We visited Singapore for the first time this May. Both of us have some good old college buddies living in the city, which surely made our stay even more pleasant. We came well prepared for the hot and sultry weather, but still had occasions when we couldn’t take the weather anymore and hopped into one of the many gigantic malls to cool off.
We reached our friend’s place in Clementi district around noon. After being served an awesome biryani for lunch, both of us kicked off our city exploration by heading to the famous Chinatown for the rest of the day. It’s the largest historic district of Singapore and lies close to the Financial District. It’s amusing that a city with almost 75% ethnic Chinese population needs one such town. It mainly serves as a window to the past, to the earliest Chinese settlements in the city and their culture.
There are different ways to get to Chinatown, but the easiest of all has to be through the city’s extensive metro system called MRT. I recommend getting a MRT tourist pass if you are planning to stay more than 2 days. It certainly is the easiest and cheapest way to explore the city. Please note that you cannot get a tourist pass at all MRT stations. We didn’t know this at first and were trying to find it at a ticket kiosk at one such station. Refer to this fantastic page that lists the stations where you can get a pass along with most of the FAQs answered.
Ofcourse, the alternative is to get there in a cab. After multiple cab rides within the city, we realized that the fares are generally reasonable averaging around S$15 for a 10km ride.