Big news last week now that a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) is opening up with the Philippines. That means there are no quarantines both ways starting this March. People arriving via VTLs in Singapore will only require a supervised self-administered Antigen Rapid Test within 24 hours of arrival.
Personally, I can’t wait to host friends and family I haven’t seen in years. There are many things we can do from cycling across the city, supporting local businesses and hawkers, and enjoying time together again. What can I say? Welcome back.!
For more details about Singapore’s VTL (by air) arrangement, visit this page: https://safetravel.ica.gov.sg/vtl/requirements-and-process
If I was put on-the-spot with top 10 things to do in Singapore for Filipinos (or practically anyone doing a VTL to visit our well-manicured shores), here they are:
- Explore Jewel Changi Airport. Great food to be had. Tip: There’s a Yotel Air at the airport which is a quirky place for a staycation/few nights. Then catch the last full show at the IMAX Theatre in the basements. Jewel, without the crowds, is like Squall walking through Balamb Garden.
- Visit the new Funan Shopping Center. I think the newly-reconstructed Funan opened right before the pandemic. It’s now a very middle class place to get your tech gadgets. Not exactly like KL’s Plaza Low Yat or the nearby Sim Lim Square (I associate those two as very old school tech mall). Flashy lights, cafes, and Wild Rice Theatre on the top floor. Something to see.
- Local hawkers including Lau Pa Sat. Please, please, please visit Singapore’s hawkers. Some of which have gone out of business because of the pandemic. The one at Lau Pa Sat (though very “CBD”) has been renovated once more. By the way, Chinatown Food Street is closed. Shuttered.
- Cycling the new bike routes in the city. Including the one at Changi Bay. Start at Marina Bay or East Coast. Bike rental options are available. If you’re able to, take a bike to the Jurassic Mile at Changi Airport. It’s a bit of a novelty to see dinosaurs next to a shuttered terminal 4.
- Go see Changi Bay. When I was at Changi Bay recently… it felt like I wasn’t in Singapore. I think this is connected with cycling. But if you want to enjoy the humid outdoors under Singapore’s equatorial sun… head over to this newly opened area.
- Jurong Bird Park. It’s relocating very, very soon. Before the bird park merges with the larger Mandai Wildlife Group (River Safari, Zoo, etc)… might want to see a piece of Singapore’s history at its original location.
- New Gallop extension at Singapore Botanic Gardens. There’s a new extension at the Botanic Gardens I’ve been meaning to visit. It’s 8 hectares and includes some old colonial buildings.
- Try the lechon at Timbre+ Eastside near Expo. It’s at Iskina Cebu and also near the outlet shopping at Changi City Point. Shopping followed by lechon, sisig, and beer (for drinkers). Don’t worry if you find eating Filipino food on a trip to Singapore sounds funny. Timbre+ Eastside (and it’s original at one-north) offers mouthwatering fare from different cuisines: Thai, Malay, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Indian, and more
- Cafe-hopping. The city actually has many cafes and hidden places in my favourite little districts like Telok Ayer, Chinatown, Bugis, Arab Street, Lavender, Clarke Quay.
- Paya Lebar Quarter. Some people who were in Singapore before the pandemic might not recognise the new Paya Lebar Quarter. As the train pulls into Paya Lebar MRT station, you’ll notice most of the construction of the past few years is complete. There’s a large shopping mall and several mixed-used buildings that are both commercial and residential. If you’d like to explore what else is new, you can head to Caldecott MRT on the Circle Line (CCL) and start your journey on the newly-opened Phase 2 of the Thomson-East Coast (TEL) Line to get to Woodlands. I haven’t even been on this new brown line yet.
I’m happy to welcome friends and family back in Singapore. Let me know if you’re visiting! What are you excited about experiencing if you’re in Singapore?
Also, I shared a little bit about what I think of the newly-opened VTL in my latest episode of Saturday Uncut.