How to Experience Singapore on a Budget
I’ve been to Singapore a few times and each time I go it never seems to get any cheaper. However, the food doesn’t get any less delicious nor does the bustling city state get any less beautiful. The first time I went was with some study abroad friends during Halloween, which racked up a huge bill because we largely congregated at Clark’s Quay, which is a great place to eat, drink, and be merry, particularly if shopping is what makes you the merriest. However, this location, as colorful as it is, is quite expensive so if you’re hoping to experience Singapore on a budget, I’d recommend having a weekday lunch at Clark’s Quay rather than an evening out.
That said, some of Singapore’s best snacks can be found for much cheaper on the street, whether it’s in Little India, a cultural center of the city state, or the train station under Clark’s Quay, which hosts some delicious stops as well.
One great way to travel, which I’ve fallen in love with, is using Airbnb for my accommodations. It’s a great way to basically appoint a single serving friend that can really help you make your way through a new city. Hostels are scarce in Singapore and hotels are quite nice, but usually over $80 a night, so Airbnb can be a cheaper way to stay in the city, while also incorporating a private guide to recommend you to some great local spots.
If you decide that hostels are strictly for you, the cheapest ones are in Little India and the Chinatown region of Singapore. Both areas offer cheaper accommodations and food as well as a unique cultural experience in Singapore, whose citizens are some of the most diverse in the world.
It may not be the cheapest destination, but you can experience–and enjoy–Singapore on a budget.
Singapore hosts a number of cultural, artistic, and outdoor events and adventures, which can range widely in the average traveler’s budget. Marina Bay Sands famously hosts the city’s infinity pool and bar that allows you to overlook the majority of the city, but the complex also offers shopping, and an art museum with up-to-date, exciting exhibits. During my last visit, the complex showcased National Geographic’s 50 Best Portraits. Tickets were reasonable and it was one of the best exhibits I’ve seen.
Since Singapore is small and public transportation is quite efficient, it’s easy to get from here to there for cheap. Another great site of Singapore, that’s close to a transit stop is the Botanical Gardens, which hosts an array of gorgeous flowers and plants. Just perusing the gardens can easily fill up an entire afternoon. Most of the gardens are free, but some are $5, though students can get a discount. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Also free and pretty, is the hike to Sentosa/Mount Faber, which is a moderately quick hike. Though it starts with lots of stairs, it offers some great views overlooking the island. There are also a few nice places to get drinks or tapas at the top before you start your return descent.
If those ideas seem a little tame for your liking, I also discovered a wakeboarding park, Ski360, my last time around, where you can wakeboard on a trackline and complete an obstacle course. Passes on the weekdays are cheaper and you pay by the hour, so within your allotted time you can go as many times as you like, but you’ll get more bang for your buck the less busy it is. You don’t need any previous experience to go and there’s a cafe right next door where you can hang out between runs. The park area around Ski360 faces the water on one side and is filled with families and people riding bikes and roller skating around through the park.
It may not be the cheapest destination, but you can experience–and enjoy–Singapore on a budget. I hope this helps those of you who may have been discouraged from venturing out due to your bank accounts.
How do you recommend experiencing Singapore on a budget?