Singapore – Artificial Intelligence

Singapore might be a tiny island but its tourism industry is huge. It is one of the main contributors to their GDP. Every year, Singapore attracts more than 10 million visitors (more than twice its population size) from all over the world.

Merlion (Mermaid tail + Lion head) – a Singapore icon – locating prominently on Singapore river bank

Then, why do people go to Singapore since it doesn’t offer any decent natural beauty?

My boss (an American who visits Singapore occasionally for business purposes) once told me that Singapore is Asia for (Western) beginners. It’s a melting pot of different cultures, races and languages. It’s  “East meet West”.

Singapore makes up for its lack of natural beauty by creating World-class artificial attractions: the world tallest Ferris wheel (beating the London eye), the world highest swimming pool, the world most expensive standalone casino property, world class night life and entertainment, man-made beaches (sand bought from overseas)…

When is the best time to visit?

The answer is: Anytime. Because the weather in Singapore is the same year round, hot and humid. They do have something called The Great Singapore Sales spanning from May to mid-July but personally I think it’s just marketing gimmick  It’s nothing like the Black Friday in the US. There are pretty much the same stuff at a little tiny bit cheaper. It’s not worth the effort to arrange your travel schedule around this.

Languages

One important thing that makes Singapore more approachable for foreigners is that its citizens can speak fluent English (with interesting accents which some call Singlish). They has followed the Cambridge education system since colony time. Now, some schools are adopting the American system.

Transportation tips in Singapore

Train system (more often referred to as MRT – Mass Rapid Transit): It’s recommended to use the public transport in Singapore because it’s convenient (3-5 mins of waiting for train, 5-10 mins for bus) and it’s very very easy to navigate (so much simpler compared to New York train system). Train ticket costs from SGD1.1 to SGD2.8 depending on the distance. You can easily reach any tourist attractions using this train system.

Singapore train network (MRT)

Tickets are easily purchased at automated ticket booths at any train stations. Tickets are sold as single trip with $1 deposit. You have to keep the ticket, which looks like a plastic credit card, and return it at the automated ticket booths to get back the deposit after checking out. There are also day passes to choose from.

Taxi: Use it if you can afford it (around SGD3/first km) and want  convenience or if you are lost. Note that when you use taxis, the price shown on the meter is not always the total price. There are hundreds of different kind of surcharges: peak hours, tolls (lots of them, chance is if you are on highways, you’ll meet at least one), phone booking service charge, flaggin down at CBD areas, night surcharges… Hence, the total cost might end up double or even triple the amount shown on the meter. Ask for a receipt if you are in doubt. Not all taxis are equipped with credit card payments. It’s extremely hard to catch a taxi during rush hours. There are many times I have waited an hour or more for taxis, calling every single company I know and hitting their busy lines.

For more on what you can do in Singapore, visit here

 

Advertisements

Singapore by train

Singapore is man-made in perfection…

Singapore can be explored easily by the public train system which is more often referred to as MRT (Mass Rapid Transit). There’s a separate post giving tips on using the trains and taxis in Singapore.

Here is a quick snapshot of most of the touristy places listed by their nearest train stations. Most of these stations are of course surrounding the central area of Singapore

Central area network map

1. The historical & museum stuff

– From Outram Park to Chinatown (purple line): the names say it all, it’s the Chinatown area

Little India (purple line)

– Douby Ghout (interchange station among red, yellow, purple lines), City Hall (interchange between green and red line) – There are a few museums within walkable distance such as National Museum of Singapore, Peranakan Museum, Singapore Art Museum

2. Local cuisine in local setting

Newton (red line): Newton circus foodcourt, quite famous among tourists, offers all the local delicacies in the alfresco setting (which can get really hot during the day)

3. Night life: bars, pubs, clubs

Clarke Quay (purple line): There are hundreds of bars, restaurants and clubs lining along Singapore river.

4. Shopping malls:

The stretch from Douby Ghaut station to Orchard station (red line) is like the Las Vegas strip with casinos replaced by shopping malls, hundreds of them. Walk from one station to the other for a day of shopping spree.

5. Other Entertainment

Bayfront (yellow line): Marina Bay Sands is an indoor integrated resort which has a casino, a giant shopping mall, performance halls, a science museum. It also has a Skypark that offers a 360 degree view of Singapore and also the tallest swimming pool in the world – the Infinity Pool. Unfortunately, the pool is only accessible to hotel guests. Another nearby attraction is Gardens By the Bay.

– Esplanade (yellow line): House of the art. There are free performances during weekends on the Theater by the Waterfront.

– Harbour Front (purple):  a gateway to Sentosa island which has Universal Studios.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.