Well when I mentioned “BUDGET” in my title, at least a few might be interested to know about the total cost without reading all the way down. Well let me make your lives easy and here is that figure you are looking for.
Indian Rupees (Rs.) 1,68,543 for three adults (ex. Kochi, Kerala, India) inclusive of all expenses (airfare, visa fee, entrance fee,sim card, taxi, food, souvenirs etc. etc. you name it).
Which comes down to Rs. 56,181 per adult. (Total 8 nights, 4 nights each in Malaysia and Singapore).
Now that you got the total figure, you must be interested to know the breakup. But this time I won’t be giving it that easy..hah hah. You will have to bear with my words that are about to follow. So let’s start!
Taking my parents for a trip outside India was along pending dream and by June 2015 I decided to make the dream a reality. It was a perfect time for me as I was about to get a couple of weeks free in the month of August 2015 (owning to job change) and it was my only window before I got hitched (status was about to change from Single to married in December 2015). Lots of options came to my mind and I finalised on two destinations, the ever favorite South Asian destinations : MALAYSIA & SINGAPORE.
I did visited Singapore in August 2010 along with four of my college mates. It was my first journey outside India and I can still remember each and very bit of that trip. Singapore had a long lasting impression on my mind and I badly wanted to take my parents there who had never been to a foreign country.
As far as Singapore was concerned, I had a rough orientation of places to visit, however I was clueless about Malaysia. I started searching online and at the same time got some vital inputs from one of my senior colleagues who recently visited Malaysia. His itinerary was a starting point for me and I began to work around it.
Budget Constraint and Planning
As I told before, my wedding day was just a few months away and I really needed to work on my economics. Basically I found out the following check points
- Find the cheapest flight (search for flights starting from Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Bangalore and Chennai)
- Find cheap and best hotels
- Find the cheap and best way of travel within Malaysia and Singapore
- Try different travel date combinations
Keeping the above four bullet points in mind at first I started the flight search. After searching through multiple websites (goibibo.com, cleartrip.com, malindoair.com, airasia.com) I found the best possible date and route.
- 15-08-2015 – Kochi to Kuala Lumpur – Malindo Air – 23:35 hrs IST (D) and 6:20 hrs MST (A) – Rs. 21,985 (3 Adults)
- 24-08-2015 – Singapore – Kochi (stop over at Kuala Lumpur) – Malindo Air – 17:45 hrs SST (D) and 10:35 hrs IST (A) – Rs. 21,378 (3 Adults)
Thus flights and dates were sorted out and it costs me Rs. 14,454 per head for the round trip (I would say its not a bad deal at all).
Now that the dates had been fixed, I made a rough layout of my itinerary.
Hotel booking was next on my list. I took the help of in.hotels.com for all the hotel bookings. It was a tough ask for me to find good hotels at the best price and at good locations as well. Trip Advisor as well as user reviews on in.hotels.com helped me a lot in deciding the hotels. I must say it took me a week before I finalised my itinerary and the hotels as detailed below.
|Day||Date||Night Stay||Hotel||Rate (Rs.or INR)|
|Day 0||15-08 2015||Flight to Kuala Lumpur|
|Day 1||16-08-2015||Kuala Lumpur||V La Garden Hotel, Jala Padu, KL – 3 Bed w Breakfast Wifi||1810|
|Day 2||17-08-2015||Kuala Lumpur||V La Garden Hotel, Jala Padu, KL – 3 Bed w Breakfast Wifi||1810|
|Day 3||18-08-2015||Kuala Lumpur||V La Garden Hotel, Jala Padu, KL – 3 Bed w Breakfast Wifi||1810|
|Day 4||19-08-2015||Malacca||De Mawardah Hotel, Malacca- 3 Bed w WiFi||2028|
|Day 5||20-08-2015||Singapore||Chang Ziang Hotel, Geylang, Singapore- 3 Bed w WiFi||4265|
|Day 6||21-08-2015||Singapore||Chang Ziang Hotel, Geylang, Singapore- 3 Bed w WiFi||4057|
|Day 7||22-08-2015||Singapore||Chang Ziang Hotel, Geylang, Singapore- 3 Bed w WiFi||4265|
|Day 8||23-08-2015||Singapore||Chang Ziang Hotel, Geylang, Singapore- 3 Bed w WiFi||4785|
|Day 9||24-08-2015||Flight to Kochi|
|Total Cost (Rs. or INR)||24,830|
NB: Request the readers to keep in mind that none of the above hotels have a luxurious outlook. However none of them have disappointed me at all considering the value they offered for the tariff. One can get budget hotels in Kuala Lumpur, however finding anything less than Rs. 4000 for a triple bed room will be tough ask in Singapore. I would suggest the above hotels for their location and cost. Throughout out journey we never spent much time in hotel room (on an average we used to leave the hotel room by 9:00 AM and come back by 8 or 9 PM). so really, I didn’t made any sense to me to spend more on hotels as long as they were clean, tidy and easy accessible (which the above hotels did).
