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Singapore is one of the expensive cities in the world. But should you let that stop you? Do not expect gin tonic Thailand style buckets for €10, just because it’s Asia. In Singapore, we must step up our game.
If you know where to go, you can definitely travel Singapore on a budget. Lucky for you I have already done all the groundwork! Expect your budget to be a little bigger than most European tourist cities.
Let’s get going! I will answer all your burning questions on how to travel in Singapore on a budget.
*Updated January 2021
How do I find budget accommodation in Singapore?
The definition of cheap accommodation has a totally different meaning in Singapore. The biggest splurge is going to be a place to stay. Expect to pay more even for budget options.
The best low price options will be in hostels or even pod hostels. I saw plenty of them when walking around in Chinatown. All we really need is a clean room, a bed without bed bugs and a shower, right?
Price: €20 – €40 per bed
If you don’t mind sleeping in hostels, I recommend checking out Hostelworld. Prices are higher depending the season and how fancy you want it. The Pod – Boutique Capsule Hostel is one of the fancier hostels if you’re looking for more comfort, and has an excellent location.
Price: €100 – €200 double room
Some of us prefer to sleep in privacy without snoring strangers and that someone is me! If you don’t need a lot of space during your stay in Singapore check out ST Signature Tanjong. They have small private rooms with an on-site bathroom.
A cool pod hostel I saw while walking around in Chinatown is MET a Space Pod. I was so intrigued by how it looked! They are a chain of space-themed hostels and were the first capsule hotels in Singapore.
If you can spend a little more, and sometimes it’s worth it, then check out The JEN Orchardgateway. It is a fantastic hotel with a fabulous pool, spacious rooms and excellent location near Orchard Road, the main shopping area.
How do I get around in Singapore?
Walking is the best way to explore the city, and luckily Singapore centre is not 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 love walking because that’s how you explore everything. I always start my day by foot, and when I’m getting tired, I’ll move on to the next options.
Public transport is excellent in Singapore and widely used. Buses are cheap, and the metro system (MRT) links to most of the central area’s. If you’re going to visit Singapore frequently, an EZ-link card at 7 Eleven for €9 will be more convenient. You can top up this card whenever you need it.
If you’re spending a few days in Singapore, your best option is the Singapore Tourist Pass. This pass will give unlimited rides for a fixed amount per day. A 3-day SG Tourist unlimited pass is about €15.
Taxis might not be the first thing you think of on how to travel in Singapore on a budget, but when it’s after hours, you might need one. Grab is the Asian version of Uber and works precisely the same.
Grab is widely available in Singapore, and prices are reasonable. Especially when travelling with more than two persons, it’s definitely worth to check the current fare on the Grab app.
What is there to do in Singapore on a budget?
Gardens By The Bay
Singapore has many great places and areas to visit as a budget traveller. Two of the main highlights in Singapore, Marina Bay and Gardens by the Bar, are free.
Ever saw those big, colourful neon threes passing by on someone’s travel photos in Instagram? That’s Garden by the Bay, and it’s incredible! The best experience is in the evening, you will feel like you’re in the movie Avatar.
Marina Bay Sands
Singapore’s Marina area is the spot for that fantastic view of the famous luxurious Marina Bay Sands hotel with their iconic three towers. Besides taking photos with this landmark in the background, walking around in this area is fantastic.
A big luxurious mall and the Merlion statue, a lion’s head and the body of a fish body, Singapore’s mascot can be seen here too. And don’t forget about the free light show called Spectra starting at 8pm and 9.30pm in the marina.
Cé La Vie
The city’s best view is on the 57th floor, on top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. You can either purchase an entrance ticket of €15 to the observation deck or buy a drink at Cé La Vie with a complimentary entrance. It will cost you about the same if you stick to a soda, but at least you’ll be hydrated😊.
Chinatown town is probably my favourite area in Singapore. It’s energetic and the streets are colourful. I walk around Chinatown a lot but I still discover something new every time.
There is great food, shops with souvenirs, and it will not be your typical Chinatown like in other cities. For food check out the Chinatown Street Market or my favourite hawker centre, Maxwell.
