For a small island city-state, Singapore has a lot to offer. From beautiful architecture to world-class cuisine, it’s one of the most popular travel destinations in Southeast Asia. The only catch? It’s also considered one of the most expensive travel destinations in Southeast Asia. But the trip of a lifetime doesn’t have to cost you your life’s savings. In fact, Singapore can actually be an affordable adventure for travellers who know about the following five money-saving hacks.
1. Skip the Hotels
Instead of checking into an expensive hotel, consider staying at one of Singapore’s many backpacker hostels instead, especially if you plan to stay for a while. Compared to a hotel, which can cost you several hundred dollars a night, hostels are often less than $20. And just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean that you’re sacrificing comfort or cleanliness—if that’s what comes to mind, you’re thinking of a motel. Hostels are more similar to a college dorm hall. Free Wi-Fi, daily housekeeping, swimming pools, free breakfast, and free security lockers are all common hostel amenities.
Aside from saving money, many people choose hostels over hotels because of the social aspect. You’ll meet fellow travellers from around the world, and you never know who you might end up sharing a drink with!
2. Avoid High Currency Exchange Fees
If you need to receive or send money while in Singapore to pay for an accommodation, the best way to do it is with a free money transferring app like Pangea Money Transfer. Not only is trying to send money through a bank more expensive, it can take days for the cash you need to arrive. With the Pangea mobile app, it only takes minutes.
3. Get an EZ-Link Pass
Singapore has one of the most efficient public transportation systems in the world, so you can skip the taxis. It’s not free, but it isn’t expensive to load up an EZ-Link pass and ride the rails of the MRT or hop on the bus. A special tourist EZ-pass gives visitors unlimited MRT and bus travel for up to three days for only $10 (the initial cost is $20, but if you return the card within five days you’ll be refunded a $10 deposit).
If you’re looking to save even more money, you might consider renting or buying a bicycle. But while Singapore’s parks are great for cycling, the general consensus is that the city streets are not. However, if you’re staying close to downtown, you’ll be able to walk almost everywhere that you want to go.
4. Eat Like a Local
Westerners usually associate food courts with cruddy, bland mall food. But in Singapore, they’re anything but that! For only $3 or $4, you can get authentic and fresh Malaysian, Chinese, and Indian food at one of the city’s many food courts, or hawker centres. And yes, the tap in Singapore is safe to drink, so you don’t need to waste money on expensive bottled waters.
5. Take Advantage of Freebies
You don’t have to spend money to have an exciting, jam-packed day in Singapore. You’ll find that there are plenty of free activities to enjoy year-round, including:
A trip to the beach
Spend the day soaking up the sun (or fishing, or picnicking, or sailing!) on the white sandy beaches of East Coast Park.
A walk in the park
Singapore isn’t all steel and skyscrapers. There are plenty of green areas to explore, including the beautiful man-made Gardens by the Bay and the natural Singapore Botanical Gardens. Discover Singapore’s vibrant wildlife on a hike, or if you’re feeling adventurous, challenge yourself to a bit of rock climbing.
A day at the museum
Singapore is a city that values art and culture, so there are plenty of free museums and public exhibits to enjoy. Check out the blown glass artwork at the Ritz-Carlton Millennia, brush up on your history at the National University of Singapore Museum, or enjoy a free concert at the Botanic Gardens.
We hope these hacks will help you save your money for more meaningful things on your trip! Have fun and enjoy Singapore.