Singapore 2017

RM 119 per person Penang to Singapore non stop flight!!!

That too in the Chinese new year weekend, an extra long weekend this year!

Cheap flight tickets is so luring. I wonder whether the airlines get some kickback from the city administration/government when they carry passengers on discounted tickets. After all these airlines play their part in promoting tourism, especially in a place like Singapore.

But the trick about cheap flights is they will always be on days that you may not like. For us, it was for arriving late Thursday night in Singapore and leaving Tuesday early morning. It means two extra nights stay. Nevertheless we decided to take it as we would get to spend 4 full days.

Next is visa. Unfortunately, Indians do not have visa on arrival in Singapore. Moreover, there are only 3 authorized agents, all in KL, who can submit visa application in Malaysia. Local agents in Penang charge RM 100 per application as processing charges for just collecting the documents and courier it to the authorized agent in KL and get the visa and passport back to us.

A query on Indian Expats in Penang Whatsapp group gave the best solution. Just courier the application and passports to MP Tours & Travels Sdn Bhd in KL. They will get the visas done in a 10 days at an extra cost of RM 50 for courier back all the passports. Visa fees - RM 153 per person. In total RM 500, almost as much as the flights

Singapore is a costlier destination as compared to Malaysia. Similar to the currency exchange rates of 3:1, hotel prices follow the same trend. A decent budget hotel would cost RM 150 per night in most places in Malaysia. In Singapore, it would be SGD 100. Places closer to downtown or MRT stations would be SGD 150 and upwards.

Airbnb is a better bet in Singapore. If you are travelling as a group of 4-5 people, you can easily find an apartment for RM 300. But we were going alone this time, just the 3 of us. So we settled for a shared room in an apartment right next to Boon Keng MRT station. The photo of the room on airbnb looks decent!!
Beware! Looks are deceptive!
The room was exactly as you see, a touch better as it had an extra bed too. But the rest of the apartment is messy as the owner stays there. And there is no attached bathroom. Lessons to be learnt when you book shared room the next time...

Anyways the place was good enough for us as we intended to be there only for sleep and freshening up in the morning. The place was just 2 min walk from MRT which runs till midnight. Btw, you can reach most tourist places in Singapore with a combination of MRT and buses. And Little India, a place to get vegetarian Indian food is just 2 stations from there.

Done with the prelude. Lets get to the fun days

Day 1: Friday, Singapore Zoo
Night 1: Chinese New Year at Chinatown
Day 2: Saturday, Sentosa
Day 3: Sunday, River safari
Day 4: Relax at East coast park
Night 4: Marina Bay river cruise

After 4 days of super fun we packed our bags and let our room owner know that we will be checking out next day early morning. Surprisingly, there were no check out formalities. We didnt even see the owner lady!!

An uber ride, with discounts obviously, took us to the airport well in time for us to use the SGD 20 airport voucher. What's that? It is a free gift voucher that my wife managed to get, amidst lot of happening stop over when we were on our way to Penang for the first time. Almost a year back!!

And that voucher gave us a free breakfast of hot idlis, dosas and coffee. A true south indian tastry breakfast that we enjoyed on all the days in Singapore. Something that we will miss in Penang :-(

With that we sign off from Singapore with many more things left out, giving us a hope that we will be here again to tick them off our must-watch list!

P.S. Details of each Day/Night excursion will be posted soon


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