Singapore Budget Trip Itinerary For Filipino: There’s More To It Than Merlion

Probably the cleanest country I’ve ever been to. It is my second visit to Singapore and this time, it’s a bit longer, hence, I was able to explore the country better. There is still excitement and reaffirmation that Singapore can be included on my list of countries that one must visit – perhaps not because of its natural landscape but the architecture and how disciplined Singaporeans are.

Listed below are the places I have visited during the trip. Read more for a Singapore budget trip itinerary for Filipino or for everyone who is on a shoestring budget.

Touch Down SG!

March 9th, 12MN, I, the plane landed on Singapore’s Changi Airport. My brother patiently waited for about 2 hours at the airport to fetch me. So sweet, isn’t he? He works somewhere near the airport so instead of going back to his place in Sembawang, he waited for me.

Did I tell you we are foodie? And yes! He then brought me to Changi Airport’s Paris Baguette. We ordered a coffee plus my favorite Apple Pie Cinnamon plus a bacon wrap “sosyal” pastry (sorry I totally forgot the name!).  You see, I am really terrible with memorizing a food’s name because you know, I am always after the taste.  HAHA!

Paris Baguette Cafe

After several minutes, we catch a cab and went straight to his apartment in Admiralty Drive, near the Sembawang MRT Station. It’s about an hour ride.

P.S. The taxi in Singapore accepts credit card! It also has GPS system, which will make you feel more secure.

Day 1

Places explored:

  • Ion Orchard
  • East Coast

On my first day in Singapore, I explored Ion Orchard and East Coast.

Ion Orchard

Getting there: Ride the MRT and stop at the Ion Orchard station.

Entrance fee: NONE

Ion Orchard is the shopping district of Singapore! You will see lots of boutiques from international brands here – Etude, Victoria’s Secret, Prada – you name it! There’s also the Lucky Plaza, which was known to be Filipino’s haven in Singapore. Why? Because lots of Filipinos spend their time here. Since it’s a Pinoy’s haven, there’s a Jolibee here! Sad to say, I wasn’t really able to dine there.

Amazing architecture

What I love about this district is the building’s architecture, like this one:

Ngee Ang City (shopping mall in Ion Orchard)

 

the entrance to the Ion Orchard MRT Station

Apart from modern architecture, I was also able to see some vintage (esh) and European (esh) buildings on the secluded part of the district.

where modern meets vintage architecture

 

some Vintage architecture

Food at Ion Orchard

My brother bought me a Llaollao frozen yogurt for my sweet tooth! We also got some Garretts popcorn! Food is life of course! HAHA!

Llaollao frozen yogurt
Llaollao frozen yogurt

Since we got tired of exploring the district, we took our lunch in a Ion Orchard’s hawker centre.  Hawker centre is like a sidewalk carenderia but since it’s SG, it’s a bit sosyal haha! … of course clean too!

sosyal carenderya SG edition HAHA
sosyal carenderya SG edition HAHA

What we got for lunch? The basic food in SG – the Hainanese chicken! I am not really a big fan of this dish because it was slightly bland. I prefer salty food! hehe! But it wasn’t really that bad. It was still able to make my stomach full.

There’s a specific section about SG’s food at the end of the post. Please see it below to see how does a Hainanese chicken looks like!

… our journey continues…

Exploring means a lot of walking. Walking to save money! HEHE! Yes, we continue our walk towards the museum district of Singapore. We really haven’t had the time to explore them. We only had a quick photo ops at the facade of these heritage sites. Check ’em out below:

School of the Arts Singapore

 

National Museum of Singapore

 

Fort Cunning Park

East Coast

How to get there?

quoting this from honeykidsasia.com

Bedok MRT station is nearest if you are coming in by train: take a bus 401 from there on weekends which will take you directly to East Coast Park, and during the week hop on the 197 to Marine Parade Road outside Parkway Parade and walk through the underpass.

Entrance fee: NONE

NOTE: Rent a bike and explore Bedok Jetty, you’ll love the view.

More info on East Coast Park at https://www.nparks.gov.sg/gardens-parks-and-nature/parks-and-nature-reserves/east-coast-park.

… my story continues:

From the Fort Canning area, we rode a bus going to East Coast. The bus ride took us about 30minutes-1hour. So thankful for Google Maps for guiding us the way!

East Coast is one of the many nature parks in Singapore. What sets it different from other park is that it has a long stretch of man-made white sand beach. It might not be as beautiful as the white sandy beaches in our country, but it’s super clean! I even saw someone picking up trashes by the shore.

What to do in East Coast?

There are a lot of outdoor activities you can do here in East Coast – biking, skating, fishing, camping, skimboarding, etc.

