For such a small island city-state, Singapore is a huge tourist hub in Southeast Asia. In 2017, the number of tourists visiting Singapore was actually 3x more than its population!
This is for good reason. Head to downtown Singapore and you’ll find a number of tourist attractions, all connected by efficient and high-quality transportation.
To revisit your childhood, there’s Universal Studios and the resort island of Sentosa. For shopping, head to Orchard Road. For art, visit the Kampong Glam area. For an amazing night and light show, you have to visit Marina Bay Sands.
Is Singapore your next stop after a heritage and nature tour of Kota Kinabalu? There is only one way to travel the 1,430km distance from Kota Kinabalu to Singapore: a 3.5-hour flight (including transfers) with fares from $54.
The flight itself takes only 2.5 hours across the South China Sea, but going to and from the airports take around 30 minutes each way.
Stuff you can’t bring in to Singapore
One important thing to keep in mind when entering Singapore is that they can be very strict about what you bring into the country. Allow me to share with you my own experience when crossing the Malaysia-Singapore border by bus.
“My friend and I had a big bottle of gin when we checked in for customs and immigration. We were taken to a separate room for around 30 minutes before they finally let us leave with the alcohol. All the time we were so scared our bus would leave without us!”
Apparently, you can bring alcohol into Singapore, but there is a 1-litre limit when coming from Malaysia. If you exceed that, you’ll have to pay a hefty fine.
So pay attention to what goes into your luggage when travelling from Kota Kinabalu to Singapore. They won’t care if you don’t know the rules or if you just forgot to take it out of your bag. Prepare to spend a fortune on fines if you’re caught carrying any of these into Singapore:
Chewing tobacco and imitation products, including e-cigarettes
Chewing gum, except those used for medical/dental purposes
Any object that looks like a weapon (toy guns or cigarette lighters shaped like a gun, etc.)
Pirated materials (movies, software, etc.)
Illegal drugs, firecrackers, or any form of unlicensed weapon
From Singapore Changi Airport, you’ll have to travel 20km west to reach downtown Singapore, where most of the tourist hotels are located. You have 4 options: a city shuttle for 9 SGD ($6.50); a taxi from 25 SGD ($18.50); the train for 2.70 SGD ($2); or a public bus for 2 SGD ($1.70).
The city shuttle is our preferred ride for their good mix of comfort and affordability. Although a shared ride, they offer free drop-off to most hotels in the city centre. You can book them at the airport upon arrival or online beforehand via Klook. They offer the same price of 9 SGD ($6.50) but with Klook, you get to skip the long airport queues.