Getting Around Singapore on a Budget
Getting around Singapore on a budget is easier than you’d think – because it is home to one of the most efficient and fast public transport systems in the world! Would you expect anything less from Singapore?!
The city is served by the Singapore Changi Airport. The tagline for the airport is that it is ‘more than an airport’ and this is so true, considering it has been voted the world’s best airport for the fifth year in a row. As well as offering international flights all across the world, the airport is also one of the most popular attractions in Singapore, and has an exciting new development planned for 2019 – including an indoor rainforest, waterfall, botanical gardens, hedge mazes, 300 shops, and restaurants as well as 130 hotel rooms!
Getting from Singapore Airport to the city is a doddle, and pretty cheap too. Because it is located around 19 km away from the city, it’s easiest to use public transport. Although you can get a taxi, it will cost you around $20 – $35 for a single ride, and the airport adds on a surcharge for departing from the terminal. So that leaves two options: the train or the bus.
If you wish to take the bus, the number 36/36A public bus will take you straight into the city from all of the airport terminals. The journey will take around an hour, and you can buy tickets from the driver – however, drivers do not carry change, so you will need the exact change of $1.50 for a single ride.
However, the easiest way to get around Singapore and from Singapore airport into the city is to use the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system. These high-speed trains will take you all across Singapore in no time, and is the most popular form of transport in the city. The cheapest way to travel around Singapore using the MRT is to buy a Singapore Tourist Card. This is a prepaid travel card which will offer you unlimited travel on the MRT, the bus service and all other public transport in Singapore. You will need to put down a $10 deposit for each card, but you will obviously get this back at the end of your trip.
You can either buy a 1-Day Pass for $10, a 2-Day Pass for $16 or a 3-Day Pass for $20. This will save you money in the long-run and give you more flexibility during your budget trip to Singapore! Buy from any TransitLink Ticket Office in the airport and grab the train from the airport terminal straight into the city. Find out more info on ticket offices here: http://thesingaporetouristpass.com.sg/where-to-buy/
Budget Accommodation in Singapore
Despite its up-and-coming status, there are plenty of budget accommodation options in the country to complement your cheap trip to Singapore – if only you know where to look! Luckily, we’re on hand to check out the budget hotels, cheap hostels and low-cost Airbnbs in Singapore for you.
If you’re looking to experience a little bit of luxury or something a little extra during your budget trip to Singapore, finding an Airbnb is the perfect option. The idea behind Airbnb is simple – you stay in the house, apartment or room of a host, who either stays with you or leaves you to your own devices for the duration of your stay. You can normally get an Airbnb for a reasonable price, but do bear in mind they do add on their own service fees, and most hosts add on a cleaning fee, too. So check out all the hidden costs before you book! For now, check out these hand-picked Airbnbs in Singapore for those on a budget.
If you’re a solo traveler, it can often be cheaper to stay in a private room rather than renting out a whole apartment. This private room is located in the Novena region just a 5 minute walk away from the shops and restaurants. Although you do have to share a bathroom with other guests, it’s difficult to complain for just $29 per night!
Traveling as a couple can be difficult if you want your space, but with this Airbnb in Singapore, you get a whole apartment to yourselves! This modern apartment has everything you could possibly need – a double bed, living room, large kitchen, incredible bathroom, as well as a hair dryer, toothpaste, and other amenities all provided. This apartment is also located in the middle of the city, less than a 15 minute walk away from the main Singapore attractions. For $73 a night, how could you refuse?
If you’re traveling as a group during your budget trip to Singapore, you need a cheap Airbnb that can house all of you without being too crowded. This three bedroom apartment offers three spacious double bedrooms, with kitchen, living room and bathroom, as well as a communal swimming pool, gym, car park and 24-hour security! The apartment is just a short walk away from the main attractions and will set you back $79 per night – divide that by six, and that’s just $14 each per night!
If you’re looking for the typical vacation accommodation during your cheap trip to Singapore, your best bet is to stay in a Singapore hotel. If you’re staying in the center of Singapore, you’ll most likely encounter high-rise, modern, and glass-paneled hotels that pride themselves on their luxury – and if you look hard enough, you can get some pretty good deals.
Top Tip: If you really want to budget on your budget trip to Singapore, try to find a hotel on the outskirts of the city center. You’ll see the prices drop drastically, and you’re never too far away from the main sights, especially with the public transport system!
