Singapore, unlike most of South East Asia, is a very expensive city/country to travel to. Granted, food is not that terribly expensive, however, accommodation, attractions, etc. absolutely are. Despite this, you still can manage to travel within a reasonable budget, if you plan well.
We brought both – cash and card. You will most probably need cash at the hawker centers. Other than that, if you don’t want to use cash, you can pay by card everywhere.
Exchanging money is not difficult, you will find exchange offices in many locations. There are a number in Bugis area especially, where we did the exchange.
Saving on Accommodation
Make sure to book accommodation in advance. However, don’t expect it to be cheap. Even capsule hotels, which are essentially hostels, start from 50 USD/night. We paid 110 USD/night for a hotel room, which was nice. But this price is less than what you will usually pay for an ok hotel.
Saving on Sightseeing
Find Free Alternatives to Expensive Activities
There are some things you can’t really save on, like Gardens by the Bay Cloud Forest experience, however, there are other things you can easily substitute. If you don’t absolutely want to do some particular thing, look for alternatives. For instance, visiting the Marina Bay Sands Sky Deck is expensive, while there is a great free alternative – Capita Spring Sky Garden.
Consider Using One of the Savers Passes
There are a few passes that can save you money. How worth they are for your particular trip should be determined depending on what attractions you want to see and their price. So before choosing either of the passes, calculate how much you would spend without a pass and compare.
Klook Pass – While I don’t normally like pre-booking tickets, which aren’t absolutely necessary to do, Klook pass can provide substantial savings. For instance, we got a 2-attraction pass for approximately 72 SGD using a promo code and used it for Cloud Forest & Flower Dome (52 SGD) and S.E.A. Aquarium (43 SGD). As a result, this saved us over 20 SGD per person, which was quite a big amount, if you add up. You can choose the number of attractions according to what you want to see. Including some in this pass is not worth it, as pass price is high. So this is only worth it for the very expensive attractions.
The attractions that are worth it to use with Klook Pass:
- Gardens by the Bay Cloud Forest & Flower Dome (52 SGD);
- E.A. Aquarium (43 SGD);
- Singapore Zoo (48 SGD);
- Night Safari (49.50 SGD);
- Singapore Flier (40 SGD);
- Big Bus Singapore Hop On Hop Off (52 SGD);
- The Original Duck Tours (40 SGD).
Attractions that aren’t worth it with Klook Pass:
- Art Science Museum (25 SGD);
- Wings of Time Show (17 SGD);
- Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck (30 SGD);
- Singapore River Cruise (26 SGD);
- Jewel Changi Airport Mirror Maze + Canopy Park (15 SGD).
Go City Pass – this one offers an All-inclusive pass (2 to 7 days) or Explorer pass (2 to 7 attractions within 60 day period). After some consideration, we thought this was not at all worth it for us, as we were not doing so many expensive things to justify its huge price. However, if you are planning many expensive activities, it can be worth it, especially because Universal Studios (the most expensive attraction) is also included in the All-inclusive pass (not in Explorer Pass), unlike in Klook Pass.
Enjoy All the Free Things Singapore Offers
Actually, there are a number of free things you can do when visiting Singapore. In fact, you can easily fill your days without pain a penny to attractions. I am not talking only about walking around in all the colorful neighborhoods, like Little India, Kampong Glam, Chinatown, Joo Chiat or about window shopping. In addition to those, here are some lovely things you can do for free:
- Fort Canning Park
- Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
- Gardens by the Bay – the main areas of the gardens are free. The paid attractions are separate. Here is a breakdown of all things you can see at the Gardens and their prices.
- Fountains and light shows – there are several gorgeous light shows, particularly, Marina Bay Sands Spectra show and Gardens by the Bay Light Show.
- Sentosa beaches
- Fort Siloso
- Live performances at the Esplanade in front of the Theare by the Bay
- Murals in Kampong Glam
- Haw Par Villa
- Singapore Botanical garden (the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Singapore) – it has a paid part, however, most of the garden is free.
- Southern ridges and Mount Faber
- Jewel Changi airport with its fountain
- Capita Springs Sky Garden
- Jurong Lake Gardens
Saving on Food
Food in Singapore is not as expensive overall, unless you head to expensive restaurants or cafes. As you have probably heard, Singapore doesn’t have street food, as such. Instead, there are hawker centers – sort of food courts, which have all sorts of different types of food. The prices in these centers are reasonable, particularly if you avoid the most touristy one, such as Lau Pa Sat and Maxwell Road. These are more expensive compared to others. However, these may be on your way and more convenient. You can get a meal for 7-12 SGD at most hawker centers or even at some small restaurants and cafes.
Saving on Transport
This is a rather easy thing to do. Most places around Singapore can be easily reached by metro and buses, so you don’t really need taxis. We took buses and metro wherever needed. Ride fares vary according to distance, but you won’t be needing more than 7 SGD a day, unless you are constantly taking transport. You should get an EZ Link card – a chargeable card with which you can pay for all public transport in the city – and travel easily.