The majority of Singaporeans use the MRT transport system as their main means of transportation, because they are cheap, convenient and cover the whole city and are extremely rarely late, encouraged by the government again. In addition, there is another reason: the taxi price is high, especially the cost of owning a car in Singapore is extremely expensive, even Singaporeans with high income and wealthy people maybe unsure dare to buy a car. Singapore’s MRT system is extremely convenient, modern and covers almost the entire city. So, how to getting around Singapore? Let’s check it out our local transport in Singapore guide on how to use public transport in Singapore for tourists (transportation in Singapore for tourists) with the cheapest way to get around Singapore and the best way to get around Singapore including bus and MRT Singapore for tourist below.
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First, let’s talk about travel when you getting to central Singapore from Changi Airport. If you go to Singapore by bus from Malaysia, usually the bus company will take you straight to the city center, otherwise you will have to go to the border gate of Singapore – Malaysia is Woodlands station. From here you can take the bus or MRT into the city.
Public transport in Singapore for tourists: Getting from Changi Airport to City center and back
If you fly with low-cost airlines, you will arrive at Terminal 1. Changi Airport is very large, including many different Terminals (terminals 1,2,3,4) and must be moved by skytrain between terminals. Before entry, you need to fill in the immigration declaration form issued by the flight attendants on the plane, or in the entry area. Once you have entered the country, follow the Skytrain to T2 instructions to pick up the free tram from T1 to T2, where the subway enters the city center.
There are many means of transportation in Singapore such as MRT, bus and taxi and some other vehicles (You can refer here). But the cheapest and most convenient is still the MRT because it is a popular public transportation subsidized by the government, and taxis are very expensive. So, to getting to the city center you should use MRT, there will be an airport passenger service counter that selling EZLink card (Can be used for MRT, bus and monorail – a type of tram on Sentosa Island for SGD12 for 5 years and SGD7 in the account. You should buy this card because traveling by using the EZLink card will be much cheaper than going to single trip and paying for each trip, and it can be used to for bus by swiping the card at the card reader on bus. You can top up to the card at the automatic machines with the lowest denomination of SGD10.
To get to central Singapore from Changi Airport MRT Station (Changi Airport CG2 MRT Station), take the train to Tanah Merah MRT Station (EW4). Then, exit and catch the train to Joo Koon MRT station. Then, depending on where you stay, choose the train accordingly. The last MRT trip from Changi Airport at 11:18pm.
If you traveling from the city to the airport, you will also change trains at Tanah Merah MRT Station to get to Changi Airport, special pay attention for those who travel early in the morning and need to check your time carefully to avoid missed flight. From the city to the airport is quite far away (23.8km), travel time ranging from 30 to 60 minutes, the earliest train schedule of the day at 5:30am. In addition, you need to check exactly which airline you are going to fly to know the Terminal you will check in to see the instructions when you step out of the subway, because if you go to the wrong Terminal you will have to travel by SkyTrain which have to spend quite a lot of time, easy get frantic if you come to the airport late.
Outside the halls of Terminal 1,2,3 have buses to the city center, take bus number 36/36A running from 6:00am to midnight, the price for one way is about $2.5 and EZLink card can be used for payment. And the same for go back from the city to the airport.
This is the fastest and also the most expensive means of transport in Singapore, from the airport to the city, the price ranging from $30 to $35, additional airport surcharge of $3, surcharge of $5 from 5.00pm to 12.00pm, extra 50% charge from 12.00pm to 6.00am, 25% peak hour surcharge from 6.00am-9.30am.
Bus & MRT singapore for tourist: Getting around in the city center
Before you go, you can see the bus stations and stop points on the map. Or when you arrive at the bus stop you should refer to the bus station’s instruction board to know the bus number, routes, and stations you need to get down.
The Ez-link card is also can be used for both bus and MRT, so in addition to buying tickets directly on the bus you can use EZ-Link to pay, of course, the price will be cheaper than retail. When getting on or off the bus, you have to swipe the card at card reader on the bus. If you want to go down to a station, you also press the Stop button to let the driver know and open the door for you.
The subway in Singapore basically has 4 lines that are green, red, purple and yellow. The price will depend on the line you go, when you enter or exit the station you just need to swipe the EZ link card, the money will be automatically deducted from your card account. You need to save the map in smartphone from this link or get it right at the airport they have free delivery.