Hotel 81 Premier Hollywood, Geylang **
From $60 per night
The Hotel Premier Hollywood is conveniently situated slap bang in the middle of Singapore, meaning it’s within walking distance to everything – even the public transport stops! With free Wi-Fi, ensuite, double bed and a 40” Smart TV, this hotel has everything you could want from a budget Singapore hotel.
Hotel Nostalgia, Tiong Bahru ****
From $82 per night
The 4* Hotel Nostalgia prides itself on its boutique hotel status – and it’s definitely luxurious! With double rooms, a swimming pool, bistro and bar, and lavish furnishings, this hotel is everything you could want. The Hotel Nostalgia is just a 10-minute walk away from the central business district, or just a few minutes walk away from the nearest train station.
Marrison Bugis, Beach Road ***
From $80 per night
Our top pick for your budget Singapore hotel is the Marrison Bugis Hotel. From $80 per night, you can lay your head in a plush double room! The hotel is centrally located and within walking distance to the main Singapore attractions, and you even get a 15% discount if you book 14 days in advance. Perfect for a budget trip to Singapore.
If you want to make the most out of your cheap trip to Singapore, and don’t want to spend too much money on your accommodation, why not stay in a hostel? The hostels in Singapore are the best way to meet fellow travelers and make new friends. And they’re pretty cheap too! Check out our pick of the best hostels in Singapore.
Beary Best Hostel
From $25 per night
The Beary Best Hostel in Singapore is one of the most colorful hostels in the city! From $25 per night, you can lay your head down in a shared dormitory, with free Wifi, free drinks all day, free breakfast, as well as a lounge and entertainment systems for your use. The train station is located just across the road, making it easily accessible to the rest of Singapore.
The Inn Crowd
From $20 per night
The Inn Crowd hostel is the ultimate backpackers hostel, and features dorms full of fellow travelers. Despite it’s slightly basic interior, previous residents have complimented The Inn Crowd for its cleanliness, friendliness and the owner’s’ dedication to providing top hospitality. What more could you want for $20 per night?
From $40 per night
If you’re willing to spend a little bit more during your budget trip to Singapore, the Wink Hostel is the coolest hostel in Singapore. Built in a pod-like structure, each individual or couple will get their own designation ‘pod’ in a dorm room. The walls of the pods are all soundproofed and decked out with their own power sockets and lights, so it’s like you have your own room! Although it will set you back from $40 per night, we think it’s definitely worth it.
Eating & Drinking on a Budget in Singapore
Because of it’s cultural diversity, the food in Singapore is an incredible mix of yummy flavors from across the globe. With influences from Malaysia, China, India, Thailand and western countries, you will never go hungry in Singapore! The best thing about the food in Singapore is that it is super cheap. The people of Singapore love their food, and they love eating out and often venture to a Hawker Center to eat (an open-air complex which holds markets, stalls and food carts), meaning it’s the best place to travel on a budget. Here are our top tips for eating cheap in Singapore.
Breakfast in Singapore is unlike breakfast in any other world, because the whole concept of breakfast is incredibly fluid. If you want toast and fruit or whether you want a big bowl of noodles, there is somewhere in the city that will serve you just that – and they won’t bat an eyelid! Check out these places for breakfast in Singapore.
Ya Kun Kaya Toast, Far East Square
Price Range: Very Cheap
What you get: Kaya Toast is incredibly popular in Singapore – and this place does some of the best! Kaya Toast is slices of toast that are made with kaya, sugar, coconut milk, coconut jam butter and an egg on the side (to dip the toast in of course) and is known as a specialty breakfast meal and snack in Singapore. A set of Kaya will set you back just $5!
Mr & Mrs. Moghans Super Crispy Prata, Crane Road
Price Range: Very Cheap
What you get: As the name suggests, this place offers super crispy Prata! Prata is a form of flatbread that is incredibly popular in Singapore. You can choose to have it sweet, or you can have it with a curry in the morning (best combination!) It may seem pretty weird, but it is so worth it. But be warned, you will have to queue – it is THAT good.
Nanyang Old Coffee, South Bridge Road
Price Range: Very Cheap
What you get: If you want a traditional Singapore breakfast during your budget trip to Singapore, this is your place. This cafe offers some of the most delicious black coffee in Singapore – perfect to wake you up before a day of exploring. Food wise, it offers everything from Kaya Toast, to half-boiled eggs, to ribs, soup, to rice cakes and fish. There’s even a little museum at the back of the cafe, showing you the history of coffee in Singapore. Bonus.
When visiting Singapore on a budget, the aim of the game is to spend as little as possible – but of course, we all need to eat! Especially the yummy food in Singapore. Luckily, eating lunch in Singapore couldn’t be easier. Scattered all across the city are Hawker Centers. These are normally located near train stations, town centers, and main attractions, and offer all of the food you could possibly need. These open-air markets offer everything from fresh food stalls, to food trucks and mini-restaurants. Trust us; there won’t be a shortage of food here! So if you want a spot of lunch, head to a Hawker Center to fill your bellies. For more information on the best Hawker Centers in Singapore, check this out:
The best thing about eating on a budget in Singapore, is that it is so easy! The whole culture of Singapore circles around food, and the first time you meet someone they’ll probably ask, ‘have you eaten?’ as a form of greeting. Because of this, there are hundreds of places to eat dinner in Singapore. The only problem you’ll have is knuckling your choices down to just one…
Komala Villas Restaurant, Serangon Road
What you get: If you’re looking for typically authentic Indian and Asian food, Komala Villas Restaurant is the place to go. And don’t just take it from us – it was also the 2016 TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice winner! With huge portions and small prices, you’ll leave with a full belly and a full wallet.
Chin Chin Eating House, Purvis Street
Price: Very Cheap
What you get: The Chin Chin Eating House offers a no-frills attached kind of service that you expect from restaurants in Singapore – because at the end of the day, it’s all about the taste. They offer a mix of Chinese, Singaporean and Asian cuisine. Check out their famous chicken rice for just $5, but be warned, the portions are mahoosive.
Makansutra Glutton’s Bay, Esplanade Mall
What you get: The food at Makansutra is second to none – honestly! Some of the tastiest seafood, meat and typically Asian cuisine you can find. You can buy cheap main meals, but if you’re willing to spend a little more, we’d recommend getting the set meal. You can buy the Singapore Sampler Set for $29 each, and you’ll get a jug of iced tea, assorted satay, BBQ chicken wings, BBQ Stingray, Char Kway Teow, Soto Ayam, Fried Carrot Cake, Banana Fondue and Chicken Rice Balls!
As the sun sets, Singapore dons its own dancing shoes and transforms into a bustling city of bright lights, nightclubs, and bars – which means you won’t have to travel far to find something to do in the evening! Offering everything from cheap bar hopping to the high-class businessman hangouts, the Singapore nightlife offers something for everyone. Check out the best cheap nightlife options in Singapore.
Brussels Sprouts, The Pier @ Robertson
What you get: Thankfully, this place doesn’t serve vegetable-inspired cocktails. Instead, this bar is THE place to go in Singapore if you fancy a good ol’ beer and a pint of Mussels. This bar offers some of the best views in Singapore and also some of the best Happy Hours in the city – which is great for traveling Singapore on a budget.
Little Saigon Asia, BLK E
What you get: If you fancy a traditional Oriental bar experience, Little Saigon Asia is the place for you. This Vietnamese-style bar offers authentic cocktails and drinks in the coolest setting complete with lanterns and upside-down umbrellas (because what else could you want from a bar?!) The bar itself is pretty pricey – but not if you go during Happy Hour (4 pm – 9 pm each day) as you get 50% off all drinks!
Attica, River Valley Road
What you get: If you’re looking for a big night out, Attica club is one of the most popular clubs in Singapore – and it’s easy to see why. This huge bi-level club is famous for its incredible DJs, huge dance floors, and drinks. It will cost you $30 to get in, but you will get two free drinks for this price. Ladies, if you go on a Wednesday night, you get free entry! (Sorry, gents).
Cheap or Free Attractions in Singapore
Seeing all of the attractions in Singapore doesn’t need to break the bank. In fact, it’s super easy to see the sights in Singapore on a budget! The only problem you’ll have during your budget trip to Singapore will be fitting everything in during your time – because there really is SO MUCH to see and do. Here’s the ultimate list of the top attractions in Singapore, and how to see them on a budget.
