I’m broke. Or am I just cheap? Either way Singapore slightly intimidated me when I found out that this would be one of the places I’d be traveling to. But I sucked it up because I had never been there before. Traveling to Singapore can be daunting for many due to its reputation of high prices throughout the city. While it may be true that many items are overly priced there are ways to keep your trip to Singapore on the cheap and you know my broke-ass found them and I didn’t actually feel like a bum. I mean sure, I was surrounded by others who were staying on the 50th floor of the Marina Bay Sands, talking about scuba equalizers and yachts, but they didn’t know that I was actually staying in a hostel and eating cheaper food and that I really could not afford anything from Tiffany’s. But it’s fun to pretend, right? Well here’s how:
Tip # 1: Invest in a SIM card. I spent about 21 USD on a SIM card for 5 days and it helped me get around. I highly recommend it since Singapore is not exactly known for its wifi hotspots.
Tip # 2: Sleep in. It’s hot and it’s humid. There is no reason to wake up so early when the rest of Singapore is at work and you’re walking around with your pits stained and your hair sticking to your forehead. By starting your day later, you will spend less time tired as a muddah and more time cool(er) and enjoying the sights when more locals are out. Everything is prettier later in the evening anyway.
Tip # 3: Stay in a hostel! I found the hostels to be pretty affordable and if you book a hostel close to everything, then you won’t need to spend money on train transportation. Look near Little India or Chinatown.
Tip # 4: Wear a dress and comfy sandals. You don’t need high heels to feel dressed up around here. It’s hot and it’s Asia. Cute sandals with a dress work fine, sneakers with a dress work as well. I met a few locals and they thought it was pointless to be wearing heels.
Tip # 5: Eat Breakfast at Ya Kun Kaya Toast.
Sometimes a simple breakfast is all you need. A couple of soft boiled eggs, kaya toast (toast with jam made of coconut and egg), and a coffee for less than 7 SD.
Tip # 6: Walk instead. Sometimes I noticed that where I wanted to go was only a couple of stops away which meant it was only really a 15 min walk. The least amount of money I had spent on the train was 1.50 SD while the most was about 2.90 SD save for the trip to Sentosa which was 4 SD round trip. (See Tip #2, for further information on where to stay to reduce your transportation costs)
Tip # 7: Eat lunch at a Michelin Star food joint.
Immediately after eating breakfast head over to the Hawker Centre in Chinatown for the cheapest Michelin Star restaurant you will ever eat at: chicken and rice for only 2 SD. But make sure you just ate or grab a snack… the wait can be anywhere between 2-3 hours (I waited 2 hours).
Tip # 8: Eat dinner at Hawker Centres.
Hawker Centres are less touristy and contain Singapore’s street food. They are outdoor food courts with many different options to choose from. I never spent more than 8 SD on a plate, and even that was considered expensive compared to the rest.
Tip # 9: Wander the botanical gardens at night. The gardens have a free light show that you can watch and it can get real romantical-like, so make sure you have a hot date. Like yourself. Be your own hot date. And by hot I mean sweaty because it’s still really humid outside when the sun goes down. Drink plenty of water.
Tip # 10: Wander the malls of Marina Bay Sands, act like you’re really going to buy something.
Look at price tags and roll your eyes, flip your hair and say “Peasants,” but you’re really talking about yourself. They don’t know that.
Tip # 11: Wander the different neighborhoods (are you starting to see a pattern here?) Little India, and Chinatown are excellent places to find cheap gifts and photo opportunities.
Tip # 12: Don’t drink alcohol. Ok so that’s a bit of a stretch, but if you can avoid alcohol, then you are fiiiinnnneeee. But if you are tempted by the devil’s juice then you might as well make it worth your while. Drink at Clarke Quay… It’s right on the water and damn it looks fancy. But it’s a younger crowd with a lot of outdoor seating so you have access to all the sights to see on the outside of the bar. Music plays so loudly in the streets that there is no need to even go inside a club.
So there you have it. That’s how I kept my trip to Singapore on the cheap but still had some fun. I never felt like I was spending too much money and still left with a good chunk. The biggest expense for me was going to the top of the Marina Bay Sands to see the sunset. It was 23 SD but well worth it. Try it out! It’s always fun to pretend you have a bit of money.