Singapore is by far the most convenient place for a visa run. Tickets to and from Singapore (Garuda price about US$230) usually cost less than fares to Bangkok, visa processing is slicker than in Kuala Lumpur, food is inexpensive at most hawker stalls and food courts, and public transport, like everything else in Singapore, is clean and efficient. Lodging is the sticking point. It is hard to find an inexpensive hotel without the all-night comings and goings of three-hour guests.
Here are a few suggestions for accommodation in Singapore in the budget to medium price range (figured at S$1.54 to US$1):
New Seventh Storey Hotel – This is a decent, clean hotel on the backpacker trail. Rates run from US$11 for a dormitory bed to US$48 for a deluxe double with air-con and private bath. The hotel is a few minutes walk to the Bugis MRT station, and there are plenty of eating, shopping, and entertainment choices in the area. Web site: www.nsshotel.com
Hangout@Mt.Emily – Here is another decent, clean hotel for those on a tight budget, although not as convenient to public transport. The walk to the Doby Ghaut MRT station is about 10 minutes if you know the shortcuts. This minor inconvenience is offset by the hotel being set back in a quiet residential area, across the street from Mt. Emily Park. Rates run from US$16 for a dorm bed to US$50 for a single/double. This hotel and the previous are the only ones I’m confident enough about to suggest the dormitory rooms. Web site: www.hangouthotels.com
Hotel 81 Chain – This Singapore chain has more than 20 hotels across Singapore, with rates starting at US$33 at its budget outlets and rising to US$82 at its medium-priced business hotels. The Joo Chiat, Sakura, and Classic outlets along Joo Chiat Road are in conserved buildings and offer some of the chain’s best rates. They are a short distance to the activities and restaurants along the East Coast Parkway. Hotel 81 also has reasonably priced options in Chinatown and Little India. Some outlets are located in the Geylang area, traditionally a red light district but also known for good, inexpensive food and a lively street life. Web site: www.hotel81.com.sg
Oxford Hotel – Located on Queen Street, in Singapore’s historic district, this hotel offers standard medium-priced accommodation (starting at US$72) within walking distance of the city’s colonial era attractions and several museums. It is close to two MRT stations and central city shopping malls. My aged parents have stayed here a few times on trips through Asia, and I once saw the old political lion himself, JB Jeyaretnam, having coffee in the lobby. With clients like that to recommend it, what more needs to be said? Website: www.oxfordhotel.com.sg
YMCA International House – Here’s another Singapore hotel option that has my parents’ approval. It’s also in the historic district within easy walking distance of MRT stations, and all the central Singapore entertainment options. It can be a bit worn in places, but it’s clean and offers a variety of room rates from US$73 up to US$112. Website: www.ymcaih.com.sg
Hotel 1929 – If you wish to splurge without splashing out for Raffles, check out this boutique hotel in Chinatown, with ‘funky,’ individually designed rooms (although ‘cosy’). Chinatown offers several other boutique hotels using conserved shop house frontage, but this seems to be one of the more interesting. Basic rooms start at US$84. Website: www.hotel1929.com
All the hotels can be booked through their Web sites. Better rates for some might be available at on-line booking agencies such as www.asiabesthotel.com, hotels.online.com.sg and others. Keep in mind that many hotels in Geylang and Little India in the US$30-US$50 range (or less) may have higher rates on the weekend, when their ‘hourly’ usage may increase. Reservations of at least a few days in advance are recommended for all the hotels listed.
Copyright © 2007 Tropical Tramp