|Day no.||Date||Night stay||Places Visited|
|Day 0||15-08 2015||Flight||Train to Kochi, Flight to Kuala Lumpur from Kochi Intl. Airport|
|Day 1||16-08-2015||Kuala Lumpur||Royal Musem, Thean Hou Temple, KL Tower (Menara KL), Merdeka Square, National Museum,|
|Day 2||17-08-2015||Kuala Lumpur||Beryl’s Chocolate Kingdom, Jadi Batek Gallery, Royal Selangor, Batu Caves, Genting Highlands|
|Day 3||18-08-2015||Kuala Lumpur||KL Bird Park, National Mosque, KL City Gallery, Petronas Twin Towers(outside only), KLCC Aquaria|
|Day 4||19-08-2015||Malacca||Bus to Malacca, Marine Museum, Menara Taming Sari (Sky Tower), Heritage Area, Cheng Hoon Teng temple, Masjid Kampung Kling, Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple, Jonker Walk, Meleka River Cruise|
|Day 5||20-08-2015||Singapore||Bus to Singapore, Singapore Flyer|
|Day 6||21-08-2015||Singapore||Gardens by the bay, Little India, Merlion, Gardens by the bay (Super tree light show)|
|Day 7||22-08-2015||Singapore||Universal Studios|
|Day 8||23-08-2015||Singapore||River Safari, Sentosa Island, Wings of Time (Show)|
|Day 9||24-08-2015||Flight||China Town (Shopping), Flight back to Kochi, Train to Trivandrum from Aluva|
Getting the Visa
It is mandatory for Indians to get visa for visiting Singapore and Malaysia.
Effective from 01 October 2015, Indian and Chinese nationals arriving from a third country which are Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia are eligible for Visa on Arrival. However you will have to shell out USD 100 (RM330.00). For more details click on the link below.
As I was in Chennai, it wasn’t that difficult for me to get either Singapore or Malaysia Visa.
If you are in the same city where the corresponding Consulates are located (like Chennai) then the visa will be issued within the following timelines
- Singapore visa 2 working days – Valid for 30 days (Multiple Entry)
- Malaysia visa 4 working days – Valid for 365 days (Multiple Entry)
For my parents, it took around 10 days to get both visas as they were in Thiruvananthapuram.
I took the help of a travel agent in Chennai for the visa (Rs. 2200 for Singapore Visa and Rs. 3900 for Malaysia Visa).
My parents used an agent from Thiruvananthapuram (Rs. 3500 for Singapore Visa and Rs. 4500 for Malaysia Visa)
Advance bookings for attractions
I did a search online for offers on attractions in Malaysia and Singapore and found that http://asiatravel.com/ provided some good deals for Singapore attractions. For Malaysia, I just booked a buffet on top of KL Tower (through a Groupon coupon sent to me by my friend in Kuala Lumpur).
Mobile Sim Cards
Malaysia : I purchased “CELCOM” sim card from the airport by showing my passport as ID proof (its probably the best place to buy the sim card). I took the 20RM plan which offered 850MB data+local calling, valid for 7 days. There are other providers like Digi and Maxis, however I found Celcom offered best deal.
Singapore: I purchased Singtel’s “hi!Tourist” sim card from a store near to my hotel. The tariffs vary from 15SG$ to 50SG$ depending on the card validity. I took the one for 15SG$ which offered 500 min local calls, 30 min international calls and a whooping 100GB data valid for 5 days (not sure if that offer exists now or not). You can get the sim card from airport as well.
Our rendezvous point was Kochi International Airport (Kerala, India) as I was travelling from Chennai and my parents took a train from Thiruvananthapuram (my hometown). It was my first experience with Malindo Air and I was thoroughly impressed by the quality and service. It was a budget airline by name but far better service than others flying in the same sector. Flight was on time and we spent the night on air, crossing international waters.
