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How To Travel Singapore On A Budget


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Cherin Lenz



Welcome to Singapore, the vibrant and multicultural city-state known as the “Lion City.” With its stunning skyline, diverse cultural heritage, and bustling attractions, Singapore is a top destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable experience. While the city has a reputation for being expensive, it is still possible to explore Singapore on a budget without compromising on the fun and excitement. In this guide, we will provide you with tips and tricks to make the most of your visit to Singapore while keeping your wallet happy.


Before delving into the details, it’s important to note that Singapore offers a range of experiences for every budget. Whether you’re a backpacker on a tight budget or a traveler looking for affordable luxury, there are plenty of options available. From budget-friendly accommodations to inexpensive transportation and affordable dining choices, you can enjoy all that Singapore has to offer without breaking the bank.


When planning your trip, keep in mind that Singapore’s climate is hot and humid year-round, so pack light and comfortable clothing. English is widely spoken, making it easy to communicate with the locals. Additionally, Singapore has an excellent public transportation system, including buses and an efficient MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) network, which makes getting around the city a breeze. Now, let’s dive into the specifics of how to make the most of your Singapore adventure without burning a hole in your pocket.


Getting to Singapore

Singapore is a major transportation hub in Southeast Asia, with Changi Airport serving as one of the most well-connected airports in the world. You can easily find direct flights from numerous international destinations to Singapore.


If you’re looking for budget-friendly options, consider flying with low-cost carriers or booking your tickets in advance during promotional periods. Another tip is to be flexible with your travel dates and compare prices from different airlines to snag the best deals.


If you’re already in the region, you can also reach Singapore by bus or train from neighboring countries like Malaysia or Thailand. Several bus companies operate cross-border services, and there are daily trains that connect Singapore with Malaysia and Thailand.


Once you arrive at Changi Airport, you have several options to reach the city center. The most convenient and affordable option is to take the MRT, which is connected directly from the airport. The MRT system is well-maintained, efficient, and cost-effective. Alternatively, you can opt for airport shuttles, taxis, or ride-hailing services like Grab.


If you prefer traveling by sea, Singapore is also a popular cruise destination. The Singapore Cruise Centre and Marina Bay Cruise Centre are two major cruise terminals that receive numerous international cruise lines.


It’s important to check the entry requirements for Singapore before your trip. Most visitors will need a valid passport with at least six months of validity and a return or onward ticket. Some nationalities may require a visa, while certain countries are eligible for the Singapore Electronic Arrival Card, allowing for visa-free entry.


Overall, getting to Singapore is relatively easy and accessible, with various transportation options available to suit different budgets and travel preferences.


Accommodation Options

Accommodation in Singapore caters to a wide range of budgets, offering options for every traveler. Whether you’re looking for luxury hotels, mid-range boutique accommodations, or budget-friendly hostels, you’ll find plenty of choices.


If you’re on a tight budget, consider staying in one of Singapore’s many hostels or budget hotels. These establishments offer clean and comfortable rooms at affordable rates. Some popular budget-friendly areas to stay in Singapore include Little India, Bugis, and Chinatown. These neighborhoods are not only cheaper but also culturally vibrant and offer easy access to public transportation.


If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can find mid-range accommodations that offer more amenities and comfort. Look for deals and promotions online, as many hotels offer discounted rates for advance bookings or during off-peak seasons.


For those seeking a luxurious experience, Singapore boasts a range of world-class hotels and resorts. From iconic landmarks like Marina Bay Sands to boutique hotels in heritage districts like Kampong Glam, you’ll find indulgent options to suit your preferences. Keep in mind that luxury accommodations can be quite expensive, so be sure to set your budget accordingly.


Alternatively, you can also opt for alternative accommodations such as serviced apartments or vacation rentals. Platforms like Airbnb offer a variety of options for different budgets, allowing you to stay in private apartments or houses at competitive prices.


When choosing your accommodation, consider factors like location, amenities, and proximity to public transportation. Having easy access to the MRT or bus stations can save you both time and money.


Lastly, don’t forget to read reviews and compare prices before making your booking. Websites like TripAdvisor and Booking.com provide valuable insights and customer reviews to help you make an informed decision.


By exploring different accommodation options and utilizing online resources, you can find the perfect place to stay in Singapore that suits your budget and preferences.


Transportation within Singapore

Getting around Singapore is a breeze thanks to its efficient and well-connected transportation system. The city-state offers a multitude of options to suit different budgets and preferences.


