Singapore is a fun-filled — yet expensive — place to visit. But with a little planning and information, even travellers on a budget can enjoy this amazing Asian city-state.
Here are some of the best tips to keep money in your pocket and a smile on your face.
- Plan early. Start planning your trip as early as possible, so that you can secure the best deals and know what to expect in Singapore.
- Skip the expensive guidebooks. Most Singapore natives speak English, so you can ask them directions. Also, the city is compact and not very difficult to navigate. Plus, you can stop by any tourist office for documents and maps.
- Learn the laws. There are some unusual laws in Singapore, and if you break them you’ll have to pay a hefty fine. For example, spitting or spitting out your chewing gum in public is not allowed.
- Pack extra toiletries. Toiletries are expensive in Singapore, so make sure you have everything you need before you go.
- Look online for cheap flights. If you’re looking for a cheap flight to Singapore, spend some time shopping around on the Web and you will surely come across some great deals that will get you to this amazing destination.
- Stay somewhere for free. Couchsurfing is a great option. Locals offer to put up travellers in their homes for free. You’ll need to join a couchsurfing organization and do some research, but it’s worth it. Plus, you’ll have someone who can help you enjoy your stay and offer helpful suggestions about where to go and what to see.
- Go camping. The East Coast Beach offers free camping if you bring your own tent, and public transportation can get you to downtown Singapore.
- Little India is cheap. This area has some of the cheapest places to stay in Singapore. If you save money on your lodgings, you’ll be able to spend it elsewhere. And since you will probably only use your accommodations for sleeping and showering anyway, why not save a little where you can and enjoy as much of Singapore as possible?
- Walk. You can walk between most of the interesting neighbourhoods and attractions, which will save you a lot of money.
- Skip the taxis. Public transportation is efficient and cost-effective. The SIA Hop-On AC Bus Service offers unlimited rides for $5 a day. And if you must take a taxi, find some people to share it with. You can also save money with SMRT tourist passes or by travelling during discounted morning hours.
Food and Drink
- Drink tap water. The tap water is good and safe; so drink it instead of buying expensive bottled water.
- Don’t drink alcohol. Singapore has expensive alcohol and watered-down drinks. But if you must drink:
- Drink during happy hours. Most pubs have discounts on alcoholic drinks if you drink early rather than late.
- For ladies: Drink on Wednesdays. Wednesdays are ladies’ night at clubs all over the city. Clark Quay on the Singapore River has many clubs offering free drinks and entry for ladies.
- Eat at wet markets. These markets have everything from live animals to noodles, rice herbs, vegetables and more, and they are cheap.
- Eat at hawker centres. These are similar to food courts, with ready-made, affordable food from many vendors.
- Eat in Chinatown. The streets are filled with stalls and restaurants offering great bargains.
- Bring your own chocolate. Chocolate is quite expensive in Singapore so if you know you enjoy chocolate now and then, it’s best to bring your own.
- Visit the Singapore Visitors Centre. Here you can find out what’s happening during your stay.
- Explore nature. The Singapore Botanical Gardens and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve are both free.
- Free rock concerts. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, there are free concerts at the Esplanade outdoor theatre, which is on the harbor. Sometimes there are also free art exhibits and other performances at the Esplanade.
- Free shows at Marina Bays Sands. These original water and light shows occur nightly at 8 and 9:30 p.m.
- Go during the Great Shopping Sale. This is the best time to make a shopping trip to Singapore. It begins mid-year and lasts for about a month.
- Tax-free shopping. Look for outlets that offer tax-free shopping, allowing you to get a reimbursement of up to three percent if you spend $300 or more. You can get your reimbursement by showing your cheques at the airport.