Target : Check-in and Kuala Lumpur City sight seeing
Leaving for Sight Seeing (city area)
Start : 10:45 AM
Day 1 was marked for Kuala Lumpur (KL) city tour. I made an advance booking for a sedan taxi (through whatsapp chat) for the whole day for RM 280, approx. Rs 4500 (Contact: Sharad Sachdev +60126250209). My colleague who visited Malaysia few months ago was the one who suggested this agent. Though on an average the taxis charge RM 250-RM 300 per day, if you want to cut the cost then my suggestion would be to install “MYTEKSI or GRABTAXI” mobile app and book taxi from point to point (which is similar to Uber or Ola). It’s a quick way to grab taxis and within 2-10 minutes taxis will arrive at your current location and drop you to your destination. Only thing is that you need a data connection and GPS enabled phone/Tab. the minimum charge for taxi is RM 3.5 (approx. Rs. 50). The cab arrived on time and by 10:45 AM we started our Day 1 sightseeing.
Royal Museum (Istana Negara), Kuala Lumpur
11:00 AM to 11:45 AM
The Royal Museum is a quick guide to have an insight into the history of Kings in Malaysia. This was once the residence of the Kings till the construction of new palace. The museum is completely air conditioned and displays the artifacts, glassware, tables, plates etc. One can have a quick peek at the bedrooms, meeting rooms, dining halls, bathrooms used by the Royal family. Photographs of the Royal family along with local and foreign dignitaries, collections, paintings are on display in the galleries. Overall for us it was a good start for our journey, to start with history.
- Entry Fee : RM 10 per person.
- Photography is allowed only outside the museum.
Thean Hou Temple (Chinese temple), Kuala Lumpur
12:00 PM to 12:30 PM
Thean Hou is one of the biggest Chinese temples in Malaysia. The temple is situated on a high ground overlooking the city and gives quite a view of Kuala Lumpur, a true delight for photographer’s eyes. The compound contains a lake garden with Chinese years’ statues as well as some waterfalls. We offered our prayers in our own way, enjoyed the architecture of the temple and the view it offered.
- Entry Fee : FREE
- Located 5 km away from the Royal Museum.
- The temple, built by the Hainanese community living in Kuala Lumpur, is dedicated to Goddess Tian Hou (The Heavenly Mother)
NB: The temple is not easily accessible via public transport and unless you want to walk for 20 minutes on hot sun (from the nearest monorail station – Tun Sambanthan), better catch a taxi.
KL Tower (Menara Kuala Lumpur), Kuala Lumpur
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Well we had two options to get the bird’s eye view of the city.
- KL Tower
- Petronas Twin Towers
Based on the suggestion of my friend, we chose KL tower. The two main attractions of KL tower are
- The revolving restaurant (Atmosphere 360) @ 282 m high
- The observation deck @ 276m high
My friend managed to get me a GROUPON coupon worth RM 89 per head which included :
- Lunch Buffet at Atmosphere 360
- Entry to Observation deck
- Entry to Blue Coral Aquarium (at ground level)
We reached KL Tower by 1:00 PM, went to the ticket counter to collect our entry pass (since we booked it in advance). First we visited the Blue Coral Aquarium. There was nothing special about this aquarium and if you plan to visit KLCC Aquaria then you can skip buying tickets to Blue Coral.
Then the superfast elevator inside KL Tower took us to the revolving restaurant. This was our first experience in a revolving restaurant. The city view including the Petronas Twin Towers were amazing. Buffet was ready and we had no complaints about the food. By around 3 PM we went on to the Observation deck (one level below the restaurant). The best part is that unlike the Petronas, no one will ask you to leave and you can take you time up there to enjoy the view.
Merdeka (Freedom) Square, Kuala Lumpur
4:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Merdek Square is a historical place inside KL. Merdeka Square can be compared to the Red Fort of India (in terms of importance) as this is where the Malaysian flag was raised for the first time.
The vicinity offers quite a few spots for phots ops and is worth spending 30 minutes around this square. Lots of historic buildings surrounds the square and the KL City Gallery (from where you can pose in front of “I Love KL” sign. (It was drizzling and therefore we made plans to visit the KL City Gallery a later time)
National Museum (Muzim Negara), Kuala Lumpur
4:45 PM to 5:45 PM
Honestly National Museum was not in our list but rain forced us to think about this option. The National Museum presents the history of Malaysia. It’s not huge and can be covered within an hour (unless you really want to go deep into Malaysia’s history). The museum is well laid out and wasn’t crowdy.
