My Singapore Helpdesk

This is my first trip to Singapore and 10 days into it, I’m still loving the city. I’ve been warned by some of my friends who have lived here for a while that the honeymoon like all honeymoons will not last forever. But we’ll leave that for another day, another post.

This one today is about tips and tricks to help you settle in… some observations and some helpful advice I got.

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Airport: It has free WiFi… Enjoy! Also, it’s quite a distance from the aircraft to the exit. If it’s your first time in Singapore the signs may not be easy to understand or follow. Yes, they are all in English. However, on your way to baggage claim you will find a shuttle (mini train of sorts). Take it! It will get you from one end of the airport to the other (baggage claim) in minutes. The other option is to walk or use the walkalators.

Data woes and WiFi: Speaking of WiFi, some of you maybe on roaming and some may take a prepaid card. Please keep your data switched off. On roaming, you will end up with a ginormous bill and on prepaid you will be topping up every few hours. Yes, with social media, email and Whatsapp, you can run through a $15 top up in one afternoon. And no, the city does not have free WiFi any and everywhere.

Now for some good news. Most malls will give you 30-60 minutes of free Wi-Fi. Scan for open Wi-Fi accounts, select the mall name. Once it’s connected it will ask you to sign in. In case you don’t get that message, just try refreshing Facebook or Twitter. Then through your browser follow the steps and surf away!

P.S.: The Lau Pa Sat market or Telok Ayer Market has free Wi-Fi too. Hello Instagram!

EZLink Card: Just as important as that prepaid mobile card you will pick at the 7/11. You will get these at any of the Tube or as they call it MRT stations. There are different ones at different prices, depending on your period of stay. They have a validity period and can be topped up only for that many days.

Since I’m here for a month, I got one that has no expiry. I just keep topping it up from the machines installed at all the MRTs. So much more convenient than buying tickets each time you want to commute. And these work on buses too. Also, remember to pick up a train map from the counter. It will help you figure the different MRT lines and the best routes via train.

Useful Apps: gothere.sg and MyTransport are two apps one must download immediately. gothere.sg allows you to feed in your ‘from’ and ‘to’ points and gives you bus, train and road options to get there. So say I want to go from where I’m staying to Jurong Bird Park. I put that in the app and it gives me the buses I need to take down to the walking distance to the bus stop from my place. It also mentions no of stops along with the name of the stop you need to alight at.That way, you just count and don’t struggle to look for bus stop names. Similar options for the MRT and taxi routes are also given.

MyTransport allows you to see bus and MRT arrival times. It also let’s you see the buses that are available at the particular you may be at. The MRT section gives you an estimated travel time and the fare. I haven’t used this app too much, but it has been quite handy when used.

Most importantly, I use most of these apps before I leave home where I have a strong WiFi connection. Use it, make note of the details I need and then I head out.

Entertainment: Other than the usual tourist spots like Sentosa or Jurong Bird Park, Singapore has many live shows, plays, concerts and art exhibitions. SISTIC or sistic.com.sg is a ticketing site which list most of the events. Another one is called The A List – a-list.sg which has a list of select events. This is also a free magazine that may be available at certain restaurants, cafes and bars.

Another way to spot some interesting events is to observe taxis. Yes, you read that right. Taxis have ads of various events posted on them. I recently saw one about Da Vinci happening at the Arts and Science Museum.

hungrygowhere.sg maybe another website to look at for food &drink options. They have an app too. And then there’s something called insing.com which lists events, things to do and food & drink options.

I will be adding more tips and reviews of places I have been to during my stay. For live updates of my crazy life in SG you can follow me on Instagram (@chetna_c) or on Twitter (@eBubbleWrapped).

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