One of the most important things to take note of when travelling is how to get around the city or country of your choice. Your destination in mind may have the best food and the most awesome scenery, but if you can’t get to your desired location, what good will that do?
Well, when getting around Singapore, I dare say Singapore’s public transport system can compete with the best of them out there. You could even forgo taking a Grab or taxi simply because the train and bus system has been extensively built for you to get around conveniently.
For travellers coming to Singapore, there are two cards that will grant access to the various transport modes throughout the island.
Singapore Tourist Pass+
The Singapore Tourist Pass (STP) was created to give tourists an easy option for getting around Singapore. Getting the STP will grant you an unlimited number of rides for the stipulated number of days you purchase.
Here’s a tip – Changi Recommends offers the exclusive Singapore Tourist Pass Plus (STP+) which is essentially an upgraded version of the base STP. The STP+ comes with a three-day package priced at S$38 with no deposit required.
Just like the STP, with the STP+, you’ll be able to board any of Singapore’s main transport services: the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), the Light Rapid Transit (LRT), and buses.
However, you won’t be able to board premium or niche bus services like the Sentosa Express monorail, RWS8 bus, Express Services Bus, Fast Forward Bus, Night Owl Bus (N bus), NightRider Bus (NR bus), and the Chinatown Direct bus (CT Bus).
But don’t worry because these three services are the main ones and will be more than enough for getting around Singapore.
So, what are the additional perks you can get with the STP+?
For one, you’ll be entitled to a complimentary one-hour walking tour, a complimentary limited-edition post card set worth S$8, and a S$10 dining voucher at Hooters (valid until 31st May 2020).
Next, if you’re visiting Mount Faber, drop by Spuds & Aprons, Faber Peak’s very own restaurant that grants you quite a nice view of Harbourfront. Flash your STP+ card and you’ll get 10% off your bill. Pretty neat eh?
You can purchase the STP+ card from any Changi Recommends counter located throughout all the terminals at Changi Airport.
The ez-link card is the daily transport card that a large majority of Singaporeans carry on them.
Acting as a prepaid transport card, you’ll have to top up the card with cash before use, or whenever the cash balance runs low. It does, however, allow you to pay for a lot more beyond the MRTs and buses. From selected shopping centres to dining outlets, ez-link cards have become incredibly versatile today and have become the de facto wallet companion of Singaporeans.
The most convenient and easiest place to purchase the ez-link card would be at Changi Airport’s MRT station – if not, the card is available at all Transitlink Offices.
One caveat for tourists, the card has a S$5 non-refundable deposit, which you might not mind paying for if you’re looking to add the card to your transport card collection.
How Much Do Rides Cost?
When getting around Singapore, public transport isn’t anything outrageously expensive. Fares can range from as low as S$0.98 to a high of S$2.17 per trip for both buses and MRTs. So, you can expect two trips to set you back about $4.34 at worst. If you take four trips, the damage is about $8.68.
Whether you choose to purchase the STP+ or the ez-link card would largely depend on the length of your stay.
The STP+ was designed for tourists who are here for a quick holiday. If you’ll be in Singapore for a week or longer, you might find it more convenient to get the ez-link card and top it up with sufficient cash to cover your entire trip, instead of purchasing multiple STP+ cards.
Perhaps the tricky situation is the in-between, and what I mean by that is you’re here for about 4-5 days, longer than what a 3-day STP+ can cover, but not so long that it seems entirely worth it to purchase an ez-link card.
In this situation, it might be worth your while to purchase the STP+, which can be topped up and used as an ez-link card after the 3-day unlimited ride period. You can top up cash in the card even during or before the pass expires as well, should you wish to.
This way, you can enjoy the convenience of having all your bus and MRT rides covered for your first 3 days when getting around Singapore, while topping up only enough cash to cover your rides for the remainder of your trip. Not to forget, you’ll also get to enjoy the exclusive gifts and offers mentioned above!
A final suggestion, if you foresee coming back to Singapore, investing in an ez-link card may actually be worth it!