[Q] Singapore Travel help


blueren

Well-Known Member
Adept
Hi All

A couple of friends and I would like to travel to Singapore in May this year. Reason - tourism. None of us know about the formalities such as visa, travel etc, but we all do have valid passports. Could someone please shed light at a reasonably n00b level? I'm not sure what details to give, but please lemme know what would be expected.

Figured that reaching out to experienced people in the forum sounds better that doing an online google hunt at the moment.

Thanks.
 

phoenix844884

The Analyst
Veteran
Visa - Visa application is easy as it's all online. The local Singapore Consulate will issue you a printed travel document that is valid for multiple entries for two years by default. For visa you need to have valid tickets and at the very least travel plans on the letterhead of a travel agency. If you do use the services of a travel agent then let them do all the leg work.

Flight - multiple carriers offer multiple options so take your pick. Get the cheapest price by comparing with online sources and then getting booked from a travel agent. haggle a little for even better prices.

Stay - There are 2-3 areas where tourists like to stay as they have easy connectivity and good number and wide variety of hotels. One is Orchard Road where there are tons of high end, mid range, and budget hotels readily available. The more expensive side is the river side and Clark Quay where there are high budget places to stay. The cheaper alternative is Little India district where, you can guess easily, there are tons of Indian businesses and eateries and lodging can be found for (relatively) cheaper rates. Look around on the WWW, and ask your travel agent for all options within your budget. If you are splurging then stay at The Renaissance or at any of the resorts on Sentosa Island.

Places to visit - Apart from the business district of Orchard Road where there are very good malls and eateries, River Side, Clark Quay and Boat Quay are a must visit for their ambiance and wide variety of bars, pubs, grills, cuisines (Pro tip: go there after 8pm for the best atmosphere). River boat ride is optional as it give s a brief history of Singapore. Next up you HAVE to visit Little India for cheap wholesale shopping. Sentosa Island is a must visit for it's huge theme parks, Universal Studios, theme shops like Hershey's etc. There are multiple activities to do on that island and a good way to find great prices is to find one on Groupon Singapore. I got coupons for 5 activities/rides at the cost of one regular activity, for example. Give yourself two days for Sentosa Island alone as there is so much to do and see there, including the sound and light show. Other attractions are the Zoo and adjoining Night Safari, Science and National Museums, Toy Museum, Jurong Bird Park, and tons of other places.

Shopping - All electronics and tech stuff is going for great prices and deals at Funan DigitalLife Mall, must visit. Chinatown probably has a couple of dedicated malls for all kinds of stuff and the biggest flew market happens on Sunday mornings and goes into late evening. For example, I am a Transformers collector and one mall called China Square Place is 4 floors of flea market dedicated to toys and action figures on Sundays. I am sure there are other places catering to other hobbies too, you just have to look it up. Orchard Road malls have excellent variety of brands, both high end as well as mid tier. Cheap wholesale purchases for gifting to all the extended uncles and aunties is best done at Mustafa, Little India.



There is so much to do and see in Singapore that it is out of the scope of this post. Do extensive searches online and zoom in on what all things you want to do and see. Even a week is not enough there for the traveling soul. All the best.
 

blueren

Well-Known Member
Adept
Visa - Visa application is easy as it's all online. The local Singapore Consulate will issue you a printed travel document that is valid for multiple entries for two years by default. For visa you need to have valid tickets and at the very least travel plans on the letterhead of a travel agency. If you do use the services of a travel agent then let them do all the leg work.

Flight - multiple carriers offer multiple options so take your pick. Get the cheapest price by comparing with online sources and then getting booked from a travel agent. haggle a little for even better prices.

Stay - There are 2-3 areas where tourists like to stay as they have easy connectivity and good number and wide variety of hotels. One is Orchard Road where there are tons of high end, mid range, and budget hotels readily available. The more expensive side is the river side and Clark Quay where there are high budget places to stay. The cheaper alternative is Little India district where, you can guess easily, there are tons of Indian businesses and eateries and lodging can be found for (relatively) cheaper rates. Look around on the WWW, and ask your travel agent for all options within your budget. If you are splurging then stay at The Renaissance or at any of the resorts on Sentosa Island.

