Singapore Tourist Pass, EZ Link or Standard Ticket - Which One is Better for travellers

Singapore Tourist Pass, EZ Link or Standard Ticket? Which One is Better?

To take public transportation in Singapore, you need either cash or card.

Paying by cash is rather inconvenient because you need to give the exact amount, otherwise no change will be given. Majority people use cards, but which card is better?

There are 3 cards that travellers can use in Singapore: Singapore Tourist Pass, EZ Link and Standard Ticket. Each has its own pros and cons, and each is suited for different types of travellers. In this post, I write about the details of each card, followed by situations when a certain card is more favourable than the other.

About Singapore Tourist Pass

The Singapore Tourist Pass (STP) is a card that gives you unlimited travel on Singapore’s MRT, LRT and basic bus services for 1 day, 2 days or 3 days depending on which pass you purchase.

Here are what you need to know about STP:

  • The STP costs S$10 for 1 day, S$16 for 2 days and S$20 for 3 days.
  • A deposit of S$10 is required when purchasing the pass. The deposit will be refunded when you return the card within 5 days after the day of purchase. Eg: If you purchase the card on Monday, you need to return the card by Saturday to get the deposit back. In other words, if you buy the 3-day pass, you need to activate it latest by Wednesday.
  • If you decide to keep the card and not return it, the S$10 deposit will be forfeited, and you can continue to use the card as a normal EZ-Link card.
  • Kids below 0.9m height travel for free on trains and buses when accompanied by a fee-paying adult.
  • You can buy STP at TransitLink Ticket Office located at certain MRT stations: Ang Mo Kio, Bayfront, Bugis, Changi Airport, Chinatown, City Hall, Farrer Park, Harbourfront, Jurong East, Kranji, Lavender, Orchard, Raffles Place, Somerset, Tanjong Pagar, Woodlands. More details on opening hours here.
  • When purchasing STP, not all TransitLink Ticket Office accepts payment by cards. The selected TransitLink Ticket Offices that accept MasterCard and JCB payments are located at Bayfront, Bugis, Changi Airport, Chinatown, City Hall, Farrer Park, HarbourFront, Lavender, Orchard and Woodlands MRT Stations.
  • You can return STP to:
    • Any TransitLink Ticket Offices at MRT stations
    • SMRT Passenger Service Centres located at MRT stations at Changi Airport, Kranji, Lavender, Dhoby Ghaut and Marina South Pier.
  • Unlimited rides applicable for: MRT, LRT and basic bus services.
  • Unlimited rides are not applicable for: Sentosa Express monorail, RWS8 bus, Express Services Bus, Fast Forward Bus, Night Owl bus (N bus), NightRider bus (NR bus), Chinatown Direct bus (CT bus) and other premium and niche bus services.
  • The pass starts when you use it for the first time. The 1-day pass ends when the last public transport has stopped operation (slightly past midnight). Eg: if you use the card for the first time at 6pm on Monday, the 1-day pass will expire on Monday’s night (when the last train and bus have stopped), the 2-day pass will expire on Tuesday’s night and the 3-day pass will expire on Wednesday’s night.

About Singapore Tourist Pass Plus

Singapore Tourist Pass, EZ Link or Standard Ticket? Which One is Better?

Photo Credit: Jamie Travel Diary

The Singapore Tourist Pass Plus (STP+) is an extension from STP. On top of unlimited rides on trains and basic bus services, STP+ offers additional perks.

Here are STP+ facts you should know:

  • The cost of STP+ depends on where you buy it from.
  • There isn’t any S$10 deposit required.
  • It costs S$28 for 1 day, S$38 for 3 days if you buy it from: Passenger Service Counters at Changi Airport MRT, Happy Factory at Boat Quay, Hokkai Villa. More details can be found here. You choose 4 out of 9 perks as below:
    • Laksa at Cravilla
    • Mee Siam at Cravilla
    • Kaya Toast Set at Cravilla
    • Curry Chicken at Cravilla
    • Chee Cheong Fun at Cravilla
    • Cha Soba at Hokkai Villa
    • Singapore Sling at ;D Happy Factory
    • Admission to Mint Museum of Toys (Usual Price: S$15)
    • Admission to Chinatown Heritage Centre (Usual Price: S$15)

Should you get Singapore Tourist Pass Plus? Is STP+ worth it?

