GETTING TO SINGAPORE BY AIR
Many of the flights across the Pacific are non-stop. With the new jets it is no longer necessary to stop in Alaska or Hawaii. Flights to Singapore however sometimes stop in an Asian city such as Hong Kong, Seoul, Manila or Tokyo. Flights from Europe can also fly to Singapore non-stop but they often stop some other place and make a pitstop in the United Arab Emirates for fuel.
The flying time from New York to Singapore with a layover in an Asian or American West Coast city is about 18 or 19 hours. Direct flights from the West Coast of the United States to Singapore take about 14 hours. The flight time between Hong Kong and Singapore is around 3¾ hours. Flights from Singapore back to the United States take about two hours less time because of favorable wind and jet stream conditions.
Singapore is a gateway for Southeast Asia, Malaysia Indonesia and other destinations in Asia and serves a jumping off point for flights to Muslim countries and the Middle East. It is also like a gateway to the whole world. You can fly into Singapore from a wide range of international cities such as Capetown or Johannesburg, Mumbai, Karachi, Lahore, Ahmedabad, Cairo, the Maldives and New Delhi. From Europe, Singapore Airlines (SIA) flies from Copenhagen, Manchester, Munich, Zurich, Milan, Paris, London, Athens and Rome. There are also flights to Australian cities such as Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand.
From LAX, Singapore Airlines offers nonstop service to Changi Airport, and Singapore, JAL, Cathay Pacific, All Nippon, United, Delta, Air China, EVA, Emirates, China Airlines, Qatar, Etihad, Qantas, British and China Southern offer connecting service (change of planes). Restricted round-trip airfares begin at $1,235, including taxes and fees. Japan Airlines (JAL), All Nippon Airways (ANA), Singapore Airlines and Delta Air Lines connect Narita with Singapore Changi International Airport daily. ANA and Singapore Airlines offer two flights daily.
Around 100 international airlines have service to Changi Airport in Singapore: Aegean Airlines, Aer Lingus, Air Asia, Air Berlin, Air Canada, Air China, Air Europa Lineas Aereas, Air France, Air India, Air India Express, Air Italy, Air Madagascar, Air Mauritius, Air Niugini, Air Serbia, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Batik Air, Bhutan Airline, Biman Bangladash, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific Air, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Chongqing Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Delta Airlines, Drukair, Egypt Air, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Eva Air, Fiji Airways, Finnair, Firefly, Flynas, Garuda, Go Airlines, Guangxi Beibu Gulf Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Hebei Airlines, Iberia, Indigo, Japan Airlines, Jeju Air, Jetblue Airways, Jetstar Asia, Jetstar International, Jetstar Pacific, Juneyao Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Lion Air, Lot Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, Mihin Lanka, Myanmar Airways, Myanmar National Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas Airways, Qatar Airways, Regent Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Brunei Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Siberia Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Silkair, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Srilankan Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, Tap Portugal, Thai Airways, Thai Lion Air, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Urumqi Air, Us-Bangla Airlines, Vietjet Air, Vietnam Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Vistara, Xiamen Airlines,
Singapore Airlines (SIA, www.singaporeair.com) has been voted world's best airline by many sources. It serves 62 destinations in 35 countries all over the world, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, and other cities in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. If you are from North America, SIA operates routes from New York (both direct and via Frankfurt), Houston (via Moscow), Los Angeles (both direct and via Tokyo), and San Francisco (via Hong Kong and Seoul). SIA also operates flights to and from the West Asia and African continents.
Singapore Airlines flights from Los Angeles have traditionally had a layover in Tokyo or Taipei. The leg to Tokyo is 11 hours, to Tapei 13 hours. Singapore Airlines is a member of the 26-member Star Alliance and has code-sharing deals with Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Lufthansa, South African Airways, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United and other Star Alliance members. SIA subsidiaries are Scoot and SilkAir. Its regional wing, SilkAir, connects to 31 countries within Asia.
In the early 2000s, Singapore Airlines began offering nonstop service between New York and Singapore on new long-range Airbus A340-500s. The 10,000 mile journey takes 16 hours from Singapore to Newark (New York) and 18 hours in the opposite direction. SIA also offers service on the same planes between Los Angeles and Singapore. The 9,150 mile journey takes 15 hours between Singapore and Los Angeles and 18½ in the other direction because of strong winds on this route. To make passengers more comfortable the A340-500s carry 181 passengers rather than 313. In October 2012, Singapore Airlines announced it was ending the world's longest commercial flight — Singapore to Newark, New Jersey, a distance of about 9,500 miles. A slightly shorter route between Singapore and Los Angeles will also end. The two routes were flown on gas-guzzling Airbus A340-500s.
