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Monday, September 2, 2019

Exploring Singapore: Spent Less than PHP 10K for 3 Days and 2 Nights

    Merlion Park at Night
Singapore is a famous destination not only to solo backpackers but also to people who love to experience a visa free first world county in Asia. I did some research before going to Singapore. Most people who went to the country noted that it's very safe. Citizens are disciplined and law abiding. They are also fluent in English so there's no language barrier. On top of that, tourists are in awe of Singapore's infrastructures and entertainment from the airport, parks, zoo and so on.

It was my first visit in Singapore and I decided to go on solo. I prepared an itinerary where I get to visit the domes in Gardens by the Bay, OCBC Skyway, Observatory Deck, Universal Studio Singapore and others. But I realised, these attractions are not for someone going solo (atleast for me). So I decided to come up with another itinerary, Singapore Version 2.0, where I'll visit entrance free attractions of Singapore. This will save me time especially if I wanted to bail out in a place or if I feel I need to skip a place. No entrance fee to regret or to consider. Also, this is a good idea for solo, couples or family who are in a budget or would like to put their budget to food rather than attractions. Amazingly, Singapore has so much to offer that are FREE! 

Aside from the flight tickets, travel and airport tax, accommodations, EZ Link top-up, pasalubong and meals, I did not have any other expenses in Singapore.
Marina Bay  Sands View at Night
Flight Tickets
I booked my Clark - Singapore and vice versa ticket with Cebupacific during their July 2019 promo fare. I got the deal for only P3,680. I chose Clark Airport instead of NAIA Airport as I live near Clark.

Alternatively, there are lots of airlines that has a Manila/Clark to Singapore route like Philippine Airlines, Airasia and Jetstar. Catch the promo fares for cheaper flight tickets.

If you're coming from Clark, you need to pay the following:
  • Travel tax - PHP 1,620
  • Terminal fee - PHP 600
Mandatory Universal Photo
How to reach Clark Airport from Manila
a. There are numerous P2P (Point-to-point) busses going to Clark. Fare starts at P400. Click here for routes and fares.

b. Ride a bus bound to Dau Terminal. From Dau Terminal, ride a "SM Clark-Maingate" jeepney (P9) and tell the driver to drop you off at Maingate Terminal. From the Terminal, find and ride the Airport Jeepney (P20).

Visa Requirements
Singapore offers visa free entry for Filipinos. Just ensure that your passport has more than 6 months validity prior to entry in Singapore and you are good to go.

Accommodation
I always dreamt of staying at capsule hostels. And by going solo, I think it was the best time to try it. I booked at Met-A-Space-Pod in Boat Quay for 3 days and 2 nights. I got the deal it for only P2,634. This already includes breakfast.

There are more cheaper hostels around Little India area. It will be smart if you book an accommodation near MRT Stations. 
My own space in the capsule hostel

Met-A-Space-Pod
I got many inquiries when I posted my pictures in this capsule hotel. So I thought of discussing it more. I did my research before booking my stay with this hostel. I was satisfied by the reviews and managed my expectations. 

My stay was nothing but very good. The hostel is a 5-minute walk from Raffles Place MRT Station (UOB Plaza 1 exit). The place is easy to find as it is just before Bonchon. It is situated in Boat Quay which means lots of restaurants and food chains nearby. Food won't be a problem. However, at wee hours of night, there may be sounds or noises but it is manageable.

The receptionist were part-timers but they were accommodating and friendly. They oriented me on the "how to" of the hostels. They also provided everything that was included in my booking: towel, wifi and breakfast.

The hostel has lockers for each guest but it can only accommodate one small luggage. If you have bigger luggage, there's a bag rack for everyone.

The capsule itself is only good for one person though they offer  couple capsule that are good for two persons. The capsule and the place was clean and free from smell. The capsule includes lights, sockets, USB ports and television.

Distance from Philippines
Travel to Singapore is around 3.5 hours from Clark, Philippines. There is no timezone difference.
Hanging Bridge at Palawan Beach
EZ Link Card
You can reach every place in Singapore using MRT. It is good if you'll have either the Tourist Pass or an EZ Link. I used EZ link as advised by my friends who were frequent visitors in Singapore. I only consumed 10 SGD for my three day trip.

Unlike the Tourist Pass, you can top this up and it can be used for Monorail in Sentosa.

A friend lent me her EZ Link Card. It has a $10 balance when she gave it to me. Happy me! So if you have friends who have been to Singapore, better borrow their EZ Link Card to save up.

4G Singapore Sim
This is the best decision if you're going solo. I purchased it through Klook for a discounted price of P177. This simcard has 100GB of data that is good for 7 days. And yes, data is you're "go to thing" whenever you visit a foreign country.

I collected the simcard in Cheers Store at Terminal 4. I showed my Klook voucher, they registered it under my name and I'm good to go.

How to get out/to Terminal 4
From Terminal 4, find the free Airport Shuttle that will take you to Terminal 2. From Terminal 2, follow the signs "to MRT/City". Do the other way in coming back to Terminal 4.


Singapore 3D2N Itinerary

Day 1 - Jewel and Around Marina Bay Sands

Jewel @ Changi
You can access this through Terminal 2. A little walking and following the "Jewel" signs will take you to the newest gem of Changi Airport. 

Around Marina Bay Sands Tour
From the hostel, I walked going to Merlion Park - Helix Bridge - Art Museum - Marina Bay Sands - Fullerton Hotel and back to the hostel. This is an hour walk but because I took my time to be amazed by the infrastructures and took several photos, this is almost a three hour tour. 
Day 1 - Walking Map

Places Visited:
  • Boat Quay
  • Merlion Park
  • Helix Bridge
  • Art Museum
  • Marina Bay Sands

Day 2 - Sentosa, Chinatown, Gardens by the Bay and Clark Quay
Monorail Stations and Destinations

Sentosa
Sentosa is an island resort in Singapore's southern coast. It houses the Universal Studio, Resort Worlds, beaches and many more attractions.

