Travel SOS – short Singapore stay

Singapore is a great choice for a stopover (or even for a longer stay). Robin has three days to spend there and wants some advice, which Lee Mylne is only too happy to give.

Q. Robin
I am 73, have a three-day layover in Singapore, and am on a limited budget. Friends have suggested the Night Safari, a bus trip around the island, which includes visiting Changi Museum, and a visit to Sentosa Island. The Night Safari sounds okay, but I walk with a walking stick and am a bit slow, so if I have to walk a lot, I would not be able to do it justice. Sentosa Island sounded okay until I realised most of the places require a fee, which I can ill afford, and I am not sure I am interested in many of them anyway (e.g. Universal Studios doesn’t interest me). I have heard there are two hop-on/hop-off bus rides, but cannot find where they go.

night time in singapores chinatown district

A. Lee
I’m a big fan of hop-on/hop-off buses, as I think they give a great introduction to any new city. The CitySightseeing Singapore Hop-On Hop-Off Tour runs on two different routes: the Heritage Route and the City Route. And for my money, the Heritage route would be the one to choose, as it goes to both Chinatown and Little India, and has a couple more stops than the City route, which includes a few too many hotel stops for my liking. A 24-hour ticket costs about AU$38.

The other hop-on/hop-off tour is called FunVee Hopper Service, and is a similar style but a little bit cheaper (around AU$22). One of its benefits is that they will pick you up either at your hotel (from an extensive list) or arrange a free transfer to the Tourist Hub, which is the starting point of the tour. This service operates on three different routes: City Attractions (Green route), Ethnic Attractions (Orange) and Sentosa Attractions (Red, but this is not the island!) – and your ticket allows you to swap between them during the day if you wish.

All the fine detail (and maps) about where both these hop-on/hop-off buses visit can be found on

Even with your mobility issues, you should still be able to enjoy the Night Safari. There is a “tram” ride (on wheels) around the park, which takes 35 minutes and drives through the seven geographical zones, with a commentary (in English) as you go. You can also see the 20-minute live ‘Creatures of the Night’ show, which focuses on the instincts of nocturnal animals, such as the civet and the otter, and happens four times each evening. Both of these are included in the ticket price.

If you decide you do want to do a bit of walking, there are four trails that let you see animals not visible from the tram (one of the most popular is the Leopard Trail, but you will probably want to give the Wallaby Trail a miss), or you can walk through two giant aviaries where there are Malayan flying foxes and giant flying squirrels gliding above you. 

I confess I’ve never been to Sentosa Island, but from what I hear, you are probably making the right decision in giving it a miss. It’s great for families, with lots of activities and rides, but I’m told that even just going for lunch can be an expensive exercise. However, if you’re keen to see it, I’d suggest asking your hotel about bus tours that take all the hard work out of getting there and getting around.

Another place you should really consider visiting is the fabulous Gardens by the Bay, a public garden like no other. I went there on my trip to Singapore last year and it was just sensational. The best time to go is at night, when the Supertrees – enormous structures festooned with vertical gardens and reaching between nine and 16 storeys – come alive with a stunning light and sound show. The show happens twice each evening, at 7.45pm and 8.45pm. Get there early enough to take the lift to the Skyway (entry is $5) for one of the best views in Singapore from 22-metres high. 

And don’t forget that taxis in Singapore are incredibly cheap by Australian standards, making getting around – even on a budget – very easy.

For more ideas about what to do on your Singapore stopover, visit

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Lee Mylne has managed to combine her two passions – travelling and writing – into a long and successful career as a travel journalist. Her work is published in newspapers, magazines, websites and travel apps in Australia and around the world.

Written by Lee Mylne

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