Little India is one of the cheaper areas in Singapore. Just as in Chinatown, this area is vibrant and beautiful coloured. You’ll actually feel like your in India, only with better air quality😁. You’ll find Hindu temples, sari shops, goldsmiths and delicious vegetarian foods.
Do you still need more inspiration on what to do on a budget in Singapore? Check out my guide on the best free things to do in Singapore! It’s a extensive guide and by free I mean for absolutely nothing.
Where do I find cheap foods in Singapore?
Singapore is such a diverse city with so many different ethnicities. This has a significant influence on the cuisine in Singapore. You can find everything from Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Arabic to Western food. For me that means that Singapore is food heaven!
Food courts in malls are very affordable compared to eating out in restaurants. I recently ordered a delicious plate of Ikan Dori Bakar with rice for only €6. Here you can eat until you’re full for a fraction of the price than in a traditional restaurant. Perfect if you travel on a budget in Singapore.
The cheapest, most fun places and my go-to, to eat in Singapore is at the local hawker centres. Don’t be fooled by how basic or hectic some of them look! Some food stalls have won awards or Michelin stars! You’ll find these hawker centres spread out over the city.
Maxwell food centre
My favourite hawker centre is Maxwell Food Centre in the middle of Chinatown. You can get a meal here for an average of €8, and the options are endless. The most famous food stall is the Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, because of their famous guest Anthony Bourdain. At Maxwell food centre you’ll enjoy your meal between locals, ex-pats and tourists.
Zion Riverside Food Centre
Although a little out of the centre is the Zion Riverside Food Centre across the World City Mall on Zion Road😜, this particular hawker centre is not as big. Still, it has my absolute favourite food stalls. From chicken Hainanese rice to juicy dumplings and my absolute favourite ‘Chai Tow Kway’.
Drinking alcohol, in general, can get quite pricey in Singapore. But many restaurants and bars do have a happy hour. Yay! Finally time for a cocktail!🍸 Deals depend but mostly is a discounted drink or even a two for one deal. If you’d still like a cold beer or a refreshing Aperol Spritz (my personal poison), you’ll save some bucks with these happy hours!
If you’re around Orchard Street, I recommend Alley Bar for a drink. Happy hour is between 5pm – 8pm, and a cocktail will cost €9 and a G&T around €6. The bar has this relaxed jazzy vibe, and there are tables inside and outside or seats at the bar.
This spot has been my spot when arriving in Singapore. Their happy hour starts between 5pm to 8pm, setting their Aperol Spritz back for €8. I’ve never eaten here, so I can’t comment on the food, but the staff is friendly, and the bartender knows how to make a proper Aperol Spritz.
What is my daily budget in Singapore?
To give a straightforward and average overview of your possible daily costs, check out these charts. The first one is based on the real budget travellers, who will sleep in hostels. The second is for the budget traveller, that wants proper but affordable accommodation, eat out sometimes and see some sights.
|Budget accommodation in hostels||€15 – €35|
|Food at hawker centres||€6 per meal|
|Public transport Singapore Tourist Pass||€10 per day|
|Drink and view at Cé La Vie||€10|
|Spectra light show at Marina Bay||free|
|Mid-range hotel accommodation||€100 – €200|
|Meal at a mid-range restaurant||€20|
|Happy Hour Cocktails||€20|
|Public transport + Grab||€20|
|Ticket Science Museum||€9|
What I personally do is make a mix of these two together. You still want to explore Singapore, visit some sights and travel. Keeping a balance between the two will keep your expenses lower. Eat out in a restaurant for lunch, eat diner at a hawker centre and get your GT fix at happy hour!
Any other 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 other Asian countries. If you’re really on a tight budget, these additional 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 at 7 eleven.
Stick to eating 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, and you can refill at any public bathroom or mall.
Don’t forget to check my best free things to do in Singapore post for more ideas!
Keep all these tips in mind, and you can have a great time without stressing too much about your budget. Singapore is a fantastic city, with so much to see and to do. And since Singapore is very small, you’ll only need a few days to explore. Singapore unquestionably belongs on my list of favourite cities in the world!