Layovers are usually a drag or a rush depending on how much time you have. But when you have the time, why not fly to 2 countries in one fare? That’s what we did with our flight from Manila to Phuket last November 15, 2016. The cheapest fare on offer had a long layover in Singapore, arriving at 1am and leaving for Phuket at 7pm. This means we had to sleep somewhere first before we can tour around Singapore.
Being on a tight budget, we decided to sleepover at Changi Airport. In other cities, this would be a terrible idea especially since we are travelling with a diabetic senior citizen. But since we’re flying into Changi Airport – the best airport in the world – we had no worries. Everything you need is available often for free, some with a fee. The sleeping lounge, wifi, drinking water, charging station are all free! The only thing we paid for was food and luggage storage, since we weren’t checked in all the way.
- TIP: When flying with Tiger Air/Scoot via Singapore, and you have at least 5 hours layover that you want to utilize for a free Singapore CitySights (night)/Heritage (day) Tour, get the TigerConnect service during your booking. This checks in your baggage all the way to your final destination without having to clear immigration. This is important if you don’t have a valid visa to Singapore. The Free Singapore Tour requires you to clear immigration together with the rest of the touring group. If you avail of TigerConnect upon arrival in Changi Airport, the price almost doubles.
- TIP: If you wish to go on a self-tour of Singapore and would want to use the free sleeping lounges first, DO NOT CLEAR IMMIGRATION! There is no free lounge outside the boarding gates. Don’t worry about not claiming your luggage from the carousel as it will be brought to the Lost and Found. Just keep your luggage claim tags and boarding passes with you as these are proofs of ownership. There is no fine in claiming your luggage at the Lost and Found.
- TIP: Actually, leave your luggage at the Lost and Found if you’re heading out for a short Singapore tour. The Luggage Storage Facility at the airport charges SGD 1.07 to 8.56 for the first 24 hours of left luggage per bag. Just make sure you pack some toiletries and a change of clothes in your carry-on or else you’ll need to get to your checked bags again.
- TIP: When flying TigerAir/Scoot from Manila, do not expect free wheelchair use. Every amenity will be charged to you by the airline. Phuket International Airport also charges for wheelchair use when you’re flying with TigerAir/Scoot. Singapore Changi Airport has free wheelchair use regardless of airline.
One of the signs of a highly modernized city is having public mass transportation from the airport to the city. Take for example, Seoul, Dubai, and London. At Changi Airport, you don’t have to deal with harsh elements outside to reach the MRT line. You can find a spacious platform at the basement level of Terminal 2.
For as low as SGD 10.00, you can avail of the Singapore Tourist Pass. It is available in 1-day, 2-days, or 3-days pass which you can use in the MRT, LRT, and Buses. The Changi Airport ticket station operates from 8am-4pm and 5pm-9pm daily. This means, you can start your Singapore tour from 8am and make sure to be back before 9pm so you can get a refund on your card rental deposit. Or you can keep the thing if you really want to.
You can opt to get the EZ Link Card if you’re heading to just a single destination or if you’re meeting a friend who can drive you around Singapore. Bus fares range from SGD 0.73 to 1.66 while MRT fares range from SGD 0.83 to 1.95 for a single journey.
Pay attention to the train route as you’ll have to change trains after 2 stops from Changi Airport or you’ll be taking the trip back to the airport costing you about 30mins both ways.
Plotting our places of interest in the free tourist maps available everywhere in the airport, we started at the Gardens By The Bay.
Heading back to the MRT station, we took a turn to Marina Bay Sands and continued around the bay and the stadium, to the Merlion, and headed back to the nearest MRT station at Raffles.
We had plenty of short stops along the way for photos, food, and rest.
This route is the best way to get some walking exercise while enjoying the views of Singapore.
For a quick day tour or even a night tour, it’s a perfect route lasting about 3-4 hours depending on how much you dillydally or enjoy taking in the sights of Singapore.
Overall, Singapore is a great city for families to discover with all the possible activities and places of interest. Most especially, the city is PWD-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about your elderly companions.
Don’t forget to take a photo with the Merlion, or have a shower from it…