Q. We are a couple with an 11-year-old kid. We are planning a trip to Singapore in early May. We are also thinking of adding 2-3 nights at Kuala Lumpur . We don’t want it to be a very hectic trip. Is it a good idea to take a bus from KL to Singapore? Can Universal Studios tickets be booked online? Please suggest an itinerary and some decent hotels at a good location. What are the places to visit? How difficult is to apply for visas for both these countries?
You’re headed to one of the most tourist-friendly locations in the world. To answer your last question first: yes, of course, you can make the arrangements without the help of an agent. Now for the rest. Three days in Singapore and two in Kuala Lumpur (if only for shopping) is adequate. Taking the bus from Singapore and KL is also perfectly doable, since you’re not travelling with very young children or elderly people–the journey is only 5-6 hours and there are plenty of buses from central locations in both cities.
Yes, you can buy tickets to Universal Studios online, at store.sentosa.com.sg/main/attractions/universal-studios-singapore/27#!/
Singapore is also one of the most expensive cities in the world, and good hotels in the price range you quote are thin on the ground. Your best bet would be Hotel Innotel, which is ideally located for the tourist off Orchard Road (a triple room without breakfast in early May is currently going for SG$150/ approx. â‚¹7,000–grab it soon, at innotelhotel.com.sg). Alternatively, try one of the three no-frills Ibis hotels in the city (ibis.com), some of which offer triples for approx. â‚¹10,000.
Singapore’s attractions are manifold. Definitely make a trip to one (or all) of the parks that make up the outstanding Wildlife Reserves Singapore–the Zoo, the Night Safari (at the zoo), the River Safari, and Jurong Bird Park. If you want to visit more than one, do buy Parkhopper tickets, which will give you considerable savings (store.wrs.com.sg). Buying online will also save you queuing time. Then there’s the $5.5 billion complex, Marina Bay Sands, which includes everything from the ArtScience Museum to the spectacular Gardens by the Bay to the iconic Merlion to the arts centre, Esplanade–Theatres by the Bay, to the Singapore Flyer to a casino. Take a day to visit Sentosa Island, first Universal Studios and then perhaps for some lolling by the beach. Singapore’s food is itself a reason to visit: visit the Lau Pa Sat hawker market and taste a variety of local foods; or hit pretty much any food court in any mall. Also visit the neighbourhoods of Little India and Chinatown to understand some of the sources of Singapore’s cosmopolitanism.
A travel tip: if your main interest in going to KL is to pack in some shopping, why not just across the border to Johor Bahru instead? Singaporeans do it all the time–it’s only an hour away by bus, there are fantastic deals to be had at the many monster malls and there’s Legoland!
Visas are not at all difficult to get for either country. Still, this is one area for which you might want to use the services of an agent, if for no other reason than to save some time.