Getting Around Singapore

Getting around Singapore is very easy and pretty cheap. Depending on how your family plays out the time vs. money ratio (less time usually means having to spend more money to get around), your transport choices are:

MRT/Subway

The MRT runs both above and below ground and is fast, clean and safe. It goes most of the places you will want to visit in Singapore. However, for some shorter trips if you are four or more people, you might want to consider a taxi, which will be about the same price and more convenient.

To use the MRT, you need to buy a card, either for one use or multiple trips. If you buy the one use card you must pay a refundable S$1 deposit; if you are planning multiple MRT trips, get a multi-fare card. The machines only take certain denomination coins and you have to retrieve the deposit by standing in line a second time at a second machine, so a multi-fare card will save time and juggling lots of small coins when you are already juggling diaper bags, lollipops and your heirs.

We saw escalators and elevators in all stations, though sometimes the elevator is tucked away. At least one ticket turnstile is wide enough for a stroller at each gate. Stations have multiple exits, and knowing which one you want (ask) can save some steps. Some stations have toilets near the ticket machines but no stations had toilets we saw on the platforms.

All the stations have numbers, such as NS25, which you may see referenced in guide books and on maps. We found normal people did not know places by their numbers, so it was no good to ask “Is this the way to station NS25?”

There is tons of information online at the MRT web site.

Taxis

Taxis are everywhere, can be hailed on the street and, for a family of four over short distances, are going to be about the same price as the MRT but more convenient. We used them a lot. In the Chinatown area we found a few drivers whose English was limited, so having your destination written down would be a help, preferably with an address. For destinations like the Zoo and Night Safari, taxis are the most practical way to get there, as public transport serves those locations poorly.

Buses

Singapore has the same cool double-decker buses you loved in London, and they go all sorts of places in and outside the city area for low prices. They can be hard to navigate with a stroller or lots of things to carry (like babies) and the routes are not obviously evident. Best used with explicit directions from someone who knows their way around. The bus is also slow and subject to traffic, duh.

Walking

Most of Singapore is very walkable. Just about everywhere is clean and safe, the sidewalks are smooth and stroller friendly, the streets are well-marked and drivers obey the traffic laws and do not try to go Mad Max on your butt at every crossing. There is no dog poop anywhere on any surface. The city is also fairly compact, and we found ourselves enjoying just wandering around. Orchard Road, the main shopping area with most of the hotels, is very, very pleasant to walk-even stroll-along, as is Chinatown and other areas. About the only walking hassle I could point to is around Marina Square there are a confusing tangle of overhead walkways and speedy roads that can be a confusing path to navigate (at least I got confused).

Train to Malaysia

Thinking of traveling to nearby Kuala Lumpur by train? Better read this first.

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