Places to visit - Apart from the business district of Orchard Road where there are very good malls and eateries, River Side, Clark Quay and Boat Quay are a must visit for their ambiance and wide variety of bars, pubs, grills, cuisines (Pro tip: go there after 8pm for the best atmosphere). River boat ride is optional as it give s a brief history of Singapore. Next up you HAVE to visit Little India for cheap wholesale shopping. Sentosa Island is a must visit for it's huge theme parks, Universal Studios, theme shops like Hershey's etc. There are multiple activities to do on that island and a good way to find great prices is to find one on Groupon Singapore. I got coupons for 5 activities/rides at the cost of one regular activity, for example. Give yourself two days for Sentosa Island alone as there is so much to do and see there, including the sound and light show. Other attractions are the Zoo and adjoining Night Safari, Science and National Museums, Toy Museum, Jurong Bird Park, and tons of other places.

Shopping - All electronics and tech stuff is going for great prices and deals at Funan DigitalLife Mall, must visit. Chinatown probably has a couple of dedicated malls for all kinds of stuff and the biggest flew market happens on Sunday mornings and goes into late evening. For example, I am a Transformers collector and one mall called China Square Place is 4 floors of flea market dedicated to toys and action figures on Sundays. I am sure there are other places catering to other hobbies too, you just have to look it up. Orchard Road malls have excellent variety of brands, both high end as well as mid tier. Cheap wholesale purchases for gifting to all the extended uncles and aunties is best done at Mustafa, Little India.



There is so much to do and see in Singapore that it is out of the scope of this post. Do extensive searches online and zoom in on what all things you want to do and see. Even a week is not enough there for the traveling soul. All the best.
Thanks @pheonix844884 - your post is very insightful. I was initially told that SG can be covered best within a span of 3 days. It would appear that there is more to it now. What we're actually looking for is going to places / doing things that are a step apart from what your average tourist does. We ideally have a week's worth of time and are debating on covering Thailand if at all possible - specially given that budget is moderately tight.

But then again, what we might settle for is less places, more time to spend per place. Simply touch and go due to lack of time is a no-no.

From what I understand, we need tickets before we can apply for a visa, correct? Given that we do not need any sort of guidance once we're there, (we have a couple of folks there who're willing to help with the local tourism) do you suggest some agent such as Thomas Cook for eg., to handle tickets and visa?

Many thanks.
 

asingh

Well-Known Member
Staff member
You can probably get a list of official agents from the Singapore Immigration site. Getting a visa is simple. All you need to give is your tickets, and Passport. Though use a trusted agent, since you will surrender your PP to them. Which is gold here in India. I explored Singapore for three weeks:

1. Singapore is an artificial state. So you will not find historical monuments or archaic buildings like our Red Fort, Taj Mahal, or even VT Terminal. Everything is fabricated and man-made.
2. It is chronic for cleanliness. So do not litter, spit, or even get off the plane with chewing gum in your mouth. Be really careful about your litter.
3. Get a Metro Card as soon as you can. That is all you need for travel....! Top it up with SGP 100 or something. Why..? You can use these cards in the metros (SMRT card), buses, KFCs, McDees. Even at small utility shops. Basically anywhere where you see an MRT logo, this card will work. Some cabs also use these cards. You can ask before you board. I bought a calling SIM card using an SMRT card..! Even cigarettes and beer at utility counters can be purchased using SMRT cards.
4. Pick up a map from the Metro Station or airport. This will help you get around. SGP metro has a well connected 'circle line' which links all metro lines.
5. Carry water in your bag when you travel and save on expenses.

Now, SGP is a land of malls and malls and malls. Probably shopping: is a national hobby / pastime there...! Actually that is all there is. So off course you should avoid that. They are quite expensive in nature. When you go to foreign locales, always and always try to do different activities than your home-land. That is what I feel...!

1. Visit the Botanical Garden. The metro line leads literally to the gate of the wonderful garden. 4-5 hours.
2. Visit the zoo (see the route on the map, but I think you have to metro + bus). You will get to see white tigers, maybe an elephant safari, and they can take you on a boating trip which is really cheap. 4-5 hours.
3. Visit an island called Pulau Ubin (again metro + bus). You mount a ferry from an end point (bus), reach the Island, rent a cycle for ~SGP 10 and bike around. It is really fun. Have some local food there, and come back. One day trip.
4. Avoid cryptic and shady places like: Little India (you basically get Indian goods there and Indians selling gold, and why would you want to bump into Indians abroad), Little China (over hyped flea market), Boogeys (another cheap run-down place), and Mustafa. Believe me, Mustafa is just a mother-of-all go down / silo; selling piles and piles of stuff. I found it a waste of time, rifling through shelves of jeans and shoes to see what I want.
5. Visit Orchard Street (Red Line I think), and browse the malls quickly. Do not waste your time in malls.
6. Museum - is quite good and informative for history. Read up about how Tamilians migrated to SGP and became money-lenders. Also SGPs WW2 heritage.
7. There is an old Armenian Church on Hill street. It is near the museum. That is good to see.