In October 2007, Singapore Airlines became the first airline to operate the Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger plane. The first commercial A380 service, SQ 380, carried 455 passengers from Singapore to Sydney. Singapore Air’s A380 now operates daily flights to Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Zurich, Melbourne, Los Angeles, as an extension of the Singapore-Narita service and double daily flights to London and Sydney. An A380 service to Frankfurt and onwards to New York commenced in January 2012.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) has evolved into one of the most respected travel brands in the world, and operates one of the world’s youngest and most modern fleets. The SIA network spans over five continents, so no matter where you are, you will almost always have the opportunity to meet the symbolic Singapore Girl, who epitomises the greatest in quality customer care and service.
If comfort is of the utmost importance, then you might like to revel in the brand new SIA suites, the first of its kind in the world. Lounge in the largest-ever seat, a lavish armchair with adjustable headrest and armrests. Even business is a pleasure in the New Business Class, with each leather seat unfolding to the largest full-flat bed in business class. Conveniences such as a centralised business panel offering in-seat power supply and USB ports are also readily available so you can do your work in quiet comfort.
Budget Airlines That Fly to Singapore
There are five budget airlines that fly in and out of Singapore Changi Airport: Jetstar (www.jetstar.com), Lion Air (www.lionair.co.id) Cebu Pacific Air (www.cebupacificair.com). Scoot (www.flyscoot.com) and Air Asia (www.airasia.com,). Scoot is a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines that was launched in 2012. It merged with Tiger Airways in July 2017 to become one of the biggest budget airlines that operate out of Singapore.
Jetstar Airways is owned by the Qantas Group and was launched in Australia in 2004. JetStar has cheap flights out of Singapore to Australia and other destinations. Air Asia was established in 1993 and is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It offers direct and connecting flights to many destination in Asia, generally through Kuala Lumpur. Cebu Pacific started its operations in March 1996 and has its hub in Cebu City, Philippines. With this airline, you can fly in and out of Singapore to destinations in the Philippines, Asia and Australia. Lion Air operated since June 2000. This Jakarta-based airline has direct flights from Singapore to Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh.
AirAsia, regarded as one of the world’s best low-cost airline, flies to Singapore from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Macau, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. Its low prices are made available by the exclusion of administrative charges such as fuel surcharge, and its easy-to-navigate website,www.airasia.com, allows you to book your flight and choose from over 50, 000 hotels online.
Package Tours: Cheap package tours, including flight and accommodation to Singapore are offered from major cities in Europe and the United States. Packages tours to Singapore are not as common as package tours to other places. The tours are usually arranged by travel agencies. Singapore may be included as a stop on a tour of Southeast Asia or Asia.
Airline Information Relevant to Singapore
The Singaporean authorities will prosecute cases of air rage within their jurisdiction. Air Safety: Airsafe.com: www.airsafe.com Seating Plans for Airlines: www.seatguru.com Tracking Flights: www.flightexplorer.com . Distances Between Cities: www.indo.com/distance
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Singapore’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA safety assessment page. [Source: Travel.State.Gov, U.S. Department of State, May 2019]
Blood clots (also known as deep vein thrombosis), can be a serious risk to some air travelers, particularly on long flights like those between Los Angeles and Singapore. According to Travel + Leisure: “Most blood clots dissolve on their own, but when they don’t they can cause fatal blockages. For instance, if part of a blood clot travels to the lungs, it can cause a pulmonary embolism... The best way to avoid a blood clot is to move around as much as possible during your flight. Get up out of your seat at least once an hour, and move your limbs frequently while sitting — flexing and bending your feet, ankles, and knees. If you are worried about blood clots, talk to your doctor before flying. He or she may also recommend wearing compression socks, or prescribe a blood thinner.
High and Low Season: Prices for plane tickets usually vary with the season. Fares from North America to Asia usually drop on September 1. The low season is usually from early September to mid-December and from January through May. The high season is generally during late July, August, late December, early January, Chinese New Year usually in early February and around spring break in late March and Golden Week (late April or early May). The mid season is generally in June and early July and early September. Each airline determines it own seasons but they generally follow this pattern. Prices vary between a US$50 to US$1000 for each season. For example a ticket from New York to Singapore may cost US$1,000 in the low season, US$1,200 in the mid season and US$2000 in the high season.
