Oct 19

Singapore Skyline at nightI’m currently in my 2nd home country, my home away from home – Singapore! Bali lies now behind and being back one day is definitely on the list of things to do – but for now there are other destinations to explore.

And yep, Singapore is more or less only the stepping stone, as it’s an important airline hub and I can get here as well the required Visa to the real destination.

Some of you guessed right already, so you will be able to find me at least for the next 6-12 months not in Singapore, but in Goa, India:

Expect plenty of trip reports about the surroundings of Goa, articles about food, people, scenery, beaches and customs of India.

But not so quick!

The first task is about getting there. Therefore the first stopover is Singapore.

Singapore is at the moment pretty hot and humid, with the occasional heavy shower in the afternoons bringing some cooler air.

It’s good to be back in Singapore!

Having lived and worked 3 years previously in Singapore, you really learn to appreciate this tiny city state, when you are away for a longer period. Everything is organized, works as it should, it’s clean everywhere and the food is simply delicious. If there wouldn’t be the high Costs of Living and they’d offer Dual Citizenship, I would really thinking of migrating permanently here as my Base.

My friend and ex-colleague Wolfgang is granting me asylum for the 5 working days it will take to get the Visa for India.

Why Goa?

Goa famous for its beachesWhy not? India is a very colorful and delighting country. It offers a vibrant culture, friendly people, a delicous cuisine and some of the cheapest Costs of Living, according to the Purchasing Power Parity Index. Interesting destinations in India like Agra, Assam, Hampi, Pune, Varanasi are legendary. And you can travel easily from here to other destinations like Nepal, Buthan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives or even the Himalayas.

Goa is a region in India, which is a favorite with Hippies and long-term Expats. It features a shoreline of 140km full of gorgeous beaches, a comfortable climate, some more advanced infrastructure than the rest of India and interesting international food options.

And did I mention the easy Visa Process? Nothing like Indonesia. ;-)

Outsourcing the Visa Process

India is of course all about Outsourcing, an area pretty common to me, as I worked before in IT Account Management. Is it any wonder that the Indian Embassy in Singapore even outsourced the Visa Application Process to a private company?

And to whom:

I wouldn’t have guessed: they outsourced the whole thing to Mustafa!

Yes, you heard that right – if you need a Visa for India in Singapore, you have to go to that (in)famous 24/7 shopping complex in Little India, with hotel, restaurant, jewelry and travel agency attached.

Now they offer Visa Services as well. Upon my e-mail contact, they quickly replied – and it’s really a straight-forward process. Bring your passport and SGD 110 (about USD 75) and 5 working days later you will have a nice 6-month-Tourist Visa for India! I will check that out early next week.

So it will be another week before arriving at the new destination. As Goa has only an airport operated by the Navy of India, there aren’t really any direct international flights from any destination in Southeast Asia.

You can fly straight charter to Goa from Britain (the main tourist clientele in this former Portuguese Colony) and from Frankfurt (Germany), but that’s almost about it.

But even coming from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok, you have to stopover first in Mumbai, Bangalore or Chennai (Madras), before taking the final approach into Goa.


I’ve got a quote from an usually reliable travel agency in Chinatown for a standard one-way fare with 1 stopover in Mumbai in the range of SGD 800 (USD 540) per person, which is really on the pricey side.

Maybe it’s a better choice to simply fly with Tiger Airways into Bangalore or Chennai for something around SGD 100 and then just continue domestic from there. Will be a bit of pain with all the luggage, but if you consider, that you can almost survive a full 2 months with 2 persons on SGD 1.600 (USD 1.080), it’s probably worth the hassle.

Anyway, I stop wondering about the options now, you most likely fell asleep already. If not – and you still feel like sharing your travel experiences from Goa or India, or have tips and tricks of getting a good, cheap flight from Singapore, you are most welcome to comment! ;-)

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written by Chris

19 Responses to “Bye bye Bali – Welcome Singapore!?”

  1. MikeNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    Looking forward to hearing your stories from Goa. I haven’t had a chance to visit India yet. Good luck with the move.

  2. AudreyNo Gravatar LITHUANIA Says:

    Singapore – great city and amazing food!! We flew on Tiger Airways from Singapore to Kochi in March for 230 SGD. You could then take a train to Goa from there (a little closer than Bangalore or Chennai). You can book tickets for Indian trains online (http://www.irctc.co.in/) – it’s really convenient.

    If you do fly Tiger Airways and you have a lot of baggage, you might want to book additional weight in advance (72 hours). Apparently they sometimes weigh carry-ons as well. We had a lot of juggling to do to stay underweight and ended up stuffing our pockets full of heavy stuff during check-in.

  3. ZishaanNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Hey! Good to know you will be in India. Do give us a shout if you are visiting Bombay. I spent a few days in Goa recently .. details here: http://hayath.com/wanderlust/2008/goa/

  4. ChrisNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Mike, thanks for the wishes! Will probably take another few days as we’re trying to figure out the best connections.

    Audrey, thanks for the tips, will check that out as well. It’s not so much the weight that concerns me, but to juggle all the bags on a train. So I thought flight would be better to get there initially. Let’s see… I definitely want to ride the trains in India, but maybe after adjusting a bit in ‘india light’ (Goa) and going with some small backpack only to check out the rest of the country later on. ;-)

    Zishaan, I did read your article already following your last comment. Nice tour and great pictures! Can’t wait to check the area out myself. :D

  5. Dee YanNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Chris, do you travel with your partner ?

  6. Nomadic MattNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    have fun in goa!! i can’t wait to read the posts from there!

  7. ChrisNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Dee Yan, yes.

    Nomadic Matt, thanks for the wishes and motivation! ;-)

  8. QuaCheeNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    the mustafa thing is hilarious :) anyway, welcome ‘back’ for a short while. and wow, u do sound to have an exciting life – in so many places :)

  9. monicaNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Is there still space for a lovely young person to join in the fun? I hope
    to read more when you get to Goa. Heard so much about the people and
    culture..Surely you must enjoy it..

  10. ChrisNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Yep QuaChee, life is beautiful, especially after monica‘s offer to join in the fun. Terrific! :D

  11. ZahlenjongleurNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    Take care and have fun in Goa! Greetings to Wolfgang!

  12. RheaNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I hear great things about Singapore. I recently interviewed one of the homefront security people there. It DOES sound like an organized society.

  13. johnNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Singapore is a superb place to visit but yes you get bored sticking with same kind of environment and place. :-? :-?

  14. mNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    check out om beach/paradise, or varkala down in kerala..were amazing ten years ago. goa is a scene that’s for sure, but those beach scenes were unbelievable when i was there. the musical campfire jams at varkala were something i will never forget, they were simply magical…folk singer from vancouver, flamenco singer/guitarist from spain, a singing english dj guy, amazing tabla players, amazing german didg player, was freakin ridiculous.

    goa is cool but be careful. many an expat are in the clink for long sentences in goa for as little as one joint.

  15. monicaNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Still awaiting a response? Or is the space filled now?

  16. EpicurienneNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Hey Chris, good luck in Goa! I’m just waiting for you to write about the food there. Should be lots of fish and seafood. I’m licking my lips just thinking about it!
    Anyway, I wish you well in your new home. I hope you enjoy it.

  17. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Oops, I’m a bit late back here. Thanks for all the tips and suggestions! ;-)

  18. sigeNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi dude, wow your journey are very awesome. Really nice post.

    Sige [Bali]

  19. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Thanks, sige! Cheers to Bali! ;-)

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