The words Singapore and affordable seem to have no connection. The world knows that Singapore is, albeit beautiful, an expensive country. Right from accommodation and food to transportation and sightseeing, a holiday in Singapore can burn a hole in your pocket and break your bank account too. This is the reason why many tourists and travelers, especially backpackers, avoid visiting Singapore altogether. However, Singapore is an amazing country where there are lots to see and do, and with meticulous planning, it is possible to travel to this island city-state on a budget. Here are some useful tips that will help you in planning an affordable Singapore trip.
When it comes to hotels and resorts, Singapore can be really expensive. While they offer all kinds of luxuries that are known to mankind, it would not do if you are looking for an affordable stay in this Southeast Asian city-state. You can easily find modest budget hotels in the city, especially near Chinatown and Little India. Apart from this, there are hostels which are perfect for backpackers. Then there is YMCA near Orchards Road which is inexpensive and at the same time comfortable. It is best to make your reservation online to ensure that you have a bed to sleep at night during your holiday. Another option when it comes to accommodation in Singapore is Couchsurfing. It is safe, free and at the same time, a great way of knowing the city from a local’s perspective.
If you prefer taking a cab to travel anywhere in your city, you have to change the habit when you are on a Singapore holiday on a tight budget. Cabs in the city can charge you anywhere between S$25 to S$30 for a short trip. This could really hamper your budget. But you do not need to worry as Singapore has an amazing public transportation which connects the entire city really well. For starters, there is the MRT that can take you to almost all the tourist attractions (except the Singapore Zoo). The MRT even connects Singapore’s Changi Airport to the city. Then there are trains and buses which are really comfortable.
In order to save money, it would be best to buy the EZ-Link card which costs S$12 and comes with a credit of S$7. Once you exhaust all the credit, you can recharge your card at 7-Eleven minimarts. The EZ-Link card works for MRT, trains as well as buses. Apart from this, there are the Tourist Passes which you can buy for S$20 (of which S$10 is refundable). However, if you are planning to use the public transportation sparingly, it is best not to buy these passes.
On the other hand, if you want to really save money, you can choose to walk everywhere. Singapore is well-planned and walking here is the best way of sightseeing. Even the gardens and parks here are connected, making it possible to walk from one place to another an amazing experience. However, the days can be really hot, so you do need to have a backup plan.
Sightseeing and other tourist activities in Singapore can be really expensive, especially the popular ones. However, you can enjoy the city without spending too much as there are several free or relatively cheap things to do in the city. The hop-in hop-off bus is a good way of sightseeing in the city. You get to see the major landmarks of the city and are free to explore the ones that interest you the most. The tickets of the hop-on-hop-off bus sometimes also offer free entry to some of the attractions.
The museums of Singapore are a treasure trove of knowledge and hence a must visit when you are in the city. However, the entry tickets to the museums are quite costly and may not be feasible when you are on a budget holiday. Nevertheless, most museums offer free entry on several days or some evenings in a week or month. Check out the counter or the websites of these museums to know when you can enter the places for free. Apart from this, the city hosts street or public performances, art exhibitions, etc. for free, especially during the weekends.
There are also several tour companies that offer tour packages with different budgets. You can easily find a tour package or customize one to see the places that interest you the most and that too as per your budget. Many times, tour companies announce special offers and discounts which would enable you to go on a Singapore tour without spending too much.
There is no dearth of restaurants in Singapore. In fact, you would find fine dine and classy restaurants almost everywhere in the city. But even one meal at these restaurants can break your budget badly. Hence, it would be best to choose the place you dine wisely. The best way to have a delicious and filling meal without paying too much is to dine at hawker or street markets.
You will find plenty of street markets, hawker streets and food centers at Chinatown, Little India, etc. The Lau Pa Sat food center located near the Raffles MRT shop is also a good one. These food centers not only let you have a delicious meal at low prices but are also good quality. In short, you do not have to worry about falling ill after eating at one of these street markets. Food courts can be found in shopping malls and at almost every skyscraper. However, they are expensive when compared to individual food centers and hawker streets.
Like everything else in Singapore, shopping is also considered as an extravaganza due to the prices of all the goods. However, it is still possible to get some retail therapy on a budget. You only need to know where to shop. If you want to save your hard-earned money, it would be best to skip all the shopping malls of the city. Instead, head to Chinatown and Little India where you would find plenty of cheap shops as well as tourist markets. These are great places to buy souvenirs to take back home. However, it is important to hone your bargaining skills so that you get the best prices for the things you want to buy.
Tips for Affordable Singapore Holiday
Apart from the above-mentioned ones, there are some more things you can do to ensure that you do not have to spend too much money in this island city like you can also enjoy Sentosa island with Singapore tour. Alcohol and cigarettes are extremely expensive in the city because of heavy taxes levied on them. Hence, it would be best to avoid or limit drinking or smoking during your holiday. Another way of saving money would be to drink tap water which is freely available everywhere. Not only is it free, it is also safe. So, instead of buying packaged drinking water (which costs S$2), carry a bottle which can be easily refilled wherever you go.
Another thing to remember is that Singapore follows strict rules and locals and tourists are expected to adhere to them. If you break even one rule, you would be heavily fined. Hence, it is best to know all the rules and follow them too. Here are some things that you should know to prevent being fined:
- You should always wear a seatbelt while in a car. Also, ensure that you are not using your mobile phone while driving.
- Chewing gum is completely banned in the city. You cannot chew one while in public places. To avoid any trouble, it is best to not carry one on your bag too.
- Refrain from eating or drinking while using public transportation and MRT trains.
- If you are crossing a road, make sure that you always use marked crosswalks.
- Spitting and littering in public is not allowed and can cause you to pay a hefty fine.
- It is illegal to use electronic cigarettes in Singapore. Moreover, not flushing a public toilet is also an illegal offense.
- Refrain from feeding pigeons while at the park as you would have to pay a fine of S$500 if you do so.
Holidaying in Singapore on a tight budget may seem impossible. But it is not so. With proper knowledge and planning, you would definitely be able to visit this amazing city-state, within your limited budget.