On February 2017, I was given an opportunity to travel to Singapore for the first time to attend a wedding. It’s my first time to travel overseas again after 5 years and I was feeling sick from all the excitement. Singapore didn’t disappoint me and I fell in love with this modern city. There’s this tiny voice inside my head that kept on telling me that I need to go back.
Luckily, on March 2017, Cebu Pacific’s Getgo had a HUGE sale! And by huge, it’s as huge as being able to score round trip tickets from Cebu to Singapore for 4 pax for only 6,800php! That’s around 1,700php per person. To this day, I still can’t believe how blessed I was to be able to book such a cheap airfare. Just amazing! God’s favor is amazing! It was our first time to travel overseas as a whole family so it was pretty much something we were really looking forward to. So if you’re still not a Getgo member, I hope this would persuade you. Imagine jetting off to a new destination without having to shell out so much cash. 😉
Tip: When an upcoming seatsale is announced, ready all details of those who are traveling with you (e.g. complete name as seen on passport, birth date, and important passport details.) Save them on your phone and this will surely come in handy when you have to book the flights.
Fast forward to November, my family and I finally flew to the Lion City with so much excitement in our hearts that I got sick, again!
The Accommodation: ARK HOSTEL
We stayed at Ark Hostel as the guys manning the hostel are the kindest hosts I’ve met. They treated us so well the first time I was there in February and it was a no-brainer that I should bring my family there too and experience the great hospitality.
They are located at 89 Geylang Rd, Singapore 389203 which is just a 5-minute walk to the Kallang MRT station. Fronting the hostel is the After Sims Way bus stop (80049) and it’s really easy to hail a cab along this area.
We stayed in a family room that was priced at 75sgd or at 2,825php (based on current conversion rate found online) per night.
What I love about Ark Hostel:
- Great location. It’s strategically located near Kallang MRT station. 🚶🚆
- Great hosts. Kai is very responsive to my emails and always gives out tips on where to go and what to eat. He also provided us free towels (they usually charge for it) and he gave me 3 bottles of Kaya Jam for pasalubong! Best host ever! 😭
- Good breakfast. You are provided with bread that you can toast, selections of jams and spreads, and hot chocolate or coffee to drink. 😋
- Clean hostel. Though the hostel is very basic, they made sure that everything is well maintained. 👍
- Many restaurants around. There are so many neighboring Indian and Chinese restaurants so you’d never have to go that far when you need food to eat. 😮
Book or contact them here –> Ark Hostel.
Tip: Always book for accommodation that has easy access to public transportation like trains and buses. This will save you a lot of budget on transportation if you intend to maximize exploring Singapore.
Getting around Singapore:
One thing I really love about Singapore is the very efficient transport system. It is very easy to get from one place to another because of their very systematic MRT. We used the MRT most of the time and occasionally booked with Grab for convenience like airport to hostel transfers since we arrived at midnight and the MRT is already closed at that time. We just reloaded our EZ Link cards since we already purchased them on our previous visits to Singapore. We loaded 10-15sgd each card which was surprisingly enough for the whole duration we were there. An EZ Link card costs 12sgd with 7sgd usable stored value. They also have a Singapore Tourist Pass for unlimited rides for a number of days. For more information on this, visit –> Singapore Tourist Pass Info.
For guides on what train or bus to take in getting around Singapore, download this very useful app –> Gothere.sg. This app can show you which trains or buses to take on which stations, where to alight or where to transfer, and how much the fares would be. I relied heavily on this app when we were there and it certainly didn’t fail me.
Tip: If you intend to visit Singapore on more than one occasion, purchase an EZ Link card. You can use it for up to 5 years and can lend it to your friends who will be visiting Singapore too, because sharing is caring. 😊
- Raffles Place – This was our first stop as we had our money changed at the Arcade Money Changers and this is where we were meeting with my cousin who has been living in Singapore for more than a year now. Shout out to Dust for being such a great host and tour guide when he was free and of course to his lovely wife, Carla.
Tip: There are lots of money changers in the building. Compare rates and go for the one that offers the highest exchange rate. We exchanged ours at the 2nd floor.
- Merlion Park and Singapore River – Nothing more touristy than stopping by the Merlion Park to take a picture of the famous statue with a great view of the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer at the back. We came here before lunch and the sun was scorching hot so we only took pictures and didn’t stay long. This place also got a superb view at night.
- Lunch at Lau Pa Sat Food Hawker Centre- Hawker centers are life saviors! Knowing Singapore to be a very expensive city, eating at hawker centers are a good way to save on budget most especially on food. Lau Pa Sat does not only have lots of food stalls that offer a wide variety of cheap food selections, but also the design of the place is mesmerizing.
- Stroll around Orchard- Wanna see where the luxury brand shops are? Orchard is the place to be when you’re into shopping.
- Gardens By The Bay- It was my first time visiting the Gardens By The Bay and it indeed is mesmerizing to behold. Entering the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome is like entering into Pandora. So much to see inside and the indoor waterfall gives a relaxing vibe plus the coldness inside helps you cool off from the previous activities of the day. We spent our time here waiting until it was dark outside. We booked our tickets from Klook at a discounted rate. We were lucky enough to purchase the ticket during a 3 plus 1 sale. Purchase tickets here –> Gardens By The Bay Singapore.
