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Is Singapore expensive? Yes, unlike it’s other southeast Asian counterparts, Singapore is notorious for being expensive! In fact, according to surveys run by CNBC and Business Inside this city state has ranked top of the Most Expensive City in the World list. Studies show that 1 in every 6 houses has a millionaire living in it.
As any backpacker would, I am sure you are keen to visit Singapore on a budget, but when Singapore travel expenses are much higher it can be hard to know how to keep your trip shoestring budget friendly. Nevertheless there are still plenty of backpackers in Singapore and it is definitely a must see destination – these photos will definitely inspire you to visit. So don’t let the prices on Singapore put you off – it is certainly possible to visit Singapore on a budget.
Interested in reading a structured itinerary for your trip to Singapore? Or are you in need of a travel guide for Singapore?
BACKPACKING SINGAPORE ON A BUDGET
Daily Budget in Singapore
The general advice for backpacking Southeast Asia is to budget for around 25USD a day. Your budget for Singapore will want to be at least double this! Singapore backpacking prices are similar to that of a Europe backpacking trip. So consider a Singapore budget of between 50 and 60USD a day, if you are planning on staying in cheaper accommodation and eating cheaper foods. Of course you will need to increase this if you wanted to stay in a hotel, or go out for drinks!
Plan Your Time in Singapore Well
As accommodation in Singapore is going to be one of your biggest spends, make sure you aren’t spending longer here than you need! I stayed for 2.5D / 3N and this was plenty. It is useful to have some sort of Singapore budget itinerary to follow so you get the most out of the city.
Use Public Transport or Walk
The Singapore MRT is a quick, clean and reliable way of travelling around the city, and considerably cheaper than using taxis. You can get a tourist pass for the MRT which costs 10S$ per day, but if you don’t use 10S$ worth, it doesn’t carry over and you don’t get any money back. Try and roughly work out how many journeys you are going to need to do in a day. Most journeys costs around 1,50S$.
Use walking directions on your phone! Some of the tourist spots in Singapore are really close together, so why not head there food and see more of the city? Exploring as much as you can is definitely something any traveller would want to do, and it’s certainly a great way to budget in Singapore.
Drink the Tap Water
Whilst in other Asian destinations you will find yourself spending money on bottled / potable water, you don’t need to worry about this in Singapore. The tap water is drinkable so just take your favourite refillable water bottle with you!
Best Places to stay in Singapore for Backpackers
When you are backpacking in Singapore your first port of call for accommodation will be to look at hostels in Singapore. Although they are more expensive that other options in Asia, there are still backpacker friendly options around.
My recommended hostel in Singapore is The Bohemian Chic. It cost me £18 a night to stay here, which included breakfast (prices correct in April / May 2019). Bohemian Chic is located in the heart of Chinatown, somewhere you will definitely want to include on your Singapore backpacking itinerary. The staff Bohemian Chic were really friendly and helpful with recommendations and advice for the exploring Singapore.
Other popular backpacker hostels in Sinapore are The Pod Hostel and Wink Capsule hostel. Look at some other accommodation options for backpackers in Singapore here.
Things to do in Singapore on a Budget
If you are on a backpacker budget, you are going to want cheap spots or places to go in Singapore without spending any money. Exploring Singapore on a budget doesn’t mean you have to miss out on seeing what the city has to offer. To make sure you are able to see all of these attractions in your time frame, follow my Singapore 3 day itinerary.
1. Gardens by the Bay
Nearest MRT station: Bay Front
Singapore backpacking would not be complete without a trip to Gardens by the Bay. It is probably the best free thing to do in Singapore. Some aspects of this attraction are a little more expensive to see, but the main park at Supertree Grove is free to visit. Come here at night to enjoy the free Gardens of Rhapsody Light Show at 7:45 and 8:45pm.
Watch my Singapore travel vlog where I visit Gardens by the Bay
2. Check out the award-winning Botanical Gardens
Nearest MRT station – Botanical Gardens
Singapore’s 161 year old botanical gardens are the only of it’s kind to be a UNESCO world heritage site. With no entry fee you could spend all day wandering around here. There are plenty of different gardens with huge varieties of plants and flowers.
3. Grab a Bargain at Bugis Street
Nearest MRT station – Bugis
Clothes, jewellery, food and sounveir prices in Singapore are going to be higher but if you come to the Bugis indoor street market you might be able grab a bargain. This market is the largest of it’s kind in Singapore, offering lots of low prices on goods.
4. Admire the Marina Bay Area from Merlion Park
Nearest MRT station – Raffles Place
The Merlion Statue is located opposite the world famous Marina Bay Sands hotel. It is a giant fountain in the shape of the Singapore mascot, a lion mixed with a mermaid. It is free to check out so it won’t dent the Singapore budget. I wouid recommend hanging around Merlion Park in the evening so you can see across to all the attractions in Marina Bay lit up – Marina Bay Sands Hostel, ArtScience Museum, Singapore Flyer and Suntec City.
Watch day one of my trip to Singapore here
5. Eat at Little India
Nearest MRT station – Little India (funnily enough!)
The Little India district is the best place to come for budget food in Singapore. Prices of food in Singapore can obviously be more expensive but if you come to Little India so can definitely grab some bargains at the Tekka Centre. Make sure you try some Rotti Pratta, it shouldn’t set you back more than a couple of Singapore dollars. Little India is home to the Sri Veeramakaliamman hindu temple which you can visit for free.
6. Watch the free light and water show at Marina Bay
Nearest MRT station – Bayfront
The Spectre Light and Water Show is another great free thing to do in Singapore. It happens every night at 8 and 9pm next to the ArtScience Museum on the marina. The colour lights and water seem to dance on top of the water.
7. Explore Chinatown
Nearest MRT station – Chinatown
No Singapore backpacking trip would be complete without visiting Chinatown, especially in the evening. If you want some budget food in Singapore, grab something from one of the Chinatown street food stands. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is found in Chinatown and is free to look around.
8) Arab Street
Nearest MRT station – Bugis
Arab Street and Haji Lane give you a beautiful insight into the Arab culture found in Singapore. There are plenty of shops and stalls here to check out, and there’s also some colourful street art around Haji Lane. Clos to Arab Street is the Masjid Sultan (Sultan Mosque) on Muscat Street, which is free to visit.
Backpacking Singapore on a budget is certainly possible and it shouldn’t be a destination missed just because of it’s expenses. Just make sure your check out a travel guide before you go and follow a Singapore backpacking itinerary – then you are sure to get the most out of your time there!
Enjoyed reading about budget backpacking in Singapore?
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[…] The Marina Bay Area a tourist spot in Singapore which just has to be viewed at night. The best way to view this is to head to Merlion Park where you can see the Marina Sands Bay Hotel, Singapore Flyer and Suntec City all lit up. Here you can also check out the Merlion Fountain, which is the official Singapore mascot. These are all free to look at, so are ideal for a Singapore budget trip. […]