• Eileen Bremer

Singapore on a Budget

Singapore is known to be one of the most expensive places in the world as the cost of living can have a huge impact on your wallet. But as a tourist, is it really?

In my opinion, a trip is expensive only if you make it so. There's always a way to meet your expectations if don't want to spend a lot.

If you're on a budget, you'll probably have to choose between comfort and experience. I mean, do you really need to stay in a 4-stars hotel if you're planning on going out the whole day?

And still, you don't want to deprive yourself from activities and miss the fun!

Here are some tips on how to travel in Singapore on a budget and enjoy it.

Book your flight at the right time

A flight from Perth to Singapore is relatively cheap, but make sure to buy your flight tickets at the right moment. There's no need to rush, so don't get it too early but not too close to the date either. The return ticket costs roughly $500, so wait until you find a good deal. The best time to book a flight is usually 8-6 weeks in advance.

Stay in a backpack hostel

Trust me, you'll save a whole bunch of money by staying in a cheaper accomodation. Singapore can get pricy in terms of hotels so the best option you'll find is a backpack/capsule hostel. You're not travelling just to stay in bed the whole day, right? So you just need a place to sleep and a shower. I can't garantee the place will be spotless but that'll do it. Little India and Chinatown are the cheapest districts to find a accomodation, but don't wait too long before booking as everything gets full pretty fast.

We stayed at Pillow Talk Hostel, near Lavender Station, and for $185/4 nights we had a double bed in a mixed dormitory room with breakfast included and a shared bathroom. I was expecting it to be noisy, but we actually slept well and even though the dorm was packed, people made the effort to remain as quiet as possible, plus there were curtains to keep some privacy. If you worry about your luggage, you can stock it in your locker. Easy, and cheap!

Use public transports

A taxi will cost pretty much the same than in Australia, as you'll pay around $30 from the airport to the city. But the ultimate best way to get around is by using trains and buses. From the airport, take the free bus to Terminal 2/MRT and get yourself an EZlink card at the ticketing office. It works the same as a SmartRider or any contactless card for public transports. It will cost you $12 in total for the card itself ($5) and some credit. The card looks so cute by the way!

The train system is also super easy to understand so there's no way you'll get lost. And if you're not sure, remember that Google Maps is your best travel buddy!

We used the trains and buses everyday, and we spent in total $15 each only for the 4 days. When you leave the city, go back to the ticketing office to get a refund of the balance left on your card, and keep that one! The EZlink card has a 5 years expiry in case you're thinking of going back.

Eat in Food halls

God bless street food in Singapore! As restaurants are quite pricy, I strongly recommend getting your daily meals from the food courts, also because they are everywhere. Not only it's cheap ($6 in average for a ramen) but it's clean, fast-served and various. You'll find traditional dishes from all around the world, and the atmosphere is warm and friendly. Some of the food halls serve cheap beer as well.

Activities : choose the right tickets.

Now that you sorted out what's necessary, let's focus on the fun part. You want to spend your money on the right stuff, and Singapore isn't particularly expensive for tourists but some activities are worth the price and some are not, so you need to see the value for money depending on what you want to do.

Within the activities that are free, we have :

  • MacRitchie Reservoir, great for hiking and walk across the Treetop supsension bridge and enjoy the view from Jelutong Tower.

  • Marina Bay Light Show, from Merlion Park where you get a gorgeous view. The Night Light Show is happening every night of the week.

  • Singapore Botanic Gardens, for a big morning walk. You can also visit the National Orchid Garden for a $5 entry fee. It is worth it.

  • Fort Canning Park, for a bit of history where you can climb the little hill and smell the tree flowers and visit the Stamford Raffles old home to find some remains of the World War II.

  • Gardens by the Bay, as wandering around the park is free and totally worth it, especially during the Light Show. If I was you, I'd go everyday! Then up to you what you want to see the most : $20 to see Floral Fantasy, it is quite small but it's interactive and great for kids. $8 for the SkyTree Grove (bridge) and $28 to visit Flower Dome and Cloud Forest (indoor waterfall). Decide once you get there! Come on a week day to really avoid the huge crowd.

To learn more about things to do in Singapore, read this article here.

Voila! Hope you enjoy your trip to this amazing city full of wonders. If you want to see more, check out my Singapore Travel Series on YouTube.

Eileen - Pretty Little Mantras.