Singapore is one of the more expensive cities in the Southeast Asian region because it is the world’s biggest economic center due to the shipping industry and banking. Overall it is an amazing city to experience and it’s well worth the visit. It helps to be crafty to spread your dollar a little farther, but then again, when isn’t that the case?

Photo by Sabrina via
Photo by Sabrina via

Ride the MRT:

If you land at Changi Airport, you can hop on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) at either Terminal 2 or 3 for only $2 and you’ll be in the city center within 30 minutes. The MRT is a cheap way to get across the city and it’s a much better option than taxis. It’s a large part of the Singapore railway system and spans the entire city.

Stick to Food Courts and Coffee Shops:

If you walk into a restaurant unaware of the price beforehand, you may be in for a shock as restaurants can get pretty pricey. So unless you plan on splurging, it’s best to stay true to street food. You can find meals at a stall for around $4 and coffee shops shouldn’t cost much more for a snack. If you’re worried about picking up food sickness, eat slowly at first and try not to scarf it all down on day one.

Find Budget Hotels and Hostels in Bugis:

If you don’t know where you want to bed down in the city, a stay in Bugis is going to be a great place to start. You’ll be between Chinatown, Arab Street, and Little India so you will get the full cultural experience. Also, this place is filled with budget hotels that are decently priced, which you may be hard-pressed to find in other areas. Hostels in the city typically run at $18 and up and a budget hotel will run you $40 or more.

Enjoy the Water:

Deserving of its own section for the simple fact that it can add up in price, the water in Singapore is very safe to drink, so pack a water bottle.

Shop in Chinatown and Little India:

Well-known for having shopping centers up the wazoo, Singapore’s shopping culture can get expensive – quick. If you do want to shop, but find the prices a little bit much after the price of your plane ticket to get there, shop in the much less expensive shops in Chinatown and Little India. You will probably find more interesting and entertaining things there too.

Keep it Simple:

Unless you are prepared to spend a lot, keep it simple with your entertainment. If you want to relax, go to one of the parks in the city, check out a museum, or just get lost and people watch. The simplest things can be the most enjoyable in the world of travel.

So there you have it! Singapore can be insanely expensive, especially compared to nearby countries, but it can be done on a budget if you play it cool and do your research. If you want more guides on Singapore, scroll to the bottom of this page on Hipmunk.