International flights arrive at Changi International Airport, which is about 20 kilometers or 20 minutes from downtown Singapore. Changi has consistently been rated the world's best airport in terms of customer satisfaction by no fewer than seven international travel magazines and has won over 400 awards. This self-contained, all-encompassing venue features an extensive range of choice shopping and dining options, entertainment and lifestyle spots, as well as business centres, facilities and services. It generally only takes about 20 minutes for new arrivals to clear immigration and customs.
Singapore’s Changi International Airport (SIN) has three 4,000-meter-long runways, four terminals and is one of the most important aviation hubs in Asia and handles over 65 million passengers each year and is the best in the world for several years running. Changi airport opened in 1981 and underwent major renovations in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Changi had a separate terminal for budget airlines but closed it down. Terminal 4, opened in October 2017, is located on the southern side, at the site of the former budget terminal.
Changi is open 24 hours a day and has a McDonald’s, other fast outlets, many restaurants, exchange banks, tourist information offices, rental car offices, and hotel reservation booths, many of which are open 24 hours a day.. There is a expensive hotel at the airport, even a swimming pool. Airport Tax: S$47.30.
Changi Airport Shopping
Changi Airport (20 kilometres northeast of downtown Singapore) is much more than just an airport: it is an all-encompassing venue that has a wide range of choice shopping and dining options, entertainment and lifestyle spots, as well as business centres, ensuring a first-rate experience. Other highlights are movie theatres, playgrounds and free internet stations.
Whether you’re a fan of big-name, luxury fashion brands including Hermes and Bottega Veneta, or local footwear specialist Charles & Keith, there’s bound to be a boutique that suits your style. To keep you going while you’re indulging in some much-needed retail therapy are dozens of dining establishments offering different cuisines. Enjoy delicious Chinese fare at Crystal Jade Shanghai Restaurant, unique Peranakan dishes from Kim Choo’s Nonya Kitchen, Singaporean specialties at Prima Taste or grab a sandwich and cup of coffee at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. There are even several bars to have a cold pint of local Tiger beer like Tiger Signature Bar and a nice glass of vino at La Cave Wine Bar.
But it’s not just fashion boutiques and dining establishments, there are also many great lifestyle features to be found here. One of the most notable is the world’s first Butterfly Park in an airport, where you can take a relaxed walk in an attractive garden while admiring beautiful butterflies. Be sure to explore other charming themed gardens such as the Orchid Garden, Cactus Garden, Sunflower Garden and Koi Ponds.
For jetsetters looking to rejuvenate after a long flight, you can look forward to indulging in a full body massage or some foot reflexology at venues including The Ultimate Spa, My Foot Reflexology and The Fish Spa & Reflexology. Alternatively, Changi Airport also has numerous Foot and Calf Massage Stations available for those in need of a quick pick-me-up.
If you fancy spending some time outdoors, be sure to visit the Rooftop Swimming Pool at Terminal 1. Lay back and perfect your tan or if the heat gets too much, take a dip and cool off in the open-air pool. Other highlights in Changi Airport include movie theatres, children’s playgrounds, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, MTV booths and LAN Gaming at the Entertainment Deck, well-equipped business centres, over 550 free internet stations and Wi-Fi access airport-wide to ensure a first-rate airport experience.
Nearest MRT Station: To get to Changi Airport, take the East West Line to Tanah Merah MRT Station (EW4/CG), then transfer to Changi Airport MRT Station (CG2). Alternatively, take the Downtown Line to Expo MRT Station (CG1/DT35), then transfer to Changi Airport MRT Station.
Jewel Changi Airport
Jewel Changi Airport (also known as Jewel or Jewel Changi, on the landside of Changi Airport) is a nature-themed entertainment and retail complex, Linked to three of its passenger terminals, the centrepiece is the world's tallest indoor waterfall, named the Rain Vortex, which is surrounded by a terraced forest setting. Jewel includes gardens, attractions, a hotel, aviation facilities and more than 300 retail and dining facilities. It covers a total gross floor area of 135,700 square meters, spanning 10 storeys – five above-ground and five basement levels. Its attractions also include the Shiseido Forest Valley, an indoor garden spanning five storeys, the Canopy Park at the topmost level, featuring more gardens and leisure facilities. Jewel receives about 300,000 visitors a day. In October 2019, six months after its soft opening, it had already welcomed 50 million visitors, exceeding its initial target for the whole of the first year.