In my opinion, STP+ is worth it if you’re interested in to visit Mint Museum of Toys, Chinatown Heritage Centre and taste Singapore Sling at Happy Factory. For other food, I think you can get them cheaper from hawker centres instead of these restaurants.

I feel that 1-day STP+ is not worth it because if you’re going to spend a lot of time at the museums, you won’t travel so much, thus your unlimited rides are wasted.

If you’re a budget traveller or slow traveller, you can skip STP+.

About EZ-Link

Singapore Tourist Pass, EZ Link or Standard Ticket? Which One is Better?

Photo Credit: SuperAdrianMe

EZ-Link card is the most commonly used travel card by residents and returning visitors. In the beginning, you store a certain value inside the card. Your card’s value will be deducted only when you use it.

  • The price of an EZ-Link depends on where you buy it from.
    • If you buy from TransitLink Ticket Offices, Concession Card Replacement Offices and Passenger Service Centres, it costs S$12 which consists of S$7 value + S$5 non-refundable deposit.
    • If you buy from 7-Eleven, it costs S$10 which consists of S$5 value + S$5 non-refundable deposit.
  • You need to maintain a minimum $3 balance in your EZ-Link in order to be able to board MRT and buses.
  • Minimum top-up amount is $10.
  • IMPORTANT: with the initial credit of $7, you can only take public transport for about 3 times (assuming $1.5/ride), then your credit will be below $3 (you need to maintain at least $3 in your EZ-Link). You have to top-up before you can use the card again. The minimum top up is $10. Therefore, your total cost becomes $12 + 10 = $22. So, if you come for only 3 days or less, I will not recommend you to use EZ-Link.
  • You can return EZ-Link to any Passenger Service Centre at MRT stations, Ticket Office at MRT stations, Ticket Office at bus interchanges, and receive the refund of the unused value. However, you can’t get back the S$5 non-refundable deposit.
  • EZ-Link can be used at MRT, LRT and most public buses. Furthermore, you can also use EZ-Link for SMRT & TransCab taxis, F&B outlets, and many places you can’t even imagine. Here’s the full list of places where payment by EZ-Link is accepted.
  • EZ-Link is valid for 5 years from the date of encoding. At the end of 5 years, you can exchange the card at Ticket Office.
  • EZ-Link cards can be reloaded (topped up) at all General Ticketing Machines at all MRT Stations, certain bus interchanges, 7-Eleven, ATMs, and other places. Here’s the complete list of places where you can top up your EZ-Link.
  • You can store a maximum value of S$500 in the EZ-Link.
  • You can download EZ-Link app to check your current remaining balance, transaction history, as well as to earn points that you can use to redeem freebies or discounted items!

About Standard Ticket

Singapore Tourist Pass, EZ Link or Standard Ticket? Which One is Better?

Photo Credit: Transitlink

A standard ticket is a single-journey ticket. Most people use this because they don’t like to commit to STP or EZ-Link, or they forget to bring their own EZ-Link card when they go out.

  • A Standard Ticket can be used for MRT & LRT only, not bus.
  • A Standard Ticket costs the single journey fare + S$0.10 deposit.
  • Standard Ticket can be re-used up to 6 times within 30 days.
  • On your third trip, the 10-cent deposit will offset your trip fare. Continue using it until the 6th time, and you’ll get a 10-cent discount on your 6th
  • It can be purchased from any General Ticketing Machine at all MRT/LRT stations.
  • After you pay for a trip, you need to travel on that day. It can’t be used on other days.
  • If you don’t use the trip that you’ve paid, you can request for the refund within 3 days from the date of purchase from Passenger Service Centre in any MRT station.
  • If you travel further than what you have paid, you need to approach the Passenger Service Centre to top-up the fare difference before exiting at your new destination.
  • The fare is considerably higher than EZ-Link’s fare.

When should you buy Singapore Tourist Pass?

  • You want to visit a lot of places.
  • Buy 1-day STP if you use public transport more than 7 times a day.
  • Buy 2-day STP if you use public transport more than 6 times a day.
  • Buy 3-day STP if you use public transport more than 5 times a day.
  • You don’t need the cab, you’re comfortable with using public transport.
  • You don’t know when you will visit Singapore again.

When should you buy EZ Link?

