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Getting to Sentosa

Sentosa Express from Vivo City

There’s a few ways to get across to Sentosa Island. Firstly, you can simply walk across the boardwalk from Vivo City at Harbour Front, and pay a S$1 entry fee to the island. You can then take the Sentosa Express back for free.

The next, and most popular way, is to take the Sentosa Express, a short 4-stop monorail leaving from within Vivo City on level 3. This costs $4 and includes entrance to the island. You can either pay using your EZ-link card, or purchase a “Sentosa Pass” smart card. You can also purchase an “Islander card” if you plan to visit Sentosa often, giving you unlimited rides for a year for S$25. Setnosa Express runs 07:00 ~ 00:00.

For S$2 round trip, you can take bus RWS 8 from the bus stop outside Vivo City, 06:00 ~ 23:30.

You can take a taxi to or from the island, but you will pay a surcharge.

Finally, the Cable Car (S$26 Adults, S$15 Children) is the ultimate way to get to Sentosa Island, albeit more expensive. Find out all about the cable car and the “jewel card” here.

Singapore Cable Car

Singapore’s Cable Car takes you from HarbourFront to Mount Faber & Sentosa Island, in an 8 seater cabin with full 360 panoramic views over Singapore’s skyline, the harbour and Sentosa. If its not busy, you can try to get your own car to yourselves, but otherwise they will group you with others. They play light music (like jazz) inside, and there are fans but not a/c. The ride takes about 10-15min from the top at Mount Faber to the bottom at Sentosa.

It opened in 1974 and has been not just a mode of transport but a tourist attraction ever since. They periodically update the cabin designs and colours and add novelties like glass bottoms. There are currently 7 VIP cabins with Glass floor enhanced with Swarovski crystal elements.

S$26 Adults, S$15 children, or you can purchase a Faber Licence for S$39 for 12 months unlimited rides on the Cable car, and Sentosa Express! It also gives you a 30% discount for a friend’s ticket, and 20% off at some restaurants and shops on Mount Faber and Sentosa Island. If you plan to go on the cable car even twice within a year, its worth it.

The HarbourFront Cable Car station is about a 5-10min walk from HarbourFront MRT. Take exit B into HarbourFront Tower II, go up the escalators, and across the bridge, down to street level and turn left into the square after the first large building. There are signs posted along the way.

Daily 08:45 ~ 22:00 (last boarding 21:30)

Singapore Taxis

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Taxi drivers are famous in Singapore. Famous for not knowing their way around, even though Singapore is half the size of London. Famous for having a GPS unit but not being able to follow it. Famous for their driving “safety” that leaves much to be desired. Famous for not picking people up towards the end of their shift or in bad weather.

At least however, the cost of taxis in Singapore is quite reasonable. They aren’t Thailand or China cheap, but they won’t break the bank either. There is a full fare breakdown on the Comfort & City and SMRT websites for their taxis, but expect to pay around S$3 for a flagdown, and $10 for short journeys during the day. There are surcharges of 25% during peak hours (Mon – Fri 06:00 ~ 09:30, 18:00 ~ 00:00) and 50% at night between 00:00 ~ 06:00. There are additional fees for Changi Airport, Singapore Expo, MBS and Sentosa island.

A taxi from Changi Airport to Chinatown costs around S$20 during the day and $30 at night. Most cars take credit and debit cards (NETS) but you should check with the driver.

Booking a taxi in Singapore is a painful experience. It is a completely inefficient system, requiring you to make a call, and wait for an sms that will probably tell you there are no taxis available and to try again later. It doesn’t go into a queue, you just have to try again until it blocks you for an hour after several failed attempts. There are thousands of Taxis in Singapore but its still somehow hard to get one at many times of the day. Even if you’re standing at a crowded taxi rank, sometimes taxis won’t come unless you book one.

When it rains, as it does so frequently and heavily in Singapore, it is even harder to get a taxi. Apparently this is because if a Taxi driver is involved in any accident, they must pay damages of $1000+ until responsibility is decided and they can potentially claim it back. They also cannot drive another taxi in the meantime while their car is repaired. This means it is simply not worth their risk to drive in heavy rain when even a minor accident could affect their income for months.

All taxi drivers are Singaporean, many older men who may not speak English well and may have trouble understanding foreigner’s pronunciation of certain places in Singapore. Try to pronounce clearly, or even try to fake a Singaporean accent (seriously), and don’t be surprised if you have to say it four or five times before they get it. A written/printed version of an address is helpful, or use key landmarks like shopping malls and MRT stations. Be sure they have the right destination before you go or you might be in for a scenic tour.

Singapore MRT

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Interactive map and Journey Planner

Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit system, or MRT, is one of the best city train systems in the world, and probably the most efficient thing in Singapore. Its cheap, reliable, clean, with a much smoother and quieter ride than many other train systems. The network map covers most areas that visitors would want to access, and while it still misses a few spots, they are building new lines and extending the reach of the MRT, so in the future there will be even better coverage.

Your first purchase in Singapore should be an EZ-link card. This is your prepaid card for all public transport in Singapore. It costs S$12 with S$7 credit included (so the card itself is S$5 which you cannot get back). But the EZ-link card will save you time and money, with discounts on single trips and connected journeys with buses.

While a single trip can cost as little as S$0.80, your EZ-link card must have a balance of at least S$3 to travel. This is because there is no way to top-up your card before exiting the station, so your balance needs to be able to cover all possible journeys. Also note the minimum top-up amount is $10.

If you don’t want an EZ-link Card or don’t have it on you, you can buy a single trip ticket at the ticket machines. The single trip card is actually also reusable and has marginal discounts after multiple trips.

Note that because of the constant heat in Singapore, the MRT is air-conditioned to fridge-level temperatures. Sometimes its great to cool down, others you might just feel cold, so as strange as it seems to carry a jacket around Singapore, you may want to do so just for the MRT rides (also Taxis and shopping malls).

Trains start around 05:00 on weekdays, 07:00 on weekends, and finish around 00:00 daily. However these are at their beginning and ending stations respectively, so it depends where you are on the line. There are first and last train times printed at each station.