Marina Bay Sands and Downtown
This city-state is a mix of cultures and a modern metropolis with British influence.
Where You're Docked
Singapore has two main cruise terminals. Small and medium cruise ships can dock at International Passenger Terminal on the western end of the city across from Sentosa Island. This terminal is in one big mall, Harbourfront Center, and beside an even bigger mall, Vivocity. There is a MRT stop, Harbourfront, conveniently located here. Information on how to get to Harbourfront, maps and cruise schedules here http://www.singaporecruise.com.sg/
A new cruise terminal, Marina Bay Cruise Centre opened May 2012 accommodating bigger cruise ships that previously had to dock at container terminals. Marina South Pier MRT station opened Nov 2014 providing convenient access to the city. The station is 600m away from the cruise terminal along a sheltered walkway. Cruise schedule, maps and directions here http://mbccs.com.sg
Money and Tipping
Singapore's currency is the Singapore Dollar (SGD). There are several currency exchange counters and ATM's at both Harbourfront Center and Marina Bay Cruise Center. Credit cards are widely accepted. Tipping is not expected for both restaurants and taxis.
Singapore's metro, the MRT, can get you to most of the main areas. For single MRT trips, a new standard ticket was introduced Mar 2013. This ticket has a 10 cent deposit and can be reused up to six times but only two trips (initial journey and return) can be prepaid for. Fares are based on distance and start at $1.39. It is more convenient to purchase a EZ-Link stored value card (also valid on buses and with discounted fares). The $5 card price is non-refundable. These can be purchased at MRT ticket offices for $12 ($7 credit) or at 7-11 for $10 ($5 credit). Minimum top up with Ez-Link is $10. (Jan 2016) http://www.smrt.com.sg/ http://www.ezlink.com.sg/
You can also buy a single day Singapore Tourist Pass for $10 (plus $10 refundable deposit, Jan 2016) good for all day travel on the MRT and buses. The card is only available at certain stations including Changi Airport, Raffles Place, Orchard, Chinatown and Harbourfront. Marina South Pier is strangely missing from this list. http://www.thesingaporetouristpass.com.sg/
Taxis are metered and color-coded by company. Credit cards may be accepted with a surcharge. Surcharges also apply for weekday mornings, evenings, late night and pickups at the airport, downtown and Marina Bay Sands.
To/From the Airport
Taking the MRT to Changi Airport (SIN) requires changing trains at Tanah Merah station. 24-hr shuttle buses to hotels in the city center are also available for $9. Taking a metered taxi should cost between $18-$38 plus airport surcharge dependent on the time of day and take approx. 30 minutes. http://www.changiairport.com/getting-around/to-and-from-the-airport
For an inexpensive meal, Changi airport has hidden food courts mainly for workers but open to the public. They are marked as staff canteens.
Search hotels in Singapore here. Staying downtown will still give easy access to the both cruise terminals.
Must See Sights
- Orchard Road - This area spans three MRT stops and has a high concentration of modern malls. MRT Dhoby Ghaut, Somerset and Orchard.
- Merlion - This half lion, half fish fountain is the symbol of Singapore. The original one is downtown (MRT Raffles Place) with a copy on Sentosa Island.
- Chinatown - This area is full of outdoor markets and restaurants. Sample some bakkwa (see below) and visit the Hindu temple. MRT Chinatown.
- Marina Bay Sands - This brand new complex features a rooftop swimming pool and observation deck. The swimming pool is only for guests but the observation deck is open to the public. The casino is in the large mall across the street. MRT Bayfront (opened Jan 2012) or walk across the Helix bridge from MRT Promenade. Wonder Full, a free water and light show takes place every evening. Link here
- Gardens by the Bay - Opened in 2012, these gardens near Marina Bay Sands include conservatories and covered domes.