Tip: Bring a jacket if you easily feel cold like me. 😄
- Dinner at Satay By The Bay- After your afternoon relaxation at the gardens, head over to the nearby Satay By The Bay for a sumptuous dinner.
- Gardens By The Bay Lights and Sound Show- When you’re done feasting with your dinner, walk over back to the gardens and see the supertrees light up for the nightly lights and sound show. Admission is free and there are 2 shows every night at 7:45pm and 8:45pm. My cousin, Dust, brought us to a secret spot where we had a good view of the supertrees. It was enchanting to see the trees light up synchronized with Christmas medley songs. Really a must-see when you’re a first-timer in Singapore.
- Cable Car from Mt. Faber Peak to Sentosa Island- Wanna enter Sentosa Island in the best way ever? Then this is your answer! Take the cable car from Mt. Faber Peak and enjoy the scenic view of Sentosa Island from above. We booked our tickets from Klook at a discounted rate. We were lucky enough to purchase the ticket during a 3 plus 1 sale. Purchase tickets here –> Singapore Cable Car Skypass.
Tip: Do not lose your tickets if you are taking the cable car back to Mt. Faber Peak or Harbourfront Station. Also, make sure you have a map of Sentosa Island so you’d know the way to Universal Studios as it’s kind of a long walk. Make sure you know how to read signs. 😄
- Universal Studios Singapore- Theme parks should always be on everyone’s list of places to visit when traveling, or at least visit the more famous ones. It was amazing to enjoy USS for the first time with my family since we all enjoyed the rides together! Family travel goals! Whether you’re young or old, there’s always a ride suitable for you. Many restaurants are also located inside to fill your tummies after all the fun. We booked our tickets from Klook at a discounted rate. We were lucky enough to purchase the ticket during a 3 plus 1 sale. Purchase tickets here –> Universal Studios Singapore Ticket 1-Day Pass.
Plan your Universal Studios Singapore itinerary so you will be able to see all the shows and do the rides. We missed a couple of shows and skipped rides as my mom couldn’t take them anymore after doing the Revenge of the Mummy ride! (HAHA. It was epic and scary.) But I am visiting Singapore again in May and I promised myself I will try the rides and see the shows I’ve missed. See list of shows and rides here –> USS Rides and Shows.
If you’re too scared to do the rides and you’ve seen all the shows but still got plenty of time to kill, stroll around USS and find good spots for your Instagram photos.
- Dinner at Makansutra Gluttons By The Bay- Head out to Makansutra after your USS trip to replenish lost energy from all the adventure from earlier. Not only will you get a taste of great food, but also witness a calming view of the Merlion Park, Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore river at night. Take a stroll after and just enjoy the coolness of the Singapore breeze at night.
- Chinatown- There’s something about Chinatown and the vibe it gives that is so interesting. There are a lot of cheap food stalls around the area and you can also find cheap souvenir items here for your friends and family back home. Because Filipinos are very fond of asking for pasalubongs. 😅 But more than that, you also get to learn about one culture that contributed greatly to what made Singapore the way it is right now.
Tip: Dine at Liao Fan Restaurant. It’s the only hawker restaurant in Singapore that has been given a Michelin star.
- Bugis, Haji Lane, and Kampong Glam- It’s safe to say that these are my favorite areas. You could go shopping for cheap items at Bugis Street and then head on to Haji Lane for your instagram pics to showcase pretty shops and cool painted walls in the area. Head to Kampong Glam to learn about the Malay culture and eat at the many restaurants around. Craving for Turkish, Persian, Indian, Malay, or Chinese cuisine? They’re all in the area.
Tip: If you’re craving for familiar food and you’re tired of eating foreign food, look for this diner in Kampong Glam (I forgot the exact name of the store.) They serve food that most Filipinos eat like pritong isda, kangkong and the likes!
- Airfare – P 1,700.00
- Philippine Travel Tax – P 1,620.00
- Mactan International Airport Terminal Fee – P 750.00
- EZ Link Top-up – P 565.02 or $ 15.00
- Singtel Tourist Sim – P 565.02 or $ 15.00
- Ark Hostel Accommodation – P 2,825.00
- Universal Studios Singapore Tickets – P 1,890.00
- Cable Car Tickets – P 536.25
- Gardens By The Bay Tickets – P 649.50
- Total ——-> P 10,537.77/person excluding food and shopping
*Currency conversions are based on current conversion rates from XE.com
Since this was already my 2nd visit to Singapore, we decided to just relax on our last day there as I was also very sick.
The 4-days we spent there was very memorable and eventful. I can say that Singapore is very friendly for families traveling together. They have a very efficient transport system and the country is very clean and safe. We all enjoyed our time exploring the city and wished we could have stayed longer.
We’re also very thankful to Kuya Jeson, Ate Em, Baby Keeno, and Jovir for making our trip extra special. It’s good to always connect with family and bond with them.
If you are thinking of traveling to somewhere in Southeast Asia and want to relax in a peaceful and green environment but also want to enjoy the luxuries of modernity, then Singapore is the best destination for you. It’s also an advantage for us Filipinos since Singapore doesn’t require us a visa. Secure your passports and book your tickets to Singapore now! You most definitely won’t regret it.
I will be back in Singapore soon and I hope to try new things that I haven’t tried right now. But for now, this blog ends here. 😄