In our case, we rented a bike and explored the entire park! The rental costs about 6SGD for an hour. Lucky for us, since the rental shop has its promotion, we got a free hour! The staff at the shop was a Filipina by the way. I’m not sure where she was from the Philippines, might be somewhere in Luzon since she was talking in Tagalog.

concrete tables in East Coast

Bedok Jetty

biking at Bedok Jetty, East Coast

 

super clean bike lane in East Coast

Day 2-4

For days 2-4, I wasn’t really exploring Singapore! I spent 4 days in Bintan Island, Indonesia, which is very accessible from Singapore. Read full story at Bintan, Indonesia: A Weekend in Nirwana Garden Resorts

Day 5 – Chinatown Singapore

Getting there: Go ride the MRT and stop at the Chinatown MRT.

Entrance fee: NONE

NOTE: Try the street foods! Or perhaps dine at the Chinatown Food Street

After getting back to Singapore from Indonesia, I found myself exploring Chinatown! This time, I was with my nephew, cousin, and sister-in-law. It was already around 5PM since we went out. We have to fetch my sis-in-law on her office at Bishan then we rode the MRT going to Chinatown. It’s just a matter of MRT ride so it’s pretty easy to locate.

What to do in Chinatown?

You can buy cheap Singapore souvenir items at Chinatown. These include keychains, ref magnets, bags, tshirts, and among others.

Pagoda at Chinatown Singapore
Pagoda at Chinatown Singapore

There’s also an Indian temple in Chinatown Singapore called Sri Mariamman Temple. You can enter the temple but you need to take your shoes off. I wasn’t able to get into the temple due to time constraints though.

Sri Mariamman Temple
Sri Mariamman Temple

Day 6  – Adventure Cove – Sentosa Island

How to get there?

The closest MRT station is Harbour Front.

Quoting this from Resorts World:

Route to Universal Studios Singapore by Train / Sentosa Express
  1. Take North-East line or Circle line to HarbourFront station.
  2. Take Exit E to VivoCity and proceed to level 3 to board the Sentosa Express. Alight 1 stop later at Waterfront station.
  3. Walk straight till you see Chili’s Restaurant on your right.

I spent my 6th day exploring Sentosa Island! It’s one of my most favorite spot in the entire SG! Why? Because it’s beautiful and it offers a lot of exciting adventures! This is where the Universal Studios is located. There are also tons of museums and other adventure parks here including Adventure Cove, which I got to explore during this visit. I have already explored Universal Studios before and it’s one hell of an adventure! The Mummy roller coaster ride almost took most of my voice because I was screaming it all out! HAHA!

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island

Prior to getting into Adventure Cove, I am still amazed with Sentosa Island! Though not much has changed, it is still very beautiful! What’s good is that I was able to see a docked cruise ship!

looking for Captain Jack Sparrow

Adventure Cove

Entrance fee: Ticket price is 38 SGD (about 1, 350 PhP)

Get discounted price at Klook –> https://www.klook.com/activity/120-adventure-cove-waterpark-singapore

The Adventure Cove is beside the Universal Studios Singapore under Resorts World Sentosa. Actually the amusement parks here are close to each other.

What to do in Adventure Cove & Sentosa Island? The view is fantastic. Always be ready to take snaps. Be there early to explore all the water adventure rides!

You should try Riptide Rocket! Queue might be long and waiting time can test your patience, but it will be worth the wait!

Reminder: GoPro and other action cams are not allowed in the water slides. Be early as you can to experience all the slides and adventure! There are also lockers for rent to store valuables.

 

adventure cove sentosa singapore
Adventure Cove entrance

 

dry booth adventure cove
Blow Dry Booth (not free; need to feed SG coins)

 

getting up close with a stingray

There’s also a fake beach with a wave simulation on the Adventure Cove. Lots of kids will enjoy it here. What I did love in Adventure Cove is snorkeling! I get to see Dory and Nemo up close. I was also able to swim with sharks! YAYKS! Don’t fret, these are not scary looking sharks. In fact you can see them in clothes too – hammerhead! HAHA! Does that ring a bell? If you’re from the Philippines, then you know it! LOL!

my nephew, enjoying this fake beach in Adventure Cove
nganu ka oi? haha!

Chinese Gardens

How to get there?

It’s easy! Go to the Chinese Garden MRT station and you will find the entrance to the Chinese Gardens there.

