Backpacking Indochina: Singapore for A Day

Singapore is an island city-state off the coast of south Malaysia known for its business circumference that can be toured around in one day. This tiny country isn’t tiny at all when it comes to its capabilities, and its greatness doesn’t actually stop there. Singapore is home to various tourist spots such as Gardens by the Bay, Universal Studios, Merlion Park, Botanic Gardens, different galleries, and many more. It is also a hub for different cultures, hence its Chinatown and Little India.

Sounds like a long adventure? You may want to reconsider that. Give yourself a day and you just might be able to taste and explore what Singapore has to offer.

There are daily flights coming to and fro Singapore. Actually, Singapore’s airport—Changi Airport—has been named the world’s best airport. It is a wonderland on its own!

There are daily direct flights from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Changi via different airlines. If you want to snag the best deals, make sure to subscribe to these airlines’ promo fares ahead of time so you could be updated.


Things to Remember


  • It’s better to get the whole day MetroCard. I was able to book a promo fare to Singapore a whole year ahead of this trip. It was an afternoon flight so my friends and I arrived in Singapore in the evening. We didn’t book any accommodation since we’re staying in Singapore for only about 24 hours, so we agreed to just stay the night in Changi.
    Since we’re roaming around for a day, we bought the Singapore Tourist Pass—a card that enables the tourist to have unlimited rides on their public transport. One day pass costs SGD10/PHP390, there is another SGD10/PHP390 deposit for the card which you can refund later in the day when you return your card. The one-day pass coverage is from the moment you first used/swiped your card until the day’s end of public transport service. There are also two-day and three-day passes available if you’re staying longer in Singapore.
    At the end of the day, you’d have to return the card to designated stations found in the city.

  • Make the most of the Changi Airport’s world-class service and facilities. If you’re coming in and out of Changi Airport, maximize what they offer by going on a FREE SINGAPORE TOUR, made possible by their amazing management. Upon arriving, ask for the direction going to the Free Singapore Tour booth and the kind staff will lead you to a tiny booth. Register and wait for your turn for the tour. This will save you tons of bucks.
    Here’s another thing about Changi Airport: they have a snooze lounge. We maximized that and slept comfortably while charging our gadgets. We left the airport the next morning. The trains, also called the metro, have a station just below the airport, thus it is easily accessible to the passengers arriving and leaving Singapore.

  • Change money at the airport. Finding the best money changers are very tricky when going abroad. If you are coming from the Philippines, it is wiser to change your Philippine Peso to US Dollar first. Bringing USD is an advantage when going out of the country, especially if you are backpacking around Indochina.
    There isn’t always a bulletproof technique in finding the best money changers around Singapore, but in my experience, changing money at the airport is a good choice than changing money at the malls. When exploring the city, opt for the side street money changers but make sure to double check their legitimacy too. These are still cheaper alternatives compared to the ones in the malls.

  • List the spots you want to go and strategize. Since we didn’t book any accommodation, our starting point for going around the city was the airport. And if you are not eligible for the free tour offered by Changi Airport, you may want to strategize. There are tourist spots that are closer to each other while there are some that are quite far from others. Getting a map is helpful too. There are maps with the list of the tourist spots available in Changi Airport.
    Singapore’s train systems are really fast, but it can be quite confusing if you don’t study the routes well. There would be places where you’d need to switch trains just to get to one point to another. Having presence of mind is also a must when touring and while in transit.

  • Take a bath in their public pools. This is actually a good tip that I learned during this trip, especially for those who only plan to stay a day or less in Singapore. We looked for public pools (Singapore has public pools at every corner!) where they have good bathing restrooms too. It only costs 1 SGD to enter the public facility, and you get to enjoy a real shower.

  • If it’s not peak season, you can opt not to book bus tickets ahead. It was my first time to go out of the country, so I opted to book everything in advance. This turned out to be a not-so-good idea when we were to board our bus to Malaysia from Singapore. We booked our bus online and paid via credit card. We paid for the online platform’s service charges and the card’s. When we got there, the base price of the bus ticket was cheaper than the one posted online and there were still slots available for our preferred trip.


Singapore is such a small city/country that you could roam around it in just one day. It’s filled with so much culture coming from the different parts of Southeast Asia converging in one space, which is already a feast in the eyes itself.


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