Singapore for less than $25 a day

Introduction

When in Singapore, you will quickly realize that travelling here on the cheap is not that easy. It’s not Thailand or Cambodia where you can spend $1-$3 on your accommodation and dine out for $3 (including alcoholic drinks). In fact, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 Worldwide Cost of Living survey, the island city of Singapore has been named the world’s most expensive city to live in. Singapore is the most expensive place in the world to buy clothes, relies heavily on imported goods and has an increasingly strong currency. However, as they say: “Impossible is nothing,” and I’m going to show you how to stay in Singapore for less than $25 a day.

Singapore

Current currency in Singapore

1.00 USD = 1.27 SGD

25.00 USD = 31.73 SGD

Budget plan for Singapore

Here is the breakdown of the costs of one day in Singapore:

Eat and Drink for 10 SGD

Sleep for 18 SGD

Go around for 2 SGD

Go sighseeing for  0 SGD

Total: 30 SGD

Singapore food

Food

The good news is that Singapore offers a lot of cheap meals so you can eat a lot without paying much, as long as you visit Hawker Centers. Hawker centres are open-air complexes housing many stalls that sell a variety of inexpensive Chinese food. One of the cheapest places in Singapore is Maxwell Hawker Center located at the edge of Chinatown. The place is open daily from 8 am to 10 pm. There are more than 100 different dishes served here, so get yourself ready for trying some fish soup (3 SGD), Thai pancakes (2 SGD), sweet conginee (2 SGD) or famous Indian roti prata (4 SGD). The quality is also unbeatable!

Singapore food

Accommodation

My recommendation is the Heritage Hostel for the sake of its cheap price and great location. Heritage Hostel is located in Chinatown, right opposite (literally) the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum and the Maxwell Hawker Center. As it is located in the middle of the tourist attraction, you are saving time and money to go to an attraction. It is a walking distance to nightlife hotspot such as Clarke Quay and Boat quay, Marina Bay Sands. If you book your room 2 months in advance, you will pay only 18 SGD a night (dorms).

The rooms are very nice, comfortable and secure. It has clean facilities with adequate-size dorm rooms. The girls in reception are very helpful with transport queries visitors have for city attractions. There is a good WiFi connection with handy laptops to use if you do not have one. It is helpful to use the storage space for luggage since many departure flights are late in the evening. The big plus is that it is near to Clarke Quay where everyone goes out to have fun.

Singapore lodging

Getting around

Singapore can be easily explored on foot. It’s small and busy, so if you get lost just ask locals for direction. The single bus ticket costs 1 SGD in case you get tired or want to go somewhere remote. A good idea is to enjoy cycling with Singapore’s first eco-friendly electric bicycles at the Gogreen Heritage & Island Explorer in Sentosa. It does not cost much, but it’s plenty of fun and a morning bike ride will wake you all up immediately.

Singapore

Singhtseeing on the cheap

#1 Night walk through Marina Bay.

One of the main attractions in Singapore on the cheap is to go down to the marina to shoot some shots of this magnificent city lit up at night and reflected across the water. The cityscape of Singapore is beautiful at night, and you can chill out by the water’s edge with the jazz band playing in the background, the humid air keeping you warm, and take some time out to appreciate its skyline.

#2 Riding the world’s highest observation wheel, the Singapore Flyer.

Singapore Flyer is definitely one of the most famous tourist attractions in Singapore. The wheel’s capsules offer a bird’s-eye view of the city centre, Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay. I guarantee you that your kids will love the experience. When the weather is nice, you can see far south across the water to Indonesia and north to Malaysia. It usually costs $S33 for adults, but during Chinese New Year and big city events it’s free between 10 am and 1pm.

#3 Visiting East Coast Seafood Centre.

The East Coast Seafood Centre is a super family-friendly row of restaurants where you can experience authentic local cuisine. You can find up to 150 of the best, “die-die must-try” foods in Singapore. Once you are here, you can also rent a scooter or skates so your kids can run amok while you enjoy a cold beer when all the stomachs are full.

As you can see, Singapore can also be a budget-friendly city with plenty of different activities to do on the cheap. You just need to plan things ahead and be well-organised. Without a doubt, you will not be bored here, and you will love every second of the hectic day!

Profile photoMeet a Polish duo, Agness and Cez, who are founders of a budget travel blog called eTramping, where you can find tips on how to travel the world with $25 in your pocket. They call themselves tramps as they have been travelling the world with no permanent home since 2011. During their voyages, they love to dig into local street dishes and take photos of everything that moves. They are both photography passionates obsessed with Chinese cuisine and culture. If you would like to read more about China, you can check out “Add the Brick to the Great Wall:” Experience-based Advice for China from Expats” e-book which sums up a two-year experience of teaching, living and travelling in the Land of Dragons.

