How to Get Around in Singapore

How to Get Around in Singapore

As with any other city, there are several ways to how to get around in Singapore. But in Singapore, there are just a few tips and tricks to be aware of. Just so you’re not scrambling to figure out how to commute using the transportation system on your first day of work, here are some helpful tips.

MRT (Mass Rapid Transit):

The MRT is Singapore’s metro/subway system, open from 5:30 am to 12:30 am daily. Not only is the MRT easy and quick, but it is also one of the most inexpensive methods of transportation in Singapore – that’s why it has roughly 2.4 million riders per day. Also, it’s air-conditioned – a wonderful thing when you’re sweating from the heat of the day.

transport in singapore

Before getting into the logistics of getting your ticket, you should know some key facts about Singapore’s MRT. The stations are surrounded by shopping centers and fantastic places to eat, but if you’re going to grab a bite before work, DO NOT get it to-go and eat on the train. Singapore has a strict no eating or drinking policy in order to keep their facilities in pristine condition. Also, as an integral part of Singaporean culture, they show their respect to their elders, so if you see an older person standing on the metro while you are sitting, it would be polite to offer your seat. This also implies that sitting in the seats that are meant for the handicapped and elderly is not approved of in Singapore. So don’t do it!

There are a variety of ways you can get your hands on MRT tickets (in case the travel card Absolute Internship gave you runs away) and a selection of different types of tickets to keep in mind:

Types of Tickets:

  • Standard – Good for 1 way and a 1-time use. You can buy these at the GTM (General Ticket Machines) located at all metro stops.
    • Each ticket is roughly $1-$3 plus a $1 deposit for the card (refundable upon return to ticket machine).
    • The Pro: Good for limited use and planning your day by ear.
    • The Con: Can’t be recharged, and you’ll need to pay a deposit.


  • Tourist Pass – Unlimited use of MRT trains and buses. You have the option of getting a 1, 2, or 3-day travel pass.
    • These can be bought at a TransitLink Offices at these stations:
      • Changi airport
      • Orchard
      • Chinatown
      • City Hall
      • Raffles Place
      • Ang Mo Kio
      • HarbourFront
      • Bugis
    • For this card, it is $8 per day plus a refundable $10 card rental fee. And if you return the card within five days, you’ll get your $10 rental back.
      • So for example: 1 day= $18 SGD; 2 days= $26 SGD; 3 days=$34 SGD
    • The Pros: You won’t need to stand in lines
    • The Cons: Sometimes using this card over the standard ticket is more expensive, depending on how often you travel with it.


  • EZ-Link Card: This is a rechargeable and reusable card for both the MRT and buses. It’s also what the Singaporeans use, and what you’ll probably be using for your internship.
    • Your EZ-link card can be bought at TransitLink Ticket Offices, and Passenger Service Centers. And it’s easily rechargeable at GTM’s, manned ticket counters, post offices (where it’s the cheapest to buy!), and surprisingly 7/11’s.
    • Also, fun fact, you can use these cards to even buy yourself those late-night McDonald’s meals.

    Using the MRT as your choice of transportation in Singapore is probably the best idea. The stations are always clean and even safe during evening hours. There are even security guards and cameras to make sure of it. Also, if you miss a train, there’s no need to worry as the next one will come by within 3-8 minutes.

Taking the Bus:

When it comes to taking the bus in Singapore, there are two operators: SBS Transit and SMRT that go different routes and run from 5:30 am to 12 midnight. If you’re looking for a super cheap ride from home to work, then taking the bus is the way to go. Normally, during working hours, the bus costs between $.67 – $1. 58 SGD. Most buses are air conditioned, but on the slight chance you find yourself in a heat box…well it’ll all be over soon.

If you find yourself needing to take the bus during the night, there are the Nite Owl and NightRider services which cost slightly more, ranging from $1.50-$3.00.

There are only a few drawbacks to taking the bus. The network definitely is not as extensive as the MRT, and taking the bus requires waiting in line for at least 30 minutes, especially if it’s crowded. In addition, the hustle and bustle nature of using the bus tends to bring out the ugly in people. Sometimes, if bus-takers get irritable, they will refuse to scoot over to make room for the people who just got on the bus.

Taking Taxis:

Obviously in a city there’s always the option to take a cab to your destination. While the cabs in Singapore are less than what you would pay in other big cities, taking a taxi everywhere you go could take a bit of a toll on your bank account. However, you do benefit from the comfort and privacy a cab has to offer.

In Singapore, taxi cabs charge by the meter. The system is definitely fair and transparent, so you don’t need to worry about getting ripped off. But depending on the time of day it is, your taxi fare might be higher.

If you’re traveling during peak hours, you’ll pay $2.80 (for the starting fare) + your travel fare + 35% of the metered fare (peak period surcharge) + the electronic road pricing gantry.

If you’re traveling during the late night (between midnight and 6 am), you’ll have to pay an additional 50% of the metered fare.

Hopefully you learned a little about Singapore’s travel system and have devised your plan for how you want to get to work everyday. Happy traveling!

To find out more about Singapore, read about the History of Singapore, Climate & Weather in Singapore, What to Wear to Your Internship in Singapore and How to Rock Your Internship in Singapore.

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