Entrance fee: NONE

My 7th day is exploring Chinese Gardens day! It was raining really hard in the morning so I wasn’t really able to get there. I am super scared with the thunder and lightning in Singapore, it feels like it’s triple than what we had in the Philippines. I have fear with lightning (though I love Pikachu a lot hehe). So yes, I was initially planning to go there solo but my sis-in-law decided the last minute to join me as I decided to go there by afternoon.

What to do in Chinese Gardens? There are lots of beautiful pagoda and Japanese and Chinese structures in the garden. You need to see the Chinese Zodiac garden where you can see statues of the 12 animals. Also, be there before 5pm to see the tortoise show.

More info about Chinese Gardens at http://www.visitsingapore.com/see-do-singapore/nature-wildlife/parks-gardens/chinese-garden.html.

P.S. During my visit, I saw some locals having their prenuptial photoshoots. Yep, Chinese Gardens is such a beautiful place to for romantic photos.

Despite having a gloomy weather during our visit, the place is still beautiful. There’s also a Japanese section in the garden, which accordingly, is a tribute and manifestation of Singapore’s friendship with Japan.

Pagoda shed

 

the wooden bridge on the entrance to the Chinese Gardens (yes it was raining really hard that day (the thunder and lightning were quite scary)

 

the twin pagoda by the lake

 

the arc bridge in the Zodiac garden

 

 

the Zodiac Garden and the setting sun

 

another tiny bridge in Zodiac garden

 

gloomy weather as reflected on the lake

 

another angle at the Zodiac garden

I can’t help but share these awesome photos at Chinese Garden!

Day 8 – Changi Airport

Getting there: Ride a bus going to Changi Airport or perhaps take the MRT.

Entrance fee: NONE

Nope! I am still not going back to Cebu! HAHA! The reason why I went to Changi Airport was that my sister-in-law has a business trip to Malaysia! Yep! I wish I could join her but I just can’t! HEHE! So, she suggested me to explore the gigantic airport. It has a lot of establishments – there’s even a children playhouse in it. There are also lots of restaurants and lots of boutique!

 

carrying my sis-in-law’s suitcase hehe!

 

Well, the best thing really is to explore the airport before your departure (perhaps several hours before the flight).

We had dinner at Fish & Co. The food was good but the serving speed is slow.

Prior to that, we took our snack at Burger King and I got to taste this waffle that has an icecream on that. Tastes like heaven! hAHA! Oh and did I mention? The chicken fries are my nephew’s favorite!

 

 

skytrain
skytrain

NOTE: Ride the sky train (this one’s used for aiport transfers from terminal 1 to 2 and 3). By the time of my visit, the theme is dancing sunflower. Few months ago, it was Pokemon Go. So what do you think will be theme next?

sunflower festival in Changi Airport

 

yum!

 

Day 9 – The Overrated Tourist Spots in SG 🙂

Yep! I say overrated because it’s where most of tourists spend their time with – Merlion Park, Marina Bay Sands, etc. Well, these are the country’s landmark so it’s a must to visit these spots.

It’s my last day in Singapore but it was the most exhausting day in my entire visit. Why? Lots and lots and lots of walking! Esplanade, Clarke Quay and Marina Bay Sands is close to each other. If you keep on walking, you can see lots of beautiful scenery here – mostly buildings and heritage sites.

Clarke Quay

How to get there?

Go to Clarke Quay MRT. More info –> https://www.klook.com/activity/3846-river-cruise-singapore/

Entrance fee: NONE

Clarke Quay has a huge stretch of restaurants that are stunning at night. You can also ride a mini boat here. The slingshot extreme ride is also located around this area.  See videos here http://www.gmaxgx5.sg/360fly-action-camera/.

Must do: Try the Bak ku teh at Song Fa

Esplanade

How to get there?

The nearest MRT station are CityHall (City Hall MRT (North-South (red) or East-West (green) line) Esplanade MRT (Circle Line).

More info at https://www.esplanade.com/visitor-guide/getting-here-and-parking

Entrance fee: NONE

NOTE: Observe. Observe. Observe. Be mindful with other travelers too.

The Esplanade is where you can see the Theatres by the Bay (Durian Dome), etc. The performance centre of SG, I think.

Marina Bay Sands

How to get there?

Go to Marina Bay Sands MRT station. A detailed info here http://www.marinabaysands.com/company-information/directions-to-marina-bay-sands.html.

Entrance fee: NONE

You may try resting under the Helix bridge, you can smell the breeze there.

The Hellix
The Hellix

 

Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, Super Tree Grove

How to get there?

Go to Marina Bay Sands. In the MRT station, there’s an entrance going to Cloud Forest, Flower Dome and Super Tree Grove

Ticket price: 28 SGD (about 991 Php)

Cloud Forest and Flower Dome requires different ticket. The one I got was sort of combo for both attractions. They are of the same area.

