This is a five-day itinerary that I and my family took on a trip to short trip to Singapore and Legoland Malaysia. We were traveling with our parents and two-year-old nephew, so our itinerary revolved mostly around theme parks and enjoying a glimpse of Singapore’s signature tourist attractions.

Despite being an expensive destination to travel, it’s no surprise why Singapore remains to be one of the top international tourist destinations for Filipinos considering the ease of travel, wide-spread use of English, and high frequency of direct flights from Manila and other major cities in the Philippines.

The idea of planning this trip started when my sister spotted promo flights to Singapore via Singapore Airlines. We scored Manila-Singapore-Manila (round trip) fares for only USD148.93, which roughly converted to PHP6,400. Cheaper fares are sold during Cebu Pacific’s Piso Promo (at P4,900+ these days for a RT ticket) but it’s not everyday a legacy airline like Singapore Airlines, one of the World’s best, offers these affordable deals.

The theme park that I was most excited to visit was Legoland in Johor Bahru, Malaysia (just across the SG-MY border)… blame it to my fascination playing with Lego as a child. During my previous trips to Singapore, I had skipped a visit to Singapore Zoo, so it was also nice to cross that off my list too. We also explored other themed sights like Universal Studios Singapore, Gardens by the Bay, S.E.A Aquarium, and Singapore’s more signature cultural attractions like the Merlion Park, Civic District, Quays along the Riverside, and of course the city state’s different cuisines.

Singapore is probably the best family-oriented destination in South East Asia. Planning for the trip and the actual travel experience was mostly hitch-free because the majority in our group had already been to Singapore a number of times and especially after my sister re-located there. Singapore was actually our second travel destination abroad together as siblings.

Itinerary Overview

DestinationsDetails
Pre-trip
  • Iloilo
  • Manila
  • Iloilo to Manila Flight
Day 1 to 2
  • Manila
  • Singapore
  • Manila to Singapore Flight
  • Arrival in Singapore
  • Singapore Airport to City Center
  • Singapore Hostel Check-in
  • Legoland Tour
  • Esplanade and Singapore River Tour
Day 3 to 4
  • Singapore
  • Civic District and Merlion Park Tour
  • Sentosa Hotel Check-in
  • Universal Studios and Resorts World Sentosa Tour
  • Gardens by the Bay Tour
  • Sentosa Cable Car and VivoCity
  • Singapore Zoo Tour
  • Gardens by the Bay Tour and Garden Rhapsody Show
Day 5
  • Singapore
  • Sentosa Beaches Tour
  • Singapore to Manila Flight

 

 

Post-trip
  • Manila
  • Iloilo
  • Manila to Iloilo Flight

Trip Date — June 2014

Route Map


Itinerary Notes & Tips

Pre-trip

Iloilo to Manila Flight

  • 3:30PM – Ride taxi from Iloilo City to Iloilo Airport (20 minutes) – P400 chartered rate.
  • 4:50PM – Arrival at Iloilo International Airport.
  • Check-in for Iloilo to Manila Flight via Philippine Airlines (PAL) Flight#PR2941.
    • Terminal Fee – P200 per passenger.
    • Iloilo to Manila Flight Ticket Fare – P3,280 per person (Roundtrip).
      • Bought the ticket online around two months prior.
  • Wait at the 3rd level pre-departure area.
  • 6:40PM to 7:50PM – Iloilo to Manila Flight via Philippine Airlines
    • 7:50PM – Arrival at Manila-NAIA International Airport (Terminal 2).
  • Spent the next two nights in Manila.

