The tiny Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore has just been named the world’s most expensive city in a new report. Ouch? Definitely not! It might be costly to live there, but for out-of-towners, Singapore can be a very affordable destination.

Here are some tips to help you make your visit to Singapore as inexpensive as possible, including advice on how to do the city on $50 a day – and still have a blast.

Keep in mind: At the time of writing this article, the Singapore dollar was worth about US$.073. Exchange rates and subsequent costs can and will vary depending on when you visit, but this should serve as a solid ballpark.

Before You Go

"Singapore" by David Russo is licensed under CC 2.0.

Singapore” by David Russo is licensed under CC 2.0.

As one of the biggest and best connected hubs in Asia, Singapore Changi Airport sees plenty of planes taxiing across the runway, which means you have a greater range of price options than you would for many other destinations when it comes to booking a flight. It pays to shop around for carriers and see how pricing changes depending on when you can travel. The situation is similar with hotels. High-rise Singapore has a lot of rooms. Many of them may fill up with business travelers during the week, but remain empty and available at a discount for guests staying over the weekend.

Getting Around

Public transport in Singapore is low cost, clean, and super safe. It’s also the quickest and most reliable way to get around town much of the time as well. Especially efficient and budget-friendly is the city’s Mass Rapid Transit system (MRT). Most of Singapore’s most popular attractions are easily accessed via an MRT station. You can buy tickets for single trips, but a Singapore Tourist Pass is probably going to be the best use of your money. The pass is a special EZ-Link stored-value card allowing unlimited travel for one day (S$10), two days (S$16), or three days (S$20). Cards can be purchased at the TransitLink Ticket Office at the following MRT stations: Changi Airport, Orchard, Chinatown, City Hall, Raffles Place, Ang Mo Kio, HarbourFront, Bugis, Lavender, and Bayfront. Buy one on your way into town from the airport, and you’re set!

Free

One of the things that makes Singapore such a great – and affordable – place to visit is that so much of what’s on offer is actually free for visitors. So many of the top things to see and do can be enjoyed cost-free, including Baba House, Bukit Brown Cemetary, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museums, Singapore Botanical Gardens, all six National Heritage Board museums (National Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, Peranakan Museum, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore Philatelic Museum, and Reflections at Bukit Chandu) and more! Of course, a free sunbath at the beach is always an option as well!

Food

Simon Poon / Shutterstock

Simon Poon / Shutterstock

If there’s one thing locals and visitors to Singapore rave about most, it’s the fantastic food! Good news is there’s a wide variety of top quality bites available for rock bottom prices. Snoop around for the best hawker centers, coffee shops, and food courts (you won’t have to look too hard) for amazing meals for equally amazing value. Tanjong Pagar and Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre, Little India, Gluttons Bay, Maxwell Food Centre, Satay Street, Lau Pa Sat—the list could go on and on—are but a few areas renowned for delectable street food.

With its year round balmy climate, you’ll want to be sure to have a bottle of water on you at all times in Singapore. Luckily, the city has clean, purified water, which means you can fill up for free to stay hydrated on the cheap.

Tax Refund

Planning to splurge a little or do some bargain hunting? As a tourist in Singapore, you can claim a refund on the seven percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid on any purchase of more than S$100 at participating shops. To know whether a shop is participating in the Tourist Refund Scheme, look for a “Tax Free” shopping logo or sign displayed at the shop.

$50 a Day?

Prasit Rodphan / Shutterstock

Prasit Rodphan / Shutterstock

Think spending $50 a day would be a challenge for such an expensive city as Singapore? What if we told you it’s possible to have fun for even less!

Let’s assume you’re spending S$10 (US$7.25) for a one-day Singapore Tourist Pass. You still have more than US$40 to play with. If breakfast isn’t included with your hotel booking, grab a quick bite on the street. That shouldn’t cost more than US$5. So, you’re still above $35. Hit as many free museums and attractions as your time and energy level permits, while checking out the street food scene for your lunch and dinner. At the end of the day, you should still have more than a few bucks to spare.

With what’s left maybe you can splurge on a world famous Singapore Sling or other refreshing beverage–you’ve earned it!

More Thrifty Tips?

How about you? Have any money saving tips to pass on for having a great time in Singapore without breaking the bank? What do you do to save money while traveling or taking a vacation? Tell us in the comments before!

email