The easiest way to go in the island is to take the MRT going to Harbourfront Station. The MRT is connected to VivoCity shopping mall. From there, you will have several options

a. Walking through Sentosa Boardwalk.

  • This is a pedestrian walkway that connects the eastern part of the VivoCity shopping mall and Resorts World Manila. The best part of it is there is no admission fee.
b. Monorail or Sentosa Express.
  • This is situation inside VivoCity Shopping Mall. The single-day Sentosa Pass costs $4. This allows island entry and unlimited rides on the Sentosa Express. First train trip starts at 7:00am
        Monorail Stations
        SE1 VivoCity - Entry point; Harbourfront MRT Station
        SE2 Resorts World - Universal Studio; Resort World Attractions
        SE3 Imbiah - Merlion Plaza
        SE4 Beach - Beaches and Palawan Green

c. Cable car
  • Singapore Cable Car Sky Pass (Round Trip) cost $35. This includes Mount Faber Line and Sentosa Line
        Mount Faber Line - Mount Faber; Harbourfront; Sentosa
        Sentosa Line - Merlion; Imbiah Lookout; Seloso Point

Tips: Travel within Sentosa and back to the Mainland is free of charge whether via bus or monorail.
Merlion at Sentosa
Places Visited:
  • Universal Studio - Globe
  • Sentosa - Merlion
  • Palawan Beach
Chinatown
Chinatown means food and shopping!  I explored Chinatown's Food Stalls, Hawker Centre and Shopping Center. Don't forget to drop by the Value Dollar Store near the MRT to score great deals of chocolates!

Places Visited:
  • Chinatown
  • Chinatown Hawker Centre
  • Value Dollar Store
Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay
Your visit to Singapore won't be complete without visiting the Gardens. I walked through the gardens and scored several photos with the SuperGrove Trees, Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.

Places Visited:
  • Gardens by the Bay
Clark Quay
This is almost the same as Boat Quay. A serene view of the river with many people walking along the pedestrian. Don't forget to visit the Old Police Station just outside the MRT Station.

Places Visited:
  • Clark Quay
  • Old Police Station
Day 3 - Merlion Park (Morning View), Arab Street, Little India and Orchard

Though the night and lights are fab with Merlion Park, I have to see it during day time so I had a come back at Day 3. It's quiet and there's less people at that time. I headed straight to Arab Street and explored the colorful street arts and was amazed by the picturesque Sultan Mosque. I had the streets to myself. It started to rain afterwards and I found a shed at Zam Zam Restaurant. I took my brunch while waiting for the rain to stop. The rain stopped after some time and I walked to Little India and Sri Veen Temple. Thanks to Google Maps and to people who assisted me to find the places. Then I headed to Library at Orchard. It is sitting in the 3rd floor of the Orchard Mall, easy peasy.
Sultan Mosque
Places Visited:
  • Merlion Park 
  • Arab Street 
  • Sultan Mosque
  • Little India 
  • Sri Veen Temple
  • Library at Orchard 
  • Terminal 4
Tips:
  • Wear your most comfortable shoes - I read this from all the blogs I researched on and I heard this from people who went to Singapore and all I can say is, "this is so true!". Singapore is all walk! I wore my most comfortable shoes, I still had sore feet every end of the day. 
  • Be fit - If you're not the type of person who loves to walk alot, you need to train up prior to your visit. As for me who really loves to walk, I still had leg pains and wanted to give up. I even went home early in may second day to give my legs, feet and body some rest.
  • Wear comfortable clothes - Singapore has the same temperature with the Philippines. And since you'll be walking in a warm day, you'll also be sweating tons! 
  • If unsure, ask - Citizens can speak English and are very accommodating. 
  • Use EZ Link rather than tourist card - With all the places I visited plus the MRT from and to Changi Airport, it only cost 15 SGD. You can also use this in buses and Sentosa Express.
  • Sim card for data - Though almost every place in Singapore has wifi, it is still better to have your own data at hand. You can have 100GB data for only PHP368. I purchased mine via klook and collected it in my desired location.
  • Value Dollar Store - If you're not the keychain/ref magnet type of person, you can get your pasalubong of chocalates here.
  • If your a SB collector - Buy a SB tumbler and get a free venti drink
  • Too much top-up on your card? - You can use it in Mcdonalds/711
  • Got coins - As coins dont get exchanged and would be most likely stucked with you forever, use them in the "Cheers" convenience store in the airport. They have goods starting from 1SGD dollars.
  • Water - This is bit expensive. I suggest to bring your own tumbler. In my case, I bought my SG tumbler upon arrival and refilled it with water for my travels
  • If you're travelling solo, bring your portable tripod - This will save your day for beautiful instagrammable photos. And yes, you can hand carry it.
  • Download your fave movie/kpop - The flight is long and if you're someone who cant sleep through the flight, bring something to watch or read.
Morning view of Marina Sands Bay

Summary of Expenses
Round trip flight ticket (CRK-SIN-CRK) - P3,680
Accommodation (Met-A-Space-Pod) - P2,634
SG Sim Card (Klook) - P177
Clark Airport Travel Tax - P1,620
Clark Aiport Terminal Fee - P600
EZ Link Top-up (5 SGD)  - P188
Total Expenses - P8,899

I did not include meals and pasalubong cause you know it, they are relative. 
For meals, I only spent less than SGD50 for three days.

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