Day 1

Manila to Singapore Flight

  • 1PM – Arrival at Manila-NAIA International Airport (Terminal 1)
  • Check-in for Manila to Singapore Flight via Singapore Airlines Flight SQ919
    • Terminal Fee – P550 per passenger
    • Philippine Travel Tax – P1,620 per passenger
    • Manila to Singapore Flight Ticket Fare – USD148.93 per person (Round Trip).
      • Bought the ticket four months prior. Singapore Airlines had a very good promo sale at the time, which was how we got the ticket at such a low rate. The price converted to only P6,404 (at 1USD = PHP43 exchange rate), which was cheap considering Singapore Airlines was a legacy airline that offered complimentary on-board meals, unlimited drinks, and a generous check-in baggage allowance.
  • Clear Philippine Immigration checkpoint. One of the smoothest experiences I’ve had with the Philippine Immigration officers.
    • It was literally, “No Questions Asked,” which was uncommon for me because I was used to officers asking me so many questions about travel history (Immigration stamps on my passport). Traveling with my family, not flying with a budget airline, or transiting through Terminal 1 may have something to do with it.
  • Wait at Terminal 1 pre-departure area. This terminal really needed an upgrade.
  • 4:50PM to 8:20PM – Manila to Singapore Flight via Singapore Airlines.
    • Our flight was originally scheduled to depart at 4:15PM. Despite the “late” boarding time, we still arrived on time in Singapore.
    • It was my first time to fly international with a non-budget airline and I was totally loving the experience. The flight crew exerted a lot more attention to detail, more spacious legroom, personal video entertainment loaded with lots of movies and music, larger planes (less turbulence), and complimentary meals and drinks. I was stuffed by the end of the flight.

Arrival in Singapore

  • 8:20PM – Arrival at Singapore-Changi International Airport (Terminal 2).
    • Clear Singapore Immigration and Customs checkpoint.

Singapore Airport to City Center

  • Ride the train from Changi Airport (Green Line) to Clark Quay Station (Purple Line) – SGD1.85.
    • Interchange at Outram Park.
    • My sister bought an EZ-Link pre-paid card for us. The EZ-link card provided discounts for rides on the Singapore’s rail (both LRT and MRT) and bus network. It can be bought at ticket offices at selected train stations (including Changi Airport station) and at 7 Eleven stores, which can be found all over Singapore. Remaining credit balance can be refunded at Changi Airport Station (by the end of the trip) but not the SGD5 non-refundable deposit paid during purchase of the card. The card was very convenient because it meant not having to queue up at the ticket vending machines each and every time we needed to ride the train and/or worry about paying the exact fare when taking the bus.
  • Walk from Clark Quay Station to [email protected] Clarke Quay

Singapore Hostel Check-in

  • Check-in at [email protected] Clarke Quay.
    • Family room (with shared bathroom for 6 adults) – SGD220 per room per night (SGD440 for two nights).
    • We booked online two months before the trip using Hotels.com‘s online booking service. No fees were charged when placing the reservation but a credit card was needed to validate the booking. We paid the full amount of SGD440 upon check-out at the hostel reception with no additional fees/taxes charged.
    • We chose to stay at a hostel because we were traveling in a large group and we gathered taking a private family room in a hostel room would be a cheaper option compared to staying at a hotel and splitting up into smaller capacity rooms. Also, because of our late (first day) arrival, we only needed some place to crash and couldn’t take advantage of the convenience of staying at a conventional (and more expensive) hotel anyway.
    • We chose [email protected] Clarke Quay because they seemed like a decent place to stay based on pictures posted online. On our actual stay, the hostel was a lot less spacious. It was space-challenged Singapore and we were staying at a hostel no less so that observation did not surprise us. We originally wanted the family room with the private bathroom but it was already booked when we checked. It’s a good idea to make reservations as soon as possible. The convenient location at Clark Quay was very much appreciated! It was actually the #1 factor why we booked the hostel … being within an easy walking distance from the train station and beautiful riverside areas. Unfortunately, due to our busy itinerary, we didn’t get to spend a lot of “chill” time at the quays.

