Friday, May 19, 2017

Singapore Planning Guidelines

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Life is not all about saving for the future for which there is no surety. Come and feel the fun. Travel and know the world. We are here to guide you on what to travel and how to travel at minimum possible cost.

Yet another destination on hot list for many of us – Singapore is a city walled inside long buildings.  Whether you are enjoying the glittering view of the city, dive in the infinity pool of the Marina, experience the fun filled Sentosa Island, land up at Casino for a different experience; Singapore has definitely got something to offer everyone.

Singapore truly Known for its Marina Bay Sands

How to Reach Singapore and What NitSa Chose

Singapore is a small island city located at the edge of Malaysia can be reached via multiple ways. An airway no doubt is the most convenient one for all time. What we opted for is little different though. We got our Air Asia flight booked from Delhi till Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Then we opted for roadways to transit from Malaysia to Singapore.

We always look for the cheapest possible way to travel and have fun at the same time. Flight from Delhi to Kuala Lumpur and bus fare from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore was costing us quite less in terms of both money and time. (Please be noted that we had to take a drop in Malaysia for five days).

Choosing flight from Malaysia to Singapore would mean one hour travel from Kuala Lumpur Hotel to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, check in procedures, one hour flight timings, Check out procedures and again time from Changi Airport in Singapore to our place of accommodation. This sums up to total of 5 to 6 hours approximately and tiredness.

By Road- Most Convenient from Time and Money point of View

So cleverly we opted for the Bus Service from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore who’s picking up and drop point both were 10 minutes away from our places of Accommodation. So just sit and relax for the entire journey from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Singapore.

TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) at Bandar Tasik Selatan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was 15 minutes rides away from our Hotel in Butik Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We got the tickets book from there. (Transfer in Malaysia is quite reasonable in Uber. So keep travelling with Uber in Malaysia without any fear.) The ticket cost us Malaysian Ringgit 45 per person (equals to INR 665 approximately). Quite reasonable, isn’t it?

Besides Road, Other available Option for transfers from Malaysia to Singapore is:.
     Flight is what chosen by most of the people but that would be helpful if you are directly travelling to Singapore without any halt in Malaysia. In such case you are not required to count your travel time from Airport to Kuala Lumpur hotel and Vice Versa. Flight thus would be best option.
      Train is another option that routes from Bangkok, connecting Singapore to Malaysia at Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur. Tanjong Pagar is the Railway station for Arrival and Departure of Trains in Singapore.
.      Water ways means ferry services to transit between Malaysia and Singapore are available till Tanjung Belungkor in Malaysia.

(Though both Train and Water ways are not preferred because they consume a hell lot of time)

Journey from Delhi to Singapore via Malaysia

We were group of 10 people this time (all part of family) heading for this most awaited trip. All excited a week before were planning for lots of stuffs including what to pack and how to pack. Weight of luggage was the major concern. We got this flight with return at a very low cost. This low cost flight came with a challenge to include only hand baggage weighing up to 7 kilograms per person.  But amazingly we all were able to get our luggage packed in the minimum possible weight. I was ready with my luggage weighing only 5.5 kilograms. This was kind of victory for us especially ladies. Hurrah!

One more thing I would like to share is that we got this flight booked 7 months prior to our trip. So it is a kind of tip that keeping track on flight rates may provide you with an opportunity with such kind of trips.

Welcome Singapore

Flight journey from Delhi to Malaysia took 6 hours. Air Asia International Flight from Delhi to Kuala Lumpur does not provide basic necessities as complimentary which includes water, blanket etc.  So we preferred carrying water with us. Allowing water on the go also depends on airport to airport authorities. Else half liter of water would have cost us around Rs. 65 (approximately 4.5 Malaysian Ringgit). One more thing to keep in mind is that International Flight to Kuala Lumpur accepts both Malaysian Ringgit and Indian Rupees but return only in Malaysian Ringgit. So carry your money accordingly.

Staying for five days in Malaysia we headed our journey to Singapore as mentioned above already. The Seats of the bus were quite comfortable. The driver was taking halt by his own at every 1 or 2 hours. So people who need to freshen up at regular interval also need not worry. Overall the journey was quite pleasing providing the best of the views of city life.

At One of the Halt - Road Journey

One halt was a major halt that was for Immigration Process. Driver came up and asked to take our entire luggage with us for the immigration process. The bus was supposed to be emptied. It is not only us who need to get through this process; even the bus and driver are also investigated. So there is no scope of leaving any item in the bus. Beware! The process was similar to one that would have taken place at the airport.

Mode of Communication chosen by NitSa

TBS Drop point in Singapore was Beach Road (There are other drop point options as well). There were small market complexes at the drop point. Before proceeding towards the place of accommodation we went to enquire about the mobile network operators for easy communication.

In India I have Vodafone service provider (Post paid), but for international it was charging us Rs 500 per day per number. Being the larger group, we required at least two numbers for proper communication. So, Six days in Singapore and two numbers would have cost me around INR 6000. Another option was also available which was charging us INR 150 per outgoing call and INR 70 per incoming call.

