A few months ago I did a solo trip to Singapore. I’ve been to Singapore a few times as it’s a short flight from Perth. I find it a very safe and easy place to get around as a solo female traveler with dodgy joints.
I thought I’d start these Singapore guides with some practicalities on getting around
These guides will include tips for people such as myself who have restricted mobility and experience fatigue very easily (especially in the tropics). I have RA and multiple joint replacements however I am able to get on and off public transport independently and walk short-longer distances depending on how I feel.
If you are travelling with a wheelchair, you may want to look up some sites such as disabledtravelersguide . Wherever possible I will include links about wheelchair access
Even though I live in a city which experiences hot summers, I’m always surprised by the heat and HUMIDITY every time I step out of the air conditioned airport at Singapore. The humidity can really take a toll if you’re not used to it. I personally avoid walking around in the heat and catch lovely air conditioned public transport wherever possible. Buses and trains are my best friends in Singapore. In fact, this trip I chose where to stay based on the proximity of bus stops and MRT stations. On previous trips, if I had a long way to walk, my feet would become sore by the time I walked to the bus stop or train station. There is also nothing worse than a long trudge home from the bus stop if your tired after sight seeing. Taxis during peak hour or late at night can be hard to come by so public transport or walking is the only option
I arrived at Changi early Sunday evening after a flight of less than five hours. I had decided before I got to Singapore that I was going to get a shuttle bus to my hotel as I thought it would be fun and I was on a bit of a tight budget.
HINT Before you leave your home country, make sure you get some local currency. That way you can leave the airport after a tiring flight as soon as possible without having to look for a Currency Exchange booth when you get there.
I purchased my bus ticket at the information desk and a lovely lady from the the desk actually escorted me to the bus stop. Luckily I didn’t have to wait long for the next shuttle bus. The trip to my hotel didn’t take long either as the bus wasn’t very full. I looked it as a good opportunity to check out some of the sights and chat to some other travelers.
The shuttle bus cost $9.50 and dropped me off right in front of my hotel and the driver helped me get my bags off the bus
For more information and other options on how to get to and from Changi Airport including fares click here
For budget travellers and backpackers, information on Bus Service 36 can be found here. You can check the route by street and landmark to see if it goes near your hotel or hostel. The fare is $2.50
Changi is a massive airport spread over a couple of terminals. You can click on the link here to find out all the facilities Changi has on offer at each terminal and how to get around the airport. Try to check out the Butterfly Garden
For special assistance at Changi including wheelchairs and medical services click here
Take into consideration
The escalators at the airport (especially the ones leading to the MRT) move like they’re on steroids. They move very rapidly so I suggest if you’re not too quick on your feet or are scared of escalators, take a lift.
If you decide to take the MRT into the city, be aware that there may be couple of train changes to get to your hotel. This can be very tiring and might possibly flare up some joint problems if you are lugging your bags to and from trains.
Please see the end of the post for information about Perth Airport
Getting around Singapore
First thing to do is get yourself an ez-link bus and train pass. You can pick them up and top them up at train stations. All you have to do is swipe the card when you get on and off the bus or MRT and it will deduct the fare. I used the same card I had from a couple of years ago. There is also an ez-link Tourist Pass if you are there for a short time
More information about fares can be found here
Transitlink is another site that has bus and train information, however I think there is a lot of information to sift through and the site may a bit confusing to navigate as a tourist
Have a look at this SMRT page for information about travel by train, bus or taxi and accessibility for persons with disabilities (including hearing and visually impaired)
MRT (Mass Rapid Transport)
The MRT system is very easy to use as well as being clean, safe and efficient
Each platform has a map so you know which direction to head in
If you are on a very crowded train and anxious about which side of the train to get off, many of trains will highlight whether to get off ‘this side’or ‘other side’.
Take into consideration
Doby Ghaut MRT Station is a very busy and large station where there are quite a few interchanges. If you are not very mobile or feeling tired, note that there may be a lot of walking at this station. A common interchange is the North South Line that goes to Orchard Rd. I always found myself walking, walking and walking to get to the train. The photos below give you an indication on how big the station is. The station is so big it even has moving walkways.
Take into consideration
If you are going to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel or Gardens by the Bay, you may have to do a bit of walking at the stations that service these sites as well.
For more info on how to get to Gardens by the Bay click here
Bayfront MRT station is the stop you want if you are going to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
Click here more more info on how to get to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The bus system is very easy to use and the buses are all air-conditioned. At every bus stop there is a map of the bus services and an index to roads.
In the example below, I want to go to New Bridge Rd; I can see 3 bus routes go there (2, 12 and 33)
Sorry about the bad quality of the following photos. (I might just have to go back to retake them ha, ha)
I can then check the bus routes and stops to see if they’re near where I want to go
For answers to questions about wheelchair accessible buses click here. On this page there is also a comprehensive list of Wheelchair Accessible Bus services for current routes
I have to admit, during my week long stay, I didn’t see anyone using a wheelchair on a bus however I did see people in wheelchairs using the MRT.
Location! Location! Location!
I stayed at the low key Victoria Hotel on Victoria Street in a twin room. I thought the location of the hotel was fantastic. (I have previously stayed near Orchard Rd and Bugis)
If you like a bit more luxury, there are numerous 4-5 Star hotels in the vicinity including the Hotel Grand Pacific, Carlton City Hotel, Swissotel the Stamford, The Raffles and The Intercontinental.
The staff at The Victoria Hotel were friendly and efficient and the room was very clean. The beds in the twin room however are tiny and I’m saying that as a short person.
Victoria Street (in relation to The Victoria Hotel) is a two way street with many bus stops on both sides of the street and two MRT stations (Bras Basah and City Hall) a five minute walk away.
From this location I was able to get to most tourist sites and neighborhoods of interest with one bus ride including China Town, Little India, Marina Bay, Tiong Bahru. Bugis was a short stroll or one bus stop away.
The Raffles Hotel, Chijmes, Singapore Art Museum, National Design Centre and the National Library were about a 5 minute walk away. Slightly longer at the pace I walk.
The Victoria Hotel did not offer breakfast however there were many options for breakfast around the hotel including a 24 hour food court across the road, Food Republic near SAM, Toast Box at Chijmes and lots of cafes at City Hall or Bugis.
I really enjoyed staying in this neighborhood for it’s vicinity and ease of access to many sights. It also felt very safe to walk around at night as a solo female traveller
more HINTS and TIPS
I would grab some delicious rolls from one of the Japanese Bakeries at City Hall to take back to my hotel so I could eat something as soon as I woke up to go with a cup of tea or coffee. That way I could take my medications that needed to be taken with food before I left my room and headed out for a more substantial breakfast.
If you are a fan of the Singapore Sling, head to The Long Bar in Terminal 3 at Changi to receive a complimentary mini Sling when you are leaving Singapore. Cheers!
When I boarded my flight at Perth Airport, there were a lot of stairs to navigate to get onto the plane from the Departure Lounge which I wasn’t expecting.
Also please check page 25 of the Perth Airport Disability Access Plan for additional information about getting on and off aircraft