Sanjay Surana wrote in the New York Times: “At first glance, visitors to the new Jewel complex at Singapore’s Changi Airport might feel like they have entered some mythical dimension. An indoor waterfall — the tallest in the world — drops 130 feet from an oculus the size of a bus. A Canopy Park has nets for bouncing and walking strung as high as 80 feet above the ground. A forest of 1,400 trees provides greenery and shade. [Source: Sanjay Surana, New York Times, April 11, 2019]
“The multi-floored Jewel, an asymmetrical toroid-shaped building between the airport’s existing terminals and the air-traffic control tower, opens officially on April 17. The result of four years of construction and $1.25 billion in investment, the commercial and entertainment structure aims to do what no other building has done: make an airport the destination. “Singapore is a tourist destination, but 30 percent of the people coming through Changi don’t visit,” said Ivan Tan, a senior vice president for Changi Airport Group. The country wants to draw those passengers on connecting flights, get them out to experience a taste of Singapore, so that they might come back for a longer stay.
“The centerpiece of the building is the Forest Valley with a terraced garden, and its heart is the Rain Vortex waterfall. The top floor, called Canopy Park, features bouncing and walking nets, a 165-foot sky bridge, two mazes (one with mirrors, the other hedges), a giant slide, and eight bars and restaurants. The exterior of the 10-story building, which was designed by the architect Moshe Safdie and built by CapitaLand, an Asian developer, is made of glass and crisscrossed with an aluminum-and-steel framework, allowing the entire interior to be bathed in natural light.
“The Jewel is an airport mall on steroids: In total, there are 280 retail outlets and food and beverage stops. Familiar stores line the floors — Foot Locker, Nike, the first Shake Shack in Southeast Asia — as well as local Singaporean brands like Naiise and Supermama. Other amenities include a 130-room Yotelair hotel, a full-size supermarket, an 11-screen cinema, and — don’t forget it’s an airport — early check-in counters. Mr. Tan and other officials hope that the amenities will lure travelers to leave the terminals during their layovers, even for a short time. (Singapore’s entry policy, which allows citizens of about four-fifths of the world’s countries to enter without a visa, should help.) For that reason the Jewel was designed to adjoin one terminal and link to two others by footbridges (passengers in Terminal 4 need a shuttle bus).”
Hours and Days Open: 24 hours; Address:Jewel Changi Airport, 78 Airport Blvd; Website: www.jewelchangiairport.com : Nearest MRT Station and Getting There: Changi Airport MRT Station on the East West Line via the Changi Airport Branch Line. By Public Bus: Services 24, 27, 34, 36, 53, 110 and 858. At the airport itself, Jewel is directly connected to Terminal 1 and can be accessed from both Terminal 2 and 3 via air-conditioned pedestrian bridges. Visitors from Terminal 4 can take the free shuttle bus service from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2, and enter Jewel via the pedestrian link bridge.
Spending 24 Hours in Changi Airport
Susan Spano wrote in Los Angeles Times: “I was headed here from Kuala Lumpur; only my destination wasn't exactly Singapore. It was Changi...where I planned to spend 24 hours before flying to Indonesia. I wanted to take full advantage of Changi's celebrated amenities, which include on-site hotels, a swimming pool and a movie theater. I was going to miss seeing the city, but giving it a pass meant I wouldn't have to go through customs and immigration, claim my luggage, change currency or undergo any of the other indignities to which air travelers are subjected. [Source: Susan Spano, Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2011]
“I booked a room at the Ambassador Transit Hotel in Terminal 1... Most airports are out-of-time netherworlds with artificial lighting, stale air and tacky décor. But when my plane landed and I stepped into Changi, I had to blink a few times to adjust my eyes to the golden sunlight streaming in from the windows. The concourses are wide enough to accommodate crowds, luggage carts are provided at disembarkation, and right away I noticed computer kiosks where you can check your e-mail for free. Local calls at Changi phone booths don't cost a Singapore penny either, and the bathrooms are spotless, with plenty of stalls and fast hand-dryers.”
