29 Money Saving Tips to Tour Singapore on the Cheap

Singapore City Skyline with Merlion
If you’ve always dreamed of traveling to Singapore but been put off by the cost, there’s some good news – a trip to Singapore doesn’t have to be a budget-buster!

There are plenty of ways to save money without compromising on your itinerary. Here are 29 of my favourites…

Affordable Accommodation

Adler Hostel Singapore - Personal Cabin

Adler Hostel – Pay hostel price and you can have your own personal and cozy cabin. Comes with free WiFi too. Click here to find out more.

1. Choose Your Accommodation Wisely – there are actually plenty of cheaper hotels in Singapore, you just have to know where to look! Don’t be put off by a location that seems a little further out, all you need are good public transport links nearby.

2. Maximise Your Hotel Stay – try to get a deal that includes breakfast, it may be a little more initially but buying breakfast every day soon adds up. Alternatively, find accommodation that has a fridge, this gives you the option of buying food at a supermarket and having breakfast before you leave for the day.

3. Consider a Hostel – Singapore is one of the cleanest and safest places in the world and hostels reflect that. Even if you wouldn’t typically stay in a hostel, you should consider it here – it’s not all dorm accommodation, many have very nice private rooms.

Getting Around in Singapore

Singapore Transport - Trains and Buses

Trains and buses are the most common and affordable modes of transport in Singapore. [photo credit: flickr/TIB1218R]

4. Cheapest Transport from Airport to City Center – arriving at Changi International Airport, the cheapest way to get into the city center is taking the train. The station is in the basement of terminals 2 and 3, you need to transfer at Tanah Merah station to get into the city but it’s well signed and very straightforward.

5. Transport Passes To Help You Save Money– take a little time to figure out if there’s one right for you.
  • EZ-Link card arguably offers the most flexibility. It’s a standard pre-pay system which offers a discounted fare. You can purchase this in locations throughout the city, including at the airport station. It costs S$12 initially for a card with S$7 credit on it. The S$5 fee for the card means it’s really only a good option if you’re staying a few days or likely to return.
  • Singapore Tourist Pass offers unlimited basic bus, LRT and MRT trains for either 1 (S$10), 2 (S$16) or 3 (S$20) days. On top of that, you pay a S$10 deposit which you get back if you return the card within 5 days.

6. Buses are Cheaper than Trains – buses are the cheapest form of transport but come with the potential to get stuck in traffic, this choice is all about your priorities!

7. Consider Walking – at least get an idea of scale, the sights of Singapore’s center are fairly close together and, with it’s warm climate, walking around Singapore isn’t a bad choice.

8. Leaving by Train? Book Separate Tickets – if you’re leaving Singapore for Malaysia, it’s cheaper to buy a ticket from Singapore to the first station in Malaysia and then buy a second ticket from there to your destination. Both can be booked ahead of time, online.

Food & Drink

Typical Hawker Center in Singapore

A typical hawker center in Singapore has more than 50 food stalls selling large variety of Chinese, Muslim, Indian to Western cuisine.   [photo credit: flickr/One More Bite Blog]

9. Hawker Centers Are Where Cheapest Food Can Be Found – they’re essentially a collection of small food vendors in one place but they can be a little bit daunting if you’re not familiar with how it works.

Each vendor has their own menu and specialities – one of the benefits to eating here is that everyone in your party can have totally different types of food. Actual set ups may vary but usually you order and wait for your food and then take a table in the shared seating area to eat.

Drinks are often sold at a separate vendor. It’s not fine dining but it is tasty food at very reasonable prices. A great one to start at is the Maxwell Food Center on the corner of Maxwell Street and South Bridge Road.

10. Cheaper Than Restaurants Alternative – more expensive than hawker centers, but cheaper than restaurants, are the food courts within shopping malls.

They’re usually together on one floor – often in the basement. There are typically a number of options so take a look at sample menus, there can be the occasional outlet that’s a little pricier.

11. Chinatown & Little India – both have some great budget friendly food options for authentic and tasty meals.

12. Lunch Rather than Dinner – if you’ve got to have your fix of restaurant dining while in Singapore, consider doing so for lunch. Many have cheaper menus and offers to entice a lunchtime crowd, there’s no need to skip that fancy meal altogether.

