How to Visit Singapore on a Budget
Much more than just a quick stopover destination, Singapore is so easy to reach via lots of major airlines. It’s also incredibly clean, safe and friendly, with so much to do! All of this makes it a great option if you’re already travelling in Southeast Asia.
Singapore is also known for its painfully high prices. So how can you see all that Singapore has to offer on a budget? Check out my top recommendations for where to stay, how to get around and also amazing free and low cost things you can do.
1. Getting to Singapore
Several international operators offer flights into Changi Airport daily, this is the major airport for Singapore and one of the busiest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia.
If you are looking to fly to Singapore cheaply, Skyscanner is the best website to use to search and compare low fares. Book in advance to get the best deals.
If you fancy the home comforts of a hotel, your money won’t stretch very far in Singapore. But if you’re happy to bed down in a hostel your cash will go a lot further! To compare prices and reviews, check: Booking.com or HostelWorld. For those who prefer Airbnb, a private room with en suite should only set you back around £30 a night.
My top tip - try to find somewhere near to an MRT station. It will save you the time (and the discomfort) of walking for miles in Singapore’s stifling humidity!
Singapore’s pretty small, making it easy to get from A to B. The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system couldn’t be simpler to use, and in most cases it can take you wherever you want to go.
As soon as you touch down in Singapore, buy an MRT pass. Which one you choose will depend on the length of your trip.
The first option is a 3-day Tourist Pass that costs S$20 (around $15 or £10) from the Changi Airport TransitLink ticket office. This gives you unlimited travel on both the MRT system and the city’s buses.
The second option is an EZ-Link card. The card costs S$12 if you buy it from the ticket office at Changi Airport. This includes S$7 pre-loaded and ready to use. You can then top it up at any MRT station, making it a great option for travellers who are staying in Singapore for more than three days.
It’s also really easy to catch the bus in Singapore. If you’re feeling flush, taxis are surprisingly cheap too (especially if you’re travelling in a group).
4. Free / Cheap Places to See in Singapore
Singapore may be small, but don’t let its size fool you. There’s a LOT to see! Here are a few things to see and do if you’re travelling on a budget.
Gardens by the Bay
This unique nature park is nestled on the southern tip of Singapore. It’s the perfect place to take a walk at any time of day, and you can visit it for FREE.
Marvel at the out-of-this-world Supertree Grove and immerse yourself in the weird and wonderful sounds of nature. If you visit after dark, watch as the Supertrees light up in a rainbow of different colours!
If that isn’t enough, you can pay to enter the vibrant Flower Dome or the majestic Cloud Forest (S$15 for one or S$28 for entrance to both). The Cloud Forest is home to the world’s largest indoor waterfall, and it’s pretty breathtaking!
Singapore has plenty of cultural corners to explore, including Little India and Arab Street, but Chinatown is in a world of its own.
Made up of low-rise buildings adorned with colourful Chinese lanterns, this busy neighbourhood feels like a sharp contrast to the rest of the city. Come here for delicious Chinese feasts and side streets full of souvenir markets.
Winning the award for the most Instagrammable place in Singapore, Marina Bay is the city’s lively downtown area where you can eat, drink and watch the world go by.
There’s plenty to see for free, including the famous Merlion, the Singapore Flyer and of course, the architectural masterpiece that is Marina Bay Sands. If you love futuristic skylines, you’ll feel right at home in Singapore. Sunset is the perfect time to visit, when the sightseeing spots will be quieter as the city lights up around you.
5. Food / Eating Out
It’s cheap to eat out in Singapore… if you know where to look! Seek out one of the many hawker centres and you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice.
Lau Pa Sat
Think you’ve tried satay? Thing again. Lau Pa Sat is famous for its sensational satay, and best of all, it’s the perfect choice if you’re eating on a budget! Find stalls 7 and 8 for an authentic taste of Southeast Asia.
Much more than a traditional hawker centre, Lau Pa Sat is a must-see landmark in its own right. Its low-rise, historic architecture sits hidden amongst the city’s soaring skyscrapers.
Newton Food Centre
If it’s a traditional hawker experience you’re after, look no further than Newton Food Centre. With almost 100 different stalls to salivate over, this bustling foodie paradise is where you’ll find some of the best local food that Singapore has to offer.
Even if you don’t have cash to splash, Singapore is still a destination worth visiting. There’s so much to see, and you don’t need to spend a lot to have an amazing time!
By Joanna (One half of Two North West Nomads)
Keen to book a trip to Singapore? The following websites are recommended: