New in town? Or are you learning how to navigate your city with babies or kids in tow? From bus rides with prams to riding safely in private cars with kids, here's what you need to know about getting around Singapore with your family...
If you are new to Singapore then hopefully you will have now adjusted to the tropical climate (hello, frizzy hair) and discovered your favourite home foods in the supermarkets of Singapore – and you’ll probably also have spent hours agonising over whether to send your kids to international or local school! The next part of your transition from newbie to seasoned Singapore resident is to check out all the fabulous kid-friendly adventures that await you and your little ones. But what is the best way to travel around Singapore as a family and how easy are the logistics of using public transport in reality? We here at HoneyKids have a small army of kiddos between us, so we totally understand that getting from A to B has to be as swift, pain-free and, above all, safe. We’ve put our knowledge (aka trial and errors) to good use and come up with our rookie’s guide to getting around Singapore…
Before you head off on a mission to discover every indoor play centre in Singapore via public transport, to make sure you aren’t paying top-whack prices for the privilege, you’ll need to buy an EZ Link card from:
- Passenger service centres within most MRT stations
- 40 TransitLink ticket offices
- 8 Concession card replacement offices
- 7-Eleven stores
- My EZ Link online shop
An EZ Link card can be used on all bus and train services and will cost you a total of $12 ($5 for the card and $7 credit). Kids aged below seven years get free travel by applying for a Child Concession Card. Top up your card when you need to at 7-Eleven stores, online or at MRT stations and bus terminals.
MRT (Mass Rapid Transport)
It has to be said that the MRT system in Singapore has it absolutely spot on when it comes to affordable, easy, fast and safe travel around the island with kids. There are very few corners of the Little Red Dot that you can’t get to by jumping on a train! There are currently 142 stations, with more due to open in the coming years, and we love that the stations have been designed to be stroller and wheelchair friendly.
There was a huge, collective ‘hurrah’ around Singapore when it was revealed in April 2017 that strollers would no longer have to be collapsed to board a bus, making bus travel a much more viable option when you’ve got a baby or toddler on board (plus everything else you have to carry). Download the IRIS (Intelligent Route Information System) app to check real-time bus arrival information for your nearest bus stop.
Tip: Don’t forget that you need to tap your EZ Link card when you board the bus AND tap when you get off too!
HITTING THE ROAD BY CAR
Getting your family around Singapore via ride-hailing apps or taxis is super affordable here in Singapore – but remember, safety comes first…
While the public transport is a great option for getting around town, you still can’t beat being picked up by a car and transported safely to your destination with zero fuss: no crowds, weather or ticket barriers to contend with! To be frank, travelling in taxis with kids poses safety issues: car seats and restraints aren’t mandatory in cabs, and parents in Singapore still risk their child’s safety far too often instead of bringing their own booster seat. But there are solutions! GrabFamily is a great option for families with kids over four years old: this special service comes complete with a genius little invention on board to keep kids safe: the mifold booster seat. We recently reviewed this game-changing booster seat ourselves, which is suitable for kiddos age four to seven (or around 15-36kg), and we love that GrabFamily cars have a mifold on board as standard – for just $2 extra. This is a great option if you have one child in an infant seat that attaches to your pram, and an older child who still needs a restraint, but you don’t want to carry around a booster seat as well. Phew!
Uber Car Seat
You already know all about Uber’s on-demand car service, but we have to share this important update for families with toddlers: Uber has launched its new safety-focused service specifically for families with kids age one and up: Uber Car Seat! When your toddler is in that tricky stage between infant car seat and compact alternatives such as the mifold or RideSafer vest, the only option has been to schlep a booster seat around town because safety during a car ride is a non-negotiable. So thank goodness for this: each Uber Car Seat ride comes with the IMMI Go – a fantastic, super-safe child restraint for children age one to 10, and your driver will be well trained to install and adjust the seat for your little one! Book the service for an additional $5 through your Uber app and you’re ready to roll…
If you already have a good, portable car seat to ensure your child’s safety while travelling in taxis, then getting around Singapore by cab is super easy. Taxi ranks scatter the length and breadth of the island (it is often illegal to hail a cab on the street, especially in the CBD: you’ll need to use an official taxi stand). It’s generally easy to quickly grab a ride, but be warned, when it rains the wait can be long! We find the ComfortDelGro app simple and fast to use when you need to book a taxi. Psst: premium taxis often have a higher mandatory booking fee, so check the prices (which will be displayed on a sticker on the car window) before you hop into that Chrysler cab…
It’s no secret that Singapore is the most expensive place in the world to own a car, and if you have kids it’s likely you’ll enter the tricky ‘should we buy a car, or lease a car?’ debate (you might also decide that Singapore’s affordable and readily available alternative transport options are the best for you). Do bear in mind that once you have been in Singapore for a year, you will need to convert your foreign driving license to a Singapore driving license by taking a theory test. Once you’re all legal, strap the kids into their approved car seat and take to the highways (best brush up on your acronyms before you set off down the ECP/ERP/PIE…)
Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:
A rookie’s guide to supermarket shopping in Singapore
HoneyKids reviews the mifold portable booster seat
20 things to do in Singapore with kids as voted by HoneyKids
Best strollers to use for travelling around Singapore