I stopped “at a place called Fish Spa & Reflexology at the end of the concourse leading into the Terminal 1 transit mall. At first it looked like one of the foot spas you see everywhere in Southeast Asia. But along with rows of padded recliners and manicure tables, this one had three shallow pools of water filled with swarms of sardine-size fish. This specially bred species first used at spas in ancient Turkey feed on dry skin, exfoliating while they nibble. "It feels good. Try it," the attendant said. I'm a fool for spa treatments, the more bizarre the better. The water looked clean, and 20 minutes in the tank cost only about $20. I took off my shoes and dangled my feet over the ledge, emitting a little shriek as a swarm of fish engulfed my legs, pecking and sucking. It was profoundly weird, but I got to like it and sat there giggling while feeding the fish. When my feet finally came out, they were baby smooth. The calluses on my heels had disappeared, and clean, pink skin surrounded my toenails instead of dry, ragged cuticles. I may come down with an exotic disease, but for the moment I could have been a foot model.
“The hotel was just up an escalator from the spa, and when I arrived the man behind the counter said, "Hello, Miss Spano." I imagine he guessed who I was because few people reserve in advance at the Ambassador Transit Hotel. It's more a refuge for tortured souls between hellish long-haul flights. It cost about $50 for six hours, which worked out to be less than an overnight at the Crowne Plaza, and my room was nice, in a utilitarian, cookie-cutter way. Also spacious, with twin beds, a tub in the bathroom, a hot pot for making coffee and tea, satellite TV and a big picture window overlooking the construction that was proceeding in blessed silence. There was no room service, but with the Terminal 1 mall right outside the door, who needed it?
“First, I checked CNN for the latest news, then crossed the hotel lobby to the pool and alfresco bar on a ledge of the terminal perched over the runways. I couldn't think of any place I'd rather be, sipping fresh pineapple juice at water's edge while working on my tan in the hot, bright Singapore sun, and when I got hungry, I headed down the concourse for lunch. The front-desk clerk had advised me to try the Peach Garden Noodle House, a new branch of a popular Singapore franchise. The stylish, sit-down restaurant on the terminal's third floor serves Cantonese delicacies such as double-boiled shark's bone cartilage soup. I ordered a less exotic but excellent $20 lunch consisting of hot and sour soup, braised bean curd, noodles with prawn dumplings and chilled jelly royal for dessert.
“As it turns out, I could have taken a free, two-hour city tour with expedited passage through customs and immigration organized by the Singapore tourist authority. But the brochure showed people shopping, which I could do right there in Changi. Terminal 1 has all the usual suspects — Cartier, Coach, Harrods — along with well-stocked book and electronics stores. My favorites were Top Orchids, Shanghai Tang and Bee Cheng Hiang, part of a barbecue meat chain established in a Singapore street stall in 1933.
“Besides the shops, there are features you don't find in ordinary airports: a pay-to-use lounge decorated like a tropical rain forest, recycling points, a rooftop cactus garden alongside a branch of Harry's Bar, kids' play areas with never-ending DVD cartoons and signs everywhere that tell travelers exactly how many minutes it takes to walk from point A to point B. I wondered how many people miss their flights while gazing at a case of Omega watches or trying on blue jeans in the Prada dressing room.
“That night I went out on the town by taking the Skytrain to Terminal 2. I had my palm read in the Culture at Changi booth, e-mailed a picture of myself to family and friends at the Samsung Photo Me display, walked through a fern garden and tucked into a dish of vegetable biryani at an Indian restaurant in the food court. I never felt cooped up, though I recalled that the airport was built on the site of a prison camp for Allied POWs during the Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War II. I had everything I needed right here, with the possible exception of a Laundromat and yoga studio.”
Airport to City Transportation
When you make your hotel or tour package bookings, remember to enquire about airport transfers. Most tour packages are inclusive of transfers to and from the Singapore Changi Airport. If these details are not in your itinerary, you may want to call your hotel and arrange for transport. Otherwise, the taxi stands at the airport are abundant and well-manned by operators who will be familiar with your transportation needs.
A light railway line—the Changi Airport MRT Extension—that connects the airport with urban areas opened in the early 2000s. Make sure and take notice of the first stop—Expo Station—which features a dramatic stainless disc and a concourse roof designed by the Pritzker-Prize-winning architect Norman Foster. The station’s stainless steel skin reflects away heat and makes the station surprisingly cool. At night the undersides reflect the lights of the trains.
There are several companies that provide the airport transfer service, which you can book even before you travel to Singapore, a half or full day in advance. Among them are Limo Taxi (http://www.limomaxi.com) and Limousine Cab (http://www.limousinecab.com), best booked for groups of four and above. Surcharges apply for rides to and from the airport, starting at S$45.