Day 2

Legoland Tour

  • 8:00am – Ride taxi to Singapore Flyer, our pick-up point for the transport to Legoland Malaysia.
  • 8:30am to 10:00am – Ride tourist bus from Singapore to Legoland in Johor Bahru, Malaysia (just across the Singapore-Malaysia Border) – SGD68 per person (transfers + Legoland Park package).
    • We booked the “1-Day Legoland Adventure Package” two months prior through Pentravel and Tours Singapore. Their office was located at Lucky Plaza, Orchard Road, Singapore. The tour was actually operated by WTS Travel, which had its office at the base of the Singapore Flyer. Taking an all-inclusive package when taking a day tour from Singapore was an excellent choice. Transportation alone ate up a huge part of our day, especially at the border crossing. I imagined taking the public transport would’ve been a grueling experience. The convenience of having two-way coach transfers was highly recommendable. The peak season rate for the two-way coach + Legoland Park admission was SGD68, which was a good deal considering the Legoland Park admission alone costs RM140 (SGD55) when booked online.
    • 9:30AM – Arrival at Singapore Immigration checkpoint
    • Clear Singapore Immigration checkpoint.
    • Clear Malaysia Immigration checkpoint.
  • 10AM – Arrival at Legoland Malaysia.
  • 10AM to 5:50PM – Legoland Tour
  • 5:50PM to 8PM – Ride tourist bus from Legoland Malaysia to Singapore Flyer
    • Very long queues at both Singapore and Malaysia immigration counters.

Esplanade and Singapore River Tour

  • 8PM – Arrival at Singapore Flyer
  • Walk to Makansutra (open-air dining strip) at the Esplanade – Theatres by the Bay
    • The walk had beautiful views of Gardens by the Bay, Helix Bridge, Marina Bay Sands, and the Singapore Downtown Skyline.
  • Dinner at Makansutra
    • Makansutra was a delicious and cheaper (hawker stall type) dining option in Singapore with lots of local dishes and seafood to choose from. It was very popular with Filipinos. In fact, there was a Gerry’s Grill stall at Makansutra :) Some Singapore signature and seafood dishes worth trying: BBQ Sting Ray, Cereal Prawns, Chilli Crab, Satay, Hainanese Chicken, Nasi Lemak, Mixed seafood fried rice, among others.
  • Withdraw at DBS Bank ATM – SGD$500
    • I used my Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Peso Account ATM (Debit) Card, which I had to activate for international withdrawals before the trip. See my Singapore ATM Withdrawal notes for more information.
  • 10PM to 11PM Walk along Singapore River from Esplanade to Clark Quay
    • This was quite a haggard walk, especially for our parents considering we’ve had a full day of touring but we insisted on doing it because it was their first time in Singapore and we wanted them to see the nightlife along the Boat and Clark Quay. A good option would’ve been to take a shortcut somewhere along the Civic District.

Day 3

Civic District and Merlion Park Tour

  • 9:30AM to 10AM – Waking tour of Civic District (from Clark Quay to Merlion Park)
    • Singapore Parliament House
    • The Arts House at the Old Parliament
  • 10AM to 10:30AM – Merlion Park Tour
    • Lots of photo-ops with the Singapore’s signature Merlion statue and the Downtown Skyline, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Flyer, and Esplanade building as scenic backdrops.
  • 10:30AM to 11AM – Walk back to Clark Quay, this time taking the Singapore riverside route along the Asian Civilization Museum.
  • Check-out at [email protected] Clark Quay
  • Ride taxi from Clark Quay to Festival Hotel at Resorts World in Sentosa Island – around SGD10 per taxi.