13. Happy Drinking on Happy Hours – alcohol is one of the easiest places to watch your budget quickly disappear. Many bars run happy hours in the afternoon/early evening so, again, you don’t have to go without – just be a little smart about it.

Fun in Singapore Bar/Disco

Ladies do get many privileges when they are in Singapore!   [photo credit: flickr/Eustaquio Santimano]

14. Wednesday Night is Ladies Night – if you’re female, Wednesday’s ‘ladies night’ means that cover charges and drinks will often be free of charge.

15. Best Place to Buy Snacks – if you’re buying snacks or food supplies, try to do so in supermarkets (check out shopping mall basements or ask your accommodation for the nearest one), these will be cheaper than mini-marts on the street.

16. Save on Bottled Water, Drink Direct from Tap – tap water in Singapore is perfectly safe to drink, there’s no need to spend a fortune on bottled water.

Sightseeing

Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck

Besides taking in the breathtaking view of Singapore city skyline, this is a great place for selfie too!   [photo credit: flickr/Wojtek Gurak]

17. Best Place to See Singapore from Above – entrance to the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck costs S$23 per adult. There are bars on high floors within the complex that offer an almost identical view, you’ll have to pay for a drink but not to get in.

Another similar option is to head to ION SKY on Orchard Road, there is a free viewpoint on the 55/56th floor.

18. Museum Savings for History Buffs – if you’re keen on museums, have a look at the 3-day museum pass (S$20), valid for National Heritage Board museums – see this web page for more information. Also of note is the free Friday night (6-9pm) entry to the Singapore Art Museum.

19. Single Pass for All Singapore Attractions – if you’re keen to see some of Singapore’s biggest tourist attractions then the Singapore City Pass might be worth a look. It’s only worthwhile if you genuinely want to see the attractions it covers, and can do so in the timeframe offered.

20. Bring Your Student ID – many attractions offer student discounts, always make sure you have it with you.

21. Ask About Discounted Tickets – some hotels offer discounted tickets to local attractions, it’s always worth asking your reception.

22. Get the Best Deal from Voucher Sites – websites such as Groupon sell discounted meals, event tickets or entrance to attractions. Always read the terms and conditions though, some vouchers are only available to local residents.

Sentosa Boardwalk

Now you can enjoy a relaxing stroll to Sentosa via this beautiful boardwalk.   [photo credit: flickr/Sam]

23. Get into Sentosa for Free – entrance on foot over the boardwalk is free of charge. If you’re looking to do multiple attractions, check out the fun pass options. Also, keep an eye on this page for ‘Super WOW Wednesdays’ where a limited number of discount deals appear at 10am on a Wednesday.

24. Tips to Save on Movie Tickets – there are many ways to save on a trip to the cinema while in Singapore, tickets are usually priced differently on weekdays and weekends (as well as in evenings). There are often discounts for students or senior citizens too. Use this website and see the best way of saving.

Shopping

Shopping girl
25. Remember to Do Tax Refund on Your Shopping – if you’re doing significant shopping (anything over $100 in one transaction) be sure to get the documentation you need to claim 7% GST back at the airport or cruise terminal when you leave. See here for more information.

26. Where to Buy Cheap Souvenirs – the main thoroughfare of Chinatown and Bugis Street Market is packed with souvenir shops and stalls, it’s a great place to pick up a few cheaper mementos.

27. Tourist? Ask for Your Privilege Card – several malls offer tourist privileges, if you’re hitting the shops then be sure to head to the information desk and see if they have any.

28. Toiletries Are Expensive – make sure you come prepared!

29. WiFi Access is Everywhere – there are so many places with free WiFi that there’s no need for expensive data packages for your mobile phone. As well as the usual cafes and bars, you’ll find it in many shopping malls and even the area around Chinatown has its own WiFi hotspot!

I hope you’re now convinced that traveling to Singapore on a budget is entirely possible. It’s one of my favourite places in the world and hopefully, now you know that trip you’ve always dreamed of is achievable, it can be one of yours too.