MRT fare for single trip
The bus fare is between $0.73 and $1.66 for single trip, and MRT is from $0.83 to $1.95 when using EZ-link card, depending on the length of your journey. To know exactly how much you have to pay when you going on any MRT trip, you can go here to see, it will tell you the amount and length you choose, including the fare from Changi Airport to any location in Singapore.
If you want to know how the calculation can be entered here, you will see the fare how different when using EZ link card and retail tickets. Normally, if you do not use EZ link card, the ticket price will be 1.5 times higher, so to save, you should not buy retail tickets because traveling in Singapore must use a lot of trains.
Should I buy Singapore Tourist Pass?
If you travel a lot by MRT in a day, you can buy Singapore Tourist Pass for unlimited travel within 1,2,3 days for $10, $16 and $20, which can be used with buses in the city. The Pass are sold at information booths right at the subway stations, you can preview the information about their working hours here. When buying a pass you will have to pay a deposit of $10 in advance, and will be refunded if you return it within 5 days of purchase.
The Singapore Tourist Pass is counted from the first time you use it, and it will be considered as the end of the day of the card at the end working of the public transport system that day, not counting full of 24 hours. For example, if you buy a Pass at 10.am, and use it to travel at 11.am until the end of the MRT train of that day (for example, 12.pm), it is still considered as the end of 1 day of the Pass. See more information here.
The main routes and MRT stations in the city
Looking at the map you notice some main routes as follows:
- Changi Airport (3): Take the MRT to the city.
- Woodlands (14): End point to take a bus to Malaysia and Beach Road if you take a bus to Malaysia where located the headquarters of the bus company.
- Other points: Chinatown (10), Little India: Go to Chinatown and Little India.
- Bayfront: Go to the sky garden (Garden by the bay) and Marina Bay (9) to reach the famous Marina Bay Sand.
- HarbourFront (6): The last point is the shopping mall, from here you can catch the Skytrain to Sentosa Island, or for those who take a ferry to Indonesia’s Batam also buy tickets and go from this port.
In addition, there is a feature that the names of Singapore’s metro stations are associated to the neighborhood there, so if you want to go anywhere you can easily find on the map, such as shopping areas like Orchard, City Hall, Bugis, Clarke Quay,… If you want to go to Interchange hubs on the map, you will have to pay attention to reading the instructions at these stations because these areas are quite complicated, you have to walk quite a long, climb up to multi-storey to change train.
Some useful notes when traveling by MRT in Singapore
- Absolutely not eating or smoking in the MRT area, will be severely punished.
- Each train station usually has a large shopping center, so you can combine sightseeing and shopping very conveniently.
- When the train arrives, you need to stand at the edge of the yellow line to separate at each entrance of the train. After waiting for the people in the train to step out, you are allowed to board the train, which is the courtesy of all the people here.
- When you step on the elevator, you should stand on the left, giving way to those who are in a hurry and they will go on your right.
- The operation time of the train ends at 11pm and in the morning usually starts from 5-6am, you need to pay attention to avoid being missed when return late at night or having to leave early in the morning, especially to avoid being late to fly.
- MRT in Singapore are not so complicated, there are only a few interchange stations (intersection hub of train lines) that you will have to find with a bit more difficult because the area is usually very wide.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in Singapore and from Singapore you can refer to
- Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) Private Transfer
- Private City Transfers between Singapore and Johor Bahru
- Shared Changi Airport Transfers (SIN) for Singapore Hotels
- Singapore All Day Pass
- The Singapore Pass
- [Klook Exclusive] 3 Hours Singapore City Tour
- Singapore Cityscapes Tour
- [Klook Exclusive] Sentosa Island Introductory Tour in Singapore
- Singapore Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour (Open-Top)
- Sentosa FUN Pass
- Singapore City Pass (2/3 Days)
- [Klook Exclusive] Universal Studios Singapore™ 1 Day Ticket
- 4G Prepaid Sim Card (Changi Airport Pick Up) for Singapore
- 4G WiFi (SG Airport Pick Up) for Singapore
- 4G Portable WiFi for Singapore from Uroaming
- 4G WiFi (SG Pick Up) for Europe
Are you finding more top things to do in Singapore: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Singapore travel blog — The fullest Singapore travel guide blog for a budget trip to Singapore for the first-timers.