As you’ll probably know, Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world and if you are travelling on a budget you may be skeptical about visiting. However, this blog post will show you how to visit Singapore with only S$30 a day!
In order to achieve the above, you need to be both open-minded and active. If this doesn’t sound like you, then you might be reading the wrong article, or this may be time to take on a new personal challenge!
How to Visit Singapore With Only S$30 a Day
First of all, you will need to stay in a hostel dorm room. I did plenty of research and hotels are too expensive for anyone travelling on a budget. I am travelling with my partner and it usually works out cheaper, or the same price, for us to get a private room in a hotel than paying for 2 separate beds in a hostel dorm – this isn’t the case in Singapore.
Choose between Little India or China Town as your base. They are the two cheapest districts to stay in Singapore and are relatively central.
Little India in Singapore
I stayed in 7 Wonders Hostel in little India and I would highly recommend it. I stayed in a queen bunk bed with my partner in a room of 14 people.
It cost S$20 per night per person, including breakfast. Breakfast consists of toast with a selection of chocolate spread, peanut butter and jam, slices of orange, cereal and milk and coffee/tea.
It is a very basic breakfast but there is an unlimited supply and it does the job. I was very skeptical about staying in a 14 people dorm but it was spacious, clean, and extremely comfortable. It didn’t feel over crowded. Here is a link to the hostel: 7 Wonders Hostel if you would like to check it out.
So now that accommodation and breakfast is out of the way…
Next, in order to visit Singapore with only S$30 a day, you must be willing to eat at local food halls. I have travelled around the majority of SE Asia and Singapore is among the cleanest of them all so fear not.
I always choose food that is being cooked there and then, rather than something that may have been sat out for hours to avoid an upset stomach. For example, eat a delicious Chicken Congee, a fresh Pad Thai, fried rice or noodles with vegetables – there is plenty to choose from.
A major concern in SE Asia with the food halls, besides the hygiene, is the use of tap water to clean utensils. Many people have become sick as a result of ingesting dirty water in Asia (although rare if you are cautious!).
In Singapore however it is safe to drink tap water so that isn’t an issue and if your food is boiling hot, you shouldn’t get sick.
TIP! If you are unsure about something looking a bit off, stick to vegetarian meals.
Food Halls in Singapore
There are a few Hawker Centre’s (food halls) scattered around the city for you to choose from.
ChinaTown Complex Food Centre is the largest Hawker centre in Singapore and is extremely busy at lunch time. However, somehow in the hustle and bustle of it all, you will still be eating your meal within 10 minutes of ordering.
In case it is a little too busy for your comfort, close by to ChinaTown Complex Food Centre are Maxwell Centre and TanJong Pagar, two other Hawker centres.
Meals range between $2.50 – $5.
TIP! If you are staying in Little India, the closest Hawker centre to you is Albert Centre Market & Food Centre. If you are in China Town, you are spoiled for choice.
Not only are Little India and China Town the cheapest places to stay, they are also they cheapest districts to eat in.
Food to Expect in a Hawker Centre
A chicken Congee cost $3.5, roasted duck/chicken/char siew or pork with rice $3.00, fried rice with chicken and vegetables $4, you get the point. If you eat anywhere else in the city, expect to pay $12- $30 for 1 meal in an inexpensive restaurant.
The food at the food halls is delicious and full of people – you are in safe hands.
TIP! for local dishes, try one of these: Fried Kway Teow, Bak Kut Teh, Laksa, Satay, Hokkien Mee, Chilli Crab or Yong Tau Fu dish.
The Cheapest Michelin Star Restaurant in the World
If you are a bit of a foodie and are also travelling on a budget, you are in luck. Singapore is host to the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world – Hawker Chan. It costs just $5 for their famous roast chicken and rice and it is delicious.
It is easy to spot this restaurant as there will be a big line waiting outside to go in. You will probably wait around 20 minutes in a queue prior to ordering. It is worth the wait – trust me.
How to Visit Singapore With Only S$30 a Day
Here comes the ‘must be active’ part…
Singapore does have a good deal on their transport systems, however if you want to stick to S$30 a day, you will need to walk.
If you are willing to spend some more money, you are able to buy day-passes. A 3 day pass costs $30 and once you return the card when you have finished, you get a $10 refund. Therefore you can have unlimited travel for 72 hours, for just $20. Speak to the people at the Information desk in the airport for more details.
Note: A single trip from the airport to the city will cost $2.70. The machine only accepts cash, no card. For purchases below $6 you can only use $5 or $2 notes, or coins. For purchases above $6, you can use $10 notes maximum. The machine does not accept $20 or $50’s. The train to the city from the airport departs from Terminal 3.
Make sure you remember to get some cash out or bring some with you from your home country. We arrived at the ticket machines for the train, had no idea they don’t accept card and had to go back into the airport to find an ATM. Save yourself some time and prepare!
TIP! When arriving to the airport you will buy either the tourist pass ($30 for 3 days w/ $10 refund) or a standard single ticket ($2.70). If you buy a standard ticket, keep it with you and top it up with a new single journey when you want to use the MRT again.
