Singapore is currently my favorite city. I have been there three times which also makes it my most visited country. Although the reason I’ve been there every year since 2014 is not mainly to sight-see but to watch the WTA year-end finals, which Singapore will host until 2018.
My trips to Singapore is every October so if I want to save money on flying, I have to buy airline tickets around March to May when flights for these dates are usually on sale. I noticed that taxes for flights coming from Singapore are considerably higher than from Manila and Kuala Lumpur. So if you haven’t been to Malaysia, this is the perfect time to go and hit two birds with one stone. You may go there straight from Singapore by taking a bus then fly out from Kuala Lumpur back to Manila. You need to book this as a Multi-City. If you have GetGo, you may also take advantage of their March anniversary sale.
Singapore is an expensive city. The rate of a single bed in a good hostel here will get you a private room in Cambodia or Vietnam. During one of my trips, in an attempt to save money, I mistakenly booked a motel room in Geylang. We moved out the following morning and fortunately Agoda gave us a refund for the remaining days. I have not been back to that area of Singapore since.
For solo travelers, you may stay in a good hostel. I’ve stayed at The Pod and Sleepy Kiwi both in Bugis and Joyfor Backpacker in Kallang. I used to love Joyfor since it’s walking distance to the stadium and three minutes away from the nearest MRT. But the last time I stayed there, the place was dirty and packed with a lot of tourist. You may search Agoda for budget accommodations (read reviews before booking). Another option is booking through Traveloka during promotions. Booking early can also save you a few SGD.
Now if you’re traveling with friends, another option is renting a studio or a condo through AirBnB. I have not tried AirBnB outside the Philippines but Singapore is a great city, you should not have trouble finding a place. The only thing I don’t like with renting condos is they are usually outside the main part of the city and require another bus ride to get to the nearest MRT. Also when I do my computations and add breakfast to the daily budget, it costs more. So I stay in hostels with free breakfast.
The best and cheapest of all accommodations in Singapore is having a friend who lives there host your stay.
Getting around the City
I love how easy it is to go from one place to the next in Singapore. I can just hop on a train or a bus and go. I have not traveled to every city in Southeast Asia but I’m guessing the subway system in Singapore is the best in the region. I feel safe all the time and I actually don’t think you can get lost here.
When riding the MRT, it is advisable that you purchase a re-loadable EZ link card if staying more than two days. You will recover the 5.00 SGD deposit since rides using Standard Tickets are more expensive. You can also use this card for bus rides and train rides in Sentosa island. The card is valid five years (max 7) from date of purchase. If you plan on coming back within this period then you can still use the same card. Alternatively, you may borrow from a friend who visited Singapore and kept their EZ Link card. You may check the card expiry date online.
You will never ran out of food options in Singapore. There are a lot of Hawker Centers in the city. They offer a wide array of food choices at reasonable prices. I would say that this is the best option for budget travelers. The last time I was in Singapore, my sister went with me. She is a picky eater and mostly ate fast food. She averaged 12-15 SGD per meal. If she ate in Hawkers she would have spent 5-7 SGD only.
This doesn’t mean food in Hawker Centers are bad. They are actually pretty good. Choosing what to eat though can be overwhelming at first because there are so many options. I would suggest buying from stalls with the most customers.
This is how I make traveling to Singapore fit my budget. I book flights during sale, I stay in hostels and make early reservations or during promotions. I eat in Hawkers. I borrow my friend’s EZ Link card and take the bus or walk if I can. I take advantage of free attractions or find discounts. Ill make a more detailed post on how I go see Singapore attractions.
If you have other tips you can share, please let us know in the comments.