Getting around Singapore –taxis, buses, trains and monorail

In our recent visit to Singapore (June 2014), we tried different modes of transport. Let me share with you our experience.
When doing my research before the trip I came across airport transfers for SG$9/person but this is the kind where the bus or van leaves the air port at set times throughout out the day and you get a “mini tour” of all the hotels if yours is toward the end of the route. This can be a fun idea if you have lots of time for that day.
We didn’t have that much time so we took a taxi to our accommodation. The quick trip from the airport to Orchard Road cost about SG$18.00 (which works out as only SG$9/person for 2 people).

Baggage section at Singapore airport, and just outside are conveniently located taxi bays

We again took a taxi to the airport from Orchard road at the end of our trip and this time it cost us SG$17.00 with an interesting character for a taxi driver. He told us his condensed life story in that taxi ride.
My previous visit to Singapore was in 2006 and I have a travel card which I kept. I was disappointed to find out that it is no longer valid and the credits in it are not refundable as they have changed to a new system. The new card costs SG$15/person with SG$10 credits in it and a non-refundable SG$5 for the cost of the card. This EZLink card can also be used for other modes of public transport.
Dhoby Ghaut train station

There is also an option to buy a paper ticket called Standard Ticket which can be used up to 6x and the ticket only cost 10 cents. It is less convenient than the SMRT as you have to put money in it per trip.
The place we stayed is a 5-minute walk to Dhoby Ghaut station. We used the trains going to Marina Bay Sands, Harbourfront and other places.
On our way to Sentosa, we took the monorail at Vivo City for SG$4/person. Our EZLink card had less than SG$4 credit and the minimum top up value is SG$10/card, so we figured that we will not use that much for the rest of our stay, so we just queued up in the machine and bought the SG$4 ticket for the monorail.
Monorail travelling away from Sentosa Island

After our Sentosa Island visit, from Harbourfront we decided to hop on a bus instead of using the trains again. There are timetables at the bus stop, which is very helpful. We took the number 65 bus as we read that it will pass by Orchard Road. When we got to Orchard road we decided to keep going and see where the bus will take us. We went passed Little India and saw colorful shops. We passed by residential houses along McPherson Estate and high-rise newer ones along Bedok Reservoir. We saw the industrial area in Bukit Kaki and we had a glimpsed of Bedok Reservoir as the bus went pass it. This was good timing as there was a piece at the Art Museum where we went the next day that talked about Bedok area.
Double-decker buses in Singapore

Finally we stopped at Tampines, which I have never heard of before until I got into this bus. I found out that Tampines is the largest residential area in Singapore.
This was the end of the route and we had to change to another bus as the driver was taking his scheduled rest break.
That was a worthwhile experience for less than SG$4.00 and it took us to places that most tourists would not see.
Busy bus Station at Tampines

Text & Photos by Alicia Davis

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