Entry Fee : 5 RM, Open:9:00 AM – 6:00 pm
Back to V’La Garden hotel, night stroll @ Bukit Bintang Street
It was a long day and so we hopped back to our hotel. However while my parents were taking a nap, I went around the neighbourhood for a quick look around and for money exchange. There are quite a few money changers along Jalan Bukit Bintang street offering different rates. If you are ready to do a bit of research then you may end up getting better rates.
Target : Tour outside the city
Leaving for Sight Seeing (outside city tour)
Start : 9:30 AM
Complimentary breakfast in hotel. We booked a taxi (sedan car) for the whole day for RM 300 (Contact : Sharad Sachdev +60126250209).
Beryl’s Chocolate Kingdom, Jalan Utara, KL
10:00 AM to 10:15 AM
This is just a showroom of Beryl’s Chocolate. It’s a local made chocolate available in Malaysia. Chocolates are expensive here however you can get cheaper ones at the airport duty free. We were not planning to go there however our tour guide took us there.Nothing exciting, FREE Entry
Jadi Batek Gallery, Imbi, Kuala Lumpur
10:30 AM to 10:45 AM
This is again a show room where they display and sell batik and handicraft. They have a demo area to show us how batik (cloth painting) is made. Again, this was our guide’s choice. Entry : FREE
Royal Selangor Visitor Center, KL
11:00 AM to 11:30 AM
This is a must visit place. Royal Selangor is a world famous pewter manufacturer. PEWTER is an alloy used to make utensils, souvenirs and trophies. The stuffs made here are very expensive, but nothing wrong in visiting. Entry : FREE
Batu caves/ Murugan Statue Temple, Selangor
12:15 PM to 1:00 PM
Batu Caves is located about 15km away from KL city. World’s tallest Murugan Statue. Again, a must see attraction (though it’s a temple, people across all faiths visit here). Dress code: No shorts allowed (if wearing one then u can get a dhothi/mundu for a nominal rent from below the statue). The temple is located inside the cave and we need to climb about 275 steps to reach there. I would say, even if you climb slowly, u must try to reach on top.
2:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Genting Highlands is a hill station with Casinos, Hotels and Amphitheaters. You have to reach Genting Skyway station (47kms from KL) to board the cable car to travel to the hill top. You can even drive to the top, however we took the cable car. Genting Highlands now has hotels and a Casino. A theme park is under construction (as of Aug 2015). Casino is located inside FIRST WORLD HOTEL (Hotel with the largest number of rooms in the world).
Genting Skyway FEE: 13.50 RM (two way travel) per adult.
Jalan Petaling (China Town), City Centre, KL
7:15 PM to 7:45 PM
Took a taxi (using Grabtaxi app). Ideal place for buying Malaysia Souvenirs. (Fridge magnets, small replicas of Twin tower etc.). Roam around and compare prices. Don’t buy blindly. (You can bargain as well). However don’t buy stuffs like bags, glasses etc. as its all duplicate. (You can even get the duplicate of brands that are generally known in India as duplicate).
Central Market, KL
8:15 PM to 8:30 PM
Central Market is located near to the China Town. This is the place where you can get souvenirs made with better quality than what you get in China Town. However, its expensive compared to China town.
Target : Check-in and Kuala Lumpur City sight seeing
Leaving for Sight Seeing (city area)
Start : 9:00 AM
Booked a taxi through Grabtaxi app for the first destination of the day (Bird park)
KL Bird Park
9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
KL Bird Park is known to be the “World’s Largest Free-flight Walk-in Aviary”. 2-3 hr will be sufficient to cover the bird park. Entry Fee : 50RM per head.
Optional tour 1: Islamic Art Museum
Located close to KL Bird Park
Optional tour 2 :National Planetarium
Located close to KL Bird Park
Masjid Negara (National Mosque), KL
3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
National Mosque of Malaysia is located near Old KL station. Women needs to wear “burqa” (available for free from the counter). No restrictions for Muslims. Entry : FREE
Entry timings for non-muslims:
09:00 AM to 10:00 AM
03:00 PM to 04:00 PM
05:30 PM to 06:30 PM
03:00 PM to 04:00 PM
05:30 PM to 06:30 PM
KL City Gallery
4:30 PM to 5:00 PM
KL City Gallery : Was supposed to visit the first day itself (however skipped it due to sudden rain). KL City galley is located in the area of Merdeka Square (Better you can visit this while visiting Merdeka Square). Gives an insight into the city and there is a light and sound show (indoor). Entry FEE : 5 RM (Can be used to buy souvenirs/ Food worth 5RM from within the building).
