I had always heard that Singapore has very little to offer a backpacker. People have described it to me as a pretentious playground for the rich and this was why it hadn’t featured on mine and Tim’s to-do list yet. With our journey through Vietnam coming to an end and with a bit of money to spare, we decided to see for ourselves what Singapore has to offer. Saving for travel takes time and determination so the further you can make your money go, the better. Here are my top recommendations for spending a couple of days in Lion City on the cheap.
- Gardens by the Bay (Free, charge to enter conservatories)
Gardens by the Bay was by far the highlight of my time in Singapore. It’s centrally located and spans a whopping 250 acres. There are two conservatories, each showcasing rare plants. The towering luminescent supertrees are the main attraction here and these feature in a breathtaking light show every evening.
- Singapore Skyline (Free)
Singapore is home to one of the world’s most famous skylines. It features the stunning Marina Bay Sands complex, the ArtScience Museum which resembles a cracked egg, the prominent Singapore flyer and the Esplanade which is a great place to catch free shows. Both Gardens by the Bay and the Helix Bridge are great places to take in the views from. Return after dark to see the city illuminated.
- Little India or Chinatown (Dorms around S$20/25)
Use Little India or Chinatown as not only a base but an opportunity to explore another culture.
Expect hostels to cost more than normal and compare prices before booking. A good tool for finding budget accommodation is Airbnb and CouchSurfing is also an option if you are feeling adventurous!
- Hawker Food (S$5 per meal)
Food is very expensive in Singapore so hawker centres will be your saviour. These food courts offer everything from Malay to Indian and come in at roughly S$5 per meal. Not only is the food pretty good, but you and your travelling companion can each get something different and share.
Most of Singapore’s main attractions sit alongside the river, so avoid using public transport to access them. The walk from most accommodation spots isn’t far and over a few days, you’ll save a fair bit of cash.
- Alcohol (S$5 for a bottle of beer!)
If you’re travelling through Singapore on a budget this is something to avoid like the plague. Booze is super pricey here and will dry up your funds quickly. If you absolutely can’t resist chilling out with a beer, pick one up in a supermarket or visit a bar during happy hour to snag some offers.
Have you been to Singapore? What did you think?
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