow for the above individual attractions? I understand Singapore Zoo/River Safari/Night Zoo are all next to each other - can these all be done in a day (albeit a long day)? Can Universal Studios be knocked over in a day without rushing about or would 2 days be more ideal to take in all the park has to offer?

5. We are going as a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids under 12) - is there anything not listed that anyone can recommend we add to our itinerary?

6. What's considered the best way of getting around - MRT, taxis, buses, hire car?

7. What's the best area to stay in close to public transport, shopping, restaurants and attraction.

I'm sure I'll have other questions but this will do for now - thanks in advance!

 

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2 hours ago, Redboost said:

After hitting the GC every year for the last 10 years or so, the family has decided its time for a change (that and the fact that the GC parks are in a shambles at the moment with their offerings). So we are planning on hitting Singapore next year. After doing some research, here are the things/places we'd like to try/visit:

* Universal Studios

* Singapore Zoo/River Safari/Night Zoo

* Gardens by the Bay

* Orchard Road shopping

* Sentosa Island Aquarium/Luge/waterpark

*Pop over to Legoland Malaysia (if time allows)

So just wanting to get some travel advice before I start booking everything.

1. Is there a ideal time of year to visit? Taking into account we want to avoid any major holidays and busy periods and bad weather. Also costs 😂

2. How many days would be considered enough to see all the above and then some? 

3. Are there any websites that you can recommend for themepark/transport/attraction tickets/travel bookings?

4. How much time should we allow for the above individual attractions? I understand Singapore Zoo/River Safari/Night Zoo are all next to each other - can these all be done in a day (albeit a long day)? Can Universal Studios be knocked over in a day without rushing about or would 2 days be more ideal to take in all the park has to offer?

5. We are going as a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids under 12) - is there anything not listed that anyone can recommend we add to our itinerary?

6. What's considered the best way of getting around - MRT, taxis, buses, hire car?

7. What's the best area to stay in close to public transport, shopping, restaurants and attraction.

I'm sure I'll have other questions but this will do for now - thanks in advance!

 

Phew...where to start... i love Singapore and visit every couple of months !

You're list is pretty good, i'll try and work through it..

1. Singapore weather is pretty much the same all year round...very hot and humid and scattered rainstorms. you might get a bit more rain in december-march and june-september.

2. *Universal Studios - 1 day is enough

* Singapore Zoo/River Safari/Night Zoo - i reccommend 2 days for this - otherwise its a massive day. i've done it all in 1 day with kids and it killed us..we were too exhausted to really enjoy the night safari which gets packed. you could do zoo and river safari in a day and if you want to do night zoo do it another night... if you need to skip 1.. skip night zoo - its overrated IMO

* Gardens by the Bay - If you go here you must do the cloud forest and the flower dome. you could do this place in one afternoon/night - must do at night for the lights.

* Orchard Road shopping - meh, boring - singapore has shopping everywhere - same same all over the place.

* Sentosa Island Aquarium/Luge/waterpark - sentosa needs a good few days to explore all the activities - plenty to do. 

*Pop over to Legoland Malaysia (if time allows) - if you can , make time for this - was a huge highlight of our family trip. we went as a family last year august and did the water park and theme park in one day , covered everything as we had the whole park pretty much to ourselves, if the place was busy no way could it be done in one day. we hired a private driver to take and return us, made the journey and border crossing much easier - leave plenty of time to get there , at least 1.5 hours to allow for delays at the border and traffic.

3. Klook

4. I answered in 2.

5.depends on what you are into, you have covered the typical main things. really explore the sentosa website for all the activities available.

6. the MRT is first class - so easy to use , cheap and gets you pretty much everywhere with ease. otherwise taxi's are cheap and can be found on an app called grab which is like uber (singapore dont have uber)

7. Pretty much anywhere, but just stay near an MRT station - i recommend finding a serviced apartment but most require 7 days minimum, hotels are expensive

Edited by grrofunger
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I’ve been three times and here’s my tips:

- Stay close to an MRT stop. I stayed at Ibis Novena the first time, Swissotel the second trip and Hard Rock Sentosa the third - the proximity to MRT is important

- There is a tourist MRT pass you can get which allows for unlimited travel. Just remember to return the card at the airport station before you leave to get your deposit back on it.

- I used Uber in Singapore, so it did/does exist.

