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The first word that came to my mind when I thought of Singapore was ‘expensive’. I wasn’t wrong but I wasn’t completely right either. There is a reason why Singapore has been named in the top three of the most expensive cities in the world. Singapore is expensive if you like to eat out in restaurants, have a cocktail on rooftop bars, a bottle of wine with dinner and go clubbing on the weekends. But if you know where to go, you can definitely travel in Singapore on a low budget too. It will not be as cheap as other countries in Asia, but prices can still be cheaper than in Europe. How? I will answer all your burning questions on how to travel in Singapore on a low budget.
How do I find cheap accommodation in Singapore?
Staying in Singapore, the biggest splurge is going to be a place to stay. Finding cheap accommodation is going to be hard but not impossible. The best budget options are going to be in hostels or even pod hostels. I saw plenty of them when walking around in Chinatown. I never stayed in Singapore on a personal trip, so therefore I don’t have any specific recommendations when it comes to accommodation. All we really need is a clean room, a bed without bed bugs 😉 and a shower, right? I always use Booking.com and Agoda when looking for great hotel deals.
How do I get around in Singapore?
Getting around the city doesn’t have to be expensive. The best thing to do in Singapore and the way you’ll explore the most is totally free. Walking. Walking is the best way when travelling in Singapore on a low budget. Luckily Singapore centre is not very big. If you’re staying around Chinatown, a lot of places can be easily walked from there. From Chinatown to Marina Bay or even to Little India will be around forty minutes. Totally doable if it’s not too warm. I always start my day by foot and when I’m getting tired, I’ll move on to the next options.
The next best thing besides walking is using public transport. Buses are cheap and the metro system links to most of the major area’s. You can purchase different passes which will give you unlimited rides on the bus and metro. You can find more information and prices here.
When all else fails or it’s just a little after hours and there are no more busses, there is Grab. Grab is the Asian version of Uber but works exactly the same. Grab is widely available in Singapore and prices are reasonable, especially when you’re travelling with more than three persons. Try to avoid rush hours because obviously that’s when prices go up.
What is there to do in Singapore?
Singapore has a lot of great places and areas to visit and luckily not everything has to be expensive. As a low budget traveller, we do have to skip sipping cocktails on the rooftop bars. We’ll save them for cheaper countries like Thailand or Vietnam 😉 But like I said there are plenty other things to do that don’t have to break the bank.
Checking out all the beautiful areas is totally free. Walking around Little India, Haji Lane or Chinatown is absolutely amazing and you can easily spend a day exploring all of them. The neighbourhoods are vibrant and colourful. Two of the top highlights in Singapore, Marina Bay and Gardens by the Bar are also free. Check out my post on the best free things to do in Singapore when you’re on a budget.
Where do I eat in Singapore?
Singapore is such a diverse city with so many different ethnicities and this has a major influence on the cuisine in Singapore. You can find everything from Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Arabic to Western food.
Like in most countries big malls have a food court. These food courts are very affordable compared to eating out in restaurants. I recently visited a mall all the way on the east side of Singapore where there is a food court on the lower floor. I ordered a delicious plate of Ikan Dori Bakar with rice for only 8SGD (about €5,50 / $6). There are many different food stalls where you can eat until you’re full for a fraction of the price than in a regular restaurant. Perfect if you travel on a low budget in Singapore.
The cheapest and most fun place to eat in Singapore is at the local hawker centres. Don’t be fooled by how it looks! Some food stalls have even won awards or Michelin stars! Eating at these hawker centres is my personal favourite. My favourite hawker centre is Maxwell Food Centre in the middle of Chinatown. You can get a meal here for an average of SGD5 to SGD10 and the options are endless. You’ll enjoy your meal between locals, ex-pats and tourists.
Many restaurants and bars have a daily happy hour. The last time I visited Singapore I did a little research on the best happy hours in town. Most happy hours start between 15.00 until 20.00. Deals depend but mostly is a discounted drink or even a 2 for 1 deal. If you’d still like a cold beer or a refreshing Aperol Spritz (my personal poison) at the end of a long day (I’m with you) you’ll save some bucks with these happy hours.
Any other low budget tips I need to know?
Like I’ve said before. Singapore can be great for a budget traveller, but it will be more expensive than any other country in Asia. If you’re really on a tight budget these other tips will help too.
Skip the bars and restaurant, even when you’re drinking water, you’ll still be paying more than necessary.
Skip the alcoholic drinks. If you’re really craving one, get a beer a 7 eleven.
Only eat at hawker centres to really save money on food.
Bring your own water bottle and fill up your bottle during the day. The tap water is safe to drink in Singapore. You can refill at any public bathroom or mall.
I have been to Singapore many times and there is no reason to skip Singapore as a low budget traveller. Keep all these tips in mind and you can have a great time without stressing too much about your budget. Singapore is an amazing city, with so much to see and to do. Definitely worth a visit! I can’t wait to be back again.