Visiting Singapore on a budget
Singapore has recently topped the list as the most expensive city in the world to live in. However, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be visited and enjoyed on a budget. Hostels, local food and free sights mean a weekend in the city isn’t necessarily going to mean a big dent in your wallet. I recently stayed three nights in Singapore and between two of us only spent S$300 (including a not so budget-friendly trip to Raffles Long Bar). Here’s how…
Firstly accommodation is plentiful in Singapore, there’s everything from swanky, top-end hotels to inexpensive hostels. I found Hawaii Hostel that cost S$138 for three nights in a private room for two people. That included breakfast. Bargain! It definitely was not the nicest place I have stayed but as I only slept there and spent the rest of my time exploring it didn’t bother me at all. If you don’t fancy a hostel try Air BnB for rooms to rent in somebody’s home, they can be cheap plus you have the benefit of living like a local, if only for a few days.
The wide variety of tasty food in hawker centres was one of my favourite aspects of Singapore. The multicultural nature of the city brings together numerous stalls of different cuisines into a food court style setting, selling meals for as little as S$5 or even less. The choice may seem overwhelming at first but just head to the stall with a queue, it’s got to be great food if the locals are willing to queue for it! With over 100 hawker centres spread around the city, you’re sure to never be too far away from one when hunger strikes.
Public transport around Singapore is easy-to-use, fast and cheap. The MRT can take you to most sites of interest (and from the airport to most tourist areas) and buses traverse the roads in between. I tended to only use the MRT for longer distances, most of the time I walked around, getting to see more of the real Singapore on my way and saving money.
There’s a whole host of things to do in Singapore that are completely free.
- Wander around Marina Bay and check out the Merlion, the iconic half-lion, half-fish sculpture, then in the evening enjoy a free laser and light show there.
- The outdoor areas of Gardens by the Bay are free to explore with structures named ‘supertrees’ dominating the view.
- Visit a temple or two, such as the colourful Sri Mariamman Hindu temple in Chinatown.
- Keep an eye out for free festivals or events, I came across a Chinese New Year Dragon Dance in the middle of the street.
- Learn about the city-state’s history and culture at the National University of Singapore Museum or Singapore Living Galleries with free admission between 6pm and 8pm.
- Allow Little India to assault your senses by exploring its vibrant, noisy, spice filled streets.
- Visit Kampong Glam also known as the Muslim Quarter featuring the golden domes of the Sultan Mosque at its centre and conserved traditional shops along Arab Street.
- Admire colonial architecture in the Civic District including the famous Raffles Hotel.
- Stroll along the Singapore River at Clarke Quay.
Have you visited Singapore? What else would you recommend for those travelling on a budget?