How far can your USD10 take you? In this series of blog posts, I’ve challenged some of the travel bloggers based in different corners of the globe to tell me what’s the best way to maximize USD10 as a tourist from where they currently are. Today, I’m featuring Singapore submitted by Antoine of Traveling Life.
Singapore has a reputation for not being the most budget-friendly destination. Especially compared to surrounding South-East Asian countries, travelers to Singapore are often under the impression that $10 won’t go far in Singapore. But that’s not entirely true – while generally prices are higher in Singapore than other South East Asian countries, Singapore on a budget is still very possible.
There’s lots of free attractions within Singapore, and cheap transport and hawker food make spending minimal money in the city entirely possible. If you have just one day in the city, you can easily get away with only spending 10 US dollars (which is equivalent to 13.74 Singaporean Dollars – all prices noted here are in Singaporean Dollars).
The most budget friendly way to explore Singapore is by using the MRT or walking from attraction to attraction. The MRT is incredibly cheap; a journey from the airport to the city centre costs around $2.50 and you won’t pay more than $4 to get from any part of Singapore to another. However, much of the city is very walkable, so to avoid transport fees totting up, it’s a good idea to walk short distances.
While some of Singapore’s quintessential experiences (such as riding the Singapore flyer or sipping a Singapore Sling at Raffles hotel) do cost a lot of money, you can easily get a real essence of the city for free by checking out Singapore’s budget attractions.
These include the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum which is located in Chinatown and is named after the sacred Buddha Tooth Relic displayed in the museum. Entry is free and it’s a great site for anybody interested in Buddhist culture and history, especially Buddhism in China and the rest of South East Asia.
If you’re peckish after exploring the temple, there’s vegetarian food available in the basement, which is paid for on a donation basis. Masjid Jamae is one of Singapore’s oldest mosques and offers a 45 minute experience that
details the history of the mosque and provides interesting cultural information about Islam. It’s an interesting spot to learn about this side of Singaporean culture and again, is completely free to enter and explore.
Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. It’s free to enter and provides the chance to marvel at typical Hindu architecture and learn about the Hindu lifestyle.
One of Singapore’s cheapest hawker centres is located within Chinatown as well; Chinatown Hawker Complex Centre is the largest of its kind in Singapore and provides food like chicken rice or laksa for under $3.
Over in Kampong Glam, the Arab influenced area of Singapore, Masjid Sultan is the most iconic mosque in Singapore and is a must-visit for anyone interested in Islamic architecture. A lot of Masjid Sultan’s beauty can be appreciated from the outside, but it does not cost to enter the building.
Little India is the most vibrant area of Singapore, and the beauty of the area can be appreciated by just walking around and admiring the colourful streets. The famous Tan Teng Niah, which was actually a building from the Chinese colonization, is a rainbow-colored spectacle and is one of the best photography spots in the area.
The Tekka Center and the Mustafa Center are both shopping destinations, and of course any purchases here would put a dent in a budget of $10. However, they’re great places to explore and experience the vibrancy and mix of cultures of the city of Singapore.
The architecture of Masjid Abdul Gaffoor, which is on the edge of Little India, is a marvel that travelers love to admire. The mosque is beautifully decorated and photographing this spot is an essential part of a Singaporean itinerary.
For budget eats in Singapore, head over to Lucky Plaza for hawker style food. There’s lots of meaty and vegetarian options, all at budget prices – from $4-$5 is the average.
Singapore is known as a ‘Garden City’ so it’s imperative that visitors to the city must enjoy some of the beautiful gardens within the metropolis. The Botanical Gardens stretch out over 82 hectares and most spots are free to visit. Just the National Orchid Garden (which is probably the prettiest part) costs to get in- but at a mere $5, it’s still within budget.
Singapore’s other garden is less natural, but equally impressive. Gardens by the Bay is home to illuminated super trees that tower over the surrounding area. It’s free to walk around Gardens by the Bay and admire the supertrees; the best time to visit is at dusk, so you can appreciate the trees both in the light and in the dark when they shine against the night sky.
Next to Gardens by the Bay is Marina Bay Sands, an iconic hotel with an infinity pool on the roof! While your $10 budget won’t go close to affording a night here, you can of course admire the skyline and walk along the boardwalk leading up to the hotel.
Once your day in Singapore is done and you’re ready for some food, check out Chomp Chomp Food Centre which opens its doors at 6pm and offers some of the city’s best satay. You can pick up a snack here from just $1.20.
Even though Singapore can be expensive, exploring the city on a minimal budget is completely possible if you stick to the cheapest experiences in the city. As I’ve shown, $10 can go very far in the allegedly expensive city of Singapore!
All photos are submitted by Antoine. If you’re a blogger and would like to submit a guest post in this series, drop me an email at pinayflyinghigh(@)gmail(.)com