Aquaria KLCC, KL
6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Took taxi from KL city gallery (using grabtaxi app). Open: 10.30 am to 8.00pm
Entry Fee: Adult: RM 53, Child: RM 42
KLCC Suria and Petronas Tower
7:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Open: 9.00am to 9.00pm. Sky bridge and 86th floor, Entry fee : 84.50 RM (Adult),
31.80 RM (Child)
Online ticket available. There is a tunnel connecting Aquaria KLCC and Petronas Twin towers. Need to walk. We just went outside and took the photos as we have already seen the city from above from KL tower (Menara KL). However, if you are planning to go, then book online and go. Outside KLCC Suria (Mall) there is a fountain. Around 8PM there is a fountain show.
Optional tour: Petrosains, The Discovery Centre
Open: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. (Good of adults, children may find it boring).
Target : Leave Kuala Lumpur City, Reach Malacca
Leaving to Malacca
Start : 9:00 AM
We booked a taxi using grabtaxi app to the bus station. Buses to Malacca leaves from the brand new terminal named TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) located slightly away from the city. Bus tickets can be available from the bus operator’s counters inside the terminal. Look around for the bus operators whose time of departure matches with your choice. Tickets will cost you RM 13.4 per adult. Travel time : 2 hours
12:30 PM -01-00 PM
Our bus dropped us at the Malacca Bus Terminal and from there using Grabtaxi App, we booked a cab to reach our hotel. You may find quite a number of taxi guys offering you a ride, but after we got their quote I decided to check for Grabtaxi availability and I got one booked in 10 min. By 1:00 PM we reached “De Mawardah Hotel“, which we pre-booked through http://www.in.hotels.com.
Thanks to the comfortable bus journey we had, none of us were tired and therefore immediately went out for lunch and sightseeing, after check-in to the hotel. We managed to find a “Tamil” (natives of Tamil Nadu, India) restaurant in walk away distance, had some rice, fish curry and then started our local sightseeing.
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
- Royal Navy Museum
- Maritime Museum
- Maritime Museum – Phase 2
Maritime Museums are at walkable distance from hotel. Entry fee for all three museums : RM 10 per adult (total).
Taming Sari Tower
3:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Taming Sari Tower is a revolving gyro tower that takes you to 110m above ground to give you the view of the city from above. Entry fee: 20 RM per head.
3:45 PM to 4:45 PM
- Christ Church – Portuguese
- Dutch Square – Tang Beng Swee Clock Tower
- St. Paul’s Church
- Stadthuys (Dutch Administrative Building).
- Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
5:00 PM to 5:15 PM
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia. Took a taxi from Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall (booked using Grabtaxi app). Opening hours: Morning to 7PM.
Masjid Kampung Kilng
5:15 PM to 5:30 PM
Masjid Kampung Kilng Walkable distance from Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple
5:45 PM to 6:00 PM
Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia.Walkable distance from Masjid Kampung Kilng.
Jonker Walk (China Town)
Jonker Walk is basically a street which actually closes down for traffic after 7:30 PM and becomes a shopping street.
Melacca River Boating
7:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Spectacular at evening and night.Adult Fee: 15 RM (per head), Child : 7 RM (per head)
Optional tour: Bukit China : Largest Chinese cemetery outside of mainland China
Optional tour: Muzium Budaya/Sultanate Palace
Optional tour: Malacca Straits Mosque : Newly built mosque on the man-made island Pulau Melaka. Spectacular at evening and night.
Target : Leave Malacca, Reaching Singapore
Leaving to Singapore
Start : 11:00 AM
We took a cab (using Grabtaxi app) to the bus station (Melaka Sentral). Bus tickets can be available from the bus operator’s counters inside the terminal. I had already checked the bus timings (Googled it) to Singapore and found one leaving at 12:00 noon. We booked the bus belonging to 707 Travel Group from the ticket counter inside the terminal. Tickets will cost you RM 26 per adult. Travel time : 4 hours
Exiting Malaysia, entering Singapore
As the bus journey involves crossing international borders naturally immigration comes into picture. At first there will be a customs and immigration complex (its massive) on the Malaysian side. You just have to hop off the bus with your passport and travel related documents, get your passport stamped (exit stamp from Malaysian side) and walk through and get back on the bus. While getting down the bus, the driver told us the bus bay number at the exit point of the immigration counter and it wasn’t difficult for us to reach back to the bus on time.