The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system is the backbone of Singapore’s public transportation. It is fast, reliable, and covers almost all parts of the city. The MRT network consists of several lines that connect major attractions, shopping districts, and residential areas. You can purchase single-trip tickets or opt for an EZ-Link card, which offers discounted fares and can be topped up for multiple trips. The EZ-Link card can also be used for buses and some taxis.


Speaking of buses, Singapore’s bus system is comprehensive and reaches even the most remote neighborhoods. It’s a great way to explore the city and enjoy the view while traveling. Again, you can pay with the EZ-Link card or use cash for single-trip tickets.


Another popular mode of transportation in Singapore is taxis. Taxis are readily available and can be hailed on the street or booked through ride-hailing apps like Grab. While taxis may be slightly more expensive than public transportation, they offer convenience and comfort, especially if you’re traveling in a group or with heavy luggage.


If you prefer a more eco-friendly option, consider renting a bicycle or using the city’s bike-sharing services. Singapore has a growing network of cycling paths, making it easy to explore the city at your own pace. Just make sure to adhere to local traffic rules and regulations for cyclists.


For those who enjoy walking, Singapore is a pedestrian-friendly city with well-maintained sidewalks and pedestrian crossings. Many popular tourist areas are within walking distance of each other, allowing you to explore on foot while enjoying the sights and sounds of the city.


When planning your transportation within Singapore, consider using mobile apps like Google Maps or CityMapper to navigate the city effectively. These apps provide real-time information on routes, schedules, and estimated travel times.


With a variety of transportation options available, getting around Singapore is both convenient and affordable, allowing you to explore the city at your own pace and on your own terms.


Budget-Friendly Attractions

Singapore is home to numerous attractions that offer immersive experiences without breaking the bank. Here are some budget-friendly attractions that you should consider visiting:

  1. Gardens by the Bay: Explore the iconic Supertrees, visit the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest conservatories, and enjoy the stunning waterfront views – all for free! While there may be a fee to enter the conservatories, you can still enjoy the beautiful outdoor gardens and light shows without spending a dime.
  2. Botanic Gardens: Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at the Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll through the lush greenery, admire the beautiful flora, and relax by the serene lakes. Entrance to the gardens is free, except for the National Orchid Garden, which has a nominal fee.
  3. Chinatown and Little India: Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Singapore by exploring the vibrant neighborhoods of Chinatown and Little India. Experience the colorful temples, browse through local shops, and sample delicious street food. Entrance to temples is usually free or has a small donation fee.
  4. Hawker Centers: Indulge in Singapore’s famous food culture without breaking your budget. Head to hawker centers like Maxwell Food Centre or Old Airport Road Food Centre, where you’ll find a wide variety of affordable and delicious local dishes. Don’t forget to try the famous Hainanese chicken rice!
  5. Street Art in Kampong Glam: Take a leisurely stroll through the vibrant streets of Kampong Glam, where colorful street art adorns the walls. You can appreciate the creativity and artistic expressions of both local and international artists completely free of charge.

Additionally, keep an eye out for free events and festivals happening during your visit. Singapore hosts various cultural events, music concerts, and outdoor movie screenings throughout the year, offering entertainment for all at no cost.


Remember to check the websites and social media pages of attractions for updated information on fees, operating hours, and special promotions. By exploring these budget-friendly attractions, you can experience the essence of Singapore without breaking your bank account.


Food and Dining Tips

Singapore is renowned for its diverse and delicious culinary scene, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy the local delicacies. Here are some tips to help you eat well on a budget in Singapore:

  1. Visit Hawker Centers: Hawker centers are the heart and soul of Singapore’s food culture. These large food courts offer a wide variety of affordable local dishes, from Singaporean favorites like laksa and char kway teow to international cuisines. Look out for popular hawker centers like Maxwell Food Centre, Tiong Bahru Market, or Chinatown Complex Food Centre, where you can find delicious and inexpensive meals.
  2. Try Local Favorites: Singaporean cuisine is a melting pot of flavors influenced by various cultures. Don’t miss out on dishes like Hainanese chicken rice, chili crab, roti prata, or satay. These local favorites are not only tasty but also reasonably priced.
  3. Opt for Set Meals: Many restaurants and eateries in Singapore offer affordable set meals during lunchtime or early bird dinner specials. Take advantage of these promotions to enjoy a filling meal at a discounted price.
  4. Explore Food Streets: There are several streets and districts in Singapore known for their affordable and tasty street food. From Jalan Alor in Geylang to Balestier Road, these food streets offer a wide range of cheap eats, including local snacks, noodles, and desserts.
  5. Embrace Kopitiams: Kopitiams are traditional coffee shops that serve a variety of local dishes and drinks. These casual establishments are a great place to grab a cheap and delicious breakfast of kaya toast and coffee or try a traditional pork rib soup known as bak kut teh.

