Friday, May 22, 2009

A Hitchhiker's Guide to Singapore

Most of Singapore (universities) is done with exams. This is the time of the year when students flock home or for summer internships. The summer school at LSE (London School of Economics) too, is a favorite choice.This is also the time when exchange students from other countries come down to Singapore, for a tropical fresh breath. For those who want to make a trip down to Singapore, as a summer intern or a prospective student, there’s a lot you can do here.
So let’s get started. As any hitchhiker needs a survival kit, here’s a list of things that you can’t do without:
  • A map of important Landmarks

Smart travelers are adept navigators. Singapore is a well planned city, and directions are not hard to find. There’s also a lot of free maps available at the Airport or at many of the Visitor’s Centers by STB (Singapore Tourism Board). Click here to find a visitor center near you.
  • Comfortable footwear and clothing

If you’re a city trotter, get ready to walk the walk. Cotton clothes help you beat the heat and go the distance. Carry a backpack for those devices (ipods et al) that you can’t let go of and don’t forget to carry some water. At most places in Singapore, you can dine in casual clothes, barring fine diners and night clubs.

  • The Campus Tour
    Most schools would love to show you around. I would suggest calling/emailing them in advance and scheduling a campus tour. People in Singapore are very homely and helpful.
    Always carry a notepad to jot down important information and directions. Carrying a name card (visiting card) always helps.
  • Uniquely Singapore
    Besides, you might also want to explore the cultural side of Singapore. The public transport system is very convenient. Buses and trains are available from 6am to midnight.
    Make a list of things you’re interested in and create a rough itinerary.
    You can find comprehensive information here.
  • Must haves
    Some stuff you might need in your armory to move about:
  1. EZ Link Card – When I first came here, I was told that this card is the lifeline of Singapore. I smirked. Later, I realized what they meant. Be it a bus, train or even a Big Gulp at a 7 Eleven Store, an EZ Link card does it all. This pre-loaded cash card can be purchased at any of the MRT (train) stations and is a must have!
  2. A pre-paid phone – You can buy a pre-paid phone SIM for as low as 8 SGD, if I recall correctly. Singapore uses GSM telephony, so any GSM phone will support a Singapore SIM Card. Finding a local pay phone can sometimes be a pain, so this might just be a worthy investment. Calling rates are pretty much the same for all 3 mobile providers (SingTel, StarHub and M1) and they’re all equally efficient.
  3. Water Repellent – It rains without warning. Anytime and any day, be set to pull out that umbrella like a magic wand to ward off the rain. Foldable, compact umbrellas can be bought at most of the general stores and malls in Singapore.

That sums up our Getaway Guide 001, stay tuned for more. If you have any specific questions about traveling to or within Singapore, please leave a question in the comment box below.

Happy Hitchhiking!

No comments:

Post a Comment