SINGAPORE IS ONE of the most expensive cities in the world but with this travel guide, you can explore the city for four days for only P5,000 or US$112, airfare not included.
How’s that possible? It took us a few trips to this city state before perfecting the art of exploring its beautiful spots without breaking the bank.
Here are the things to remember so you could maximize your time and budget while in Singapore.
1. Book a seat sale from your airline of choice. As for us, we’ve been booking via Cebu Pacific, which gave us one of our cheapest flights to SG which costs P3,000+ only, two-way. To maximize your four days, it’s best to take an early morning flight from your home country then take a late night flight back home. For Filipinos, flight from and to Manila or Clark is around 5 hours.
2. Book a room 2-3 months ahead of your flight schedule. We would highly recommend booking through AirBnB. If it’s your first time, better use this link upon signing up as my code would give you P850 discount on your first booking. Another option is a hostel. Though you would be sharing it with other backpackers, you can get one for as low as P650 per night. Choose the ones near the MRT/LRT lines so to lessen hassles.
3. It would be best if you could tag along a friend to join you in your escapades as having a buddy is an advantage. Aside from you two could split the cost by half most of the time, having someone you trust with you adds up to the confidence of exploring a foreign land. But if you’d like to travel alone, that would still be okay. Most importantly, do not convert every time you’re spending but note that as of this posting, SG$1 = P34.
More about that on: 8 Travel Hacks You Should Do to Save on Your Next Trips.
Your 4-Day Itinerary: You will arrive at Changi International Airport Terminal 2, which is considered as among the best airports in the world after five hours up in the air, passing through Malaysia and Indonesia.
Your Singapore escapades begin upon arrival at Changi Airport. After passing through the immigration, you will see a lot of information and tourist counters on your way out. Feel free to ask them for guides on how to go to your place of stay but that would not be necessary if you are to bookmark and print this article. Get a Singapore map though. They’re giving it out for free.
Since we need to work on a budget, it is highly recommended to transport through buses and MRT/LRT alone. Buy either a NETS or EZLink card at the train station at the airport that you will be using for your transportation. The train lines are interconnected so you shouldn’t be afraid of anything. The chance of you getting lost is zero. Buy the card, minimum of SG$12, and load up around $30, which is more than enough for your transportation for the next four days. Each train ride won’t cost you more than $2. Bus rides are cheaper than MRT but MRT is more efficient. Considering your limited stay in SG, travel by the trains.
Day 1: Arrival + Escapades (Hostel/Homestay + Gardens By The Bay + Marina Bay Sands + Merlion Park + Chinatown)
Go to your place of stay and unpack. Eat your lunch. But a quick tip! Most of the time, it is eating out that’s eating up our travel budget. But for us, the best way of tasting Singapore flavors is through its hundreds of hawkers or food court scattered all throughout the city. It is actually one important lesson that we learned here as during our first visit, we spent around P60,000 for 10 days as we always dine out in nice restaurants, took cabs as mode of transportation, and even stay in above average hotels. If you’re in your grand vacation of a lifetime, do that. But if you’re into budget traveling, stick to hawkers. There’s one near almost every MRT station.
Each meal won’t cost you more than SG$5 (P170). Most of our meals are actually at SG$3 (P107) but since we don’t know your eating capacity, we are using SG$5 for this budget/computation. We also do not eat 3x a day. Sometimes, we only eat twice a day as we are just into tasting the local flavors. But we make sure there’s one or two heavy eating each day for exploring Singapore in a limited number of days requires a lot of energy. We also make sure to bring some biscuits and 3-in-1 coffee and Milo sachets. I am a coffee drinker while Kim is a Milo lover. Also, I always bring ground Starbucks coffee with me whenever I travel so I just brew my own coffee for breakfast or anytime of the day when we’re just home. Groceries and even water is kinda expensive in the city. In our ongoing trip here as of this writing, our host has a little kitchen full of coffee, tea, and even instant noodles ours for the taking, free of charge. They also allow cooking here so you can imagine how much saving we could get. Whatever you save up on meals you may use to buy pasalubong or use for another destination.
Right after your first meal in Singapore, take the MRT/LRT (red line) to bring you to Marina Bay Station. Alight from the train and enjoy Marina Bay area for the rest of the afternoon. For us, Marina Bay is the heart of Singapore. Strolling around the area gives you an idea how nice it is to be in this country. Be sure to have a photo with the Merlion with the financial centre or city skyline as your backdrop. Have a photo taken with the Marina Bay Sands as a backdrop as well. Then head on to the picturesque Gardens by the Bay just when the sun is about to set. It’s mesmerizing. All these things are without a charge. Take a lot of photos!