- the Night Zoo was overrated. They keep the park in a state of twilight for the hours that it’s open, and we walked out feeling really tired as a result of it.

- try a McGriddle from McDonalds breakfast menu if you haven’t before

- I found little at Orchard Road that you couldn’t find elsewhere. Also, when I went they didn’t carry a great deal of large sizes, so unless you’re a 28-32” waist in men’s, you’ll struggle. I ended up buying from Marks&Spencer (a UK brand)

- Mastercard is/was the preferred card for Sentosa and you could score discounts by using one. Universal is a single day park, and Transformers needs to be the thing you hit up immediately, the lines for everything else are pretty good.

- buy your duty free liquor in Singapore airport before returning to Aus, but make sure you leave plenty of time - there is a cutoff of 90 minutes I think it is - if you haven’t purchased 90mins before your departure time then you can’t purchase

- a lot of restaurants will have crazy wait times for walk ups, so do try to book in advance if you can.

- pretty sure that all prices included sales tax, and tipping is not the norm.

- they use a lot of Turkey Bacon. If you want the real stuff, there’s an Aussie style bar/restaurant along Clark Quay

Edited by ads086
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I went to Singapore last year for 4 nights and managed to do everything you did and a bit more. I went at the beginning of June, and only had a couple moments of rain. But prepare yourself it is very hot, all year round. Based off google, the months with least amount of rain days are Feb, March and June.

2. I would suggest 6 to 7 days, to be able to do everything you have listed. And just plan to do the major attractions on a weekday. The day trip to Legoland Malaysia is possible too.

3 and 6. The best, cheapest and easiest way to get around is to use their public transport. The MRT network is awesome (trains and buses), and you can get to all attractions using it. You can get a 3 day tourist pass for $20, and that’s unlimited transport. You can get it at the airport and some of the larger stations. So you buy it, and then after 3 days just buy another 2-3 day pass. Apple and Google Maps has the public transport for Singapore built into them, so you can easily figure out how to get everywhere using them. For attraction websites, just google what you want. For anything on Sentosa Island, just google that name and all the info for Universal, aquariums, etc are on there. Note that transport to Sentosa is a seperate ticket though, but you can just walk to the island 

4. You’ll be able to get all 3 of those zoos done in one day, but yes definitely a long day. And universal will just be one day too. You probably won’t need fast passes either. But if you were wanting to see the parade, it’s only on certain days.

5. Everything you listed you’ll love. Be sure to check the Gardens by the Bay out at both day and night. And when you go to Sentosa, there is a Crane Dance show on the water at 8pm every night, highly recommend that 

6. I would recommend looking at the ibis hotels. I’ve been twice and stayed with them both times. They have 3 hotels, one is right next to the train station, but costs more, the next is a few hundred metres walk to the station, and the 3rd is about a 1km walk, but is the cheapest and has a pool.

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Jurong Bird Park is good. I also really liked  the Science Centre in Jurong and the Arts Science museum near Marina Bay Sands. The Bumboat rides along the Singapore River are also a highlight. Not a fan of the Night Safari. Only attempt it on a midweek day and arrive around twilight.

Just picked up some cheap airfares, so it looks like I’ll be back up there in December. I usually stay in Far East hotels, like The Quincy on Mount Elizabeth Road, near Orchard Road MRT station. The only real shopping I like are the bookstores, like Kinokuniya. 

Dejiki is a reliable Singaporean theme park blogger - the equivalent of Our Worlds here - with great photography. The main school holidays are in the month of June.

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Can't reiterate the total lack of worth that is Orchard road. Plenty of other places without the premium price tag - and that goes for shopping as well as accommodation. To repeat others - wherever you stay, make sure you're near the MRT. 

Accomm on Sentosa is 'resorty' but you pay a premium for staying on what is essentially a private island - and you pay again as all the major transport options to and from will cost extra (Monorail and Cablecar are both options). Whilst you can walk, it isn't a short walk - and there's nothing like starting the day in a hot, humid environment than with a brisk walk! (not).

Remember that - hot, humid, rainy, humid & hot. These are the only weather experiences. We found most nights we slept with the air con set to the lowest temp, and the highest setting - left on 24 hours a day. We'd then sleep on top of the covers!!!