Public Bus: Terminals 1, 2 and 3: You can take buses 24, 27, 34, 36, 53, 110 and 858 to all 3 Terminals. Terminal 4: Public buses 24, 34, 36 and 110 will also bring you to Terminal 4. Please prepare the exact fare for your trip as no change will be given. Alternatively, a stored-value EZ-link card for multiple rides can be purchased from any Changi Recommends store or the Changi Airport train station.
Train: To get to Changi Airport, take the East West Line to Tanah Merah MRT Station (EW4/CG), then transfer to Changi Airport MRT Station (CG2). Alternatively, take the Downtown Line to Expo MRT Station (CG1/DT35), then transfer to Changi Airport MRT Station. From Tanah Merah MRT Station to Changi Airport MRT Station: First Train Monday to Saturday: 5:20am, Sunday and public holidays: 5:47am. AM. Last Train Daily: 11:50pm . From Expo MRT Station to Changi Airport MRT Station: First Train: Monday to Saturday: 5:23am; Sunday and public holidays: 5:49am; Last Train: Daily: 11:54pm. Single-ride tickets and EZ-link cards can be purchased at all train stations. Get detailed train timings on the SMRT Journey Planner.
Taxi: Hail a taxi on the street, or make a booking in advance by contacting one of the following taxi operators at their respective hotlines. Surcharges may apply. Taxi's charge a S$5.00 surcharge on top of the meter fare for rides to or from the airport. A typical ride between the airport and downtown Singapore costs around US$10 to US$15 and takes about 15 minutes.
Comfort or CityCab: +65 6552 1111
Premier Taxis: +65 6363 6888
Prime Taxi: +65 6778 0808
SMRT Taxis: +65 6555 8888
Trans-Cab: +65 6555 3333
Getting to Singapore from Malaysia
The city of Johor Bahru in southern Malaysia is connected to Singapore by a causeway. Both Singapore and Malaysia have customs and immigration posts on either side of the causeway. Entry is routine and the wating time depends on the amount of traffic. The Johor-Singapore Causeway is 1,056 meters (3,465 ft) in length and crosses the narrow Johor Strait. Linking Johor Bahru in Malaysia to the Woodlands in Singapore, it supports a road, a railway and a pedestrian walkway and has several huge pipes next to it that bring in Singapore water supply from Malaysia According to ASIRT: “Traffic is often congested, especially on the evening before public holidays. Lanes heading into Singapore have 2 lanes for cars and motorcycles, one lane for buses and one lane for trucks. Photography and videotaping from the bridge are illegal. Bridge intersects with Skudai Highway (Federal Route 1) in Malaysia and with Bukit Timah Expressway in Singapore.” [Source: Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), 2007]
By Bus: There are many buses between Singapore and various destinations in Malaysia. Buses to Malacca and Kuala Lumpur leave from the bus terminal on Lavender St. and Kallang Bahru. Buses for Jahore Bahru in Malaysia leaves every ten minutes from the Rochor Road Station in Singapore. From Jahore Bahru there is a wide choice of buses and hired taxis to other destinations in Malaysia.
There are many coach services operating routes from mostly Malaysia to Singapore, but the best way to compare fare prices would be to log on to www.easibook.com, which eliminates the hassle of having to make your way to ticketing outlets to make your bookings.
Choose your preferred coach company to travel with via Easibook, which provides services from companies such as Konsortium Express, Grassland Express, CitiExchange, Lapan Lapan and Luxury Exclusive. The fleet of buses available on Easibook provides bus services from locations such as Malacca, Seremban, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands, Penang and Hatyai in Thailand.
Another source is the Express Bus Travel Guide (www.myexpressbus.com), which provides bus services to Singapore by companies such as Aeroline, Five Stars Tours, Grassland Express and Konsortium Express. There is also Bus Online Ticket (http://www.busonlineticket.com), which offers transportation service to Singapore from different parts of Malaysia such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Malacca and Ipoh.
Odyssey (www.odysseynow.com.my) offers luxury travel onboard its Odyssey coach, which promises a leather recliner and extra leg-room, and even luxury waiting areas such as the waiting lounges located on Singapore’s Dunearn Road and in Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Another option for luxury coach travelling would be Singapore’s very own Grassland Express (www.grassland.com.sg), which recently introduced its Royal VIP service for visitors who appreciate comfort and convenience. You’ll enjoy extra leg-room, with a new footrest designed to allow for personal adjustment, and onboard service provided by the company’s fleet of bus stewards.