At around 8pm, head on to the MRT station, and go to Chinatown. You can have dinner there, and buy souvenirs if you wish. Chinatown closes at 10pm. But if you’re still fascinated by Marina Bay’s view at night, don’t bother. You can have dinner in the area (near the giant trees) at a lower price. Make sure to catch the last train going home as well. Rest and prepare for another day tomorrow.
Day 2: Universal Studios + Sentosa + Orchard Road
Universal Studios. Most people that I know come to Singapore to experience how it is to be a kid again in the Universal Studios. If you’re not into such kind of thing, it would be better for you as you’re not gonna be spending $65 or so of your budget for an all-day pass. You can still go there without spending a dime. Just stroll and take some photos. To get there, take the MRT’s North-East line or Circle line to HarbourFront station. Then exit E to VivoCity and proceed to level 3 to board the Sentosa Express. Alight 1 stop later at Waterfront station. Walk straight till you see Chili’s Restaurant on your right. Turn right and head towards the Universal Studios Globe. Check out Resorts World Sentosa’s website for more information.
Orchard Road. From Universal Studios, return to HarbourFront MRT station, take the train and alight at Dhoby Ghaut station. Transfer to the red line, which will take you to either Orchard or Somerset station. Spend the rest of the evening taking pictures or strolling there. Filipino mall area, the Lucky Plaza Mall is just a few meters away. After eating dinner, head home before MRT operation stops.
Day 3: Bugis + Kampong Glam + Little India + Clark Quay
Your third day should be spent strolling around Bugis,Kampong Glam and Little India. Your activities should include enjoying cuisines unique to Indian, Chinese and Arab cultures, and buying cheap items there. Just make sure that you have extra money for shopping though. From your place, take the MRT Green Line to Bugis. Spend a few hours in the area and the nearby Kampong Glam before heading to Little India, which is just two stations away from Bugis via Purple Line MRT.
Emerge into the Indian culture in that side of Singapore, and make sure to eat your dinner (better if it’s Indian food) before heading to Clark Quay via Purple Line MRT, just two stations away.
In Clark Quay, immerse yourself into Singapore’s night culture. You may wanna spend a few bottles of beer or cocktail drinks in the area. And again, take a lot of photos. These are three colorful areas here where you can test your photography skills. Book a hotel near Clark Quay.
Day 4: Visit a Singapore Museum
This is your last day here, and most probably than not, you only have a half day to spend in the city. Why waste a half day though if you could use it knowing Singapore more? Aside from your 3-day experience, you could bring home with you its history, and the foundation of its culture from its artifacts. We urge you to visit even just one museum before you leave. Though Singapore has a lot of museums to visit, a quick trip to the National Museum of Singapore is a must.
With a history dating back to its inception in 1887, it is the nation’s oldest museum with a progressive mind.
Quickest way to get there is to go to any of these MRT stations: Bras Basah MRT Station (5-minute walk), Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station (5-minute walk) or City Hall MRT Station (10-minute walk).
“Its galleries adopt cutting-edge and multi-perspective ways of presenting history and culture to redefine conventional museum experience. A cultural and architectural landmark in Singapore, the Museum hosts innovative festivals and events all year round—the dynamic Night Festival, visually arresting art installations, as well as amazing performances and film screenings—in addition to presenting thought-provoking exhibitions involving critically important collections of artifacts,” the museum website says.
See this link for the list that includes most of the sites you are going to be visiting: 10 Things To Do in Singapore.
The budget doesn’t include air fare from your home country though. But if you are from any of the Southeast Asian countries, especially the Philippines, you can score a good airline deal for less than P2,000 (around $45), all-in, two-way. As of this posting, the plan to remove the airport tax in the Philippines isn’t yet approved so you have to pay around P1,650 for that.
- Accommodation = 3 nights x P650 (Hostel) = P1,950.00
Meals x P170 x 10 meals = P1,700.00
(2 meals on Day 1 + 3 meals each on Day 2 & Day 3 + 2 meals on Day 4)
- Value Card for transpo = $40 x 34 = P1,400.00
- Sites to visit – FREE
TOTAL Budget: P5,050.00
If you are good in budgeting, you can even spend less than that but if you think you cannot live with the budget suggested above, adjust it a little to your liking. But also remember that as per travel experts, when traveling, it is better to carry fewer stuff but double the cash. It is okay to travel in a budget but it is wise to bring more cash with you.
Are you ready to explore Singapore? Book your flight now, and start packing your things. Feel free to share this with your friends.
Photos by travelmore.ph, thaholiday.com, foundtheworld.com, handluggageonly.co.uk, weekendnotes.com, SingaporeGuide.com, sg.asia.city.com, expatliving.sg, crossingtravel.com, and YourSingapore.com.