The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) trains and public bus network in Singapore is easy to understand and use. Visitors can purchase a Singapore Tourist Pass at the airport and at some MRT stations, which include unlimited MRT and public (non-premium) bus travel at a fixed cost for a set number of days. You can also purchase single tickets on MRTs and buses.
The most convenient and fastest option is an EZ-link or Nets Flash Pay card, a stored value card that works on all MRT trains and public buses. Fares are cheaper as opposed to paying cash, and adding value to the card is easy — just look for a ‘top up’ machine at any MRT station, or use a 7-11 store to recharge your card's value with a small convenience fee.
The MRT connects most of the island. All MRT stations have maps of the entire system, and are well-signed to indicate attractions and major buildings at each exit. It's common practice for the websites of tourist attractions and dining destinations to list the nearest MRT station, and many also provide directions from the nearest MRT station to the venue.
MRT trains and stations can be very crowded at peak times, but the trains are frequent and arrive on schedule nearly 100% of the time. The travel experience is generally a safe one; you can expect stations to be clean and well-lit, with public bathrooms and amenities like convenience stores. Many MRT stations are also connected to malls and shopping areas.
Buses can be more difficult to figure out, but if you know which route to take they can be a more rewarding way to travel as you’ll get to see the city around you. EZ-Link and Nets Flash Pay cards work in buses as well; remember to ‘tap in’ and ‘tap out’ and the system will automatically calculate and deduct your fare.
Taxis are another option to get around Singapore, and they are cheaper than in many major cities in the world. Taxi drivers go by the meter and the system is safe. However, taxis are notoriously difficult to get during peak rush hours and when it’s raining. You can book a taxi by calling, sending an SMS, or through a mobile app. You can also hail a taxi, but at some locations taxis are not allowed to stop on the street so you will have to walk to the nearest taxi stand.
You could try your hand at cycling around Singapore, but bear in mind that Singapore isn’t a very cycle-friendly city. Cyclists are more at risk of accidents and getting side-swept, so if you do want to explore the city by cycling, it’s best to choose quieter times, stick to less-trafficked areas, and be extra vigilant. You can also join one of the cycling tours available in the city or in the outskirts, though they often have to be booked in advance.
Walking is of course one of the best ways to get to know the city, especially if you’re around the CBD area where the streets are almost uniformly flat and well-paved. Most motorists obey traffic laws and the lack of hilly terrain makes for easy walking. You may find the heat and humidity to be a challenge, though, so remember to bring along a hat and a water bottle if you're going for an extended jaunt around Singapore.