  • You use public transport less than 5 times a day.
  • You visit Singapore for more than 3 days.
  • You are a budget traveller and you don’t mind walking or cycling to save money.
  • You travel slowly. In a day, you might be visiting less than 3 attractions.
  • You come to Singapore often and you’d like to keep the EZ link card so you don’t have to purchase again when you come next time.

When NOT to buy STP & EZ-Link, and just buy a Standard Ticket for the train and use cash for the bus?

  • You use public transport less than 3 times a day.
  • You have a local friend who can drive and bring you around Singapore for free.
  • You use cab more frequently than public transportation.
  • You’re on a transit, or you are in Singapore for a short period of time.
  • You’re not doing too much sightseeing.
  • You don’t have any plan to come back to Singapore in the near future.

How to find out the fares?

The easiest way to calculate the public transportation fare is by using the calculator provided by MyTransport.SG.

For your info, if you use EZ Link and you make a transfer from train to bus, bus to train, or bus to bus, within 45 minutes, you will pay for discounted fare due to the new “distance fare scheme.” You don’t need to do anything, it’s automatically adjusted by your EZ Link.

Singapore Tourist Pass, EZ Link or Standard Ticket? Which One is Better?

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19 Comments on “Singapore Tourist Pass, EZ Link or Standard Ticket? Which One is Better?

  1. Hello, i’m Arwin from the Philippines,your blog is very informative.. i’ll be visiting singapore for the first time next month,i have a questions to ask ,hope you can enlighten my curious mind…
    I read on some blog that when you get the STP card ,when it expires it will return to a regular EZ link card,true?(btw….i’ll be there for 3 days)my question ,if true..if i get the 1day STP card and use the expired STP card the following days as an EZ link card and then return it before i leave,will i still get my $10 deposit back?hope you can help …thank you

    • Hi Arwin, thank you. It’s true that the STP will be ezlink after it expires. I have actually written in the third point of STP: “If you decide to keep the card and not return it, the S$10 deposit will be forfeited, and you can continue to use the card as a normal EZ-Link card.” Hope it helps, let me know if you need more clarification 🙂

  2. Hello, we will arrive in Singapore on August for 5 days. We are a family of 4 ( 2 adults and 2 children 10 and 15). We want to visit and explore as much as the time will permit. I need your advice … Except the days that we will be in the same place all day long (Sentosa) (Gardens by the Bay) it is better to buy 4 STP or 4 Ezlink or to use Grab or Taxi?
    Thank you in advance for your answer !

    • Hi Dimi. Since you allocate 2 days for Sentosa and Gardens by the bay, you now have 3 days to explore the rest of Singapore. Because you want to visit as much as you can, I think you can consider STP, especially if you think you will take public transport more than 5x a day. However, if you don’t think you will take public transport more than 5x a day, because the places you will visit are located near each other (within walking distance), and you have more budget, grab/taxi is a good option. But please note that grab/taxi in Singapore can get expensive during peak hour due to additional surcharge or high demand. EZ-Link is only a good option if you will come back to Singapore again within 5 years because it expires after 5 years.

  3. We’ll arrive by Royal Caribbean cruiseship on 6 Sept at 8 am at Marina South Cruiseport. Our flight for Canada is at 6.30 am on 8 Sept. So we will be in Singapore from 6 Sept until nighttime of 7 Sept, as will be staying at the airport for the night of 7 Sept.Our one night hotel is at Bugis. We will be very obliged if you can kindly advise us what kind of tourist pass we should get as we would like to explore Singapore as much as possible for the 2 days.
    1. It seems we cannot get the 2 day tourist pass at the Marina South MTR. So do we pay cash at MTR to get to Bugis, then get the 2 day tourist pass when we get to Bugis? How much cash do we need and does the machine accept cash? or is there a better way?

    2.how far is the cruiseport to Marina South MTR? is it walking distance?is there a free shuttle to the MTR?

    3.can that 2 day tourist pass allow us to go to airport?

