Planning an extended stay in Singapore? Whether you’re visiting for a holiday or you’re going there for a business trip, making the most of your time in this vibrant city is essential. By being well-prepared and armed with these insider tips, you can ensure a smooth and fulfilling experience throughout your stay. Here are some valuable insights to help you navigate everyday life and maximise your extended stay in Singapore.
Finding the perfect accommodation is crucial for a comfortable and convenient stay in the city-state. Singapore offers a range of options to suit different preferences and budgets. Consider serviced apartments or long-term rentals, which provide the amenities and flexibility you need for a longer stay. These options often come fully furnished, with housekeeping services and additional facilities like gyms and swimming pools being available for a certain period within the day.
Additionally, you should familiarise yourself with Singapore’s efficient transportation system, which comprises the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and bus networks. The MRT network covers most areas of the island, offering a quick and reliable way to travel, while buses are another affordable and convenient option, with extensive coverage across the country.
You can conveniently purchase an EZ-Link card or a NETS FlashPay card which are stored-value cards that allow you to pay for MRT rides and bus fares.
Staying connected through your mobile phone is essential to keeping connected with your friends and family, as well as to accomplishing many of your tasks at work.
Singapore’s telco companies and mobile virtual network operators offer a range of mobile data plans to suit various needs. The options can be overwhelming, but to narrow down your options, you should prioritise reliable network coverage and consider plans that offer sufficient data for your intended usage. Look for providers that offer affordable long-term packages tailored to extended stays. Major telecommunications companies in Singapore, such as Singtel, StarHub, M1, and Simba all provide a variety of plans that cater to different data requirements and budgets. To make the task of finding an appropriate plan easier, consider using a metasearch engine for mobile data plan comparison Singapore–based residents trust.
Before committing to a plan, assess your data usage patterns. If you rely heavily on streaming, video calls, or working remotely, consider plans with generous data allowances. If you mainly use your phone for essential communication and basic internet browsing, a plan with a moderate data package may suffice. Take advantage of promotional offers and discounts available for extended-stay visitors.
While Singapore is renowned for its modern iconic landmarks like Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, there is much more to explore beyond the usual tourist spots. Venture into cultural gems that offer unique experiences and a glimpse into the local heritage. For example, consider visiting Kampong Glam, a cultural enclave with vibrant streets filled with colourful shophouses, trendy boutiques, and unique cafes. Also explore Tiong Bahru, a hip neighbourhood known for its cafes, indie bookstores, and preserved pre-war architecture.
To truly immerse yourself in the local culture, visit street markets like Chinatown’s bustling Smith Street or the lively Tekka Centre in Little India. Also learn about the rich history and diverse heritage of Singapore and Asia by visiting museums such as the National Museum of Singapore and the Asian Civilisations Museum. And finally, keep an eye out for seasonal festivals and events that showcase the city’s multicultural fabric, such as the Chinese New Year celebrations, Hari Raya Puasa, and Deepavali.
Singapore’s diverse culinary scene is a gastronomic delight you shouldn’t miss as well. Indulge in the flavours of local and fusion cuisine at hawker centres, where you’ll find a plethora of affordable and delicious dishes. Hawker centres like Maxwell Food Centre, Lau Pa Sat, and Tiong Bahru Market offer a wide range of culinary delights, including iconic dishes like Hainanese chicken rice, chili crab, laksa, and roti prata.
For a more upscale dining experience, Singapore is home to numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and celebrity chef establishments. Indulge in exquisite culinary creations that fuse local flavours with international influences. Additionally, explore dining options in places like Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street, where you can sample authentic dishes from Singapore’s various ethnic communities.
To fully appreciate Singapore’s food culture, also consider taking a food tour or participating in a cooking class. These experiences will allow you to learn about the ingredients, cooking techniques, and cultural significance behind different Singaporean dishes. Finally, don’t forget to try famous local beverages like teh tarik (pulled tea) and the refreshing Singapore Sling cocktail, which you can consider having at Raffles Hotel where it was originally invented.