- Sentosa Island - This area includes Universal Studios, a casino, beaches, restaurants and many tourist attractions. The top attractions are Fort Silo and Underwater World. The free Crane Dance show is held every evening at Resorts World. A Fun Pass is available for discounts if you want to see lots of attractions and there is a 2 day option with Universal Studios admission. Various ways to get to Sentosa including the monorail from Vivocity, cable car from Harbourfront or bus. http://www.sentosa.com.sg/
- Little India - come to this neighborhood for authentic Indian food
- Kampong Glam - middle eastern area centered around Sultan Mosque near Bugis. Pedestrian only Bussorah St is the main tourist destination here running between the mosque and Baghdad St.
- Singapore Zoo - This world class zoo is one of Singapore's top attractions. You'll need to take the MRT to Ang Mo Kio and then bus 138 or MRT to Khatib and then taxi to get here. Night safaris are also offered in the evening.
- Singapore Flyer - This large ferris wheel offers sweeping views of Singapore. There is a 60's hawker themed food court here as well. http://www.singaporeflyer.com
Shopping & Restaurants
- You won't have trouble finding a shopping mall in Singapore. Orchard Road has a high concentration of malls.
- Bugis Street houses almost 800 shops, and is the largest street shopping location in Singapore. MRT Bugis EW12
- Have lunch at hawker centers which were originally food carts moved under cover to create outdoor food courts. Seah Im Food Centre is across from Vivocity. Vivocity has two food courts, one in the basement and a more expensive Food Republic on the top floor.
- Singapore is famous for it's Hainanese chicken rice. A recommended spot is Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Centre, Chinatown (look for the biggest lineup). Vivocity has a few chicken rice options including The Chicken Rice Shop, and stalls in both food courts.
- Have a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel. This will set you back 26 SGD however.
- Try an ice cream sandwich from street vendors on Orchard Rd or Chinatown. It's literally a slice of ice cream between a slice of bread or wafer.
- For meat lovers, try some addictive bakkwa. Bakkwa is a sweet meat jerky, more tender than it's American counterpart and available in pork, beef or other meats. Recommended shops in Chinatown are Kim Hwa Guan in People's Park Food Center or the chains Bee Cheng Hiang (location in Harbourfront also) or Kim Hock Gwan.
- Clarke Quay is an entertainment/restaurant complex on the banks of the river. Not too busy during the daytime but you can take a river cruise from here.
- Boat Quay (south bank of the Singapore River) is lined with riverfront restaurants busy with the downtown lunch crowd.
- There is a large Cold Storage Supermarket in Vivocity and a smaller one in Harbourfront.
- Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong's famouse dim sum restaurant, opened a location in April 2013 in Plaza Singapura on Orchard Rd. (MRT Dhoby Ghaut)
- Lau Pa Sat - Boon Tat street beside this hawker center downtown transforms into an outdoor satay street in the evening.
- Crystal Jade - This Chinese restaurant chain specializing in soup dumplings (xiao long bao-XLB) and found throughout Asia actually is from Singapore. Dim sum available. The flagship restaurant is in Ngee Ann City Mall on Orchard Rd (MTR Orchard). Other restaurants can be found at Vivocity and Suntec City Mall (MRT Esplanade).
- Hot-Star - This fried chicken cutlet chain has expanded from its roots in Taipei to stores at Ion Orchard and Resort World Sentosa.
- Alcohol is expensive in Singapore due to high taxes. Be aware of duty-free limits if Singapore is your disembarkation port. Link here.
There is a post office on the top floor of Harbourfront Center by the walkway to Vivocity. At Orchard MRT, the ION mall has a post office. Downtown, there is a post office by Raffles Place on Change Alley.
Restaurants and cafes may provide free wifi for customers. Marina Bay Cruise Centre has free wifi if you are docked there.
Maps (right-click to save)
Marina Bay Area
Singapore Downtown and Orchard Road
MRT map - Harbourfront is station NE1, bottom left corner by the purple 6 and Marina Bay South is bottom center NS 28 by the red 5
Singapore Tourist Guide with map can be downloaded here
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Suggested Port Guides