Now the bus will take you further to reach the Singapore Customs and Immigration Checkpost (Woodlands Checkpoint). This again is an elaborate complex. As you are entering a new country, we are supposed to clear the immigration just like the way we do it in an airport before entering a foreign country. So the important point is that you will have to carry all your luggage out of the bus, get through Singapore Customs and Immigration (get your visa verified and Passport stamped) and reach to the point where your bus is parked (it will be parked at a place on the Singapore side of the checkpoint complex, which your bus driver shall intimate your before getting down). The vital thing is that most of the bus operators shall give you a time of 30 minutes to finish your immigration, failing which the bus shall leave without you. But not to worry as bus operators like 707 Travel Group shall allow you to catch their next bus (may be 1-2 hours later, depending on the schedule). It was a tense time for us, however things went smoother than we thought and we were back to the finish line (where our bus was waiting for us) in about 15 minutes.
Our bus dropped us at the Queen Street Bus Terminal and from there we took a cab to reach our hotel. Unlike Malaysia, all cabs will run on meter and there is no need to book via GrabTaxi app (even though its available in Singapore). By 4:30 PM we reached “Chang Ziang Hotel” at Geylang, which we pre-booked through http://www.in.hotels.com. I was able to get a “Tourist Sim Card” worth SG$15 from Singtel (valid for 5 days+30 min international calling+200 min local calling+100 GB data) from a shop near to my hotel.
Travel options within Singapore
For travelling within Singapore, the cheap and best way is to use the public transport. Singapore has one of the best public transport systems in the world (metro trains and buses). A bit of planning plus mobile with Google maps and internet can get you the bus numbers and metro train options in your fingertips. Unlike Malaysia, Singapore cabs will cost your more than thrice in comparison to cabs in Malaysia.
Now if you have decided to save some dollars by taking the public transport then the next thing to remember is to get a travel card (EZLINK card). The same card can be used for buses and metro trains. Taking tickets in buses and trains for each and every journey will be painful, time consuming as well as expensive compared to using EZLINK cards. For buying EZLINK cards, you need to go to any metro station. There are two options:
Get the regular card : 12 SG$ (7 SG$ usable and 5 SG$ non-refundable)
Valid for 5 years (as long as you don’t ask for refund after your stay in Singapore).
Tourist pass is available for unlimited journeys (1/2/3 days) pass
1 day pass – 20 SG$ (10 SG$ refundable)
2 day pass – 26 SG$ (10 SG$ refundable)
3 day pass – 30 SG$ (10 SG$ refundable)
Nearest MRT station : Promenade
The nearest metro station (MRT Station) from my hotel was Kallang. We took MRT from Kallang to Bugis, changed the line and took Bugis to Promenade MRT.
The tickets for the flyer can be purchased from the counter below the flyer.You can also book via asiatravel.com. Tickets for entry (after 6PM) : 33 SG$ per adult. My advise would be to wait for the sun down before getting inside the flyer. Tickets taken for after 6PM slot are valid till 10:15 PM
Target : Gardens by the Bay, Merlion
Leaving for Gardens by the Bay
Start : 9:30 AM
We took a bus from the bus stop near our hotel and headed straight to Gardens by the Bay.
Gardens by the Bay
10:30 AM to 01:30 PM
Gardens By the Bay is a nature park built on reclaimed land and it spans to about 250 acres of green space. I must admit that I was never expecting something so awesome and I can stamp on it that its the No. 1 destination to visit in Singapore.
Gardens by the Bay consists of two major segments
- Outdoor Gardens
Outdoor Gardens are open to public for free 24 hours a day. There are a variety of Gardens namely Indian, Chinese, Malay, Colonial etc. In order to get the ticket counter we need to walk through the outdoor gardens and its a treat to the eye. Local residents often come here for a walk/jog.
Conservatories comprise of two covered and cooled domes (1) Flower Dome and (2) Cloud Forest. These domes are definitely one of the architectural and engineering masterpieces.
Entry Fees for both conservatories: SG$ 28 per adult, SG$ 15 per child.