When dining out, keep in mind that prices in tourist areas and upscale restaurants tend to be higher. Venture away from the tourist hotspots to find more affordable options. Look for places with long queues, as they often indicate popular and reasonably priced eateries.


Furthermore, consider sharing dishes with travel companions to sample a variety of flavors without overspending. You can also save money by opting for local beverages like Teh Tarik (pulled tea) or local non-alcoholic drinks.


Finally, if you are staying in accommodations with kitchen facilities, you can buy groceries from supermarkets and cook your own meals to cut down on dining expenses.


By following these tips and exploring the diverse food scene in Singapore, you can enjoy delicious and authentic local cuisine without burning a hole in your pocket.


Shopping on a Budget

Singapore is known as a shopper’s paradise, offering a wide range of retail experiences, from luxury shopping malls to bustling street markets. Here are some tips to make the most of your shopping experience in Singapore without breaking the bank:

  1. Visit Bargain Shopping Areas: Explore budget-friendly shopping areas like Bugis Street, Chinatown, and Little India. These areas are packed with shops selling trendy clothes, accessories, and souvenirs at affordable prices. Don’t be afraid to haggle for better deals!
  2. Shop at Outlet Malls: For brand-name bargains, head to outlet malls like IMM and Changi City Point. These malls offer discounted prices on popular international and local brands, allowing you to snag great deals on clothing, shoes, and accessories.
  3. Explore Local Markets: Get an authentic Singaporean shopping experience by visiting local markets like Tekka Centre in Little India or Chinatown Street Market. Here, you can find a variety of affordable goods such as traditional clothing, handicrafts, artwork, and snacks.
  4. Utilize Seasonal Sales and Promotions: Keep an eye out for seasonal sales like the Great Singapore Sale or major holiday promotions. During these periods, many stores offer significant discounts and promotions, allowing you to grab your favorite items at lower prices.
  5. Go Duty-Free: If you’re looking to buy luxury goods at more affordable prices, consider shopping at duty-free zones like Changi Airport. You can enjoy tax savings on items like cosmetics, perfumes, and electronics.

In addition, don’t forget to compare prices before making a purchase. Some malls may have multiple stores selling similar items, so take the time to compare prices and quality before making a decision. Online platforms and price comparison websites can also be helpful in finding the best deals in town.


Another tip is to avoid shopping at tourist-centric areas and opt for local markets or neighborhood shops. Prices in tourist areas are often higher, targeting visitors who may be willing to pay a premium.


Finally, consider purchasing unique and local souvenirs instead of generic items. Look for traditional handicrafts, local artwork, or food products that make for meaningful and affordable gifts.


By following these tips and being a savvy shopper, you can enjoy a fulfilling shopping experience in Singapore without straining your budget.


Nightlife and Entertainment

Singapore offers a vibrant and exciting nightlife scene, with a plethora of entertainment options for every taste. Whether you’re looking for live music, rooftop bars, or cultural performances, there are plenty of budget-friendly options to keep you entertained during your stay:

  1. Explore Clarke Quay: Clarke Quay is a riverside precinct known for its bustling nightlife. Enjoy free entry to many bars and clubs during weekdays, where you can enjoy live music, dance to the beats of local DJs, or simply relax and enjoy the scenic views along the Singapore River.
  2. Attend Free Events and Festivals: Singapore hosts various free events and festivals throughout the year. From music concerts at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre to cultural performances at the Singapore Night Festival, there’s always something happening that won’t cost you a dime. Keep an eye on event listings and local websites for updates.
  3. Visit Haji Lane and Arab Street: Immerse yourself in the vibrant street culture of Haji Lane and Arab Street. These neighborhoods are famous for their trendy boutiques, cool cafes, and live music venues. Take a stroll, listen to buskers, and soak up the lively atmosphere without spending too much.
  4. Enjoy Gardens by the Bay Light Shows: Witness the mesmerizing light and sound shows at Gardens by the Bay. The Supertrees come alive in a dazzling display of lights and music every evening, and it’s completely free to watch. Grab a seat on the lawn and be captivated by the enchanting spectacle.
  5. Take in the Views from Marina Barrage: Visit Marina Barrage, a popular spot for picnics and outdoor activities. It offers stunning panoramic views of the city skyline. Bring along some snacks, a mat, and enjoy a relaxing evening with friends or loved ones while taking in the breathtaking scenery.