Sentosa Hotel Check-in

  • 12NN – Check-in at Festive Hotel – Resorts World Sentosa
    • Two months before the trip, we booked a 3D2N Hotel + Multi-Attractions Package at Festive Hotel – Resorts World Sentosa – SGD808 for one package.
    • This travel package included:
      • 3 days and 2-night stay at the deluxe family king room of Festive Hotel or any of these hotels in ResortsWorld Sentosa: Hard Rock Hotel, Hotel Michael, Equarius Hotel (valued from SGD992 at Booking.com or SGD496 per room per night).
      • Complimentary Sentosa monorail passes.
      • 1-day Admission to Universal Studios Singapore for 2 Adults (valued at SGD74 per adult when booked online).
      • 1-day Admission to S.E.A Aquarium Singapore for 2 Adults (valued at SGD38 per adult when booked online).
      • 1-day Admission to Adventure Cove Singapore for 2 Adults (valued at SGD36 per adult when booked online).
      • SGD100 ESPA Credit for Equarius Hotel Guests Only
    • We chose to stay at Festive Hotel primarily because of its location. The rest of our itinerary was mostly touring within Sentosa Island, so staying there was very convenient for us. The package, when bought separately, cost SGD1288, which made the SGD808 packaged price a good deal. The theme park admissions only included 2 persons, which was great because most of us wanted to do other things.
    • Since we were traveling with a child, we found the Festive Hotel perfect for us. The room was very spacious (including the bathroom) and they even have a relaxing balcony. We loved our stay and the price was worth the convenience, comfort, and service. On my part, it was nice not to stay in a hostel for a change :)

Universal Studios and Resorts World Sentosa Tour

  • Lunch at Malaysian Food Trail, a nice hawker stall center beside the entrance to Universal Studios Singapore.
  • 12:30PM to 4:30PM – Universal Studios Singapore (USS) Tour
    • Admission fee – SGD74 per adult
    • It was my second time to visit USS and yet again, we didn’t get to go on the Battlestar Galactica (roller coaster) ride. It wasn’t open on our first visit and this time, it was closed (until further notice) for repairs/eventual re-conception. We did get to try the Transformers 4D Ride for the first time and it was, hands down, the best theme park ride I had ever taken! We also enjoyed the Revenge of the Mummy Roller Coaster. Our last ride was the Madagascar A Crate Adventure, which was obviously more of a kid’s ride, but I liked it a lot more than its Disneyland equivalent — the creepy chills-inducing “It’s a small world” ride. Plus, the (almost) wet surprise at the end had my camera-wielding hands shaking :D

Gardens by the Bay Tour

I left Universal Studios early to meet a few Singapore-based friends at Gardens by the Bay while the rest of the group visited the S.E.A. Aquarium they didn’t get to visit the Adventure Cove (even on our last day) because of the lack of time.

  • Ride taxi from ResortsWorld Sentosa to Gardens by the Bay – SGD8 fare + SGD3 surcharge.
  • Gardens by the Bay Tour
    • Early dinner at Satay by the Bay
    • We wanted to experience the OCBC Skyway (elevated walk) at the Supertree Grove during the dusk twilight. Unfortunately, the queue was very long that day and it was getting too dark to take nice photos.
  • Transport from Gardens by the Bay to Resorts World Sentosa
    • Ride train from Bayfront to Harbourfront – SGD1.23
      • Walk to Bayfront MRT Station (Circle Line)
      • Interchange at Chinatown (Purple Line)
      • Alight at Harbourfront (Purple Line)
    • Ride monorail from VivoCity to Sentosa (Imbiah Lookout was the nearest station) – SGD1 fare (but I didn’t pay because of the complimentary Sentosa monorail pass)
    • Withdraw at OCBC Bank – SGD300. See my ATM Withdrawal notes to read more information about currency exchange rates and fees I encountered on this trip.

Day 4

Sentosa Cable Car and VivoCity

This is was the part when our itinerary got messed up. Basically, we planned on going from Sentosa to Vivo City, where we would catch a train to Kranji Station (the jump-off point to Singapore Zoo). I and my brother didn’t want to go on the cable car ride. I, for one, had already done it before. I thought it would be a good idea if we would take a different route and then meet up at The Jewel Box, the final cable car terminus. They would ride the Sentosa Cable Car, while I and my brother would take the monorail to VivoCity and then hike our way up the Mount Faber trail to The Jewel Box.