As for the rain, we found on our trip (around this time of year as a matter of fact) that it would rain almost every day, around 9-11am, for about an hour in that window. Find some cheap, lightweight ponchos you can carry without much effort, and pack an extra pair of dry socks in your bag. Worst case if you get caught, you can bin the poncho and change your socks and be good to go. *do not try walking in wet socks for the rest of the day - it sucks!*

Take the option to not walk (for travel) where possible - but there are plenty of places that are great to stroll leisurely around - including Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa, and its also worth the detour to check out Merlion (the original anyway - there are plenty of copies around as well).

I disagree with those who say Universal in a day. It *CAN* be done in a day, but its better to plan for a little more. I found a full day in the park, and then a planned half day combined with other Sentosa attractions meant you had 'mop up' time to catch anything in the park you missed (shows for example) or to do some re-rides. The Luge is pretty good for what it is. Not sure if they still do the zipline, but it is a really awesome experience (although, you'll want to take your walking shoes!).

Any war or history buffs may want to take the tour of the fort on sentosa, and take the trip out to Changi prison. Not something i'd do again, but i'm glad I did both at least once.

There are plenty of tours organised that you can do for many of the other attractions. The zoo itself can be done in about a half day (especially if you book the Orangutan breakfast which was a unique experience), and you have the other half of the day to do something else (Jurong is nearby so the tours may offer the double header).

I personally enjoyed and recommend the night safari. They have lots of dinner options but that part does get extremely crowded. The animal presentation is theatrically lit, and done very well, and the night tram tour was interesting - although bear in mind that because it is dark, it does of course mean theres a reasonable chance you won't get to see some things.

I haven't checked, but Sentosa also used to do a night show on southern coastline that was very Fantasmic\World of Colour -esque. I heard they changed the show since the last I saw it, and i'm not sure if it's still running - but if it is - check it out.

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As above, stay near the MRT.

We stayed on Sentosa, and the hotel had a shuttle to VivoCity (HarbourFront station). That in itself was a pain, as we where on the end of the line. I'd visit Sentosa from a city base if I went again. We missed most of Gardens as it too so long to get there by public transport.

The Zoo, it's a long way by public transport. I'd cough up for a cab, at least as far as the final bus to the Zoo.

In 2013, most shopping centres didn't open till 10am, to the point even most lighting wasn't on but you could walk through them. Breakfast options where limited too (this was VivoCity). Our son was just 3 at the time, so we kept him on the Brisbane schedule (nap at 12pm Bris  [10am Sing]) then ran him flat out till he crashed in the evening. That got us around the 10am start issue.

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Good point on the travel to the zoo , definitely cab for that one.

I also recommend NOT staying on Sentosa too

And again, yep most shops wont open until 10am or even 11am for some but then they stay open until about that time pm as well.

Fort Siloso was a good tip, i found it interesting from a historical persepctive, others may find it really boring.

Zipline is still there also a high ropes obstacle course as well which i enjoyed. Has 3 different height/difficulty levels.

Edited by grrofunger
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For the zoo (and the night safari) we did arranged coach tours - the zoo included the breakfast, admission and a half day at the zoo, as well as coach transfers from multiple locations throughout the city.

Night safari was general admission but included the coach transfers as well. the cost of the coach transfers on top of the normal GA ticket price was comparable with a bus trip to local zones. it wasn't a huge increase, and they took care of door to door for us, without worrying that we'd miss a start time or run late (plus we knew exactly how much it would cost).

 

I've just gone and looked over the Crane show, and whilst it looks like a great technology show, Its a little disappointing to see this is what it has become, considering what songs of the sea used to be (corny, but the live actors, singing etc IMO made it better) - this is also telling that the show is now free, whereas you used to need to purchase your tickets early for SotS just to get a seat!

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9 hours ago, AlexB said:

Any war or history buffs may want to take the tour of the fort on sentosa, and take the trip out to Changi prison. Not something i'd do again, but i'm glad I did both at least once.

Changi Chapel Museum? Friends of mine caught a taxi and asked to go to Changi Prison and were taken there instead of the museum.

Fort Siloso and the National Museum are great for war history too.

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For those who've gone to Legoland Malaysia, whats the best way/time to get there? I understand there's a 1.5 hour wait at the border? So that would suggest leaving early in the morning to get to the border for processing, spending the day there, then returning in the evening. Do we have to wait at the border again in the evening for processing? Would be a very long day for the kids. Would we be better off just staying a night at Legoland? Or not enough to do to justify the expense?

