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First time visitor from the UK - So many questions

London, England
posts: 363
reviews: 13
First time visitor from the UK - So many questions

Hi, my wife and I are visiting Singapore for the first time in November. We are staying in the Swissotel Merchant Court Hotel, for 3 days.

What is the best way to get from the airport to this hotel? Is there a metro system in Singapore? If so, is it possible t buy a 3 day unlimited travel pass?

Is this hotel in a good position? Does anyone have any comments on the hotel? We chose it as it seemed good value, but I am a bit worried about the location.

What are the must sees? Raffles? The waterfront and the Merlion? Orchard Road for shopping?We are looking to do some shopping, as prices should be better than London. Where is the best place to look for electronics?

Thanks in advance

Rick

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 3,292
reviews: 30
1. Re: First time visitor from the UK - So many questions

Hi Rick,

I think Swissotel Merchant Court is quite nicely located, just right next to Clarke Quay MRT Station. It's a 5 min walk to Mohamed Sultan where all the nightlife is and a 10 min walk to Boat Quay where you can wine and dine by the Singapore River. Chinatown's just a stone throw away ... so yup it's kinda in the right place. But seems like there's some construction work going on near the hotel - so you may want to take that into consideration ...

Most of us would probably agree unanimously that you just hop onto a cab to the hotel from the airport since taxi fares are rather cheap here. Besides it's a mere 20mins ride away and shouldn't cost you more than S$25.

There is indeed a metro system here but we call it the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit). From the airport to your hotel, you'd not only have to face the hassle of changing trains twice (once at Tanah Merah to get on the East-West line and second at Outram to get on the North-East line) but you'd probably also end up getting totally exhausted with all your luggage etc. and arrive at the hotel in 1 1/2 hour's time.

If you'd like to get around Singapore using the public transport system, think about getting the Singapore Visitor's Card. Not only does it serve as an EZ-Link card (travel card), it also offers substantial discounts on guided tours, local attractions shopping, dining etc. A 3-day pass would cost you S$45 per person but the good news is if you purchase this card online before 30Sep05, you'd get a 20 percent discount as well. Check out their website:

http://www.thevisitorscard.com

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Singapore
posts: 6,551
reviews: 59
2. Re: First time visitor from the UK - So many questions

In Singapore, I only know there is a day pass for tourists on their MRT or public buses. This is only S$10 for 12 rides a day.

This can be obtained at any MRT station.

The other fun public transport is the Trolley at S$9 for a day. It runs between the Orchard Road shopping belt, the colonial district, the Singapore River, Raffles Hotel, Clarke Quay, Marina area and Suntec City.

As for your hotel, location isnt bad. But can I ask what is the price range ? Reason for the question is simple :) maybe for that price you can get a better hotel smack right in Orchard or Marina area ! I know that quite a few hotels are on promotions for Nov. Here is one website you can do some research on prices :

http://www.asiabesthotel.com/HotelsSearch.php

For only S$115, you can stay at the Gallery, or S$170 for the newly reopen Marina Mandarin (this is definitely worth a look) or Goodwood Park (I like this hotel, a more casual Savoy, room not as well maintained as at the Savoy but then you are not paying that price either ! ) for only S$185. Grand Copthrone Waterfront is S$140, etc.

As for sight seeing, Raffles Long Bar is good for a refreshment after a bit of shopping around that area. The Singapore River is a nice walking area and Boat Quay is a must for a stop either a drink or dinner. For shopping, you have the entire island ! I even find stuff to buy when I am visiting one of the residential towns. What I enjoy is checking out little shops in Little India, Chinatown and Arab Street.

What kind of electronics are you looking for specifically ?

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Singapore
posts: 6,551
reviews: 59
3. Re: First time visitor from the UK - So many questions

PS. As checkers had mentioned the visitorcard, it is worth your while to get it if you are planning on going to lots of attractions. If not, you wont need to spend $45 on MRT :) just use the individual trip ticket (obtained at the vending machines at each station, just like they do in UK)

London, England
posts: 363
reviews: 13
4. Re: First time visitor from the UK - So many questions

Thanks for the replies.

We are already booked at the Swissotel Merchant Court, and as it is part of a package, I can't tell you what rate we paid.

I am after an MP3 player (i-river) and a DAB digital radio (philips)

Rick

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney
posts: 3,688
reviews: 41
5. Re: First time visitor from the UK - So many questions

dear rick,

the location of the merchant court hotel is good as it is very close to the clarke quay mrt (subway)station. the mrt system in singapore is so efficient and fantastic.

in singapore the shops open at around 10 or 11 am and close late at night around 9 pm. my point is that the mornings are good times to go for walks around your hotel and along the waterfront. or take a sight seeing tour in the morning and leave the afternoons for shopping.

for example, on one morning of our trip, after we visited the raffles hotel, we strolled to see the large concert hall known as esplanade-theatres on the bay(the one with the distinctive shell/roof) and then across to the waterfront where the merlion sits. backtracking took us to the raffles city shopping complex and then to the sun tec shopping complex.

electronics - know your prices before you get to singapore. it might be the same price in singapore as in london.

have a great time.

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Singapore
posts: 6,551
reviews: 59
6. Re: First time visitor from the UK - So many questions

Hey rick,

The esplanade (aka durian) is a good area to walk around. And for your DAB digital radio (philips), you shouldnt have a problem looking for one. I havent been shopping for electronics in UK for the longest time (we know why ! esp. when I live in the US) so cant tell you if the price is right.

As for your MP3, if you find it, it might be pretty close in prices. Anyway, dont forget the global refund GST scheme (5% back from your purchases of S$100). With that 5% back, it should be cheaper !

The following are places are recommended retail areas that should have your items in stock:

Bras Basah Road, Beach Road & Marina: Millenia Walk, Raffles City Shopping Centre, Suntec City Mall; Bugis: Parco Bugis Junction; Chinatown; Little India: Sim Lim Square

North Bridge Road: Funan Centre; Orchard: Centrepoint, Far East Plaza, Forum the Shopping Mall, Ngee Ann City, Orchard Emerald, Orchard Plaza, Orchard Towers, Scotts Shopping Centre, Tangs, Wisma Atria

Good Luck

PS. from your hotel, why not try the Chinatown area first ?

Singapore
posts: 46
7. Re: First time visitor from the UK - So many questions

Hi Rick,

For a rough guide for mp3 players, you may visit this website

sg.hardwarezone.com/priceguide/cat.php?id=178 , you can also download the price lists from various shops in SimLim Square to see what other items they offer as well. As for your digital radio, you may also try visiting SimLim Tower (diagonally across SimLim Square over Rochor Canal). One advice: when buying from SimLim, try to bargain (normally I can get $20 off but depends) and do shop around the complex for better price :). Cheers!