Singapore on a Budget: 6 Important Tips Before Your Trip
It’s no secret that Singapore is an expensive city to be a tourist. Whilst known to be the most prosperous city in South East Asia, it’s the smallest nation by land area. And because of its compact size, traveling around would be so easy without worrying of your safety.It is true that costs here are significantly higher than the rest of Southeast Asia, but still a lot of people continue to visit Singapore. Why? Simply because of its unique and top-notch attractions that cater to almost every type of traveler. Certainly, Singapore will give you a fun-filled yet expensive experience but with a little planning and information, you can enjoy this amazing Asian City-state on a budget. Yes, you’ve read it right. Fret not of losing all your cash.
So here are some tips to get the most bang of your Sing-dollar on your trip.
BTW, just so you know, I am a Filipina working and living here in Singapore. Hence, I will be giving Philippine currency alongside every Sing-dollar cost in your SG trip. 🙂
Let’s start with ACCOMODATION:
1.) Accommodation will be your biggest expense in Singapore. A small private room with en-suite bathroom will probably set you back close to S$100 (3,500Php) a night. Reputable Hotels range from S$200 – S$300 or 7,000 – 10,000 pesos. This also depends if you book beforehand, if not then it can go as high as S$350 over or roughly 12,oooPhp.
In order to have that Singapore budget travel then You Must Settle For Budget Hostels, or if you enjoy backpacking then there’s a lot to choose from for as low as S$20-30 or (700-1,000Php) per night. Of-course not all would want to share rooms/bathroom with other guests so backpacking ideas would be a No-No for some. Aside from booking budget hostels then Airbnb would be a best choice. With Airbnb, you can experience the city like a local, live with a local by getting a room with own bathroom for as low as S$30 (1,000Php). Why Not! And if you plan to stay longer in Singapore or if you come in group, this will surely benefit you by getting 1 whole unit to share.
2.) Eat at hawker centers and taste Singapore’s multi-cultural food. Mains at casual restaurants start at S$12-18 (400-600Php) some of which comes in small share that won’t even feed your hunger pangs. But thanks to Singapore’s abundant hawker centers, eating is as tasty as it is affordable. Hawker stalls are Singapore’s version of low-cost eateries. Just be experimental with food. Singaporean cuisine is a complete delight for every foodie, you would surely savor every bit of the delicious options including chicken rice, nasi lemak, hokien mee, char kway teow, laksa, etc., at a price of S$3-5 (100-180Php).Just a tip: A long line of people queueing at a stall is usually a sign that it serves good food and is definitely safe to eat. And before I forget, bottled water are too expensive here. Don’t get a shock if you see prices from S$3 – 6 (105 – 200Php) for just a bottled water. Drink tap water instead. Don’t be afraid, it is safe and clean. So might as well get a water tumbler and bring some water with you as you explore the day.
3.) TRANSPORTATION – Use Public Transport. Ride MRTs and buses — This is the cheapest way to get around. There’s no need to hire taxis because Singapore’s transport system is efficient and very safe. One train ride within the city costs between S$0.8 – 2 (28 – 70Php). You can even enjoy touring Singapore and go for unlimited rides with S$6.70 (250Php) per day! Read more from this link EZ-LINK Tourist Pass. And if you’re going to be in Singapore for a longer stay then get an EZ – LINK card (sold at MRT stations), take advantage of lower fares and transfer discounts.
However, when traveling as a group, particularly of 3 or 4, consider taking a taxi for short rides around the city center. The price difference (calculated per person) is not a big wallet buster. Your feet will thank you from the tiring walk to/from train stations anyway. haha! And if you want to experience SG’s Night Life, sadly, MRT is only until 12 Midnight but you can take advantage of the Night Rider and Nite Owl Bus.
4.) ATTRACTIONS – Get a good map and explore the city on your own tour.Go on a do-it-yourself (DIY) around Singapore’s different cultural districts if you want to save yourself from expensive admission fees at themed attractions. There are a lot of awesome things to do in Singapore that doesn’t cost a dime. Admission fees may take up a huge chunk of your expenses if you plan on visiting many themed attractions, rides, and museums. But there are also many museums offer free admission. Those that charge entrance fees usually cost S$10 (350Php) or less. Entry to Singapore Zoo is S$28 (985Php), Universal Studios Singapore is S$74 (2,600Php), Singapore Flyer is S$30 (1,050Php), Marina Bay Sands Sky Park is S$23 (810Php) and taking a ride of the Singapore Cable Car to and from Sentosa is S$33 (1,160Php). Plan your itineraries ahead and cluster them according to their locations so you can make the most of your trip.
5.) Shop SMART! No vacation is perfect without a shopping escapade, especially when you are holidaying at Singapore. But do take note that The best time to make a shopping trip to Singapore would be during the ‘Great Singapore Sale’ which begins mid-year and lasts for about a month. Shopping at Orchard Road, Bugis Street, Centrepoint can be a fulfilling experience for most shopaholics. With such irresistible options for shopping, you can always go overboard with the budget for your shopping. Not only that, you can get a reimbursement of up to 3% on the Goods and Services Tax, if you shop for above $300 (10,000Php) from outlets with ’Tax-Free Shopping’. You can easily avail this reimbursement by showing your cheques at the airport. And even if you may not be able to make it on a Great Singapore Sale month, don’t be upset for there are still many bargains you can avail especially in Malls with many outlet stores.
6. Night Life – drinking is an expensive activity.You may want to give your liver a break while you’re here. Singapore’s high tax on alcohol means that drinking is certainly an expensive activity. Bars and nightclubs charge significantly high, so take advantage of happy hour promotions. lol. Yes, there are many happy hour promotions at some pubs. Try to hit the popular watering holes at Clarke Quay from 6 – 8pm to avail such. You’ll still be paying around S$14 (5ooPhp) for a drink, but at least the next one will be free. Female visitors can also take advantage of ladies night every Wednesday, when most bars offer free entry and free drinks until midnight. So ladies you already know when to party. lol! And if you want to experience SKY BAR offering 360 degree view of cityscape at night (which are my stress-relief after a week of work) don’t go for those with Entry Fee, like 1 Altitude. You’ll be paying for S$30 (1,050Php) for the entry that comes with a glass of drink. You wouldn’t want to waste bucks on that, right? So just for a feel though, you can go to Celavi at Marina Sky Park. Drinks are expensive of-course but no one will know if you haven’t ordered any drink. lol. (Just a tip. But don’t be too obvious, okay?) haha!
We all know how easy it is to spend money but surely we also don’t want to anyhow spend, isn’t it? If the fear of spending beyond your budget is giving you jitters and preventing you from making a trip, it is time for you to let go off your fears.
In an exciting and vibrant city like Singapore, I bet you wouldn’t want to miss it in your travel lists. You can savor the beauty and enjoy one of the best holidays at Singapore, even on a frugal budget.