Driving Between to Singapore and Malaysia
If you’re driving a foreign-registered vehicle, you may have to acquire an Autopass card (a vehicle entry permit) at either the Woodlands or Tuas Checkpoint arrival zones before you enter Singapore. Be reminded that it is an offence to drive in Singapore without an Autopass Card for your foreign-registered vehicle. If you’re driving a foreign-registered commercial vehicle (such as a bus or goods vehicle), you only need to pay tolls using the Autopass card, while Singapore-registered vehicles need to pay tolls using the NETS CashCard.
All vehicle entry permit (VEP) fees, toll charges and/or ERP charges need to be paid using the Autopass card and not the NETS Cashcard if you’re driving a foreign-registered vehicle. VEP fees are calculated on a daily basis and are not charged on Saturdays, Sundays and all Singapore Public Holidays.
Since 2005, all drivers of foreign-registered vehicles can drive into Singapore for a maximum of 10 days in each calendar year without having to pay VEP fees. However, toll charges still apply. Toll charges are calculated on a per trip basis, to be paid on arrival and departure at the Tuas Checkpoint, but only on departure at the Woodlands Checkpoint.
Train Between Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore
Daily train service operates between Singapore and Bangkok along the western side of Malaysia with stops in Johor Baharu (in Malaysia near the border with Singapore), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Butterworth (near Penang, Malaysia, about 100 kilometers south of the Thailand-Malaysia border) and Hat Yai (in Thailand near the Thailand-Malaysian border). A first class seat to Kuala Lumpur on this train is S$75. A thirty-minute ride to Johor Baharu in S$5. There is also a commuter train between Singapore and Malaysia.
The route Bangkok-Singapore is generally serviced by two separate railways: 1) an international express between Butterworth and Bangkok; and 2) Malaysia Railway (Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad, KTM) trains between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and Butterworth. There are local trains that serve sections of the Singapore to Bangkok route. They are often slow, uncomfortable and involve several train changes and are used mainly by local people.
Reservations are recommended, especially for trains on the weekends and during the peak holiday seasons. Reservations and tickets can be worked out through a travel agent, regional booking websites or at ticket office at the train station. Most visitors have a layover in Butterworth of several hours, which is usually long enough to hop the ferry to Penang to do a little exploring between trains.
The approximate distances and times between travel destinations are as follows: 1) Singapore and Bangkok, 1,900 kilometers, 1,200 miles, and 35 to 41 hours; 2) Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, 1,600 kilometers 1,000 miles, 30 to 35 hours; 3) Singapore and Kuala Lumpur; 320 kilometers, 200 miles, 6 hours; 4) Bangkok and Butterworth, 1,300 kilometers, 800 miles, 24 hours; 5) Singapore and Butterworth, 640 kilometers, 400 miles and 12 hours; 6) Kuala Lumpur and Butterworth, 320 kilometers, 200 miles and 6 hours.
Customs and immigration between Malaysia and Thailand is relatively swift. Usually it takes no more than 20 minutes. Passengers usually get off the train without their luggage, get a departure stamp in their passport from the immigration office in country they are leaving, walk across the border, get an arrival stamp and reboard the train.
Classes and Seats on the Singapore-Bangkok Trains
On the Butterworth-Bangkok international train there are: First-class compartments with two beds and air-conditioning. Second class compartments with four bunks and air-conditioning. Economy class has no berths and no air conditioning. Generally, first class tickets are twice as much as second class tickets and second class tickets are twice as much as economy class tickets.
Overnight sleepers with the same options listed above are available on the Singapore and Butterworth route. The KTM day trains between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Butterworth have economy class seats with non air conditioning and first class seats with air conditioning, comfortable reclining seats. Both classes have a television that shows videos.
The air conditioning can be extremely cold. On the Malaysian trains, there is often no food service except for hawkers that board the train and approach te train at stops. The scenery on this route includes limestone formations, meandering rivers, rain forests, rice paddies, palm plantations and rubber plantations. The KTM trains between Kuala Lumpur and Butterworth are designated as express but they make a lot of stops. The train embarking from Singapore for Butterworth leaves at 7:45 am. The train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur leaves at 2:45pm.