It was way too much for us. We got ‘Singtel’ in Singapore the cheapest one for 6 days. It charged us Singapore Dollar (SGD) 8 (approximately INR 365) where we got 20 SGD local call and 1.2 SGD calling to India, so we preferred whatsapp call to India. For 1GB internet we got this deal topped up with SGD 10. Isn’t it the best option from all? I am sure, yes.

Paya Lebar - Metro Station - Singapore

Better and Cheaper way to Commute in Singapore

Our place of accommodation was in Paya Lebar (Geylang) in Singapore. This was approximately 7 kilometers from Beach Road, where our bus dropped us. One taxi in Singapore would have charged us SGD 7 per taxi (approximately INR 350). This is again very costly. But metro was not feasible with so many luggages so we opted for Taxi for the time being.

Once an Experience!! Lesson for Lifetime!!

After now personally experiencing the roads and rates in Singapore, NitSa recommends going for MRT (Mass Rapid Transit- Railway System in Singapore) in Singapore. MRT is the most cheaper and convenient way to travel in Singapore. Also I am highly impressed by the way MRT is maintained and its easiness for people to understand. All the lines are interconnected and it was so easy for us to understand about where to go next. Remarkable!

So to travel to Paya Lebar from Beach Road in Singapore, one can choose to travel to nearest Metro Station at Bugis in Singapore (Green line which is at 8 min walking distance). It directly goes to Paya Lebar (which is also at Green line).

This is how we travelled the whole of Singapore in the most convenient and cheapest way.

Metro let us explore even the hidden areas - Singapore

 What we chose to Live in - Airbnb

Agoda, MakemyTrip and Expedia are the next prerequisites for any trip planner these days. Where to live in, is another major concern for any holiday seeker.  The moment we get free from flight booking, we start searching for the best option of hotels available. The dilemma never ends when we get multiple options with all good and bad reviews. Tripadvisor is another available option that also gives facility to know more about the place, the reviews from general public and pricing options. Things are getting quite easy.

My Airbnb Mates - My Place of Accommodation - Singapore

Meanwhile, when we were searching for the hotel options we got to know about Airbnb concept. Here people rent their homes (usually the unused space) for people like us who are looking for accommodation in a new city. Airbnb can be a single room, apartment or the entire house. Host is set free to lease the unused space he has and the traveler is free to choose from among multiple options as per his desire.

So, Airbnb is what we chose to live in Singapore. It was our first time with Airbnb which left a remarkable impression on us. Airbnb is the most convenient and cheapest way to live in abroad. It let us live in our own way that made us feel like home for all the days in Singapore.

Why Airbnb?

It was that time when we had just reached Singapore at Beach Road and were looking for the option to reach our home Airbnb. We already had the phone number of our host. After we had Singapore SIM installed in our mobile, we made a phone call to our host Kelvin. Without any delays she sent us the complete address of her house via message and the phone number of the lady, named Darbie, who was the care taker of her house.

On reaching just outside the gate of the apartment house, we made a phone call to Darbie. She came down within two minutes and showed us the way to her place. She even helped us carry our luggage. Isn’t it sweet of her? She demonstrated about the house and handed over the keys of the house and the access card of the apartment.

Roads of Paya Lebar- Geylang - Singapore

It was a complete house with separate bedrooms, a kitchen, one drawing room equipped with sofa cum bed and a separate balcony. It was quite amazing. Among the necessities they also provided us with microwave, oven, cooking gas with chimney, refrigerator, washing machine with packet full washing powder, fully air conditioned and 24 hours Wi-fi. Kitchen drawer were also filled with all the necessary tools, bowls, plates etc.

What else a person need. After experiencing Airbnb, I found it much more comfortable then a hotel. After all we got the freedom to buy our own bread and milk and prepare our meal. There were lots of super markets available from where we bought bread, milk, fruits and ready to eat items at reasonable rates. I could prepare my tea as per my taste anytime now.

I will also suggest you the markets in my coming posts which allows you shop at reasonable rates.

Picture while roaming around in Singapore

Precautions with Airbnb

There is one drawback though with Airbnb. Even the reviews of travelers also suggest the same that the host of Airbnb can cancel your booking anytime before the commencement of your trip.

Similar thing happened with us. The first home we got booked for us got cancelled by the host just 10 days before the commencement of the trip. In such case we need to book another apartment. Luckily Airbnb homes are quite large in number. So lack of availability was not a major concern.

Cruise stay in Singapore is another option but expensive

Also, the Customer Care of Airbnb is very cooperative and easily available. Still this cancellation thing can leave you little frustrated.  But the good news is that the refund process is very easy and the hosts are very decent people as per my experience. I got my money refunded without any delays.

NitSa Says: Stay Vibrant, Keep Travelling!! We were travelling to explore the best of the city and hence, got the best in return.

Stay Tuned for my next posts on Singapore about places to visit, eat and how to reach..