I have to admit, adding Singapore to our travel itinerary made me a tad nervous about staying within our daily travel budget. Judging by our previous trips to Singapore, this city just isn’t a budget friendly destination. It’s never really been an issue before, but now that we are traveling full time, spending more than $50/day would really cut into our monthly expenses.
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I had my doubts about staying on budget, but as it turned my visit to Singapore was more than budget friendly. Here are some of my money saving tips that allowed me to experience this great city on just over $40/day.
Stay in Little India/Bugis
If you want to stay close to the city centre, Little India/Bugis areas is by far the best for budget friendly accommodation in Singapore. Couples and those looking for private accommodation can find hotels for roughly $50-$70/ night. I recommend searching on Agoda, where you’ll be able to sort hotel options by price, rating or a particular area.
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Single travelers have a few more options with the most obvious one being hostels. In Little India/Bugis, a basic hostel bed in a 6-10 person dorm will set you back by only $20-$30. An even cheaper options available to those willing to plan ahead is Couchsurfing. Singapore’s couchsurfing community consists of more than 30,000 hosts, offering travelers a bed, mattress or a couch in their home for absolutely free. I seriously considered couchsurfing but in the end ended up at the Hive Hostel on the corner of Serangoon Rd. and Balestier Rd. While it wasn’t anything special, my stay at the Hive was pleasant and at just $18/night is was an absolute bargain.
No matter what option you choose, remember that with so much to do in Singapore it is unlikely that you will spend a lot of time in your hotel room, so consider that before dishing out half of your daily budget on a bed to crash in at night.
Take Public Transport
Forget taking cabs in Singapore! The city has a well developed transport system that makes getting around like a local easy and cheap. MRT trains cost between $0.80 to $2.20 each way and local busses are even less. The Singapore Tourist Pass might sound like an appealing option (pass includes unlimited travel on MRT and non-premium buses), but unless you plan on taking more than 3-5 trips per day the cost of $10 for 1 day, $16 for 2 days, or $20 for 3 day may not be worth is.
When traveling short distances consider walking, it’s a great way to stay fit and allow yourself to get lost and get off the beaten path while exploring the city.
Using the above tips helped me bring my transportation costs down to just $5-6 per day.
Eat Where the Locals Eat
Singapore has a ton of fantastic restaurants, but if you are eating on a budget you won’t find anything better then the local hawker centres/food courts. Hawker food is cheap but that doesn’t mean it’s low quality. Some of the hawker stalls in the city have won multiple awards for food quality and taste and are known as the best places to find some amazing local dishes.
Read Next: 9 Best Hawker Centres In Singapore
Eating at hawker centres allowed me to eat like a queen for under $15 a day! And I have to admit, this was the highlight of my time in Singapore.
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Sightsee for Free
There are tons of attractions in Singapore that don’t cost an arm and a leg. If you want to visit Singapore’s famous Gardens by the Bay, choose to explore the outdoor gardens without paying the hefty price to get into the conservatories. A stroll along the Harbourfront or across the Helix Bridge is a great way to view some of Singapore’s iconic sights for absolutely free. Singapore’s Botanic Gardens, many parks and all the temples are also free. Plus some museums and galleries offer free admissions on specific days of the week.
While famous attractions are great to tick off your Singapore bucket list, some of my favourite things to do in the city were people watching and exploring the lesser known neighbourhoods. It’s free and beats a tourist attraction any day.
Don’t Shop on Orchard Street
Orchard Street may be considered the best shopping street in Singapore, but it is far from being the cheapest! Plenty of boutique shops and markets in Chinatown and Little India offer alternative shopping experiences that won’t result in a huge credit card bill as an additional souvenir from Singapore.
Take Advantage of Happy Hour
Going out in Singapore can take a serious hit on the wallet, so if you really want to experience nightlife, take advantage of deals and savings. Head to the bars on Clarke Quay around 6pm to take advantage of happy hour or if you are a female, consider going out on Wednesdays, when lots of bars/clubs in the city run ladies nights offering free admission and drinks all night long.
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