We had already pre-booked the tickets through Asiatravel.com, however you still need to present the hard copy/soft copy of the booking confirmation (that has got a bar code) at the ticket counter to collect your entry pass into to the conservatories.
The Flower Dome replicates a mild, dry climate and features plants found in the Mediterranean and other semi-arid tropical regions (e.g. parts of Australia, South America, South Africa). It consist of seven different “gardens”. During the time of our visit, there was a flower show inside the dome themed the “History of Singapore”.
The Cloud Forest replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions. You will be welcomed by a 35m waterfall and I am sure it with take your breath away. An elevator will take you to the top of the “cloud mountain”and from there you can walk down via a circular path around the water fall. It consists of a number of levels, each with a different theme.
Apart from the conservatories, there is a Skyway (elevated walkway) around “Super tree Grove”. Super trees are nothing but artificial trees that enclaves ferns, orchids, etc. Super trees are fitted with solar cells and they almost mimic the ecological functions of trees. If you are interested to take a walk in the Skyway, get the tickets (SG$ 5) along with the conservatory tickets and you can visit at any time (one time use only) during the day.
• Evening would be better
• The entries are limited
• Entry is subjected to weather conditions
We didn’t opt for the skyway as it was raining. However we decided to come back in the evening to see the light and sound show that happens every 8 PM at the “Super Tree Grove”.
3:00 PM to 4:30 PM
My parents were craving for some South Indian food and therefore we decided to visit Little India. The nearest MRT station is “Ferrer Park”. After our lunch at “saravana Bhavan” we took a stroll inside the “Mustafa Centre” which is quite famous among Indians (living in Singapore as well as those visiting).
Our target was to reach Merlion park, however we decided to get down from the bus a few stops earlier to take a walk and explore the roadside. We strolled past the Singapore Parliament, Supreme Court, Cavenagh Bridge and Fullerton Hotel to finally reach Merlion Park. Merlion Park houses the iconic Merlion Statue and offers the view of the iconic marina Sands Bay Hotel and Esplanade. A photo with Merlion in the background is a must for someone visiting Singapore.
Gardens by the Bay (again)
We reached the Super tree Grove by around 7:30 PM and already we could see tourists swarming the area, finding a place to sit around the “Super trees” where the light and sound show was about to start by 8 PM. There is no need to take tickets to visit the Super Tree Grove, unless you wish to get access to the skyway. I must say that one should not miss the show as the tress come alive and offers a spectacular sight. It was a perfect end for a perfect day for us.
Target : Universal Studios
10:00 AM to 8:30 PM
Universal Studios Singapore is a theme park located on Sentosa Island. The easiest way to reach Universal Studios is to alight at HarbourFront MRT station, reach 3rd floor of Vivo City mall, take Sentosa Express Monorail, get down at Waterfront Monorail station. If you have time then you can also use public transport or free shuttle service. Yet another option is to take a walk from Vivo City as they have opened “Sentosa Boardwalk”. We chose to walk (800m walk) as there were no long lines and it was free of charge. The walk is easy as there are walkalators (moving walkway) installed, its shaded and we can enjoy the views along the way.
The entry ticket rates are Adult: S$ 74, Child: (4 to 12) S$ 54, Senior Citizen: S$ 36. However if you can pay some S$ 30+ per person, you can get access to quick lanes. I booked normal tickets from asiatraveltravel.com and was able to get a good discount. Here again you need to present the email confirmation (hard/soft copy that contains a bar code) at the ticket counter to get your entry tickets. Also my advice would be to make sure you reach there at least by 10 AM in order to explore all the rides as there are long queues and getting onto every rides will eat time.
There are different types of rides- Thrill rides like Transformer, Egyptian Mummy ride, roller coaster ride (don’t miss any), and not so thrill, dizzying , yet enjoyable ride like Jurassic park, Enchanting airways and for various rides and shows for kids. There are long waiting queues for most of the thrill rides and the waiting time will be displayed outside which is fairly accurate. Also don’t miss the Water World Show and the 4D Shrek show. Towards the end of the day, the waiting time gets shorter and you can re-try some of the rides that you have really liked (I went again to Mummy ride, roller coaster and Transformers).
The grand finale is of course the fireworks which happens at around 7 PM. Honestly I wasn’t so impressed with it and it was OK OK (Disneyland have better fireworks).
