Nov 27 2012

How to save money in Singapore: part 1

Published by at 8:27 pm under Practicalities


It’s no secret that Singapore is an expensive city to be a tourist — especially by Southeast Asia standards. Here are some tips to get the most bang for your Sing-dollar during your time here.

If you're not careful, the Lion City may burn a hole in your pocket.

If you’re not careful, the Lion City may burn a hole in your pocket.

Accommodation will be your biggest expense in Singapore and a private room with en-suite bathroom will set you back at least S$100 a night, and even then it’ll be the size of a shoebox. That said, even if you’re “not really a hostel person”, Singapore might be the place to reconsider. Singapore hostels are excellent value and average about S$22 per night for a bunk, light breakfast and internet access. I’ve previously written about Singapore’s cheapest hostels, but my all-around recommendations would be Little Red Dot Hostel or The Inn Crowd. Alternatively, Singapore has an active Couchsurfing.org community so you could try to crash with a local for free.

Thanks to Singapore’s abundant hawker centres, eating is as tasty as it is affordable. At a price of S$3-5 you’ll have dozens of delicious options including chicken rice, char kway teow and laksa soup. Eating at hawker centres is just as affordable as self-catering, and I recently showed it’s possible to eat three meals a day in Singapore on a budget of S$10.

Singapore does have some excellent restaurants, so if there is one you’re dying to try go at lunchtime when most offer a multi-course set lunch that’s significantly better value than dinner.

Thanks to hawker centres, you can eat like a king even on a small budget.

Thanks to hawker centres, you can eat like a king on a small budget.

Singapore’s high tax on alcohol means that drinking is an expensive activity – you may want to give your liver a break while you’re here. If you just can’t resist a cold beer on a hot day (we don’t blame you), the cheapest place to get one is at a hawker centre where locally-brewed Tiger Beer will set you back about S$5.20 for a large bottle.

Bars and nightclubs charge significantly more, so try to hit the popular watering holes at Clarke Quay from 18:00–20:00 to take advantage of happy hour promotions. You’ll still be paying upwards of S$15 for a drink, but at least the next one will be free. Female visitors can take advantage of ladies night’ every Wednesday when most bars offer free entry  and free drinks until midnight.

Eager for even more tips how to save money during your trip to Singapore? Part 2 will cover transportation, sightseeing, shopping and the cheapest way to keep in touch with your friends and family back home.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “How to save money in Singapore: part 1”

  1. rubin phamon 28 Nov 2012 at 2:32 am

    given the high price of traveling to singapore, and the lack of history and culture,
    i would rather stay away from singapore altogether.

  2. Sri Rini Aon 29 Nov 2012 at 11:47 pm

    rubin pham, and you think you’re country doesn’t suck, or the greatest of them all, don’t be such a whiny and disrespectful. You really have no idea.

    As a frequent tourist, I found Singapore to be very interesting experience; you can stroll all around without getting worry, it’s truly safe and clean nation. All delicious yet inexpensive food at hawker center was easy to access, thanks to the MRT system. They’ve awesome designated urban garden, and creative concept. For the westerner, Singapore will be the perfect entree to the Asia/South East Asia tour.

    For the ‘lack history and culture’, give me a break! Singapore maybe doesn’t have any ancient/ethnic knick-knacks to show about, but they surer well known to preserved their post-brit colonial building, and peranakan culture (through food and shophouse preservation), and they successfully incorporate Chinese-Indian-Malay-Eurasian all together in one harmonious pot.

    Sri Rini A – Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia

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