INFO TEMPO: First Time to Singapore? Here's What to Know

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaSingapore, Indonesia’s most developed neighbor has become a popular weekend escape for everyone. The country is only 2 hours away from Jakarta, 90 minutes from Medan. As the busiest transit hub in Southeast Asia, the country is small in size but is packed with entertainment and activities that can be done even in just a few hours’ time.

    Getting around in Singapore is also very easy even for first-time traveler.

    Singapore’s MRT is one of the most developed ones in Southeast Asia, with MRT station available in the airport towards the city and back. Tickets can also be easily purchased directly in the station.

    While most popular destinations in Singapore are easily accessed by the MRT, with the expensive taxi fare, Singapore has now ventured into the online taxi game which makes it easy for Indonesian who already has a Grab or Gojek application to get around.

    Either you are traveling alone or in groups, to Singapore or just a transit, if you are planning to stop by Singapore for the first time, here is a list of things you can do in one day:

    Singapore Jewel Changi Airport

    When the word airport comes to mind, you’ll think of stopovers, immigration hassles, and a lot of people -- with more people. This is apparently not the case with Changi’s most recent addition; the Jewel Changi Airport. The Jewel Changi offers a lifestyle experience of shopping, culinary traits, and urban oasis under one roof to accommodate traveler’s needs during transit without leaving the airport complex. The entertainment center is easily accessed from Terminal 1, 2, and 3.

    At Jewel Changi, visitors will be awed by the 40-meter-high Rain Vortex -- the world’s largest indoor waterfall -- inside the 10-story dome-shaped building.

    Singapore Street food

    Singapore is the first Southeast Asian country in the world to be rated by the Michelin Guide. The country is a melting pot of Chinese, Malay, and Indian cultures, creating palatable cuisines for both the locals and foreign visitors. The street food scene is also included in one of Netflix’s featurette on Asia’s street food. With these in mind, choosing what to eat can be overwhelmed so why not start with a simple Singapore chicken rice?

    One of the Michelin-starred street food is Liao Fan Hawker Chan in Chinatown, serving delicious soy sauce chicken rice and roast pork. The queue is long, and patrons will have to share a table with strangers but Chan’s special recipe is worth all these, especially considering the affordable price. One portion of chicken rice costs less than S$5.

    To satisfy your cravings for Indian curry, jump in the subway and take a step out of Little India’s MRT Station, then head to the stall nearby selling a three-dollars curry served in a tray with a mountain of biryani rice.

    Getting around in Singapore can be hot and tiring, finish-off your trip by nongkrong in a stall with a cold Tiger beer in hand.

    Take a free chill pill at Botanical Gardens

    Singapore’s Garden by the Bay is raved about many times, but visiting this place in one day is not enough since you would want to spend your pennies worth by experiencing the garden from day until dark when the trees are beautifully lit up. However, one can stroll around the garden or simply lie down and read on the grass at the Singapore Botanical Garden for free. It opens daily from 5 AM to 12 midnight, allowing travelers in transit to pay a visit and stay for however long they want. The 82-hectare complex boasts all kind of tropical beauties and trees and has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since July 2015.

    Shop ‘till you drop

    Singapore is known as shoppers’ paradise, from bulk fashion and souvenirs in Bugis Street to high end retails at the Marina Bay Sands -- it is a never-ending shopping experience. Find European confectionaries in Orchard’s Lucky Plaza, and make sure to stock up your spices in Little India.

    Those are only a fraction of a bunch of activities to be done in Singapore for one day. For a better, all-round experience, it is recommended to spend at least 2-3 days. From low-cost carrier to standard airlines, flights to Singapore from Jakarta and other big cities in Indonesia are available daily, accommodating all kinds of traveler be it for leisure or for business.

    Pick your dates and book your flights through Traveloka website or mobile app, and make sure to stay connected on your travel by purchasing international roaming packages, or rent a WiFi router for group travelers, which are also available to purchase in Traveloka. Internet roaming packages are available for Singapore per day, or per 3 days for all kinds of provider in Indonesia. (*)