I’ve heard so many people call Singapore expensive, but that’s just NOT the case. Singapore is as expensive as you want it to be. Public transport is very reasonable (simply use a contactless card if you want to avoid the hassle of tickets) and the food is cheap, as long as you stick to local hawker centres. Plus there are plenty of things to see and do that are totally free.
Have a read below for some suggestions of things to do in Singapore if you are travelling on a budget.
N.B. I don’t recommend you stick to this as a solid itinerary, but I hope this gives you some ideas! Take a look at my other Singapore posts for more.
Morning: Explore Chinatown and pay a visit to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple Museum. Note that there is a dress code – knees and shoulders must be covered – but there are plenty of sarongs and shawls to borrow at the entrance. With four floors, there is plenty to see here. I particularly like the rooftop with it’s prayer wheel and orchid garden. If temples are your thing, Singapore’s oldest hindu temple, Sri Mariamman Temple is also nearby.
Lunch: Stay in Chinatown for lunch and visit one of the Hawker Centres close by. The Chinatown Complex Food Centre has lots of choice, with dishes starting from as little as S$2.50. If you have time to spare, you can queue at Singapore’s most famous Michelin-starred hawker stall – Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle (more commonly known as Hawker Chan) or just opposite is the Michelin recommended Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao. If not, there are plenty of other great options in the complex, and also the nearby Maxwell Food Centre.
Afternoon: Have a wander around Singapore Botanic Gardens (entry is free), a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015.
Dinner: Find a local hawker centre, or alternatively many shopping centres have food courts with reasonably priced options.
Evening: Pop over to Gardens by the Bay and watch the evening light show at the Supertree Grove. If you are one for drinking, there are plenty of bars at Clarke Quay or in the Orchard area. But if you are really on a budget- remember tap water is perfectly safe to drink in Singapore ;).
Stay: Hotels in Little India tend to be more affordable than the other central areas. Although I can’t recommend any personally, there are plenty of hostels and capsule hotels to be found in Singapore.
Morning: I’d start the day at Ya Kun Kaya Toast, or similar, to try the local favourite breakfast, Kaya Toast. Kaya is essentially a sweet coconut jam. Opt for a Kaya Toast set with soft-boiled eggs and a drink. It makes a filling meal and will set you back around S$5.00. Have a wander around Little India and visit the Mustafa Centre – a crazy 24/7 department store that sells literally everything under the sun.
Lunch: Make your way to the Tekka Centre for an array of affordable Indian food. We had chicken tikka masala, tandoori and a naan between two for a grand total of S$10.00.
Afternoon: Take a stroll around the Colonial District and make your way to Merlion Park for the quintessential view of Marina Bay Sands and Singapore’s skyline.
Dinner: Although known for it’s designer shops and celebrity chef restaurants, there is a food court in the Marina Bay Sands shopping centre if you need a cheaper option. There is also a handful of affordable restaurants, such as international ramen chain Ippudo.
Evening: I stumbled across the Bayfront light show after dinner at MBS – it’s worth checking out if you happen to be in the area.