Edited by Redboost

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If you're hopping to Malaysia, and planning to spend more than a day - although a long journey - id look at the feasibility of a trek to Sunway Lagoon... which is about 3.5 hours up the road... I realise its a long trek - i guess it depends on how much affinity you have for Wonderland - given there are several rides still operating over there from the park

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18 hours ago, Redboost said:

For those who've gone to Legoland Malaysia, whats the best way/time to get there? I understand there's a 1.5 hour wait at the border? So that would suggest leaving early in the morning to get to the border for processing, spending the day there, then returning in the evening. Do we have to wait at the border again in the evening for processing? Would be a very long day for the kids. Would we be better off just staying a night at Legoland? Or not enough to do to justify the expense?

I used a private driver, had to pay cash but got the legoland tickets off him and checked vs online price and the tickets were cheaper. We splashed out on a top luxury vehicle think the return journey was $280SGD - definitely can be done cheaper.

https://www.sgmytaxi.com/

We were picked up at our hotel at 8am and were at Legoland around 9:30am.  It's not always 1.5 hours at the border.

When we went we were allowed to stay in the car to be processed, just handed all the passports to the driver and he gave them to the authorities and we were verified by waving through the window.

I believe now that has been changed and every person has to get out of every vehicle at the border. So this may add more time.

We were then picked up from Legoland at 6pm and were back by the pool at the hotel in Singapore by 7:30pm. (yes, you need to be processed at the border again..including filling out those annoying immigration cards) 

It was a longish day but the kids had an absolute blast , it was one of the top highlights of the week long family trip.

As for legoland - there is a theme park and a water park. We were really lucky both were very empty on the day we went. 

Water park we did from 10am to approx 12:30pm and we did plenty of stuff there, multiple rides on slides etc - but there were no queues at all.

Had a quick lunch in the themepark and covered off that whole park by closing time (again-no queues) which from memory was 5:30pm - we were allowed to shop up until 6pm and spent a fortune on lego.

If the park was remotely busy there is no way 1 day would cut it and there is enough there to justify staying overnight and doing 1 full day in each park.  Or half day water and 1.5 days theme park.

I will say i went there with low expectations and it far exceeded them so my review of the place may be a touch too much on the 'glowing' side.

Kids had a blast and i guess that was the main thing, they enjoyed it way more than Universal. Ages at the time were 10,8,4

Edited by grrofunger
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Okay, just doing last minute checks before I finalise bookings but was suggested by a friend I look into Airbnb accommodation to save some money - what's people's opinion on this? I've never used them before so not sure what the experience/procedure is like but from what I can understand of it, its people's private homes that they offer up for accommodation? I'm reading some conflicting reports that Airbnb is actually not allowed in Singapore but yet there a numerous listings in Singapore for them - apparently some rule about registration of property as accommodation premises and only allowed for stays in excess of 3 months.... etc. What's the risk of staying in an Airbnb listed property in Singapore, if any? How does it compare to say apartment accommodation on the GC (like a breakfree property)? We've actually decided to stay for an extra 2 days which would bump up accommodation costs if staying in a hotel so just trying to explore all options before we pull the trigger.

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I definitely wouldn't bother trying to do Airbnb when you haven't done it before, especially when in another country. And the process to register and then organise to get access to the home/apartment can be annoying. I would recommend to just book with a main stream hotel. There are some quite cheap ones which aren't too out of the way. But obviously staying within the city is expensive, so explore further out a little. 

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themagician covers a chunk of it

plus its not exactly legal and singapore authorities arent exactly "friendly" so you are risking your money for no real reason.

there are tonnes of hotels in singapore.

the singapore MRT is excellent, just find a decent cheap hotel near a MRT station and you are set

absolutely no need to stuff about or take any risk with airbnb

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Never done Airbnb in Singapore, but the ones in Japan were super organised. I think a lot of countries have cracked down on Airbnb recently. Elizabeth and York Hotels are fairly reasonably priced hotels near the Orchard Road MRT area.  The York even has family rooms where there is a large double bed and two singles. They're pretty exclusive as they're in the tower part of the hotel. 

We do know people who have rented an Airbnb around the Orchard Road area and it was good, since they could put their kid to bed early.

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