If you ever take the train to Singapore (or in our case, train-bus-train), you will arrive at the tippity-top of the island nation, far from the glamour and glitz of downtown. To get to the part of the island with the fancy buildings that probably houses your hotel, you will need exactly $1.10 in order to catch a bus to the metro station.
The problem here is that most money changers outside of airports don’t deal with small bills or change. If you have not been to Singapore before, chances are you will be milling about outside the immigration stop looking for somewhere, anywhere, to break your bigger dollars before realizing that you are close to being in the middle of nowhere that is possible in such a small, developed country/city.
How To Get From Singapore Immigration at the Northern Border to the Metro System
1. Make sure to look extremely tired. I accomplished this by taking a hellish, multi-day train trip that resulted in little sleep for the prior two nights due to being abandoned by a train and then being woken in the middle of the night and transferred around like cow to slaughter. Other strategies may work as well.
2. Wear shabby clothing. Unlike most big cities, the needy aren’t on the surface of society in Singapore. Most people look posh in the latest fashions or elegant in national costumes of various cultures, and by appearing disheveled, you may illicit sympathy from others. Choosing not to change out of my pajama bottoms, ratty night shirt, and flip-flops before exiting immigration worked for me.
3. Wander aimlessly carrying lots of luggage. This will augment your image of being lost and in need of help. You can get bonus points by shooing away your better-dressed, stronger boyfriend and stealing his bags, too.
4. Trust strangers. Within a few minutes, a helpful Singaporean was breaking my bills with what cash he carried in his own wallet and giving me detailed directions on exactly which buses and walking routes would take me to my hotel.
5. Know how to give your money to the bus driver. Here is what to do: let faster paced people board first, locate the clear box of cash and coins by the driver, make eye contact and show your exact change to him or her before dropping it in, and wait for him or her to provide you with a ticket.
6. Know which stop is yours. You need to get to the Woodlands MRT station to ride the metro rail into the city. Hopefully you boarded the bus that said as much at immigration. However, the stop is not apparent. Most likely, everyone else will get off the bus when it arrives at your choice destination. It looks much more like some sort of bus depot or compound than an transit station and the bus will turn into this area off of the street. Pay attention, and you’ll be fine.
And viola. Vwa-lah. You’re at the MRT line where all the operators can speak English to assist you with any navigational problems that linger.
- Buying Train Tickets - How to Book Train Tickets in Thailand Without Losing Your Mind
- Chiang Mai to Bangkok - Train Legs
- Bangkok to Hat Yai - The South
- Hat Yai to Kuala Lumpur - Derailed
- Kuala Lumpur to Singapore - Destination KL, I<3 KL
- Getting Into Singapore - The Part No One Tells You: Getting to Singapore’s MRT from theTrain Station is Hard
Hi! I'm Susan, and this is my travel journal. You can read more about me here.
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