- Gardens by the Bay. As you can tell from the above picture, the Gardens by the Bay are utterly gorgeous – both in the daytime and the night time. These incredible alien-like structures make up the Supertree Grove within the gardens, but that’s not all there is to see! (Of course it isn’t, this is Singapore!) The Gardens by the Bay also offers a Cloud Forest Dome, incredible plants and striking structures to wander around. But we hope you have some comfy, because there are 101 hectares to explore! The best part? Entry into the outdoor gardens is completely FREE! Although you will have to pay admission to any conservatories you wish to visit.
- Marina Bay Sands. Okay, so you probably won’t be able to afford to stay at the Marina Bay Sands luxury resort (we wish) but you it is an attraction in Singapore you can’t miss during your budget trip to Singapore. While the hotel offers a large boat-structured top level (complete with infinity pool) for hotel guests, members of the public can still visit the observation deck on the 57th floor which offers incredible views across the whole city, as well as the Gardens by the Bay. This is the best place to see Singapore from above. Unfortunately, you do need to pay for this view – and it will cost you $22 per adult. But it is so worth it!
- China Town. If you’ve never visited China itself, Singapore’s Chinatown will get you as close to the real thing as you can get! Because a large portion of the population are Chinese or have Chinese relatives, the authenticity is there without having to visit the country itself, which means you can fit it into your budget trip to Singapore. As well as offering traditional chinese restaurants, Chinatown also offers ancient Buddhist temples, as well as museums and drum ceremonies. It is well worth a visit. Of course, the whole thing is free for visitors, and you can wander around at your own leisure. Check out the official website here for upcoming events and celebrations.
- Sentosa Island. Okay, so most people don’t visit Singapore for its beaches or island landscapes – but they do offer some luscious beaches, including Sentosa Island. From an outsider’s perspective, it doesn’t even look real! With its turquoise water and palm trees, this island offers the incredible Siloso Beach where you can chill, swim or play sports, as well as a huge aquarium and the famous Merlion statue (with the body of a fish and the head of a lion). The island is located just fifteen minutes outside of the main city, and can be easily reached either by cable car ($33 for a round trip), by foot (free walkway from VivoCity Shopping Mall straight to the island), or you can buy a $4 Sentosa Train Pass from the train station to get you there in no time. For more info, check out this website: http://sentosa.com/Plan-Your-Visit/getting-around
Final Top Tips for Visiting Singapore on a Budget
Now that we’ve covered all of the basis you could possibly need for a budget trip to Singapore, we’re going to be extra nice (we know, we can’t help it) and give you our final top tips for traveling to Singapore on a budget.
- Avoid getting a taxi ANYWHERE! As much as they are super easy to use and get around the city, they will not tie in well with your budget, and you will spend most of your trip forking out on unnecessary transport.
- Instead, buy a Singapore Tourist Card which will allow you unlimited rides of the transport in Singapore. The public transport system is one of the best in the world, so you couldn’t have picked anywhere better to travel.
- Don’t be afraid to try the hostels in Singapore. Although they are pretty basic, they have everything you could possibly need in them and are normally slap bang in the center of all of the best Singapore attractions.
- Try and find hotels in Singapore that are smaller, or family-run. Settling for high-rise glass-paneled hotels will set you back more money than those slightly outside of the city or smaller in size. After all, we want you to travel on a budget!
- Take advantage of all of the amazing food on offer in Singapore. Don’t be afraid to try anything new and have savory food for breakfast! For lunch and dinner, venture over to one of the many Hawker Centers to try traditional, authentic and cheap food in Singapore. Eating in Singapore can be done on the cheap.
- The nightlife in Singapore is second to none; you have to have at least one night out!
- There are so many activities and attractions in Singapore, we’ve barely even scratched the surface. Check out the main Singapore travel site for all of the attractions and make a note of what you want to see and do before you leave for your budget trip to Singapore, so you don’t miss out http://www.visitsingapore.com/en.html
- Singapore has a tropical climate, which means it will be hot, hot, hot. Always make sure you are stocked up on water, and pack the correct clothing. Because of the humidity and location, the city is prone to shock weather changes, so also pack your waterproofs!
- Have fun! We hope you have the most amazing budget trip to Singapore.