Singapore Layover Insider Guide: Here's What To Do

When you have too much money and don't know what to do with it

As a Nepalese who has a Nepalese passport, there's really not many places that I can just declare my presence at the airport, get a visa stamped and head straight out. I will probably get deported from most places unlike my good friends from US, Sweden or even South Korea who enjoy a fantastic buy-a-ticket-then-pack-bags-and-leave approach to travelling. I can't blame countries for having such strict travel restrictions for Nepal either as we have a natural tendency to "disappear" wherever we get our ass airlifted to. 

Interestingly, and quite surprisingly, Singapore still has an open visa approach to Nepalese. Yep, all you have to do is show up at the airport, walk straight to immigration and get a visa. I actually asked the immigration officer after she handed my passport back, "That's it??" looking naturally confused. 

She just showed me the way out. No fees, no bullshit.

Arrival: Singapore Changi Airport

The first thing you want to do is get some local currencies. For 100 USD that I exchanged, I received 132 SGD. I ended with a spare 40 SGD at the end of the day, so I spent anywhere between 60-70 USD for a 13hr layover. 

If you have a shorter layover, and don't need a hotel booked, a neat option to offload some of your baggage load is at the Left Baggage counter. For a day, the charge for my hand carry luggage (not my laptop bag) was 4.28 SGD to be precise. Not too shabby. The amount is paid first btw.

Also important: Your map. Download the offline map on google map of Singpore to make use of your GPS on your phone to get you around. Helps.

Left Baggage counter allows you to store your luggage at the airport

Singapore's transport system is as dope as Seoul's. Even better, they have a unlimited, travel all you like (both trains and buses) day passes. Since I only had a half a day, I took the one day pass which set me back only 10 SGD with 10 SGD as deposit.

All the travelling for 10 SGD

First Stop: Changi Village Hawker Center with Craft Beer!

Hawker Center just starting to open as I arrive early

Hawker Centers, oh how you will love them. These centers are government designated open air gastro-centric areas where all these traditionally street-food vendors have a found a home to sell their delicacies under one roof. Changi Village, a secluded area near the airport, has a Hawker Center which was also featured at The Layover hosted by celebrity chef, author and self-prophesied  a**hole, Anthony Bourdain.  Although I went there first thing (early early morning), I would highly recommend you to visit before departing instead. There's a really good brewery that I missed out. 

Best way to get there: Taxi
Fare: 16 SGD
Food Focus: Chicken Rice
Recommended Time: Afternoon/Evening


A man gets his share of breakfast while he seats at the hawker center's platitude of dining tables

Longtong, a rice, coconut curry based food with tofu. Super flavor at Dil'B just outside the hawker center. 3 SGD

Pork Yolk Balls, they really do have yolks inside. 2 SGD

Simplest version of Chicken Rice. Simple, really really good with the sauce. 4 SGD

Little Island Brewing Company. Shame they didn't open at 9 am.

You could also go the the beach near the Hawker Center and catch the sunrise/sunset at Changi Beach Park

Bedok Interchange Hawker Center

Char Sui Pork with Rice. Was my 5th meal of the day and it was only 10 am. 4 SGD

A few metro stops off from the airport, another great option for food is the Bedok Hawker Center. Conveniently located right next to the station, the center was recommended to me by my Singaporean friend who unfortunately, that same day, had army duties. Like Korea, they have mandatory military duties as well.

Best way to get there: Metro
Fare: Day Pass
Food Focus: Everything
Recommended Time: Anytime


Shifting Gear: It's Local Craft Beer Time

Double Decker Buses are incredibly easy to use as well and are great for city viewing 

1) 9 Squared Coffee House and Bar: Archipelago Brewery Beers

Singapore's Archipelago Brewery's Summer IPA. Crisp but all too familiar taste. 7.90 SGD

Best way to get there: Metro, Bus
Fare: Day Pass
Beer Focus: Everything
Recommended Time: Click link on the map for details


You could also check out HopHeads Craft Beer Bar and Bistro nearby, although they disappointingly didn't have any Singaporean craft beer for sale. 


2) The 1925 Brewing Company Restaurant: Must Visit

God's Gift, Dark Ale style sessionable ale brewed with chaye (tea) leaves and dry spiced with cinnamon and cloves
8.24 SGD

Best way to get there: Metro, Bus
Fare: Day Pass
Beer Focus: God's Gift Dark Ale
Recommended Time: Click link on the map for details


I was there at around what? 1-2pm and the place was already filling up

3) Freehouse: Super Must GO

Brewlander Joy on bottle at Freehouse. Thanks Mike for opening for me.  11 SGD

Best way to get there: Metro, Bus
Fare: Day Pass
Beer Focus: Ton of things to try. Check out Brewlander Craft Beers
Recommended Time: Click link on the map for details


Departure: Changi Airport, again. 

Still time on your hands? Changi Airport is the best airport for airport experience. period. Ton of things to shop, ton of things to look around, good selection of eateries. Worth some time going around before boarding.

Final shopping at the airport

A final word before I leave you in peace. Singapore is going to have it's annual craft beer festival real soon in early to mid September. If you are interested [HERE]'s the details. Happy drinking!


Popular Posts