The management offers some sort of transpo (like a buggy or golf cart type) for guests. However, you need to pay a different fee to get this one. If you are still able and have the energy, I suggest walking. It’s not that far anyway.

Flower Dome

japanese sakura theme flower dome

During my visit, the theme at Flower Dome is Japanese Sakura. Being in the Philippines, I didn’t know that there other colors of Cherry Blossoms. So it’s not just the pink one! I should have known! HAHA! I heard the Singaporean government have exported these shrubs so that visitors and Singaporeans can be able to see them up close without having to go to Japan.

Apart from the Japanese Sakura theme, also featured are huge palm trees and other tree varieties as well as flora.

Cloud Forest

 

waterfalls cloud forest

Cloud Forest features different kinds of plants. It’s a huge greenhouse that features bonsai to huge trees. Also showcased is a film showing featuring the Earth’s temperature, climate change, and more.

There’s a tall artificial waterfalls upon entrance. I suggest going to the top first then take photos/videos from the top to the bottom.

Super Trees Grove

super tree grove

Entrance: NONE

Have you seen the scifi movie Avatar? See them in person, visit Super Trees Groove. It’s even beautiful if you see them at night.

There are restaurants in the Super Trees Grove. You don’t have to dine in it since it will be a bit pricey.

more info here –> https://www.klook.com/activity/127-gardens-by-the-bay-singapore/

Food

Since Singapore is mainly inhabited by Chinese, Malay and Indians, expect variety and fusion of cuisine. Western foods are also served by most restaurants.

Hainanese chicken rice

The basic food of most Singaporeans is the Hainanese chicken rice. Price starts at 5 SGD up.

Hainanese chicken with rice balls
Hainanese chicken with rice balls

Bak kuh teh (pork rib dish) – try eating at Songfa!

this one’s a pork belly served at Songfa (mura sya og humba hahah)

Sotong Head

Sotong means squid.  If in the Philippines we have fish ball and tempura, in Singapore, they have fried sotong head.

sotong (squid) head
sotong (squid) head at Chinatown

 

grilled sotong with egg (@Jem, Jurong East MRT)

Mostly sotong? Yes of course! I love squid! haha!

Satay with peanut butter sauce

A Malaysian cuisine. I love the satay at the Streets of Asia in Sentosa Island.

pork satay (at Streets of Asia, Sentosa)
pork satay (at Streets of Asia, Sentosa)

Roti Prata

This one’s an Indian food, that tastes like a pancake but the sauce is curry like.

Rata
Roti Prata

Seafood Fried Rice

fried rice with bean stalk, shrimp and egg.

Hokkien Mee

Transportation

You won’t be having any problems with Singapore’s transportation systems. Public transpos include trains, buses, taxis and more!

What I did observe is that I only see limited number of people riding motorcycles. I didn’t see any old models of cars too. What I have heard is that the fees will get higher if you keep old cars with you.

You need to have the EZ Link card to ride the MRT and buses in Singapore. You can reload the card at different MRT stations.


Time Zone

Singapore and the Philippines are in the same time zone (GMT +8). The huge difference I can say is that 7PM in Singapore is much like 4PM in the Philippines. Should I say that the sun rises and sets faster in the Philippines than in Singapore? HAHA!

 


Suggested Itinerary:

 

Day 1

  • Ion Orchard (walk through the Ion Orchard. Eat at local hawker site). Explore until you can see different museums in Fort Cunning, etc. You don’t have to get inside but you can take pictures of the museum. Pa char char lang gud. hahah!
  • East Coast (explore all the sections in East Coast. Rent a bike)

Day 2

  • Sentosa Island
  • Explore Adventure Cove (spend the entire day so that you can make the most out of your ticket price haha). Explore all the rides.

Day 3 (These places are in close proximity with each other, you can just walk really)

  • Clarke Quay
  • Esplanade
  • Marina Bay Sands
  • Super Tree Grove
  • Flower Dome
  • Cloud Forest

Day 4

  • Chinese Gardens
  • Chinatown Singapore

Here’s a summary of all the spots I have visited and explored during my 2017 visit in the Lion City (Singapore)! I hope you could visit Singapore too!


About quen 52 Articles
adventure seeker. wanderer. videography enthuasist . follow my travel stories at https://asaniquen.com.

2 Comments

  1. Awesome article about Singapore. It’s one of the cleanest cities in the world. when think about this island 50 years ago it’s amazing how this city looks now.
    One of the largest travel attractions in south east Asia, there people coming to just see the city like zoo, Sentosa island , china street etc. Great place to be. Cheers.

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