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How To Do Singapore On The Cheap


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Bonnibelle Money



Welcome to the world of budget travel! If you have the wanderlust bug but don’t want to break the bank, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will explore how to experience the vibrant and culturally rich city of Singapore on a budget.


Singapore, also known as the Lion City, is renowned for its modern skyline, delicious street food, and diverse mix of cultures. While it may have a reputation for being an expensive destination, with careful planning and a few insider tips, you can enjoy all that Singapore has to offer without burning a hole in your wallet.


So, whether you’re a backpacker on a shoestring budget or a savvy traveler looking to maximize your travel funds, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to explore Singapore on the cheap.


From affordable transport options and budget-friendly accommodation to delicious yet inexpensive dining choices, we’ve got you covered. We’ll also share some fantastic free and cheap activities, as well as insider shopping tips to help you make the most of your stay.


So, let’s dive in and discover how to have an amazing and budget-friendly adventure in the vibrant city of Singapore!



Getting around Singapore doesn’t have to drain your travel budget. The city-state has an efficient and affordable public transportation system that will take you anywhere you want to go.


The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is the backbone of Singapore’s transportation network. The extensive network covers all major attractions and neighborhoods in the city. It’s clean, reliable, and cost-effective. Purchase an EZ-Link card or a Singapore Tourist Pass to enjoy unlimited rides on the MRT, buses, and even some selected attractions.


If you prefer a more scenic mode of transportation, hop on a bus. Singapore has an extensive bus network that can take you to almost every corner of the city. The fares are affordable, and the buses are air-conditioned, making it a comfortable option for exploring the city.


For a unique experience, take a bumboat ride along the Singapore River. These traditional boats offer a cheap and enjoyable way to see landmarks such as Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, and Marina Bay Sands. Plus, you’ll get to learn about Singapore’s rich history as you cruise along.


If you’re feeling adventurous, renting a bike is a great option for exploring the city at your own pace. Head to places like East Coast Park or the Southern Ridges and cycle through scenic routes while enjoying the greenery and fresh air.


Another alternative is to use ride-hailing services like Grab or Gojek, which are often cheaper than taxis. They offer convenient and affordable rides, especially if you’re traveling with a group or have bulky luggage.


Lastly, don’t forget to take advantage of Singapore’s walkability. The city is compact and pedestrian-friendly, making it easy to explore on foot. Many attractions are within walking distance of each other, and you’ll get to discover hidden gems along the way.


By utilizing these affordable and convenient transportation options, you can navigate Singapore without blowing your budget.



When it comes to finding affordable accommodation in Singapore, there are plenty of options that cater to different budgets and preferences.


If you’re a budget traveler, consider staying in hostels or guesthouses. These are not only cost-effective but also provide an opportunity to meet fellow travelers. Popular areas to look for budget accommodations include Little India, Chinatown, and Bugis.


Another budget-friendly option is to book a room in a budget hotel or a budget chain hotel. While these may not have all the luxuries of their higher-end counterparts, they offer comfortable rooms at reasonable prices. Look for hotels in areas like Geylang or Lavender, which have a good selection of budget accommodations.


For a unique and affordable experience, consider staying in a capsule hotel or a pod hostel. These compact sleeping quarters provide basic amenities while offering a cozy and private space to rest.


If you prefer a more local experience, consider booking a homestay or renting an apartment through platforms like Airbnb. This option gives you the chance to live among locals and experience the city from a different perspective.


When planning your accommodation, be sure to check for any ongoing promotions or deals. Many hotels and booking websites offer discounted rates, especially during off-peak seasons or during special events.


Finally, don’t forget to research and read reviews to ensure the accommodation meets your expectations and offers good value for money.


By choosing one of these budget-friendly accommodation options, you can save money without compromising on comfort during your stay in Singapore.


Food and Dining

One of the highlights of visiting Singapore is undoubtedly its diverse and delicious food scene. And the best part is, you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy mouthwatering meals in this culinary paradise.


For an authentic and affordable dining experience, head to the local hawker centers. These bustling open-air food courts offer a wide array of cuisines at budget-friendly prices. Indulge in popular dishes like Hainanese chicken rice, laksa, and char kway teow. Maxwell Food Centre and Newton Food Centre are popular hawker centers, but you can find these culinary gems all over the city.


If you’re exploring Chinatown, visit the Chinatown Complex Food Centre, where you can enjoy delicious local fare at wallet-friendly prices. Don’t forget to savor the famous Singaporean dish, chili crab, at a seafood restaurant in the East Coast area. While it may be slightly pricier, it’s worth the splurge.


Another affordable option is to try out the local coffee shops, known as kopitiams. These casual establishments serve a range of local delights like kaya toast, roti prata, and kopi (local coffee). It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local food culture while keeping costs low.


For a cheap and quick meal, keep an eye out for food courts in shopping malls. While they may not offer the same local charm as hawker centers, they provide a variety of cuisines at reasonable prices.


