With Singaporeans advised to defer all non-essential travel abroad and other countries not opening up for travel yet, frequent holidaymakers are feeling locked up especially this year-end period when everyone is supposed to be on their Christmas or New Year holiday. If you use public transport on holidays, here are 7 places or experiences which you might find familiar in Singapore if you had previously tried them overseas.
1. North South Line (NSL) between Yio Chu Kang and Khatib along Lentor Avenue – Resembles Bukit Merah Lake in Perak, Malaysia
Between Khatib and Yio Chu Kang, the North South Line (NSL) runs parallel to Lentor Avenue on surface level through a rare stretch of nature.
This portion of forest with the MRT line running on surface level, a rarity in Singapore, is reminiscent of train rides in rural Malaysia.
Before approaching Khatib, the line elevates, and while not crossing Lower Seletar Reservoir, the line skirts around it, offering a view of the waterbody from the train.
This is just like the Bukit Merah Lake Railway Bridge or Bukit Merah Marine Viaduct across Bukit Merah Lake in Perak, Malaysia where the ETS and Komuter trains pass through.
2. Bus Stops at TPE/Punggol Road Interchange – Resembles TransJakarta Busway Interchange Halts, Indonesia
The bus stops at TPE/Punggol Road Interchange is a major bus transfer point located along the Tampines Expressway (TPE) just before or after Punggol Road, depending on the direction of travel.
Bus services are separated in various bus bays according to their direction of travel.
There are big bus lanes to cater for buses arriving and departing from the bus bays at the same time, with a kerb separating the bus lane from the others.
The pair of bus stops is connected by a long sheltered walkway, using the existing pedestrian overhead bridge as the highway crossing.
Screengrab from Google Street View.
The long shelters are exactly like TransJakarta transfer hubs when bus stops are not located in the same place but adjacent to each other in different directions. Here’s the long sloping shelters of Dukuh Atas 1 connecting to Dukuh Atas 2 and relevant exits.
3. SBS Transit Bus Service 30 through the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) – Resembles Western Harbour Crossing in Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China
Crossing the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong is an essential task which had been done for hundreds of years, and today, multiple road and rail tunnels travel under it.
Singapore has its own “cross-harbour tunnel” too, under the Marina Barrage. Only SBS Transit Bus Service 30 uses this sector on its regular route, on the express sector between Fort Road and Keppel Road.
4. Jurong East MRT Station on East West Line (EWL) and North South Line (NSL) – Resembles Beitou MRT Station in Taipei, Taiwan
Jurong East MRT Station is a major interchange station between the East West Line (EWL) and North South Line (NSL).
Originally with 3 train lines running through it, a fourth line was added on 27 May 2011 as part of the Jurong East Modification Project (JEMP). There is a consistent steel roof structure throughout the 4 lines.
Beitou MRT Station in Taipei, Taiwan also has 4 tracks in the interchange staiton, though albeit of a different platform layout with 2 terminating lines instead of 1. The steel roof structure also looks familiar, though in a different colour.
While train doors do not open on both sides, there is an illusion of a middle track with two lines passing right in the middle of the station.
5. Chinese Garden MRT Station on East West Line (EWL) – Resembles Xinbeitou MRT Station in Taipei, Taiwan
Xinbeitou MRT Station is 1 station away from Beitou MRT Station, offering a direct link to Qihu Park, Qixing Park, Beitou Park, and Beitou Hot Spring.
Also 1 station away from Jurong East MRT Station is Chinese Garden MRT Station, offering a direct link to Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, and Jurong Lake Gardens. It also bears a similar Chinese roof architecture to Xinbeitou MRT Station, and bears a red station interior too.
6. Gul Circle MRT Station on East West Line (EWL) – Resembles Siam BTS Station in Bangkok, Thailand
Siam BTS Station is an interchange station between the Sukhumvit and Silom BTS lines right in the heart of downtown Bangkok. Despite the tight footprint it has, the station has stacked platforms serving 4 lines, offering a cross-platform interchange for passengers heading in the same direction of travel.
While there are cross-platform interchanges in downtown Singapore, they are all underground, however, over at the far west of the country, a stacked cross-platform interchange exists at Gul Circle.
While not operating as a cross-platform interchange yet, the platforms and tracks on the non-operational side has been fitted already.
The unused platforms are reserved for a future Tuas South Extension to serve the Tuas South industrial area. However, this line will not be up in the near future until demand picks up, and I’m guessing it will only start construction when the Tuas Bay land reclamation is fully completed – the reclamation hasn’t even been planned to start yet.
7. KKKL Travel & Tours New Marina South Pier Express Bus Service – Resembles KKKL Express Buses in Peninsular Malaysia
Long-haul express bus routes are a staple in Peninsular Malaysia, connecting cities directly daily, even throughout the MCO period. While companies operating purely domestically won’t be facing heavy issues aside from lesser passengers, cross-border buses are unable to run their buses at all without a business model change.
KKKL Travel & Tours now runs domestic express bus routes in Singapore using their Singapore-registered Super VIP coaches, serving Marina South Pier from Choa Chu Kang, Jurong East, Kovan, and Tampines. This new bus service connects the heartlands with the ferries to St. John and Kusu Islands conveniently. Now you can board a comfortable Super VIP coach for a joyride again right here in Singapore.
Simulating Overseas Travel in Singapore
With leisure trips without strings attached not set to be coming any time soon, people like me who used to travel for the specific purpose of travelling definitely have seen a change in lifestyle throughout the last 8 months. With Phase 2 now in full swing and Phase 3 in sight, it’s time to explore more of Singapore and perhaps pretend that you are back overseas for those who miss travelling.
Do you have any other recommended public transport places or experiences in Singapore to simulate an overseas trip?