Ah, Singapore – the Lion City. If I were to describe Singapore with words, it would be EXPENSIVE and SAFE. One of the most expensive countries in the world. Quite a problem but Singapore is still one of the most visited and favorite countries to me. There is plenty to do here even if you’re traveling on a budget. It’s the safest place to visit in Asia, shoplifting can result months in prison. That means Singaporean should not try their criminal side and so do you.
Singapore has catapulted itself to becoming a developed state. Despite the high costs and small land area, it has become a great place to live. It is one of the safest, most organized, most progressive, and least corrupt countries in the region and the world. It is linked to Malaysia by the Johor–Singapore Causeway. Batam in Indonesia is also just one hour’s ferry ride away. And through Changi Airport, widely regarded as the world’s best, Singapore is connected to almost every major city all over the globe.
- Languages: English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil are the four official languages. Malay (Bahasa Malaysia) is the national language, but English is the lingua franca. Most Singaporeans can speak and understand English and another official language.
- Currency: Singapore dollar (SGD, SG$). SGD 1 is roughly USD 0.74, EUR 0.66, PHP 38 (as of May 2019).
- Modes of payment: Although many establishments accept credit cards, cash is still highly recommended.
Where to stay
While I’ve been to Singapore a few times, most of my trips there are layovers. The last time I spent a few nights in Singapore, I stayed at Hard Rock Hotel in Sentosa. Quite expensive, but worth it. But if I get to visit Singapore again, I would gladly stay at hostels near MRT Stations as they are quite convenient for exploring and eating at hawker stalls.
Though Singapore is notoriously expensive compared to other Southeast Asian countries, it is possible to stay on a budget here.How do you stay on a budget in Singapore? Stay in Singapore hostels/guesthouses and book accommodations in advance online to get discounts. The most popular places to stay for travelers on a budget in Singapore are Bugis, Chinatown, Little India, Lavender Street and Clark Quay (Riverside).
Many Mid-range accommodations are concentrated around the north bank of Singapore River, Bras Basah Road (including the area around Fort Canning Park) and Rochor Road. Marina Bay, Promenade Orchard Road, and Sentosa Island are sprinkled with high-end hotels.
Places To Go In Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore is Asia’s second and Southeast Asia’s first movie theme park. Located within Resorts World Sentosa, the place covers 49 acres (20 hectares) of land, harboring a total of 24 exciting attractions! The park is divided into seven zones, each with its own theme that is based on a popular TV show or a blockbuster film. Each zone also has its own characters, restaurants, shops and rides.
You can also take the Sentosa Boardwalk to get to the island. It’s a fun experience, too! Best during sunset!
What time does Universal Studios open and close?
Monday to Friday, Sunday: 10am – 7pm.
Saturday: 10am – 8pm
How much is the ticket to Universal Studios Singapore?
Here’s the list of prices as of June 2017:
Adult (Ages 13-59): S$76
Child (Ages 4-12): S$56
Senior (Ages 60+): S$38
GARDENS BY THE BAY
It has three main areas: the Flower Dome in the South Garden; the Cloud Forest, which features the tallest indoor waterfall in the world; and the Supertree Grove with the iconic 16-story manmade trees. The Supertree Grove is open to everyone, but tickets are required to enter the two domed areas.
MARINA BAY SANDS SKYPARK
Even if you’re not spending a night at the Marina Bay Sands, you can still access its Skypark and Observation Deck for a fantastic unobstructed view of the city.
Monday-Thursday: 9:30am – 10pm
Friday-Sunday: 9:30am – 11pm
S$23 for adults
S$17 for kids (2-12yo)
S$20 for seniors (65+)
FREE for kids under 2 years
Singapore’s Chinatown boasts multi-religious buildings and structures. Aside from a Chinese temple, the street is also home to a mosque, a Methodist Church and an Indian shrine. Confused? Welcome to the club. But that’s what makes this place more endearing. It tells you so much about how Singapore values diversity in culture and religion.
But if you want to really appreciate this place, it’s best to join a group tour and have a guide explain what makes these structures significant. Klook’s Gems of Chinatown Tour covers the following stops:
- Thian Hock Keng Temple
- Sri Mariamman Temple
- Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum
- Hawker Food Centers
Little India can be explored on your own too, which is good if you’re on a budget. But you’ll have a better appreciation of the place if you have a guide that would share some insights about the place. Klook’s Gems of Little India Tour will take you to the following landmarks among others:
- Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
- Campbell Lane
- Little India Arcade
- Tekka Centre
Experience how it feels to go skydiving INDOORS and without the danger! iFly lets you enjoy the sport called “bodyflying”, where you get to fly inside the first themed wind tunnel in the world.
Here’s a sample Singapore itinerary. You may use it but make the necessary adjustments.
Day 1: ARRIVAL IN SINGAPORE, RIVER WALK TOUR, MARINA BAY SANDS
07:00 am – ETA Singapore Changi Airport
10:10 am – Check in: Hostel, Lunch
01:00 pm – Singapore River Walking Tour (Sightseeing: Fullerton, Merlion Park, Esplanade, Makansutra, etc)
03:30 pm – Gardens by the Bay
06:00 pm – Marina Bay Sands
Day 2: BOTANIC GARDENS, SENTOSA ISLAND
07:00 am – Singapore Botanic Gardens
10:00 am – Universal Studios Singapore
05:00 pm – Explore rest of Sentosa
Day 3: CHINATOWN WALK, ORCHARD ROAD, SINGAPORE FLYER
07:00 am – Chinatown Heritage Walk
10:00 am – Orchard Road (Shopping)
03:00 pm – Bugis, St. Andrews Cathedral
Day 4: LITTLE INDIA, RETURN TO MANILA
06:00 am – Little India Walking Tour
10:00 am – Check out: Hostel, Proceed to Airport
02:20 pm – ETD: Changi Airport
Best Time to Go
The weather in Singapore is pretty perfect (as long as you like warm weather). The tropical climate means heat and humidity year-round, but it’s not as bad as in some places like Thailand, where the summer temperatures can reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit. In Singapore, the wetter season runs from November to January, but there’s really not much of a difference in the temperatures. Year round, temps stay roughly between 75 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep in mind though, that Singapore can be expensive, especially around big holidays like the Chinese New Year, so you may want to plan your trip on off times when prices might be lower.
Singapore is infamous for its high costs. Expensive cities are a backpacker’s nightmare! While the costs may seem high compared to other Southeast Asian countries, they’re nothing compared to the prices in Western cities. But in order to stay comfortably in Singapore, you’re going to want to budget in roughly $60-$100 a day for all your needs, depending on your travel style.
Budget: $13-$35 (dorm) $40-$70 (private room)
Food (Typical Meal For One)
Street food: $3-$8
Mid-range restaurant: $8-$20
Gourmet meals: $25-$150++ (There are lots of fine dining options in Singapore if you’re willing to splurge!)
Train: The MRT subway and train system is one of the most convenient ways of exploring the city. ($7)
Trolley: If you’re looking for an easy way to sightsee, the hop on/hop off trolley is great. For $8 you can get all day access to the trolleys which travels through the city.
Source: thepoortraveler, thepinaysolobackpacker, adventureinyou