    4. the 2 day tourist pass is $16 each ($26 with a refundable deposit of $10 that we get back from airport before 9 pm on 7 Sept)

    sincerely,
    Lily

    • Hi Lily,
      If you’re going to explore as much places as possible, the STP is the best card for you.
      1. Yes, you need to purchase Standard Ticket (1 way travel) to take MRT from Marina South Pier to Bugis. It can be purchased from the machine, the counter doesn’t sell it. I suggest before you purchase the Standard ticket, you can check with the counter whether they sell STP (in case they have changed the rule and now sell at Marina South Pier). The price should be about $2 per trip per person. Yes they accept cash, and they can give the return as well.
      2. The Marina South Pier MRT station is within walking distance from the cruise port. I don’t think there’s a shuttle bus.
      3. Yes the 2-day pass allows you to take MRT to airport as well.
      4. Yes, you can get back the $10 deposit at Changi Airpor’s Transit Link office (opening hour is 8am to 9pm), or Passenger Service Centre (operating hours is the same as MRT operating hour (about 6am-12 midnight).

      Hope it helps! Hope you have a good trip in Singapore!

  4. Hi

    Loving your blogs, gaining lot of insights

    I have a 9 year old daughter. Does she also need EZ link card and will it be full fares for her too in all public transport options.

    Thanks for your reply in advance,

    Payal

  5. Hi Eva,

    Ive been reading your blogs and i really love it… very detailed…

    Me and my pregnant friend are actually planning to visit SG this August 4 to 8 and KL August 9.

    I really need your help so I can finish my own itinerary. August 5 (Universal Studios $ Sentosa), August 6 (Marina Bay Sands, Merlion, Gardens by the bay, singapore river, cavenagh bridge, and more) August 7 city tour, go to Legoland and KL.

    Questions:
    – Which card should I use (EZ link or tourist pass)?

    • Hi Lovely, thank you for your kind words! According to your itinerary, your activities are condensed into places that are located near to each other. Thus, I suggest that you use EZ Link instead of tourist pass 🙂

      • Thank you Eva, I will purchase the EZ link then… My itinerary is not yet finish… hahhhhahaha

  6. hi,,,iam so glad to find this blog, as i have planning to visit SG at this Sept,i have some problem to manage my itinerary,,,i hove you mind to answer my question.
    it’s about 3-day stp card, if i buy the card at sunday night, and i’ll use the card start at monday morning, does it mean that the card will valid until wednesday night?
    thanks before
    (excuse my poor english)

    • Hi Ima, yes, if you start using it on Monday, it will be valid til Wednesday night.

  7. hello Eva I read somewhere that EZlink card charges (travel charges) are lower than the STP travel charges is it true?

    • Hi Amit, EZ-link charges per trip, while STP charges per day. So, they can’t be compared directly.

  8. Hi Eva! Your blog is very informative, and you totally hit the points that are important. I just have a question. I am a returning tourist who have already bought a STP last May 2018. I will be visiting SG again this coming October and i’m just wondering if I can still use my existing STP and load it up for 3-day unlimited STP?

    I will be staying for 5 days. Arriving at Saturday night and leaving at Wednesday noon. So my plan is to avail 3-day unlimited STP that I will use from Sun-Tue, and at the same time buy an EZ-Link card for my Sat and Wed commute.

    Hope you can help me experience the best of SG!

    • Hi Julia,
      That’s a really good question! I have never come across this case. To my best understanding, once the STP is expired, it turns into a normal EZ-Link. That means you can’t top up with a 3-day pass. My advice is to top up the card with $10 and use it for Saturday and Wednesday; then purchase a new STP 3-day pass for Sun-Tue but make sure you return it you go home and collect the deposit 🙂

      If you’re not a heavy user, just use your own card as a normal EZ-Link card.

  9. Hi, Eva

    I am coming to Singapore for 3 days tour with my wife and 4 year old Kid, so my question, do i need to buy 2 STP one is for my wife and one is for me? Or I can buy one STP and use for me and my Wife. Another question , I will would use the MTR 3 times in day, so I calculate the total MTR cost me 25-30 Singapore Doller for 3 days for me and my wife, so in this which card should I prefer, or shall i buy standard ticket ? Please suggest. Thank you very much

    • Hi Dipak, first of all, you and your wife can’t share a card. Each of you needs to have a card on your own. Since you’re only visiting for 3 days, I suggest that you get STP. If you’re using standard ticket, each trip would cost at least $2 (std tix is quite expensive), so 9 trips will cost at least $18. A 3-day STP costs $20 and gives you unlimited MRT and bus rides, so I think you’re better off getting 2 nos of STP.

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