Long weekend in Singapore with kids
Having last arrived in the clean cut country of Singapore 20 years ago, I was keen to see how things had changed. We were planning to spend a long weekend in Singapore with kids.
First impressions are that it’s still a developing city with building work continuing and although there is a huge amount of modern buildings, there are still smaller more modest ones amongst the high rise.
Most of the tourist sites are tightly compact so it’s easy, especially with the MRT, to get from one to another. But as usual we preferred to walk and explore the city – sometimes without any direction in mind!
As we are a family who travel on a budget, Singapore can seem a little out of reach with the cost of accommodation. But when you arrive you can make things a little more reasonable with kids – there are plenty of budget food and activities here.
How to get there?
Most people opt for the easy and sometimes fairly cheap option of flying into Singapore. It’s a great stopover on your way from Europe to Australia. But we were travelling from melaka which was only 4 hours away by bus. This meant another land border crossing.
We had read reviews that the buses were notorious for only allowing half an hour at border crossings leaving passengers that didn’t make it through immigration in that time. It stated, if this happened then we could just get the next bus. So we were prepared for some fun and games on this journey!
There are plenty of bus services, but we opted for starmart express, purely due to timing of the bus. We arrived at the bus station in Melaka at 8am, ready to board at 9am. We saw lots of delays on the board (there is alot of transport through here!), But luckily ours wasn’t one of them!
Note: take a photo of your bus and number plate – there’s loads so finding yours can be difficult!
We boarded a posh double decker coach with comfortable reclining seats ready for a cruisey ride. The bus timetable had suggested it would be a 4 hour trip to Singapore. But in fact (with just over an hour at immigration) it was closer to 7 hours.
Plus, unlike other posts, we were not through immigration within half an hour (and neither was anyone else on our bus) so the bus was still there after we finally got through!
I’m not sure if the timing is normal but there were lots of road closures in Singapore due to the national Day full practice – so maybe it can be done in 4 hours?!
Budget stay in Singapore with kids
On a budget is a struggle. There are really only backpackers with shared bathrooms that are available anywhere near our price range.
I was struggling to find availability and so I booked a cheap hostel stay for 1 night before moving to accommodation that I preferred the sound of.
As it happens the first accommodation, Hawaii hotel, was a disaster. 3 beds for 4 of us in a dark and dingy room was less than ideal. The shared bathrooms were even worse with holes in the door and men smoking around outside the only 2 toilet/showers our level.
I was not happy with it. But Keith kept saying it would be fine. At least it was only for 1 night. We stayed out most of the day and checked out early the next morning! Definitely not recommended, even if it is cheap!!
We moved to Cozy corner backpackers a few streets away and the bright airy feel was much better. Check out Backpacker Cozy Corner Guesthouse on Booking! http://www.booking.com/Share-K7LWoe8
The staff greeted us with a smile and gave us some information. They seemed far more in tune with tourists. The room was lighter and much more space and although we had shared bathrooms again they were at least clean, more of them and even a kitchen/dining area!
Places to eat on a budget in Singapore
We found a number of cheap eateries around Bugis junction where you’ll find a few cheap backpackers. It’s a great little area with a fabulous supermarket downstairs in the mall.
Things to do on a budget in Singapore with kids
Sooo many things to do and on a budget or for free! We enjoy nothing more than roaming the streets.
It was a bit hot while we were there, but we found you can walk a long distance in the (air-conditioned) underground walkways.
Unfortunately there’s no Map which shows how they link, but we found they were connected via raffles city mall, city link mall, Marina Square and esplanade. It’s quite a distance!
However, if tired legs are preventing this then you can catch the MRT.
20 years ago this was the iconic symbol of Singapore & most photographed statue with the city as a backdrop.
Now it’s been superseded by the amazing Marina bay sands and Gardens by the bay. But it’s still as beautiful and nice to visit while walking along the esplanade.
Gardens by the bay
Wow! What an amazing place. It’s huge!!! To get to it, walk across helix bridge. It looks lovely at night!
And with Beautiful views..
There is so much to see and do in the park. But the only part that you have to pay for is the domes!
There is a free water splash area (don’t forget your swimmers), free playground and even the light show which takes place at 7.45pm and 8.45pm every night was free!!
Or you could just wander around the lush green garden and see the hidden sculptures, gardens and flowers. A really lovely place to explore.
Fort Canning park
Just behind Clarkes quay we took a stroll through fort canning park. Within the grounds are some lovely walkways and also information about native fauna.
We saw remnants of the old fort and there was an exhibition on while we were there showing artifacts from around the world.
We then wandered through the spice garden and onto the raffles garden. We enjoyed strolling around these gardens, it didn’t feel like you were in the city. Plus we saw a kingfisher!
Southern ridges walkway
This walkway stretches 10km and is made up of Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve.
Some stretches of the walk are on an elevated walkway which are 36 metres above the ground. Therefore it boasts to have one of the best panoramic views of the city, harbour and the Southern Islands. The boys loved having a leisurely walk with their daddy while mummy had a chill day!
We enjoyed an evening walk to this area and loved how the area enveloped you in a big hug. And especially loved when the city lit up at night!!
We also enjoyed wandering along the cobbled walkway with its many restaurants. Most seemed a little too expensive, but I’m not surprised with that view. If you step back a street though, you can find cheaper food.
We also stumbled across a busy street full of bars if you fancy a lively night out!!
There’s area so many more gardens you can visit and plenty more activities to do. We were lucky enough to catch a practice show for Singapore’s national Day. It was crazy as it was a full rehearsal with F-14’s flying over head, military parade and a firework show! All for free!! Check what’s on to see, as there’s always something happening in Singapore!
In addition to our budget items there are many attractions to see on and around Singapore city centre such as Legoland Malaysia, sentosa Island, Singapore zoo, universal studios and so much more! (If your budget allows!)
Don’t be put off by the initial outlet of costs. You can still have a budget friendly visit here, but I wouldn’t stay too long! There’s lots of temptations! It’s a truly wonderful city.
We found exploring by foot and visiting the gardens was by far the best entertainment. And the city comes alive at night with lots of lights and features that will having you snapping pictures non-stop.
Generally Singapore felt very safe and wandering around, especially at night, was never a concern.
We really enjoyed our long weekend in Singapore with kids! If you get the chance, definitely stop over.