Getting to Singapore by Ferry and Ship: Mostly from Indonesia
There are quick boat rides and ferries between Singapore to islands off of Sumatra, but getting from these islands to other places in Indonesia is difficult. There are relatively cheap flights from Singapore to cities in Sumatra such as Medan. There is a regular ferry from Singapore to Batam and Bintan islands in Riau islands on the east side of Sumatra. Once you are on the Riau islands it is difficult to travel overland in Indonesia but you can catch flights to elsewhere. But there also cheap flights from Singapore to Indonesia so there is no point really using this route for access to Indonesia.
Ferries run frequently between Singapore and Batam Island. There are regular boat connections to Pekanbaru, where flights can be caught all over Indonesia. Prices are higher in Batam than they are elsewhere in Indonesia. Nagoya the main town has a large number of prostitutes and the highest AIDS-HIV infection rate in Indonesia.
Batam, just 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Singapore or 40 minutes boat ride away, is popular with Singaporeans for its cheap seafood, resorts, shopping and variety of golf courses. At least 100,000 Singaporeans visit the island every month. Many head there for a weekend tryst, giving Batam the reputation as the place where Singaporean men go to have romps with nubile girls.
There are frequent daily ferries connecting Singapore’s Tanah Merah port with Batam as well as between Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and Batam. The journey takes about 45 minutes and there wonderful views. Batam Fast and Penguin Ferry provide ferry services between Singapore and Batam Island while Berlian Ferries provide numerous daily ferries to Harbour Bay, formerly better known as Batu Ampar. For information call the Harbour bay Counter at +62 741 5100, or +65 6272 0501 at the Singapore Counter. For Singapore side ferry departure and arrival check; singaporecruise.com/ferryschedule.aspx
The island of Batam has six ferry terminals, they are at Sekupang, Waterfront City, Batam Center, Harbour Bay, Nongsapura and Telaga Punggur. Batam Center receives the most ferries from Singapore and Johor. Ferries to Harbour Bay carry passengers wishing to go to Nagoya, Batam’s business centre, while the terminals at Waterfront City and Nongsa serve mostly tourists visiting resorts. At Sekupang are ferries that ply between Batam and the main island of Sumatra and to the Karimun islands. While Telaga Punggur is the terminal for ferries plying between Batam and Tanjung Pinang on Bintan island.
Ferries connect Singapore, Johor in Malaysia, Batam and Bintan with Tanjung Balai Karimun. From Singapore, ferry operators Penguin and Indofalcon operate 4 trips daily from Singapore’s Harbour Front center to Tanjung Balai. Tickets cost S$63 excluding Singapore and Indonesian port taxes. From Tanjung Balai the ferry ticket costs Rp. 65,000 excluding port tax. The journey takes one and a half hours.Since both companies code-share, Singapore ticket holders can board any ferry between the two on your return leg from Tanjung Balai to Singapore. But if you have bought your ticket in Tanjung Balai, this will be valid only on the ferry of the company from which you bought the ticket. For details and booking call: Penguin at penguin.com.sg/, Tel: +62-777-324300 in Tanjung Balai) or +65-62714866 at the Harbour Front For Indofalcon, indofalcon.com.sg/, call Tel: +65-62783167 at Singapore’s Harbour Front
Cruises That Stop in Singapore
Several cruise lines stop in Singapore. Cruise Lines departing from Singapore include Star Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Seabourn, Azamara Club Cruises, Holland America Line. With the world’s busiest port located in Singapore, it is not surprising that numerous ports and tropical destinations are just a few sailing days away. Centrally located in the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore is an ideal cruising hub for the region.
The cruises that arrive and depart from Singapore come from a myriad of exciting destinations such as Ho Chi Minh City, Bali and Phuket. Singapore is the ideal place to start or end a cruise as well as stop along the way. A variety of cruises are available to and from Singapore, ranging from short excursions to world cruises; on contemporary, premium or luxury and expedition cruise ships.
Singapore’s new international cruise terminal located at Marina South. It has a prominent waterfront location with the downtown Singapore skyline as its backdrop, and serves as a key maritime gateway to Singapore. The Singapore Cruise Centre at Harbour Front currently serves more than 25 cruise lines. It is located within an integrated waterfront development right across Sentosa Island—home to Resorts World Integrated Resort, a theme park, wildlife reserves, gardens and adventure rides. With myriad tourist destinations at its doorstep, Singapore Cruise Centre is also in close proximity to the city centre and airport.
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: Singapore tourism websites, Singapore government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Updated in August 2020