While return we took free bus ride to Vivo city mall before heading to Little India for a dinner with our family friend and then to hotel.
Target : River Safari, Sentosa
River Safari (Singapore Zoo area)
11:30 AM to 3:30 PM
River Safari is located in near to the Singapore Zoo, which also houses Night Safari. Buses are available till the Zoo and it was how we reached there. As I had already visited the Zoo, Night Safari and Bird Park (during my 2010 visit), this time we decided to take a look at the River Safari. It is basically a river themed zoo cum aquarium. The River Safari basically is themed based on the rivers of the world, including Amazon, Mississippi, Ganges, Nile, Mekong and Yangtze. The river safari consists of two rides (both needs to be paid extra), Amazon River Quest (worth a try) and River Safari Cruise (waste of money, don’t even think about it). The other main attraction was the Giant Panda forest as it was the first time I saw a panda.
Overall I wasn’t that impressed with River Safari. If you intend to visit the Zoo area then first try Zoo, then Bird Park, then Night Safari and finally River Safari. Park hopper (combo) tickets are available online (cheaper to buy online @ http://www.zoo.com.sg/)
Adult: S$ 28, Child: (3 to 12) S$ 18,
Amazon river quest boat ride : S$ 5
River safari cruise : S$ 5 (NOT WORTH IT).
5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
It was our second time in this trip to visit Sentosa Island (first on was when we went to Universal Studios). We had pre-booked for the light and sound show named “Wings of Time”. Back in 2010 the name of the show was “Songs of the Sea”, but Singapore always updates whats in store for the tourists. The showtime was only at 7:40 PM and we decided to explore the Island. In order to reach the island, we took monorail ride from Vivo City mall (S$ 4 per person). You can also take a cable car (round trip will cost S$ 29/adult, S$18/child).
Well Sentosa Island itself has enough attractions to keep you engaged for a day (not including Universal Studios, which itself is for one full day). The long list of attractions include S.E.A Aquarium, Sky Tower, Sentosa Merlion, 4D shows, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Para Jump, beaches, etc (check out at http://sentosa.com/ for the pricing and offers).
From 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM we just roamed around the island and by 7:00 PM we reached the “Wings of Time” show area. We had made the online booking for the show from http://www.asiatravel.com (we got discount as well). If you need to get the best seats, then make sure you reach early (30 min before the schedule).
WINGS OF TIME
Well I had already seen the “Songs of the Sea’ show back in 2010 and was thoroughly impressed by it. Naturally expectation were really high and was expecting nothing less than what I saw back in 2010.The show started on time (as always) and it was spectacular. The storyline wasn’t that strong comapred to “Songs of the Sea” but the technology they have used in lights and effects have definitely got better. the show lasts for 20 minutes and I do recommend this for all visiting Singapore.
After the show, we went near the monorail station and from there we took the free shuttle bus to Harbour Front bus interchage. From there we took the public bus to our hotel.
Target : Chinatown and Back to home
10:00 AM to 11:00 PM
It was our last day in Singapore and we had to be at the airport at least by 3 PM to catch our return flight scheduled to depart at 5:20 PM. However we had enough time to visit Chinatown do our “Souvenir shopping”. China Town Singapore was totally different from the Chinatowns that I have seen (KL, Vancouver). The shopping area had a fresh design and it was neat. The prices neither disappointed us (if you are expected inexpensive and not so high quality souvenirs). There are deals like 3 for 10S$ for fridge magnets and showcase stuffs.
If you missed Chinatown, then the alternative is to visit Bugis. The shopping area there too offers inexpensive souvenirs.
Checkout and travel to airport
We reached back from Chinatown by 12 noon, checked out of the hotel, had our lunch and headed towards the Changi Airport. We had enough time, so we decided to take the MRT (metro train) all the way to the airport. The MRT was fast, convenient and the cheap. Also after we surrendered our MRT smart card once we reached the airport metro station (you wont get security deposit back, just the balance amount will be refunded).
Our return flight was booked in Malindo Air (Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Kuala lUmpur to Kochi). Of course there were direct flights from Singapore to Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), but it was far too expensive. However we came to know after reaching airport that Malindo had just started a direct flight to Trivandrum International Airport. Too bad that I made my booking far too early, before the direct flight was announced. Nevertheless, flights were on time. We reached Kochi as scheduled (10:30 PM). From Kochi airport we took an auto to Aluva railway station to catch our train to Trivandrum (reservation already made).