If you want to sit down in a proper restaurant, head to the off-peak hours for lunch or dinner. Many restaurants offer discounted set menus during these times, allowing you to enjoy a more upscale dining experience without breaking the bank.


Lastly, don’t forget to try the street food! Singapore is famous for its street food stalls, which offer a wide range of tasty treats. From satay skewers to roti prata, you’ll find a plethora of options to satisfy your cravings, all at affordable prices.


By exploring the local hawker centers, coffee shops, and street food stalls, you can indulge in Singapore’s culinary delights without straining your budget.


Sightseeing and Attractions

Singapore is a city filled with captivating sights and attractions that cater to all interests. And the best part is, many of these can be enjoyed without spending a fortune.


Start your exploration with a visit to the iconic Marina Bay Sands. While entering the hotel and rooftop pool may be pricey, you can still enjoy the breathtaking views of the city’s skyline from the observation deck of the Sands Skypark for a fraction of the price.


Next, head to the Gardens by the Bay, a stunning nature park with futuristic Supertrees and unique plant displays. While admission to the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest can be a bit pricey, you can still enjoy the beautiful outdoor gardens, walkways, and the impressive light show in the evening, all for free.


For a taste of Singapore’s cultural heritage, stroll through the vibrant neighborhood of Chinatown. Explore the historic streets, visit the various temples, and soak in the lively atmosphere. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Sri Mariamman Temple are must-visit attractions in this area.


Another cultural gem is Little India, where you can immerse yourself in the vibrant Indian culture, visit ornate temples, and indulge in flavorful Indian cuisine. Serangoon Road and the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple are popular attractions to explore in this bustling neighborhood.


If you’re a nature enthusiast, make sure to visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens. This lush green oasis is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site but also offers free entry to most of its areas. Go for a relaxing stroll, have a picnic, or simply enjoy the serene beauty of the gardens.


For history buffs, a visit to the National Museum of Singapore is a must. It offers valuable insights into Singapore’s history and culture, and entry is often free for Singaporean citizens and permanent residents. Some special exhibitions may require a ticket, but the main galleries can be enjoyed at no cost.


Lastly, take some time to explore the unique neighborhoods of Kampong Glam and Arab Street. Admire the beautiful architecture, browse through eclectic shops, and enjoy the vibrant cafes and restaurants in this colorful area.


By prioritizing free and affordable attractions like these, you can discover the rich cultural, historical, and natural heritage that Singapore has to offer without straining your budget.



Singapore is a shopper’s paradise, with a wide range of shopping options to suit every budget. From high-end luxury brands to budget-friendly street markets, there is something for everyone.


Orchard Road is Singapore’s premier shopping street, lined with glitzy malls offering designer labels and international brands. While the prices may be on the higher side, you can still take advantage of seasonal sales and promotions to score some great deals.


If you’re looking for affordable fashion, head to Bugis Street. This vibrant street market offers a wide array of trendy clothes, accessories, and souvenirs at wallet-friendly prices. Remember to sharpen your bargaining skills to snag even better deals.


For unique gifts and local souvenirs, visit Chinatown or Little India. These cultural enclaves have a variety of shops selling traditional handicrafts, trinkets, and artwork. Explore the bustling streets and haggle for the best prices.


If you’re into electronics and IT gadgets, Sim Lim Square is the place to go. This multi-story mall offers a vast selection of electronic goods, from cameras and smartphones to computer components. Be sure to do your research and compare prices beforehand to ensure you’re getting a good deal.


To experience the local market scene, visit Tekka Centre in Little India or Tiong Bahru Market. These hawker centers also have stalls selling fresh produce, spices, and local snacks. It’s a great opportunity to get a glimpse of Singaporean daily life and pick up some affordable groceries.


For a one-stop shopping experience, head to VivoCity. This massive mall not only offers a wide range of retail options but also provides stunning views of the city skyline. You can also catch a movie, grab a meal, or visit the rooftop Sky Park for free.


If you’re a fan of vintage and second-hand items, explore the thrift stores in the Haji Lane area. You never know what hidden treasures you might discover at a fraction of the original price.


Remember to take advantage of tax-free shopping for tourists. When making a purchase, ask for a tax refund form and keep your receipts. At the airport, present your receipts at the tax refund counter to receive a refund on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid.


By exploring these various shopping options and keeping an eye out for promotions and discounts, you can shop to your heart’s content without blowing your budget.


Free and Cheap Activities

Exploring Singapore doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are plenty of free and cheap activities that allow you to experience the city’s culture, nature, and entertainment without breaking the bank.


Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the iconic Singapore River. Take in the stunning views of the city skyline and stop by the Merlion Park to capture a photo with the famous half-lion, half-fish statue.


Visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a lush green oasis in the heart of the city. Take a relaxing walk through the gardens, have a picnic, and admire the diverse array of flora and fauna. Don’t miss the beautiful National Orchid Garden, although this section requires a small entrance fee.


Take a trip to Sentosa Island, a popular destination with a host of attractions. While some attractions require a fee, you can still enjoy the free beaches, walking trails, and the picturesque Southernmost Point of Continental Asia.


Explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam. You can immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage, visit beautiful temples, shop for unique souvenirs, and sample affordable local delicacies.


Embark on a DIY walking tour to discover the city’s historical sites and colonial architecture. Start at the Civic District and visit landmarks like Raffles Hotel, the Parliament House, and the iconic Fullerton Hotel. Many of these historical sites can be appreciated from the outside without any entrance fees.


For a fun and affordable outing, pack a picnic and head to one of Singapore’s many parks. East Coast Park, Labrador Nature Reserve, and the Southern Ridges are excellent options with beautiful green spaces, walking trails, and stunning views.


Experience the vibrant street art scene in the Kampong Glam and Tiong Bahru neighborhoods. Explore the colorful murals and graffiti, and take some creative photos for your Instagram feed.


Join in cultural festivals and events that often take place throughout the year. From the Lantern Festival and Chinese New Year celebrations to the Deepavali light-up, there are numerous opportunities to experience the city’s vibrant culture and traditions for free.


Lastly, don’t forget to check out the local event listings for free concerts, performances, and exhibitions. From open-air concerts in the parks to art exhibitions in galleries, there’s always something happening in Singapore that won’t cost you a dime.


By taking advantage of these free and cheap activities, you can make the most of your time in Singapore without straining your budget.


Budget Tips and Tricks

Traveling on a budget requires some savvy planning and a few tricks up your sleeve. Here are some budget tips to help you make the most of your trip to Singapore without breaking the bank:

  • Visit during the off-peak season to take advantage of lower prices for flights and accommodations. Avoid popular holidays and school vacation periods if possible.
  • Opt for budget airlines or look for flight deals to save on airfare. Be flexible with your travel dates and consider booking in advance.
  • Research and compare prices for accommodations. Booking directly with the hotel or guesthouse can sometimes yield better rates than using third-party websites.
  • Pack light to avoid excess baggage fees and save on transportation costs. Singapore’s efficient public transportation system eliminates the need for a car rental.
  • Eat like a local at hawker centers and coffee shops for affordable and delicious meals. Embrace the street food culture and sample various dishes without splurging on restaurants.
  • Take advantage of free attractions, such as parks, gardens, and cultural neighborhoods. Many museums and galleries also offer discounted admission during certain days or hours.
  • Use public transportation instead of taxis. The MRT and buses are affordable and well-connected, allowing you to explore the city without spending a fortune on transportation.
  • Consider purchasing a tourist pass or an EZ-Link card, which offers unlimited rides on public transportation and potential discounts at selected attractions.
  • Take advantage of duty-free shopping for tourists. Look for tax refunds on your purchases and save on the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle. Tap water in Singapore is safe to drink, and you can refill your bottle at public water stations to avoid spending on bottled water.

Remember to keep track of your expenses to stay within your budget. Use smartphone apps or keep a record of your spending to ensure you’re sticking to your financial plan.


By implementing these budget tips and tricks, you can make your Singapore adventure not only affordable but also memorable and enjoyable without compromising on experiences.



Exploring Singapore on a budget is not only possible but also incredibly rewarding. From affordable transportation options and budget-friendly accommodations to delicious street food and a wealth of free and cheap activities, there are countless ways to make the most of your budget while experiencing all that this vibrant city has to offer.


By utilizing the efficient public transportation system, such as the MRT and buses, you can navigate the city comfortably without spending a fortune. Consider staying in budget accommodations like hostels, budget hotels, or even opting for unique experiences like capsule hotels or homestays.


Indulge in the diverse and flavorful cuisine of Singapore at hawker centers, coffee shops, and street food stalls where you can savor authentic dishes without breaking the bank. Explore the rich cultural heritage and vibrant neighborhoods of Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam, where you can immerse yourself in the local culture and shop for unique souvenirs.


Enjoy the city’s impressive attractions and sights without splurging by visiting free and low-cost places like Gardens by the Bay, museums with discounted admissions or free entry, and exploring the city’s historical sites on a DIY walking tour.


Make the most of your shopping experience by seeking out budget-friendly options like Bugis Street, local markets, and taking advantage of tax-free shopping for tourists.


Remember to incorporate budget tips and tricks into your travel plans, such as booking flights and accommodations during the off-peak season, using public transportation instead of taxis, and staying hydrated with a reusable water bottle.


With careful planning, a sense of adventure, and a willingness to explore, you can have an unforgettable experience in Singapore without stretching your budget. So pack your bags, embrace the excitement of budget travel, and embark on a remarkable journey through the Lion City without breaking the bank!