Else, just go where your nose and instinct lead you. Have fun..! Remember us..!

:)
 

blueren

Well-Known Member
Adept
You can probably get a list of official agents from the Singapore Immigration site. Getting a visa is simple. All you need to give is your tickets, and Passport. Though use a trusted agent, since you will surrender your PP to them. Which is gold here in India. I explored Singapore for three weeks:

1. Singapore is an artificial state. So you will not find historical monuments or archaic buildings like our Red Fort, Taj Mahal, or even VT Terminal. Everything is fabricated and man-made.
2. It is chronic for cleanliness. So do not litter, spit, or even get off the plane with chewing gum in your mouth. Be really careful about your litter.
3. Get a Metro Card as soon as you can. That is all you need for travel....! Top it up with SGP 100 or something. Why..? You can use these cards in the metros (SMRT card), buses, KFCs, McDees. Even at small utility shops. Basically anywhere where you see an MRT logo, this card will work. Some cabs also use these cards. You can ask before you board. I bought a calling SIM card using an SMRT card..! Even cigarettes and beer at utility counters can be purchased using SMRT cards.
4. Pick up a map from the Metro Station or airport. This will help you get around. SGP metro has a well connected 'circle line' which links all metro lines.
5. Carry water in your bag when you travel and save on expenses.

Now, SGP is a land of malls and malls and malls. Probably shopping: is a national hobby / pastime there...! Actually that is all there is. So off course you should avoid that. They are quite expensive in nature. When you go to foreign locales, always and always try to do different activities than your home-land. That is what I feel...!

1. Visit the Botanical Garden. The metro line leads literally to the gate of the wonderful garden. 4-5 hours.
2. Visit the zoo (see the route on the map, but I think you have to metro + bus). You will get to see white tigers, maybe an elephant safari, and they can take you on a boating trip which is really cheap. 4-5 hours.
3. Visit an island called Pulau Ubin (again metro + bus). You mount a ferry from an end point (bus), reach the Island, rent a cycle for ~SGP 10 and bike around. It is really fun. Have some local food there, and come back. One day trip.
4. Avoid cryptic and shady places like: Little India (you basically get Indian goods there and Indians selling gold, and why would you want to bump into Indians abroad), Little China (over hyped flea market), Boogeys (another cheap run-down place), and Mustafa. Believe me, Mustafa is just a mother-of-all go down / silo; selling piles and piles of stuff. I found it a waste of time, rifling through shelves of jeans and shoes to see what I want.
5. Visit Orchard Street (Red Line I think), and browse the malls quickly. Do not waste your time in malls.
6. Museum - is quite good and informative for history. Read up about how Tamilians migrated to SGP and became money-lenders. Also SGPs WW2 heritage.
7. There is an old Armenian Church on Hill street. It is near the museum. That is good to see.

Else, just go where your nose and instinct lead you. Have fun..! Remember us..!

:)


Thanks!! Again, very informative. I'll snoop around the interwebz and see what more I can find basing off your points. I'll post back here when I need more answers :)

Appreciate everyone for their help!
 

toxicdrift

Well-Known Member
Adept
im going there in march myself. thanks for all the help guys, staying at Clark Quay .. will go through ur posts and choose what all to see, have a few friends / family there now so should be more fun.. will def be trying the sea food :)
 

asingh

Well-Known Member
Staff member
im going there in march myself. thanks for all the help guys, staying at Clark Quay .. will go through ur posts and choose what all to see, have a few friends / family there now so should be more fun.. will def be trying the sea food :)

There is a nice lobster restaurant at Clark bay. Jumbo Lobster or something. Quite an experience breaking the shell with metal pliers.....!
 

blueren

Well-Known Member
Adept
im going there in march myself. thanks for all the help guys, staying at Clark Quay .. will go through ur posts and choose what all to see, have a few friends / family there now so should be more fun.. will def be trying the sea food :)
Can you share visa application formalities? I can follow the same approach that you have.. Any specific agency?
 

toxicdrift

Well-Known Member
Adept
ive just given it now to the travel agent . you haveto apply within one month of the travel date - they dont accept early applications - they just need your ticket/hotel bookings , since i have my wife's sister there , got a invite letter - .. photographs and passport thats it.. u can do it online aswell. but ive done it through a travel agent - has taken round 4k for both ours visa's including the visa fees- sg visa is fairly simple.. no interviews or anything u should get it back within a week for a 2 yr visa -

my application has just been done today so will let u know how it goes -
 

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