Last Updated on April 28, 2022 by Tina
On April 1, 2022, Singapore started allowing fully vaccinated tourists to visit the city-state quarantine free as long as they fulfill the entry requirements. Last April 8, my mom and I traveled to Singapore for a very short holiday. It was my first time traveling outside the country after more than 2 years. Traveling these days is not as simple as it used to be before the pandemic. If you’re planning to travel to Singapore for leisure/tourism purposes, here’s a complete guide to help you prepare for your upcoming trip.
I’ll be sharing here our experience during our trip to Singapore- our experience at the airport, both in the Philippines and in Singapore, getting around and going back to the Philippines. Most of the information here is for travelers from the Philippines, but it may also be helpful for travelers from other countries.
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How to prepare for your travel to Singapore
Traveling these days is so different from how it used to be prior to the pandemic. Gone are the days when all you have to worry about is booking a flight and accommodation, and securing a visa if it is required in the country you are visiting. These days, before you book your flight, you need to make sure that you are allowed to enter the country.
Below is a checklist of the things you need to do when preparing for your trip to Singapore:
Disclaimer: Travel requirements to Singapore change every few weeks. While I will try to update this post regularly to ensure that the information here is as up-to-date as it can be, I cannot be held responsible for any errors. I advise that you check the Safe Travel website for the most up-to-date information.
- Check what are the travel requirements to Singapore. Before you book a flight, make sure you can enter the country. As of the moment, only fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to visit Singapore for tourism purposes.
- Prepare your vaccination certificate. For those who were vaccinated in the Philippines, use your VaxCert.
- Book a flight. You can compare flight schedules and prices with Trip.com. For our trip, we took the 10:30 AM flight to Singapore with Jetstar. For our trip back to the Philippines, we took the 1:45 AM flight of Cebu Pacific.
- Book a hotel. When choosing a hotel, I highly recommend booking a hotel located near a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station. The MRT is the easiest and cheapest way to get around Singapore. During our trip, we stayed at Champion Hotel City. Though the room is small, it is very clean, reasonably priced, and has a very good location. It is less than 200 meters away from Clarke Quay MRT Station, and a 10-minute walk to Chinatown.
- Prepare an itinerary. Before the pandemic, I never prepare an itinerary when traveling. But having one saves you a lot of time and energy, and you get to maximize your vacation.
- Submit SG Arrival Card (SGAC) within 3 days before arriving in Singapore. It is very important that you do this because they check this at the airport when you check in for your flight and also at the immigration in Singapore. No need to print this out, an e-copy will do.
- Purchase travel insurance. Singapore no longer requires its visitors to purchase travel insurance. However, if you are from the Philippines, the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) requires Filipino travelers to purchase travel insurance before flying out of the country. For my mom, I purchased the Classic Plan of AXA’s Smart Traveller because it is much cheaper for her age bracket (Php 1167.30 / ~ US$ 22 for 5 days coverage period). I purchased my travel insurance from Safety Wing as it only costs US$ 7.50 for 5 days coverage period.
- Install TraceTogether App on your phone. It is a contact tracing app that is needed when entering establishments in Singapore. You need a mobile number because a one-time password (OTP) will be sent when you register. You can use your own number as long as you are able to receive the OTP. However, you won’t be able to receive the OTP if you’re not yet in Singapore. So the best thing to do is put your number on roaming when you leave the country and register to the Trace Together App after passing the immigration in Singapore. Another option is to buy a tourist sim card at the airport. However, when we were there, the only tourist sim card available in Terminal 2 is the one that costs S$ 32. I think it is too expensive if you are only staying there for a few days. I bought mine in 7-11 in Clarke Quay and it was S$ 15. (Update: From what I have read in Facebook Groups, the TraceTogether App is no longer required to enter establishments. Maybe just have the app installed on your phone and if ever you get asked to register, then register.)
COVID-19 Pre-Departure Test (PDT) is no longer required when entering Singapore for fully vaccinated travelers. However, there were people who were saying that some airlines still require it so better check with your airline a few days before your flight.
Checking in for your flight at the airport
From La Union, we traveled straight to the airport. We got there very early (I think around 4:30 AM). We had to stay for a while in the waiting area of NAIA Terminal 1 because they won’t let you in unless it is 4 hours before your flight schedule. It is better to be early at the airport though so that you have ample time in case of unforeseen instances.
If you are flying from the Philippines, you need to pay your travel tax first (Php 1620 / ~US$ 30) before going to the check-in counter of your airline. At the check-in counter, you have to show your passport, vaccination certificate/vaccination card, and plane ticket. They also ask for your return ticket. They don’t ask for your travel insurance policy at the check-in counter, but they’ll inform you that it is being asked at the immigration.
After check-in, proceed to the Immigration. Make sure you fill out the departure card before going to the immigration officer.
How is it at the Philippine Immigration?
The Immigration Officer (IO) only checked my passport, departure card, and return ticket. She didn’t ask for my travel insurance policy, but it doesn’t mean you don’t need to buy one. If you happen to encounter a strict IO, for sure they will ask for it. She asked what I will do in Singapore, and I told her I’m going there on vacation.
I’ve read in a Facebook Group that there were people who were asked to show their bank statement, payslip, certificate of employment, and other proof of financial capacity to travel at the immigration. Other documents that they usually look for are company ID, hotel booking, and return tickets. I have never experienced this at all since I started traveling but you need to prepare these documents because this really happens. And I prepared these documents just in case I get asked. There were people who got offloaded because of this.
How is it at Singapore Immigration?
I prepared my SG Arrival Card, Vaccination Certificate, PDT report, and passport, but the immigration officer only checked my passport and SG Arrival Card. Just like in the Philippines, she only asked what I am doing in Singapore. After that, I had my picture taken, and then I was done.
From the Immigration, where to next?
Well, you can now proceed to your hotel. But as I have said, you need the Trace Together App to enter establishments, so make sure you register first before leaving the airport. Your Bluetooth must be turned on for your app to work well, so I advise that you don’t turn it off while you are in Singapore.
How do you use the Trace Together App when entering establishments?
To check-in, tap your phone on the gateway box (again, make sure your Bluetooth is on for this to work). If you check in successfully, the box will beep and display a green light. On your phone, a message will appear saying you checked in successfully.
In places where there is no gateway box, you’ll have to scan the QR code at the entrance. Open the Trace Together App on your phone, tap the Scan QR icon, scan the QR code and go.
Where to get your PDT for your flight back home or for your next destination?
For your flight out of Singapore, one of the requirements will probably be a negative RT-PCR or ART result. When I asked friends in Singapore where we could have the test, they said that most clinics and hospitals do it. We had our test at The Testing Pro in Clarke Quay Central. It is located near Love Locks Singapore. The ART costs S$ 25 and we were able to receive the result in our email after an hour.
What are the requirements for Filipinos on their flight back to the Philippines?
Before your flight, you need to register at One Health Pass to get a QR code. During registration, you will be required to upload a copy of your vaccination certificate and the negative result of your RT-PCR or ART. The RT-PCR test must be taken within 48 hours prior to your departure. If taking the Antigen Test instead, it must be taken within 24 hours before your departure.
I hope the information in this post was sufficient enough for your travel preparation to Singapore. If you have other questions, feel free to ask. You can either write down your questions in the comments section, or you can send me an email or private message on my social media accounts.
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