All images courtesy of Agness at eTramping.com

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Author: Guest Writer

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28 Comments

  1. This information was definitely helps me. Iam planning a trip to Singapore in July. Also please share top sightseeing places in Singapore.

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    • Glad it was helpful! I would suggest visiting her site for more tips on Singapore. We haven’t been there yet.

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  2. Your post is really a great guide to visit Singapore. Nice to hear that lot of their foods are cheap. I want to visit their and try all their foods that looks good to taste. Thanks a lot for sharing!

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  3. Great post by Agness and Cez – love how they show you how to survive for less than $25 a day in different parts of the world. It’s very difficult in Singapore 🙂

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  4. I lived in Singapore for 4-5 years. I never realized that people think it’s an expensive destination! It’s actually really doable on a backpacker’s budget. Food is cheap and the public transport network is awesome. It’s only expensive if you compare it to other Southeast Asian countries, really.

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  5. Singaporean here and glad to see you enjoyed yourself! Visitors – please dont worry. Accommodation will be your greatest expense & maybe attractions if you plan to go to any paid ones (the zoo is well worth the price though). Other than that, food and transport are cheap or comparable to your home countries.

    It is very expensive for the locals. Public housing costs in the high 6 digits, cars costs in the high 5 digits at minimum. Private housing is well in the millions. Soon, it might become unaffordable for most Singaporeans. But not to worry, visitors will still enjoy themselves at a budget rate if you know how to go about doing that. (:

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  6. That’s indeed a cheap stay at Singapore. I would love to visit Sentosa soon if I have time! 🙂

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  7. I have to agree with the couchsurfing comment. Whilst I did actually stay in a hostel, I met up with a girl who found my blog and she became my tour guide throughout the weekend and we had a total blast for much cheaper than I had thought; speaking to locals or people that have found ways of cutting costs themselves REALLY helps in this place 🙂

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  8. I’ll be visiting Singapore in December. (What can I say? I plan ahead). 🙂 Although I’m not a budget traveler by any means, I gleaned several useful ideas from this article about things to do when I’m there. (For example, I enjoy long-exposure night photography, and Marina Bay sounds like a great place for that!) And if I end up with more money left over for my next destination, so much the better!

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    • Great news! I hope you will have a lot of fun. Marina Bay looks spectacular at night, walk across the bridge and take some awesome night photos!

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  9. Good post here and like Agness and Cez, I’ve also found it an easy enough place to do on the cheap. There seems to be this myth that it’s an expensive place but it depends what you factor in to this argument. I like to “even things up” and work things out overall when I travel to a country and because Singapore has no visa fee for me, (and an easy train in and out from Malaysia) overall it actually works out cheaper than Cambodia (who charged $25 US last time for a visa). Plus the internal transport in Singapore is a lot cheaper than Cambodia as Singapore’s MRT makes everywhere seem close. There aren’t many long distance bus journeys. Safe travels. Jonny

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    • Thanks Jonny. So true! We were in Cambodia as well and I can totally relate to what you are saying here. In terms of transport, Singapore is by far cheaper than Cambodia, Thailand or even Vietnam.

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  10. I was worried about visiting Singapore but actually it’s very doable on a backpacker’s budget (as you have shown). Unfortunately, I do like my booze and I ended up paying way too much for a few nights on the tiles. Ooops :/

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    • Yeah a friend of mine told me how much a beer cost, and my jaw almost hit the floor. Looks like maybe duty free is your friend when going there.

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    • Yes, the most money you spend is unfortunately accommodation…

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  11. Good stuff. And if you want to save even more (as in 12 SGN/day) eliminate the hostel by couchsurfing. The bonus is you’ll get a locals view of Singapore and often they know the best deals in town.

    That said, for those with little travel time – the Changi Int’l airport is among THE best in the world. Plan a goodly layover there as there’s TONS of free stuff to do, including – a FREE 2 hr. bus tour (with time for pics) of downtown Singapore – both a night and a day tour, and they handle the passport details allowing you to leave the airport while in transit.

    There’s also a geocache hidden in the Changi Butterfly Garden that you could go after, but uh, that’s a whole nuther story! 😉

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    • I think it is rated as the #1 airport in the world actually. Sounds like an absolutely incredible airport experience. I didn’t know about the bus tour. That’s pretty awesome!

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    • Yes, I agree! Couchsurfing is a great way to explore the city like a local without spending much. I would search for a host like 2 weeks in advance though.

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  12. This guide was definitely helpful. I’m planning a trip to Singapore in August. I can’t stop hearing how expensive it can be. Any other Singapore tips would be amazing.

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    • Thank you Shereen! I’m glad you found it helpful. Yes, Singapore is expensive, but you can still make it a lot cheaper than you think. If you have more questions, just ask me!

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    • Do not be fooled by “Singapore being the most expensive city” tag. It can still being visited on a budget. I am a local. Trust me 😉

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