To manage your finances effectively during your extended stay, familiarise yourself with Singapore’s currency, the Singapore Dollar (SGD), and the exchange rates associated with it. It’s advisable to exchange currency at authorised money changers or to use ATMs that offer competitive exchange rates. Keep in mind that credit and debit cards are also widely accepted in Singapore, making them convenient to use when you need to make payments at establishments.
Consider opening a local bank account to simplify financial transactions and to avoid excessive fees for foreign currency conversions. Major banks in Singapore, such as DBS, UOB, and OCBC, offer a range of accounts tailored to different needs. Research the account requirements, including necessary identification documents and initial deposit amounts, to ensure a smooth account setup process.
On top of currency and banking matters, you should also budget wisely during your stay by exploring affordable dining options in the city-state. While hawker centers are known for their budget-friendly meals, many restaurants and eateries also offer lunchtime or early bird promotions. Take advantage of discounts available through dining apps or credit card privileges. All that being said, you’ll probably save the most money if you cook your own meals at home instead.
Finally, also make use of free or discounted activities offered by local organisers, which may include, among others, museum exhibitions, outdoor concerts, and community events.
Singapore is known for its safety and cleanliness, making it an ideal destination for travellers. However, it’s essential to have an awareness of local customs and etiquette, particularly as they relate to the strict laws that make life in the city-state more organised than in most other countries in the world.
To ensure a pleasant experience, make sure to abide by Singapore’s laws, including regulations on chewing gum, smoking in public areas, and littering. Chewing gum in public places is absolutely prohibited, and littering can result in hefty fines. Familiarise yourself with the designated smoking areas and be mindful of not smoking in prohibited zones.
Maintaining your wellness and finding time for leisure activities is vital during an extended stay in Singapore. The city offers numerous parks, gardens, and nature reserves where you can engage in outdoor activities like jogging, cycling, or simply taking a leisurely stroll during the mornings and afternoons. Some popular green spaces include the Singapore Botanic Gardens, East Coast Park, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and MacRitchie Reservoir Park.
If you prefer structured fitness activities, there are plenty of options available as well. Many serviced apartments and condominiums have in-house fitness centres, swimming pools, and sports facilities. Alternatively, consider joining local gyms, yoga studios, or group fitness classes that cater to different interests and fitness levels.
To unwind and relax, treat yourself to a spa experience or massage therapy session. Singapore boasts world-class spas that offer a range of treatments, from traditional massages to holistic wellness therapies that are popular throughout the developed world. You can also visit Singapore’s serene beaches, such as those on Sentosa Island, where you can enjoy the sun, sand, and sea.
To make your stay in the city-state enriching and meaningful, consider engaging with the local community and with travellers like yourself. There are likely several expat communities, professional networks, and social clubs that align with your interests which you can join. These communities offer opportunities for you to connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, and gain insights into Singapore’s culture and lifestyle. Also consider attending networking events, seminars, and workshops related to the industry you work in or to your personal hobbies so that you can expand your professional and social circles.
Take note that various groups and organisations host a wide range of events and gatherings in Singapore throughout the year. Stay updated with local listings, community notice boards, and online platforms that promote such events and activities. From art exhibitions and music festivals to food markets and cultural celebrations, there is always something happening in the city. Participating in these events not only exposes you to Singapore’s vibrant city life, but it also allows you to meet people from diverse backgrounds while forging new friendships.
Maximising your extended stay in Singapore is all about embracing the local culture, exploring the city’s offerings, and making connections. By heeding the abovementioned tips, you can create lasting memories and make the most of your time in this dynamic city-state.
Remember, Singapore is a melting pot of diverse experiences waiting to be discovered. From the iconic landmarks to the hidden gems, every corner of the city has something unique to offer. Embrace the adventure, be open to new experiences, and make the most of your extended stay in Singapore. Safe travels and enjoy your time in the Lion City!
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