48 Hours in Singapore
Singapore had been on our list for a while. We’d heard good things from a few people we’d met on our travels and decided to squeeze in 48 hours there before we headed to Australia.
48 hours in Singapore isn’t a lot of time! We did a bit of research before we arrived to make sure we didn’t miss anything we really wanted to do. On our shortlist:
- Visit Singapore Zoo
- Explore the city by day and by night
- Eat out in Little India
- Ride the Flyer
Getting to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur
We looked into a few options for the best way to get from KL to Singapore and back again. The obvious options were plane, train or bus and after some research we decided to go with the bus. It was the cheapest, easiest to get to and the times of departure and return suited us well.
We booked our tickets through easybook.com. It was fairly straightforward and we didn’t experience any problems. Our coach was a ‘Nice’ Executive Coach and it was great! Much better than we were expecting. The seats were comfortable with loads of legroom, we had tablets loaded with films on each seat and got free water and a breakfast pastry for the journey. The total cost for both of us was 383 MYR return or around £70, cheaper than both the plane or the train.
The coach departed from KL Sentral which we knew well since we’d been there a few times. However there weren’t any desks open (we were leaving at 7:40am) so it wasn’t very clear were to get on the coach. It turns out that the coach stops just outside the ‘Nice’ desks area – it’s directly outside the side doors near the desks – but it would’ve been good to have this signposted a little more clearly.
The journey went smoothly, altogether it took around 6 hours to arrive in Singapore. We were a little surprised how strict customs are on entering Singapore, we’ve never been through customs on a coach before! You’ll need to unload all of your bags and put them through the x-ray machines as well as get your passport checked just like at the airport. Singapore customs are strict on bringing in things like food/alcohol/cigarettes so bear this in mind if you don’t want any items confiscated.
The bus dropped us off at The Plaza on Beach Road. With a little help from Google Maps we figured we could probably walk to our hotel. We were staying at The Perak Hotel which is a great choice for anyone on a budget. It’s in Little India and is easy to reach via the subway and was clean and comfortable. Service was friendly and the price is reasonable by Singapore standards, even including a decent breakfast each morning. The walk took us around 20 minutes (hard work in the sun with our backpacks) so we were very grateful to be offered a free drink when we arrived!
Once we’d dumped our bags we set out to explore and get our bearings. We found exploring Singapore on foot and public transport to be both easier and more interesting than Kuala Lumpur. There’s lots to see and do and most of it is within easy reach of an MRT station or bus stop.
The National Museum
The National Museum is found off Fort Canning road and is easy to reach via public transport. We walked from Little India to get a feel for the city but getting the underground or a bus is also easy. The nearest MRT station is Bras Basah or Dhoby Ghaut (both a 5-minute walk). It’s a great museum that is free to enter and is well worth visiting while you’re in Singapore.
We also came back here in the evening for a free outdoor halloween screening of ‘Poltergeist’ which was really fun! This is a regular event called Under the Banyan Tree so check what’s on while you’re there if cinema is your thing.
Eating out in Little India
We couldn’t wait to try some authentic Indian from Little India, since our hotel was located right in the centre of little india we were spoilt for choice. After a bit of research we went with Banana Leaf. The food was really tasty and reasonably priced for Singapore. There’s lots of choice in Little India though so take a look on Trip Advisor and pick one you fancy!
The Singapore Flyer
OK so it’s maybe a little cliché to jump on the Singapore flyer on our first night here but the views are spectacular! We booked our tickets online to save 10% and simply gave our reservation number to the cashier to collect our tickets, there was only a very small queue and hardly any time to wait until we boarded, surprising for a Friday night. Hopefully some of the pics here will speak for themselves!
We’d heard that Singapore Zoo is one of the best in the world so on our second day we decided to visit and see for ourselves. We got the SAEX tour bus from the corner of little india on Serangoon Road, next to the 7-11 store. It only cost $6 each way. We also booked our zoo tickets online again which saved us 10% and meant we skipped the queues at the entrance! You’ll receive a QR code for your phone which you can just scan at the entrance to go through the gates. We booked for the Zoo and the River Safari for a total of $55 each which we thought was good value.
The zoo itself didn’t disappoint! There is lots to see and even though we were there for six hours it felt like we could have stayed longer. Highlights were the orangutans climbing through the trees above us with their babies, the pandas at the river safari and the polar bear. It’s definitely one of the best zoos we’ve visited.
Shopping and Free Art Events at Suntec City
Suntec City is a huge mall complex located near the waterfront. OK, I’ll come clean, we didn’t actually buy anything here… We’re on a budget after all. It was a cool place to relax and browse around for a couple of hours. There was a free art event being showcased in the mall and we could grab a coffee near the ‘Fountain of Wealth’ and enjoy the air-con for an hour or two! There’s also a food court where you can pick up a cheap lunch if you’re on the move. Food courts and cafeterias in malls can be found across Singapore and offer “Asia” priced food.
Esplanade Theatres on the Bay
On our last day here we had some free time before our bus home so we dropped our bags off and walked down to the Esplanade to take some daytime photos of the bay. You can also catch shows, music and films here, including some free events, so it’s worth checking the schedule to see what’s on while you’re here.
We loved our brief stay in Singapore, it’s a very modern, interesting and vibrant city with loads to see and do. We’d love to hear more of your experiences and suggestions in the comments!
Take care, Jake