Our arrival times didn’t sync up. The other group arrived earlier, as expected, and there was some confusion as to where to wait for us. So, they took the cable car back to Harbourfront while we waited in vain for them after we arrived at the Jewel Box. We didn’t have the convenience of communicating through our mobile phones/networks, so we met up very late an hour or two after.

  • Ride Sentosa Cable Car from Sentosa to Harbourfront – SGD29 per person per round trip ride
  • Sentosa to Jewel Box via Mount Faber Trail
    • Ride monorail to VivoCity
    • Trek from VivoCity to The Jewel Box (15 minutes).

Singapore Zoo Tour

  • 1PM to 2PM – Transport from VivoCity to Singapore Zoo
    • Ride train from Harbourfront (Purple line) to Kranji Station (Red line) (45 minutes) – SGD2.04
      • Interchange at Dhoby Ghaut. The Interchange at Outram Park-Jurong East was another option but it meant two transfers.
    • Ride taxi from Kranji Station to Singapore Zoo (10 minutes) – SGD7
  • 2PM to 5:30PM – Singapore Zoo Tour
    • Admission fee – SGD28 per adult.

Gardens by the Bay Tour and Garden Rhapsody Show

  • 5:30PM to 6:45PM – Transport from Singapore Zoo to Gardens by the Bay
    • Ride taxi to Kranji Station – SGD8
    • Ride train to Bayfront (Circle Line) – SGD1.95
      • Interchange at (Bishan). The alternative choice: an interchange at Jurong East-Outram Park-Chinatown had way too many transfers.
  • 6:45PM to 9PM – Gardens by the Bay Tour
    • Dinner at Satay by the Bay
    • 8:45PM – Garden Rhapsody (Lights and Sounds) Show
  • Walk to Marina Bay Sands
  • Ride taxi from Marina Bay Sands to Festive Hotel – SGD15

Day 5

Sentosa Beaches Tour

  • 8:45AM – Ride monorail to Beach Station
  • Ride beach tram around Siloso and Palawan Beach
  • Alight at Palawan Beach
  • Explore Palawan Beach and the lookout tower
  • Ride beach tram to Beach Station
  • Coffee and stacks at Toastbox
  • Ride monorail to Imbiah Lookout
  • Check-out at Festive Hotel

Singapore to Manila Flight

  • Ride monorail to VivoCity
  • Ride train from Harbourfront (Purple Line) to Changi Airport Station (Green Line) – SGD1.87
    • Interchange at Outram Park and then Tanah Merah
  • Get EZ-link card refund at Ticket Office
    • Must present confirmed flight tickets and passport.
  • Arrival at Singapore-Changi International Airport (Terminal 1)
  • Check-in for Singapore to Manila Flight via Singapore Airlines Flight#SQ918
  • Clear Singapore Immigration Checkpoint
  • Wait at pre-departure lounge
  • 6:25PM to 11PM – Singapore to Manila Flight via Singapore Airlines
  • 11PM – Arrival in Manila
  • Clear Philippine Immigration and Customs Checkpoint

Post-trip

Manila to Iloilo Flight

  • Arrival at Manila-NAIA International Airport Terminal 2
  • Check-in for Manila to Iloilo Flight via Philippine Airlines (Flight #PR2935)
    • Terminal fee – P200
  • 4:15PM to 5:25PM – Manila to Iloilo Flight via Philippine Airlines.

Additional Notes

Budget and Expenses

For two people traveling to Singapore for 5 days using the same itinerary that we did, my estimated budget is around P25,000 to P26,000 (excluding flights and pre-trip taxes/fees). Including round-trip flights from Manila, Manila Airport terminal fee, and Philippine Travel tax, the total expenses should be around P32,000 to P33,000.

View budget details and itemized expenses here: 5-day Budget in Singapore, Legoland, and Sentosa.

Singapore ATM withdrawal using Philippine Peso Account

More information about currency exchange rates and fees I encountered on this trip are posted here: ATM withdrawal in Singapore using Philippine Peso Account.