While you may not get the full history lesson that you would on a tour, jumping on a public bus is a great way to spend a lazy weekend uncovering a new side of Singapore – especially if you live the MRT or Uber life – so we’ve sussed out the best bus routes to see Singapore’s sights. You’re sure to find them fascinating, whether you’re a local, an expat or a visiting tourist. Top up your EZ-link card and hit the road with one of the 300 scheduled bus services across Singapore! Here’s our pick of the ones to catch…
The number 10 brings you everything from West Coast to East Coast – literally! You can easily start the day at Haw Par Villa or Labrador Park and catch the 10 to cross the Esplanade bridge and wind up at Our Tampines Hub for some lunch and a spot of light reading at the Tampines Regional Library, one of our personal faves.
Where: Tampines to Kent Ridge
Things to spot: Haji Muhammad Salleh Mosque, Old Kallang Airport, San Qing Gong, East Village, Esplanade, Marina Bay Sands, Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay
Duration: 119 min
Spanning Choa Chu Kang to Tampines, this ‘heartlands-only’ route takes you through the colourful (if not controversial) Geylang, through Kallang and Rochor, past Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and up to Bukit Panjang. Cross the Kallang River and see how neighbourhoods in Singapore differ from east to west.
Where: Choa Chu Kang to Tampines
Things to spot: Bedok Reservoir Park, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Old Bukit Timah Fire Station, Murugan Hill Temple
Duration: 123 min
It’s only natural we’d gravitate towards Toa Payoh Town Park and the bustling hub beside it. Once on the 145, you’ll be taken down Balestier Road past the Whampoa Hawker Centre, and down North Bridge Road towards Chinatown. Keep an eye out for the Henderson Waves overhead leading to Mount Faber, alight at Buona Vista and head to Holland V for some grub.
Where: Toa Payoh Interchange to Buona Vista
Things to spot: Central Fire Station, Former Hill Street Police Station, Sri Mariamman Temple, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Masjid Sultan
Duration: 104 min
For the ultimate window shopping experience, hop onto the 174 at Outram or Chinatown and head through Orchard Road to see the seasonal lights or wacky architecture of the shopping centres. You can stop for a quick bite or a peek at the sales before continuing on to Bukit Timah where the roads are flanked by some of Singapore’s top schools like Hwa Chong Institution and National Junior College. Continue on to Jurong Point or stop off at Sixth Avenue to catch the train.
Where: Outram Park to Boon Lay
Things to spot: Chinese High School Clock Tower Building
Duration: 110 min
This round trip from Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange to the CBD and back takes close to two hours. You’ll be taken from the heartlands all the way down through Little India, around Suntec City and back. Catch the bus through Little India around Deepavali or Pongol festival and catch a glimpse of the stunning lights and pasar malams (night markets) lining the streets. There are museums en route if you fancy catching one of the ongoing exhibits.
Where: Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange
Things to spot: Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Little India, Singapore Arts Museum
Duration: 118 min
- Get an EZ-link card (if you haven’t already), even if you’re just visiting Singapore for a few days. It’s $10 ($5 credit and $5 for the card) and each bus journey is capped at $2 for adults and $0.60 for students. You can also get a tourist pass for unlimited rides on public transport.
- If you see a double decker, head to the top and near the front for the best view.
- Travel off-peak for a smoother journey – and more seats! Peak hours are at 7:30-9:30am and 5-8pm. Avoid lunchtime (12-2pm) as well.
- There are apps and websites that can help you plan your journey including a cute little chatbot called Bus Uncle– you can find him in Facebook Messenger and ask when the bus is coming. See what happens when you thank him! SG Nextbus is also a fantastic app for bus times and bus routes.
- If you find the kids getting a little restless, hop off anytime at an MRT station. It’s easier to navigate Singapore on the train (though less scenic).
- To plan your own public tour bus journey, check out busrouter.sg
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