Let me explain that a bit better for anyone slightly confused: you get given a card ticket (see photo) when you buy a single journey.
Instead of throwing this ticket away once you get to your destination, save the ticket. The next time you want to go somewhere, you place the same ticket on the card reader in the machine and select ‘add new journey’.
Select the destination that you want to go to and pay (remember the $5 maximum note rule!). This method works out around $1 cheaper than buying a standard journey on a new card ticket.
If you want to stick to the S$30 a day budget then I recommend you walk during your time in the city.
The city is divided into 9 main districts, most of which are within walking distance. Walking is my favourite way to visit a new city as you get to take in all the things you’d miss by simply transiting from attraction to attraction. You get to experience a day in a locals life by immersing yourself into their day.
This photo was taken at Haji Lane; Singapore’s smallest street and a free tourist attraction.
Marina Bay is the most popular part of Singapore hosting the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel, and the ‘Gardens by the Bay’ attraction.
If you are looking to shop, head to Singapura mall, located on Orchard road. This shopping centre is huge and has everything from clothes, electronics, toys and home decor, to smoothies, juice bars and fast food restaurants.
Clarke Quay is a quirky place with colourful bars and apartments located along the riverfront. If you are on a budget, simply walk around Clarke Quay and snap a few photos.
Unfortunately a pint will set you back minimum $12 and increases in price throughout the day. I read a menu that said $10 for a beer at 11am. At 3pm the same beer went up to $14 and by 8pm it was $16! I couldn’t believe that they did that, and worse, told you they were doing it lol!
China Town and Little India are both popular among tourists. Aim to arrive to each at meal times to get those cheap, delicious meals.
Free Things to Do in Singapore
How to Visit Singapore With Only S$30 a Day
Walk around the different districts and immerse yourself in a range of cultural experiences. The streets are colourful and full of life and excitement.
In both China Town and Little India are street markets, with locals selling everything from food to handmade crafts.
The smallest street in Singapore, Haji Lane, is also a free attraction.
TIP! There are a few food samples scattered around the markets, such as dried fruits and nuts. Have a free snack during the mid-morning or afternoon by wandering around the stalls and eating a few freebies.
Please be mindful and respectful when doing so!
This is a great way to keep you fueled for a little longer while sticking to your budget and also gives you a chance to converse with the locals!
Free Things to Do in Singapore
Garden by the Bay light show. The most famous attraction in Singapore and it is completely FREE! At 7.45pm and 8.45pm daily is a free light and sound show where the famous trees light up infront of the marina Bay Sands hotel. The show is definitely a must do and can be enjoyed by all.
I would recommend arriving at the garden an hour before to have a walk round and see some beautiful trees and flowers and get a full view of the Marina Bay Sands hotel.
The Gardens have free access, only the cooled conservatories – the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest – also the OCBC Skyway require entrance fees. They are quite pricey and for a standard adult ticket it will cost $46 for the two conservatories, including a shuttle bus around the area (which isn’t necessary).
I didn’t go inside the domes and still enjoyed my visit but if you would like to visit it, you will need to add that to your budget.
** If you look online you can buy a combo ticket which includes the art and science museum too (looks cool!)**
Free Gym Pass
If you like to workout, there are free gym equipment available throughout the city. Here is the location of an outdoor exercise park that I stumbled across: New Bridge Road, Singapore 089140
TIP! Most gyms will give you a free day pass if you would like to trial their services. If you would like to work out with more than your body weight, you could try this tip!
Where to Shop for Snacks in Singapore
I found the equivalent to a Poundland in Singapore called ABC. This shop is great for snacks. Admittedly it is mostly junk food, but you can buy 2 Cadbury/Nestle chocolate bars for $1. Big bags of crisps, or crackers for $1. Dried fruit for $2.5.
If you are trying to stick to that budget but could use an afternoon bite, ABC has you covered.
TIP! I recommend taking a reusable bottle with you and refill it whenever possible to save money. Tap water is safe to drink in Singapore. I didn’t come across any public drinking taps, however you can fill it up in restaurants if you ask nicely. I also filled my bottle up on a morning and night at my hostel.
So, you were wondering how to visit Singapore with only S$30 a day… and here you have it:
A breakdown of a Day in Singapore
- $20 per night in a hostel dorm including breakfast (this is for a hostel that is good standard. You could save more by staying in a cheaper one, however I highly recommend not choosing a hostel with a rating less than 7 on www.booking.com).
- $3.5 average for lunch (Congee, fried meat or vegetables with rice)
- Free tasters in the markets
- $1 bottle of water on the first day (or buy a reusable bottle prior to your trip) – refill for free whenever possible
- $3.5 average for dinner
- $2-3 left for a snack from ABC/food markets or a one-way MRT (metro) journey if you’re tired of walking for the day.
Another tip for travelling on a budget:
Sign up to TransferWise; an online money transfer service that lets you send, receive and spend money internationally. You can spend money abroad on the TransferWise debit Mastercard, with the correct exchange rate and very low fee.
I have an international card with *TransferWise and save myself a lot of money on online transactions and daily spending while travelling.
*With my link you get a fee-free transfer of up to 500 GBP.