Singapore on a Budget: 7 Tips From Frequent Visitors and Locals

7 Tips for Travelling to Singapore on a Budget, According to Locals

More savings and worthwhile fun!

With its modern infrastructure and high cost of living, Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the most expensive cities to live in the world. And with the city’s glamorous feature in the Hollywood blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians, many tourists have the impression that they need a big budget for a Singapore trip. 

Yes, you don’t have to break the bank just to visit the Little Red Dot! Here are seven insider tips from your friendly local on how to enjoy Singapore on a budget — without discounting (get it?) any cultural experiences.

Also read: Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Framework: All You Need to Know Before Travelling

1. Book your flights with low-cost carriers

singapore on a budget

Image credit: Alif Shaari

Are you spending up to a week in Singapore on a budget? Most travellers on short-term stays choose to pack light, which often renders the check-in luggage redundant. While this is offered by full-service carriers, it would mean more expensive tickets that might be unattractive to cost-conscious travellers.

By flying with a low-cost carrier, you will get to enjoy a no-frills experience and only be required to pay for any additional services that you request. Some of these airlines even offer flash sales and promotions, where you can secure free flight tickets and pay just tax and fuel surcharge. Travellers can then save on their flight costs and redirect the money to be used for other purposes instead.

Also read: A Shopping Paradise: The Best Malls in Singapore to Shop Till You Drop

2. Obtain a Singapore Tourist Pass for unlimited travels

With a highly developed world-class public transport system, this small island can be covered by riding on buses and trains. As a tourist, you’re entitled to purchase the Singapore Tourist Pass: a wallet-friendly transport card that allows unlimited travel on public transport (plus additional perks from select attractions!). Available in one-day, two-day, and three-day variations, this pass will also include a refundable rental deposit of S$10. You can purchase one at any of the TransitLink offices listed here

If you’re thinking of keeping the cards as souvenirs, you can choose to purchase the SG Tourist Pass and Singapore Tourist Pass Plus instead. These cards will cover three days of unlimited travel and do not include any rental deposit. The SG Tourist Pass and Singapore Tourist Pass Plus can be purchased at selected Cheers convenience store outlets and Changi Recommends counters respectively.

3. Get your food fix at neighbourhood hawker centres and coffee shops

singapore on a budget

Image credit: Tiberiu Ana

Step away from overpriced restaurants and delve into the heartlands, or residential estates, for food instead! Thanks to its multi-ethnic and multi-racial background, Singapore’s hawker centres and coffee shops (aka small foodcourts) offer diverse food options to satisfy even the most discerning palates. 

Order mouth-watering dishes from various food stalls and feast with your family and friends. For the price and quality, it’s definitely worth every buck paid! 

Also read: 15 Best Hawker Food Dishes in Singapore and Where to Find Them

4. Join a walking tour to learn more about Singapore’s past and present landmarks

singapore on a budget

Image credit: Jason Powers

Find out all about Singapore’s rich history by joining a walking tour around various heritage districts. Led by experienced guides, these tours range from two to three hours and will bring you on a journey to understand more about how much Singapore has grown from a little fishing village to the modern city it is today.

Many of the guides run these tours on a voluntary basis during their spare time, so feel free to leave them a tip if you’ve enjoyed the walking tour.

5. Visit free attractions across the island

botanic gardens

Image credit: Bambi Corro III

Apart from famous landmarks such as Resorts World Sentosa and Gardens by the Bay, Singapore has a multitude of other tourist attractions to choose from. And the best part is that many of these are free! 

Case in point: Numerous green spaces around the city such as Singapore Botanic Gardens and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. As a renowned Garden City, Singapore is home to many parks and nature reserves that offer an escape from urban life. It’s definitely a win for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts!

Also read: Top 34 Fun Things to Do in Singapore — Including Free Activities!

6. Stay the night at modern capsule hotels

You may actually get stressed out just by looking at the price of most accommodations downtown. Have no fear as capsule hotels are here to help with your budget travel to Singapore!

Camouflaged within buildings and shophouses, these lodgings have redefined the scene with their affordable costs and cosy interiors. After a whole day of exploring, recharge in your individual pod while resting your tired soles. You might even make a friend or two with tourists from different walks of life during your stay!

Or, stay at Hotel 81 instead, Singapore’s most value-for-money accommodation option and winner of the Best Budget Hotel award at the 2022 TripZilla Excellence Awards! The beloved hotel chain boasts 25 outlets spread across the island. Yes, that means the city’s best attractions, food options, and plenty more to keep you entertained — right on your doorstep!

7. Soak in many of the top sights and sounds on unique boats and buses

Pressed for time during your short trip to Singapore? Why not choose the wackiest and most time-efficient methods to admire some of the top attractions?

Head out on a unique city and harbour sightseeing tour onboard DUCK — Asia’s first amphibious-themed attraction. You will be taken on an hour-long ride around the Singapore River and the Civic District, where you can admire the gorgeous bay view of the city’s magnificent skyline.

Alternatively, cruise around the city on an open-top double-decker bus with Big Bus. Choose between the city tour and heritage tour, and enjoy a two-hour panoramic tour accompanied by a pre-recorded audio commentary available in 12 languages. Feel the breeze as the bus drives by various symbolic landmarks such as Little India, Kampong Glam, the Singapore Flyer, and Marina Bay Sands.

Also read: Singapore Souvenirs: 27 Unique Things to Bring Home

With this handy guide at your fingertips, we hope you’ve learned a thing or two on how to better plan your trip to Singapore on a budget. So, are you excited?

Now, it’s time to save up and embark on your own budget travel to Singapore!

Featured image credit: Dhoomil Sheta | Unsplash

About Author

Jerald Ang

Jerald is always looking at aviation news and his favourite pastime is plane spotting. When he is taking a break, you'll find him either indulging in his Pokémon games or searching for his escape.