“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” -Arthur Ashe
I was excited, yet anxious, about my first solo trip to Singapore because it was also my first time to go there. I did not know much about the place so I kept asking my colleagues who have gone to Singapore a couple of times already about the transport system, best restaurants to try, and the cheapest places to shop. They kept reassuring me that since I was very much used to Hong Kong, Singapore was not much different since the bus and train systems were pretty much the same in concept.
I was not reassured much, however. You see I tried to compare Singapore’s MRT and LRT Map to Hong Kong’s MTR Map. Singapore’s overwhelmed me a lot. I thought the country was only small, but why did it look like it had more train stops than Hong Kong? I was pretty sure I was going to get lost!
Exploring Singapore with my Singapore Tourist Pass Plus Card
Truth to be told, I am so bad at reading maps and directions. Unless I’ve been there, do not expect me to know how to navigate!
In my lack of faith in my ability to navigate foreign lands, I searched for ways to not have to pay so much for train and bus rides, should I get lost and keep riding around to get to my destination. I came across an ad for Singapore Tourist Pass and Tourist Pass Plus cards from EZ-Link:
I was torn between getting the Singapore Tourist Pass or the Tourist Pass Plus. In the end, I opted to get the Tourist Pass Plus for SGD 38 for the following reasons:
- 3-days unlimited bus and train rides
- Complimentary Limited Edition Post Card Set worth $8
- No rental deposits
- I get to bring home the card
- No need to worry about surrendering the card to get my refund
I got my Tourist Pass Plus Card from Changi Recommends at Changi Terminal 4. I also redeemed my free goodie bag from subscribing to Changi Recommend’s newsletter. The goodie bag contained lots of flyers, brochures, attraction maps, and a large foldable travel bag that I was already envisioning to use when I shopped for treats to bring home. So, I basically got two reusable bags from Changi Recommends.
Subscribe to news and promotions from Changi Recommends and claim your goodie bag upon arrival at Singapore. Just present the confirmation e-mail you will receive after subscribing that states you’re eligible for the free goodie bag. Note that supplies are limited so getting the goodie bag is not a hundred percent guaranteed.
In hindsight, I should have probably just gone for the SG Tourist Pass. For only SGD 25, I could have gotten the mostly same essential perks such as the 3-day unlimited bus and train rides and the lack of surrendering the card because of rental deposit.
When I computed my fare spending, I only spent up to SGD 12. That SGD 25 would have been more worth it, shelling out SGD 13 for the physical card that I can consider as a souvenir. Nevertheless, I was so thankful for my card because I did not have to worry about falling in line, loading up an EZ-Link card, or having the exact change. I just tapped my card and I was on my way to my adventures.
For more information on the type of passes you can get, just visit The Singapore Tourist Pass website.
Want a more versatile card? Get the NETS FlashPay card! Paying only SGD 5 for the physical card, you can just load it up and tap your way through buses and trains. You can also use it to pay at most stores and restaurants. If you’re not going to reach at least SGD 20 on your fare throughout the trip, this is a much better card to get. You can reload it at several top-up locations, making it convenient for use. (Note: You can also get it from Klook).
I was so lucky that my colleague, Jenya, lent me her card. After my three days with my Singapore Tourist Pass Plus card was up, I was able to use her card to go around Singapore one last time before leaving for Manila.
Getting Connected Through M1 Tourist SIM Card
The first major difference I noticed about Hong Kong and Singapore was upon arrival at Changi Airport. You see, every time I stepped on HKIA, I could already connect to their WiFi, allowing me to inform my family in Manila that I already arrived. In Singapore, I could not connect to their WiFi because it was requiring me to give my mobile number, to which they will send my OTP. Unlike in Hong Kong where my phone gets connected to CSL’s network, allowing me to receive SMS from my country, I had no service at all in Singapore. As such, I was only able to contact my Mom after I claimed my M1 Tourist Sim Card from Cheers Convenience Store.
I bought a voucher from Klook to get M1 Tourist SIM Card for Php 371, roughly SGD 10. In Singapore, it is sold at SGD 12, so the Klook promo was already a steal! The SIM card has 100GB of 4G mobile speed (which was hella fast in SG!), free 20 minutes of international calls, free 100 local SMS, and free 500 minutes for local calls for 7 days. It also comes in 3 SIM Card sizes to fit your mobile phone’s SIM slot.
Claiming the card was a breeze! I only had to show them my passport and voila! I had my SIM card already.