As for drinks and nightlife, consider happy hour promotions at bars and clubs to save on drink prices. Many establishments offer discounted prices during specific times, allowing you to enjoy a night out without overspending.


Additionally, keep an eye out for affordable comedy shows, open mic nights, and live performances at venues like the Crazy Elephant and Blu Jaz Cafe. These venues often feature local talents and provide an entertaining evening at reasonable prices.


Remember to plan your evenings in advance, as some venues may require reservations or have specific entry requirements. Lastly, be sure to prioritize your safety and respect local laws and regulations while enjoying Singapore’s vibrant nightlife.


By exploring these budget-friendly nightlife and entertainment options, you can enjoy memorable evenings in Singapore without blowing your budget.


Money-Saving Tips

Traveling to Singapore on a budget doesn’t mean missing out on the best experiences. With some careful planning and smart choices, you can make the most of your trip while keeping your expenses under control. Here are some money-saving tips to help you stretch your budget:

  1. Stay in Budget Accommodations: Look for budget-friendly accommodations such as hostels, budget hotels, or vacation rentals. Consider staying in neighborhoods outside the city center, as they often offer more affordable options.
  2. Eat Like a Local: Explore hawker centers and local food stalls where you can find delicious and affordable meals. Try the local specialties and don’t hesitate to try street food, as it often provides a great culinary experience without breaking the bank.
  3. Make Use of Public Transportation: Singapore’s public transportation system is efficient and relatively inexpensive. Utilize the extensive MRT network and buses to get around the city instead of relying on taxis or private transportation.
  4. Take Advantage of Free Attractions: Singapore offers numerous free attractions and events. Visit places like Gardens by the Bay, the Botanic Gardens, or take a walk through cultural neighborhoods to experience the city’s charm without spending a dime.
  5. Plan Your Activities in Advance: Research and plan your itinerary to take advantage of discounts and promotions. Look for combo tickets that offer savings on multiple attractions or check if there are free guided tours available for certain attractions.
  6. Enjoy Happy Hour and Drink Specials: If you plan on having a night out, make use of happy hour promotions and drink specials at bars and clubs. Many establishments offer discounted prices during specific times, allowing you to enjoy a night of fun without overspending.
  7. Use Water Refilling Stations: Singapore’s tap water is safe to drink. Carry a reusable water bottle and make use of the water refilling stations available throughout the city. This will save you money and reduce plastic waste.
  8. Take Advantage of Tax-Free Shopping: If you’re a non-resident, consider shopping at tax-free stores or obtaining a refund on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for eligible purchases. Remember to keep your receipts and check the eligibility criteria for tax refunds.
  9. Utilize Student Discounts: If you’re a student, make sure to carry your student ID as many attractions, museums, and theaters offer discounted rates for students. Take advantage of these discounts to save money on entrance fees.
  10. Use City Passes or Tourist Cards: Explore options like the Singapore Tourist Pass or the Singapore City Pass, which offer unlimited transportation and discounted entry to various attractions. These passes can provide significant savings if you plan to visit multiple sites.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to set a daily budget and track your expenses to ensure you stay within your limits. With these money-saving tips, you can make the most of your Singaporean adventure without burning a hole in your pocket.



Traveling to Singapore on a budget is not only possible but also a rewarding experience. By following the tips and suggestions outlined in this guide, you can explore the vibrant city-state while keeping your expenses in check. From affordable accommodations and efficient public transportation to budget-friendly attractions, dining options, shopping areas, and entertainment venues, Singapore offers something for every traveler without breaking the bank.


Remember to plan your trip in advance, compare prices, and take advantage of discounts, promotions, and free attractions. Explore local neighborhoods, immerse yourself in the diverse food scene, and seek out unique experiences that won’t strain your budget. Singapore’s rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, lush gardens, and vibrant nightlife are all within reach, regardless of your travel budget.


As you navigate through the bustling streets, savor the flavors of local dishes, and soak in the beauty of the city’s skyline, you’ll discover that Singapore has a lot to offer without compromising on the quality of your experience. So, pack your bags, prepare your itinerary, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey in Singapore without worrying about your budget.